Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Wednesday, September 27

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« Bands You Missed, Vol. 2 Radio on the TV »

Concert Fri Jul 11 2008

Killing Me Quickly (with their song)


Sic Alps killed me in just over 90 seconds - it didn't take much time at all. The 1:30 slice of perfection in question is "Bells (with Tremolo and Distortion)," off of their recent Description of the Harbor 12-inch (don't bother looking, it's long gone, unless you've got $75 and an Ebay username to spare) and it just nailed me - it's like a breath of air straight out of Lenny Kaye's record cellar, a lost psychedelic Nugget(s) lifted from obscurity, dusted off, and then killed and reborn anew, because it's not a cover, it's a new song with moves for moderns. The main lyric is pretty much one line: "I don't care 'bout what you say/meet me down on the lawn, lawn lawn," and that might not even be how it goes! The singer drawls the last word so exquisitely, it's hard to tell. Or care. (Youtube video here…count the visual music references/influences!)

This obsession wasn't unexpected, though. The band already had their sights leveled on my temple with 2006's Teenage Alps cassette single on Animal Disguise. 10 minutes in a heaven that was equal parts dirgey psych-rock, Sabbath swagger, and black metal shred, with a few gently sprinkled piano tinkles at the end for good measure. That tape is long gone as well, but all of these heart-stoppers and more can be found on a recent 26-track odds-n-sods collection titled A Long Way Around to a Shortcut, also on Animal Disguise. The CD collects all the music from two 12-inches, two 7-inches, the aforementioned cassette, a compilation track, and an unreleased track. To use the verbiage of late-night TV, if you wanted to buy all these songs separately, you'd expect to pay $175 (thanks to fan "enthusiasm" on Ebay). Instead, you get a concise 60 minute program which travels backwards in time (starting material from November 2007 and working backwards to April 2006) from sunshiny '60s garage-psych into darker, more ramshackle alleys. The "Strawberry Guillotine" 7-inch, for example, betrays the bands roots among the Load Records shamble-rock shamen - think USA Is A Monster, Friends Forever, or Astoveboat, all distortion-y and cavern-y. Thing is, even their noisiest "experiment" tracks still sounds like the kind of sonic “Happenings” you might spy on the back-end of an early Red Crayola album. Similarly, their most unapologetically retro-sounding pieces still never travel into mimicry. The old sounds new, the new sounds old. Just like the Albert Ayler, whose style was always based in R&B and the blues, even while speeding into the future of jazz, Sic Alps create something that feels old, but keeps pushing the whole machine forward.

Sic Alps will be playing this Saturday at Enemy (1550 N. Milwaukee Ave, 3rd Floor) along with Wet Hair, Magic Missile, and Druids of Huge. Doors at 8 p.m., Start time 8:30 sharp due to volume laws. $5 suggested donation. The band will no doubt have copies of Long Way Around to a Shortcut for sale, as well as their forthcoming record on Siltbreeze, titled U.S. EZ, due for national release on Friday, July 15.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »


  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
Country Music Chicago
Cream Team
Dark Jive
The Deli Chicago
Jim DeRogatis
Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
The Hood Internet
Jaded in Chicago
Largehearted Boy
Little White Earbuds
Live Fix Blog
Live Music Blog
Loud Loop Press
Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
Pop Matters
Resident Advisor
Sound Opinions
Sun-Times Music Blog
Theft Liable to Prosecution
Tribune Music
UR Chicago
Victim Of Time
WFMU's Beware of the Blog
Windy City Rock


Abbey Pub
Andy's Jazz Club
Aragon Ballroom
Auditorium Theatre
Beat Kitchen
Bottom Lounge
Buddy Guy's Legends
The Burlington
California Clipper
Concord Music Hall
Congress Theater
Cubby Bear
Double Door
Elbo Room
Empty Bottle
Green Mill
The Hideout
Honky Tonk BBQ
House of Blues
Kingston Mines
Lincoln Hall
Logan Square Auditorium
Mayne Stage
The Mutiny
Old Town School of Folk Music
Park West
The Promontory
Red Line Tap
Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint
The Riviera
Thalia Hall
The Shrine
Symphony Center
Tonic Room
Uncommon Ground
The Vic
The Whistler

  Labels, Promoters
  & Shops:

Alligator Records
Beverly Records
Bloodshot Records
Dave's Records
Delmark Records
Drag City
Dusty Groove
Flameshovel Records
Groove Distribution
He Who Corrupts
Jam Productions
Jazz Record Mart
Kranky Records
Laurie's Planet of Sound
Minty Fresh
Numero Group
mP Shows
Permanent Records
Reckless Records
Smog Veil Records
Southport & Northport Records
Thick Records
Thrill Jockey Records Touch & Go/Quarterstick Records
Victory Records

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Transmission is the music section of Gapers Block. It aims to highlight Chicago music in its many varied forms, as well as cover touring acts performing in the city. More...
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