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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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Preview Fri Apr 18 2014

Josh Ritter Premieres New Songs at City Winery 4/21 & 4/23

Many critics pegged Josh Ritter's most recent release, 2013's The Beast In Its Tracks, as a prototypical "breakup" album, but the label does little justice to the album itself. Though written and recorded in the aftermath of a divorce, the record sets itself not in the pathos of the immediate fallout, but in that tentative, woozy period afterwards, when you dust yourself off and move forward. It's a more hopeful attitude than is found on most breakup records, and Ritter's perspective on relationships is an apt analogy for the perspective he takes in much of his songwriting; a dose of optimism that doesn't brush off the darker corners of his psyche or the world, but instead treats them with the complexity they deserve. That's not to say the album lacks darkness; one need only hear the acerbic punchline that concludes "New Lover" to dispel that theory.

Ritter is coming to Chicago next week to perform two solo acoustic shows at City Winery to debut brand new material that, according to the songwriter, arrived in an unorthodox manner. "About four months ago," Ritter recalls, "I was hit by a song on the New York Thruway. The whole thing. Verses, bridge, a witty one-liner or two. Nothing like that had ever happened with such force. It was the first raindrop in a thunderstorm that I'm thankful continues unabated." Ritter rarely unveils new songs before they've been run through the wringer of the studio process, so the City Winery shows indicate an intriguing new approach. He's riding a four-album hot streak (including 2006's The Animal Years, my pick for one of the last decade's most powerful and unheralded releases), and these concerts stand to shine some light on where he's heading next.

Ritter plays the City Winery at 8pm on Monday, April 21 and Wednesday, April 23 (I'll be attending Wednesday's show and will have a review of the evening on Gapers Block next week). Currently, tickets are available for both shows. On both nights, the doors are at 6pm, and you can find more information and purchase tickets at the City Winery website.

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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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