Gapers Block has ceased publication.

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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Concert Fri Aug 01 2014

Darren Hayman is Coming to Town (and You're About to Miss It)

By Phil Huckelberry

In 1998, an English pop-rock band released their first album. You probably didn't hear about it. It came out on a very hip indie label, but remained mostly unknown on this side of the Atlantic. This was back in the day of listservs — run off of obscure university servers and beloved by the internet's earliest adopters. On one such listserv a guy named Spencer insisted that we all had to listen to this band Hefner.

Many years later, I rank Hefner's debut album, Breaking God's Heart, as one of my top ten albums of all time. It contains brilliant pop songs, mostly about relationships and their attendant failures. The subject matter seemed universally familiar even while totally off the wall. Nobody else was writing breathtaking love songs about witches and librarians, all while bemoaning the state of British politics. The tenderness in the first song, "The Sweetness Lies Within," slams against harried guitars, creating not a strange juxtaposition but instead the appropriate sonic context for how insane it is to be young and single and not single and single again. At times it was like finally hearing what everybody else had to have been thinking all along.

Darren Hayman was the singer, main songwriter, and guitarist for Hefner. His melodies were surpassed only by his Dickensian lyrics. The signature song off the first album was called "Love Will Destroy Us In The End," but to this day it's unclear whether that's ultimately meant as a good thing or not. As the era of irony was reaching its peak, Hayman — hardly a purveyor of irony himself — had become the most ironic figure of all in mind: a spokesman for the era, even though nobody else in the U.S. seemed to know he was there. His best known song is probably the scathingly jaunty "The Day That Thatcher Dies", which somehow pulls together class politics, a horn section, and a chorus extracted wholesale from no less than The Wizard of Oz.

After Hefner's demise, Hayman released one bizarre electronic album, Local Information, with new band The French. Only after some time did Hayman reemerge under his own name with solo albums Table For One and The Secondary Modern, which became the name of his new backing band. By this point Hayman had already developed quite an extensive website, releasing singles or EPs on a regular basis, and also offering numerous videos.

On Tuesday, August 5, at the Chopin Theatre (1543 W. Division St.), Darren Hayman will make an incredibly rare U.S. appearance. Tickets are $10 and are available online. Including a concert last weekend in New York, this will be only his second concert in the U.S. in the last 15 years. Coltrane Motion opens. 21+

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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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