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Review Sun Jan 15 2012

Review: the Soil & the Sun @ Sub-T

I think we can all agree that pleasant surprises really are awesome, right? That's exactly how I felt last spring when I made it out to Audiotree's launch party, headlined by Portugal. The Man (also awesome). I got there early enough to snag some free sliders and mini tacos, but also early enough to catch the opening set from a sweet little band out of Grand Rapids call the Soil & the Sun.

I didn't know much about these guys and gals, but by the end of their set I was lined up at their merch booth to pick up copies of their EPs. So, when I found out they were headlining last night at Subterranean, I jumped at the chance to go.

There's so much music out there right now. This means that there are more options than ever for listeners, but it also means there's a lot more crap that we have to sift through in order to find the good stuff. Amidst the sea of up and coming bands, here's what the Soil & the Sun are doing right:

1. Keeping it genuine - It's so easy for a band to pre-record a stockpile of samples and incorporate a push-button system into their live set. Sure, the stage might seem a little crowded when all seven members of the Soil & the Sun take to it, but the live sounds coming from this band--be it in the form of guitar, keyboard, oboe, bells, accordion or multiple drum kits--are truly refreshing.

2. Being harmonious - Not only do the Soil & the Sun have an impressive array of instrumentals, their vocals aren't half bad either. With a seven-member, coed crew, they're able to emit some beautiful choruses.

3. Finding a Balance - The songs I heard last night were ethereal and airy without becoming droning and monotonous. Their swells are slow and steady, yet still aggressive and energetic. There's a lot going on in the Soil and the Sun's songs, but they're anything but noisy.

4. Skipping the dramatics - Despite the Mary Poppin's purse-like collection of instruments that the Soil and the Sun incorporate into their music, it doesn't come off as "gimmicky." The performance was great, but it was very much about the music. When you put that much craftsmanship into your songs, there's not a lot of need for cheap onstage antics.

5. Loving their fans - It's always a little irritating when the quietest parts of a bands' song are downed out by the couple standing next to you and their discussion of what they're going to be doing after the show. The crowd's volume level was almost irreverent by the end of the set last night, but the Soil and the Sun prevailed over the white noise. The band members were friendly, grateful and could be seen chatting it up with fans throughout the night.

Overall, a great evening from a band that definitely deserves some attention. There's no exact formula to creating a successful band, but it's safe to say that the Soil & the Sun are definitely on to something.

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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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