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Wednesday, December 13

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Transmission
« Review: St. Vincent @ Metro 2/18/10 Teargarden by Kaleidyscope Vol. 1: Songs for a Sailor »

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 »

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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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