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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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Friday, February 23

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« Tomorrow Never Knows at Schubas Company of Thieves are the free download on iTunes this week »

Concert Mon Jan 12 2009

Department Of Eagles @ Schubas, Tomorrow Never Knows 2009 Fest, Thursday

Here's the humble beginnings. Six years ago, when Department Of Eagles were calling themselves Whitey On The Moon U.K., one wouldn't have guessed that they were likely to evolve into any sort of Big Indie Darling Thing.

When the songwriting duo of Daniel Rossen and Fred Nicolaus first started collaborating, they were a couple of NYU dormmates -- bored college kids farting around with a sampler, making silly beat compositions with fragments of Gil Scott-Heron, bits of classical Indian music, and snippets from old Steve Martin comedy records. By the time they got around to recording a debut LP in 2003, they'd grown more serious about songwriting and musicianship and aimed to make a proper pop album. The result was a wonderful and brilliantly eclectic collection of songs that were likely to provoke dancing, laughter, or -- in a few cases -- that were just flat-out beautiful. By the time the album became something of a creeping indie-world fave (thanks to its belated U.K. reissue), Rossen had drifted off to find greater success as a member of the band Grizzly Bear; for a time leaving the status of DOE in suspended animation.

Late this past year, the band released its sophomore album In Ear Park. Lush and langourous from start to finish, In Ear Park is the sound of a bunch of guys hunkering down in a cozy winter cabin for a long duration, loaded up with a piano, a few guitars, a banjo and a harmonium and a cache of percussive things; setting about the task, while the snowdrifts pile up over the windows and the borealis ripples overhead, of envisioning how the pop-music universe might've shaped up if Paul McCartney (with a little assistance from Van Dyke Parks) would've had all four sides of the "White Album" to himself. Or, as a number of blogworld music scribes have pointed out, it sounds a lot like Grizzly Bear. And while those hoping for some of the stylistic hodge-podgery (and humor) of the debut LP stood to be disappointed by the new material, that didn't prevent the album from landing on many critics' Best Of 2008 lists.

And recordings, naturally, only present a part of the story; at best documenting a phase or a process of evolution at a certain point in time. As Department of Eagles take their act on the road, it marks not only a working reunion between Rossen and Nicolaus, but the first time the duo's had the resources to go on an extensive tour of the U.S. They'll be playing in Chicago for the first time, headlining at Schubas on Thursday evening's installment of Tomorrow Never Knows 2009 (about which, lookee here). On the bill in supporting mode are Disappears, Allá, The Poison Arrows, and DJs Mister Joshua, SR-71, and Onefistyone. Show starts at 9pm and is 18+. Individual tickets for Thursday's show had sold out by press time, but apparently the 5-day pass will get you in.

[mp3]: Department of Eagles - "No One Does It Like You"
[mp3]: Department of Eagles - "In Ear Park"
[video]: Department of Eagles - "Romo-Goth" (2003)

Read all our Tomorrow Never Knows coverage.

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Mark / January 13, 2009 8:38 AM

I believe you mean Grizzly Bear, not Panda Bear.

Graham / January 13, 2009 9:08 AM

Indeed, I did. With the endless menagerie of indie bands with animal-related names (wolves, bears, tigers, etc.), they sometimes begin to blur together. Where's Marlin Perkins when I need him?

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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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