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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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Tuesday, March 28

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Review Mon Feb 22 2010

Photo Review: The Smoking Popes @ Reggies 02/20

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Smoking Popes (Photos by Katie Hovland.)

The Smoking Popes were once one of the most well known bands in Chicago's music scene during the 90's. Although popular, they were under appreciated in the wakes of bands like Urge Overkill, Wilco and The Smashing Pumpkins. The band was unique bringing lounge music to punk giving them a softer pop sound with a bit of a classic bend. The band formed in 1991, broke up in 1999 and reunited in 2005 selling out the Metro in record time. They released eight albums all together and toured with bands from the likes of ELO to Jawbreaker. Ben Weasel of Screeching Weasel was a fan and helped launch their first release. They just released It's Been a Long Day earlier this month on Asian Man Records.

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It wasn't surprising that there was rejoicing the last two nights at Reggie's Rock Club as The Popes were celebrated. The band made music that was swept up in an undertow as the music scene blossomed. It was a perfect place for a punk-pop band revisiting the good old days. Fans who were there likely remembered when they first heard them on places like WXRT's Local Anesthetic and saw them at Lounge Axe. I was one of those people who fell in love with the semi sweet melodies, punk driven undertones and sadly relatable lyrics as a teen. I was saddened by their breakup and was completely giddy when they got back together.

The Smoking Popes always shined and were never afraid to be anything other than who they were. They made pop music that some have called a guilty pleasure, but guilt was never a factor in my experience of this band. I always felt a warm happiness when listening to them. I hope they continue to make music and I hope to be up front the next time they come home.

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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...
Please see our submission guidelines.

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