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Transmission

Stars Align Fri Oct 03 2014

Stars Align: Chicago Artists Come Together for One Night Only

Some comets pass by Earth once every few decades. The rarer ones take thousands of years before returning to burn through the night sky.

And then there are those rare occasions where everything is right and the stars align; where something special comes together for only a moment, and is gone forever.

We at Gapers Block hope to catch a bit of this magic with our new music series, Stars Align, which brings together two local artists for a unique collaboration -- for one night only.

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Jaime Rojo's latest EP and Santah's Stanton McConnell.

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Mike Ewing / Comments (0)

DJ / Dance Thu Jun 05 2014

New Moon Boots Mix Gets You Ready for Spring Awakening

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If you're heading to next weekend's Spring Awakening music fest, you're probably already pretty psyched to hear DJs spin and get your dance on. Performers include Tiesto, Diplo, Pretty Lights, Kaskade, Derrick Carter, A-Trak, and many more.

But hey, there are still 8 days to go! Give your ears a little preview with this new mix by performers Moon Boots via Soundcloud:

Spring Awakening takes place June 13-15 at Soldier Field. Single-day tickets are still available for $95/day.

Anne Holub / Comments (0)

Event Mon Apr 28 2014

Wax Idols: Navigating the 2014 CHIRP Record Fair's Delights

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[Ed. note: Apologies for the delay!]

When I'd told a friend I was planning on visiting a record fair for an entire afternoon one Saturday, they were dumbfounded. You're excited at the prospect of sharing a room with a bunch of old white guys selling dusty records to even more old white guys for inflated prices and "posterity"? Seems like a recipe for boredom, or at least an empty wallet, no? I avoided the question, first because I knew, of course, that he was right, but second because I also knew there were certain indescribable elements and tiny excitements to an event like CHIRP's that I'd never be able to fully explain. I am not an old white man (yet), and since I count myself a member of a growing number of younger vinyl fans who love obsessively padding and curating their collections of old records, it's a culture, man, and I planned to get my fix! I won't stand for any naysayers in my tent.

So when my roommate and I got up early to head to CHIRP's 12th Annual Record Fair & Other Delights, we expected more than to cross off a few harder-to-find records off our respective punch lists. Arriving at the tail end of the early bird session (where diehards paid a bit extra to comb the stacks first), we noticed right away that my friend's quick stereotyping was way off: Women! Young people! Young people selling records to even younger women! I'd be lying if I said that the old white guy demographic wasn't well represented, too, but even at 10am the fair was filled with people of all shapes and stripes coming to browse the racks, ogle at strange Beatles ephemera, and learn a thing or two about a record or two. Fifty million Elvis fans can't be wrong, or something like that.

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Mike Bellis / Comments (0)

Contest Mon Apr 28 2014

Get Down and Celebrate 20 Years with Bloodshot on Saturday

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It seems like just yesterday we were touting Bloodshot Records' latest milestone, and here they are hitting another one. This weekend, the venerable Chicago music label celebrates their 20th year with a musical showcase that should be on your social calendar. Featuring no less than Murder by Death, Andre Williams, Danny Black from the Blacks and Nora O'Connor.

If you're already sold on this shin-dig, we're delighted to be graced with a couple pairs of tickets to the show! We'll be choosing 2 winners at random today at 3pm. To get your hat in the ring, email us at contests@gapersblock.com with the subject line "Bloodshot!". You must be 18+ to go to this show (and win this contest). [Update: We have our winners! Congrats to Dmitry and Marian!]

If you're unfamiliar with this gang, here's a breakdown:

Murder By Death offers not the angry metal you might expect from their name, but instead, orchestral indie tunes that make you smile.

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Anne Holub / Comments (0)

Event Fri Apr 25 2014

Musicians, Global Citizens Make a Difference at The Vic

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Photo by Ryan Gall, courtesy of The Global Poverty Project

Recording artists and activism aligned at The Vic, 3145 N Sheffield Ave, last night, for Global Citizen Nights; an event driven by the efforts of the Global Poverty Project to raise awareness of, and end extreme poverty by 2030. Neo-soul singer/songwriter, Aloe Blacc, was headliner to the evening, led by performances from Johnnyswim and The Main Squeeze.

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Ricardo Villarreal / Comments (0)

Event Wed Apr 16 2014

Record Store Day 2014: Where to Go in Chicago

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Seven years down the line, and it feels like Record Store Day comes earlier every year. And maybe it's just because we've barely scratched the surface of the promised warm weather this year in Chicago, but we're really giddy about RSD this year. Getting out of the house? Mingling with other music-minded folks? Rewarding ourselves with new vinyl? Sign us up! So here we are, once again, mapping out stores to visit (and perhaps even mentally rating restaurants nearby to grab a malted beverage at afterwards). If you've made your own wish list of RSD releases, here's where you might want to go to find them:

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Anne Holub / Comments (3)

Stores Tue Apr 15 2014

Our Record Store Day Wish List

By Transmission Staff

Our beloved vinyl holiday, Record Store Day, is this Saturday, and while we might not all be at stores waiting in line come midnight, the yearly celebration of all things vinyl has its own perks. Every year, there's a plethora of special Record Store Day releases. From new artists and old, either re-releases, or special compilations or tracks — there's something for everyone, of course only if your local record store gets in the release that you want. And that's the rub, since while all stores might like to get each of these releases, even if they request them, they're not sure what they're going to get till the box arrives (sometime later this week). But what follows is what the Transmission staff is keeping its fingers crossed for this year.

Our Record Store Day Wish List:

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The Julie Ruin 7"
You probably recognize Kathleen Hanna from Bikini Kill or Le Tigre or from being the coolest person ever. After an extended hiatus from music due to the singer's struggle with Lyme disease, Kathleen returned along with new band The Julie Ruin in 2013 with a new album, Run Fast. The album is less politcally charged and more personal than what we've heard from Hanna in the past, revealing a more vulnerable side to the artist. On Record Store Day The Julie Ruin will release a 7" of two previously unreleased songs, "Brightside" and "In The Picture", with a limited pressing of 2000.
-Stephanie Griffin

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Transmission / Comments (1)

Review Fri Apr 04 2014

Report: Mac Demarco Freaks Out the Neighborhood @ Empty Bottle

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"Mannish Boy"-cum-groove-pop-troubadour Mac Demarco strolled through town on Wednesday night for two sold-out shows at the Empty Bottle, and we were there for the late show to take in the scene in all its buzzed-about and sullied-up glory. Opener and Captured Tracks labelmate Juan Wauters set the tone with some inspired lo-fi jams before jetting off for a quieter show uptown, and reports from the excellent Amen Dunes' set from the earlier show were positive, with Demarco and co. effusing nothing but praise to the Dunes throughout their set.

Appearing on the back of the just-released Salad Days, the newly long-haired Demarco and his equally shaggy band of mates graced the stage bedecked in over-sized shirts and thrift-store caps, laying down their mix of party-ready numbers and actually-sincere bedroom crooning ("Brother"). True to form (or at least satisfying the demands of his increasingly public persona), Demarco played the role of able maestro to the night's affairs, addressing the audience with a mix of slapdash confidence through sips of bourbon and coke (courtesy of the front row), potty humor (with help from touring bassist/ex-Makeout Videotape bandmate Pierce McGarry), and his by-now equally trademark "thank-you-ladies-and-gentleman" showmaster schtick. Contrasted against his goofy off-the-cuff covers of butt-rock jams like "Smoke On The Water," newcomers to the Demarco tent might have been thrown off by his ever-shifting persona onstage (polite vs. abrasive; slow-jamming gentleman vs. punk-ish agitator) but it's those same contradictions that often make the act (not to mention the songs) work as well as it has so far.

Demarco's spoken at length in recent interviews about trying to shed his unwashed-party-boy-next-door image in approaching a new plateau in his career, out of preference to a newer maturity in his songwriting and his own increasing ambition. While the band's on-stage attitude was nothing if not youthful, occasionally sloppy, and at times immature (read: fun), the newer songs spoke to the young songwriter's increasing focus on growth and adulthood: New standouts "Let Her Go" and "Chamber of Reflection" showcased Demarco's knack for easy melody and simple, direct subject matter in the wake of his rapid public ascent over the past two years. Smartly, Demarco and the band split the set between old favorites ("Rock 'n' Roll Nightclub," "The Stars Keep On Calling My Name," and the ubiquitous, smoke-laden "Ode to Viceroy") and newer material, occasionally fighting shrill feedback from the house system but maintaining a good-natured vibe through it all. You'd never guess Demarco's touring band didn't play on these records, either, where Demarco supposedly records every part himself; the band does such a good job of replicating the slow, slippery jams and vibrato guitar tones of tracks like "Cookin' Up Something Good" and "Viceroy" that you would never really know the difference. Luckily, the live band has its own feel (and reputation) at this point, and Demaraco's live act thrives all the better from its assured mix of loose spontaneity, tight showmanship, and jokes about cocaine.

By the time Demarco jumped into the crowd for a lengthy surf around the entirety of the Bottle's packed walls during a loose vamp in set closer "Still Together," the audience was as riled as it had been all night. It's probably a safe bet to assume Demarco will play to at least a crowd this size next time he's in town, as Wednesday night's crowd was only too eager to grab a piece of the guy while he was still willing and eager to pass them out.


Mike Bellis / Comments (0)

Music Business Wed Mar 12 2014

CHIRP Announces 12th Annual Record Fair (& Other Delights)

Local non-profit independent radio purveyors CHIRP have announced this year's CHIRP Record Fair & Other Delights, and the 12th since starting the event in 2003. Like last year, the fair will be held at the Chicago Journeymen Plumber's Union, 1340 W. Washington Blvd., and will feature music (on vinyl, of course), food and local performers. The fair runs Saturday, April 12 from 10am until 7pm, and will play host to over 50 vendors from throughout the Midwest, along with local labels like Hozac, Already Dead Tapes & Records, and Hausu Mountain (among many others) offering up thousands of rare and out-of-print records form their admittedly intimidating collections. Real aficionados, however, are encouraged to arrive early, before the vendors' racks are completely overrun by the dusty fingers of the city's more determined collectors, with CHIRP offering a special early bird rate that grants entry onto the grounds starting at 8am, all to the tune of $25.

Luckily, if getting up on an early Saturday morning to immerse yourself in literally hundreds of thousands of sought-after vinyl is your kind of bag, Dark Matter Coffee will be there hawking their premium roasts, along with vendors like Goose Island and Upton's slinging food and beverages throughout the day. Within the Other Delights portion of the fair are DJ sets by the likes of Windy City Soul Club, and there will even a music quiz by CHIRP DJ Austin Harvey, who will be sure to test your wits while you test your patience perusing the stacks.

General admission begins at 10am, and costs $7, or $5 with a flyer. Parking is free for all attending.

Mike Bellis / Comments (2)

Event Sat Mar 01 2014

Ravinia Announced Their Schedule This Week and It's Pretty Much What You Expected

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The perennial suburban summer music festival, Ravinia, announced their lineup earlier this week and they've booked a lot of things you've probably come to expect from them; healthy amounts of jazz, classical, classic rock, and adult contemporary. There are a few miscellaneous dance and theatre performances scattered in the meanwhile, but the 2014 season seems to really kick off on June 16th with John Legend and goes until mid September closing with Five For Fighting.

The rest of the festival lineup looks comfortingly familiar. Ramsey Lewis with his band of cool jazz troubadours make an appearance on June 24th. ZZ Top show up on August 28th for a night of rock along with Jeff Beck. Chicago blues legend Buddy Guy returns on August 19th. Leaders of modern classical, the highly celebrated Emerson String Quartet, stop by on July 7th for what will probably be an illuminating night. Carrie Underwood returns and brings her power-pop country stylings for two nights, September 6-7. And this is only a small segment of who will be playing throughout the summer. Check out the entire announced season here.

Tickets go on sale on April 24th and can be purchased here. Fancy cheese and wine not included, though.

Justin Freeman / Comments (0)

Event Wed Jan 15 2014

Preview: Rockin' Record Bazaar and Beer Blowout @ GMan Tavern 1/26

The Gingerman Tavern, a local favorite for those seeking asylum from the endless sea of sports bars in Wrigleyville at 3740 N. Clark, will play host to Uncle Jasper's Rockin' Record Bazaar and Beer Blowout on Sunday, January 26. The event brings together a wealth of some of the city's finest independent record labels to the GMan, including Hozac Records, Bloodshot Records, BLVD Records and more, to showcase their releases (on CD and vinyl) and generally mingle with Chicago's ravenous record-buying public. Uncle Jasper, local dog and unofficial "mascot" of the bar, will reportedly make an appearance as well. We can only assume he'll want to pick up the latest Pink Frost record from BLVD or a handful of local garage rock 7"s from Hozac's racks because, why wouldn't he?

Bazaar-goers are encouraged to arrive early to snag "rare and special surprises" from within the stacks, and are also invited to stay late and guzzle down the variety of beers the bar has on site. If there's a better way to spend your Sunday afternoon, we've yet to find it.

Uncle Jasper's Rockin' Record Bazaar and Beer Blowout begins at 4pm and continues to 10pm. Admission is free for all 21+.

Mike Bellis / Comments (0)

Event Thu Jan 09 2014

Swap It Saturday @ Schubas

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Did you get some new gear for Christmas? Did you not get the gear you asked Santa for? Are you just trying to get the clutter down to Hoarders level? Looking for someplace warm to drink on Saturday? If you answered Yes to any of these questions, or if you're just cool, head out to Schubas (3159 N. Southport) Saturday for the First Annual Gear Swap. Bring your used guitars, pedals, amps, drums, keyboard (no keyboard cats) and any other instruments you have lying around the house from 12 noon - 4pm.

Vendors will be buying and selling used and vintage gear all afternoon, plus there's a raffle where you can win all sorts of goodies, like items from Chicago Music Exchange and Third Coast Guitars, or studio time at Rax Trax and, naturally, five-day passes to the upcoming Tomorrow Never Knows Festival!

Best bonus? All proceeds benefit Rock For Kids, a local non-profit that provides music instruction to at-risk youth in Chicago.

Beer will be provided by Revolution Brewing, who'll offer up $3 Anti Hero, Bottom Up Wit and (the delectable) Eugene Porter for your drinking pleasure (21+, of course).

If you want to sell some gear as a vendor, email Gear@Schubas.com to reserve some free table space!

Vendors will include: reverb.com, Chicago Music Exchange, Rax Trax Recording, Music Garage Chicago, Vic's Drum Shop, Third Coast Guitar Service, and Avenue N Guitars.

The event is totally free! RSVP on Facebook if you like, and invite your friends.

Photo courtesy: pete-rg.com

Anne Holub / Comments (0)

Event Wed Jan 08 2014

Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da at the Chicago Public Library

Introducing The BeatlesChances are, you're going a bit stir crazy right now in this lovely and seemingly never-ending wintry weather spell we've got going here -- and it's only January. The best way to cure those pesky winter doldrums is to step out of your routine and do something different. Thankfully, the Chicago Public Library is bringing the phenomenon of Beatlemania to your own backyard, with Beatles Karaoke open to one and all. The event, taking place on Friday, Jan. 24 at 12:15pm, marks The Beatles' 50th anniversary of their first trip to the United States.

Whether you were a Revolver fan, shifted towards Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, or are partial to Rubber Soul, join with other Beatles fans for a night that will surely be remembered by all. Curated in tandem with the Library's Music Information Center: Celebrating 100 Years of Music for the City (1914-2014) program, channel the energy of the Fab Four as you belt out the final chords of "Hey Jude," yell out the raucous chorus of "Yellow Submarine," or get a little psychedelic with "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds." A group of four wearing matching black suits would likely even earn you bonus points during this celebration.

To promote diversity among songs chosen, as repeats are strongly discouraged, and there will be advance registration on the Chicago Public Library website. Lyrics will be provided for your selection chosen out of a 60-song repertoire, with backing music provided as well, to ease any Beatlemania-incuded stage fright. The Harold Washington Library is located at 400 S. State St., and the event will be held in the Cindy Pritzker Auditorium on the lower level. For more information, contact staff at 312-747-4850.

Sarah Brooks / Comments (0)

Preview Wed Sep 25 2013

Mucca Pazza Sits Again! (This Time in Evanston.)

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Chicago's resident punk marching band is becoming more comfortable sitting its collective butt down, but keeping still is out of the question. Known for wildly energetic performances at clubs and in the most unlikely of public spaces, the eclectic troupe (typically two-dozen strong) wrote a new show plainly titled Mucca Pazza Presents: Sitting In Chairs, which debuted in February and held a residency at Revolution Brewing on Milwaukee Avenue throughout April of this year.

Despite the seats, which they wriggled out of on occasion, the show was 100-percent Mucca Pazza, and now the band strikes sits again, this time in Evanston. SPACE, the renowned venue of the not-quite-suburb, hosts Sitting In Chairs tomorrow night at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 and $27 at evanstonspace.com.

Read our interview with bandleader Mark Messing and review of the Revolution residency here.

Timothy Schuler / Comments (0)

Preview Tue Sep 17 2013

Disappears Celebrate a New Era @ Empty Bottle

Disappears need little introduction for anyone with at least half a lobe tuned to Chicago's music scene of the past few years (to speak nothing of Sonic Youth-drummer fanboys), and on Friday night the band celebrates the release of its excellent, post-punk caterwaul of a fourth LP, Era, at the Empty Bottle. The record was released on August 26th via Kranky, so by now you should have had plenty of time to practice your sneers to match that of unimpeachable frontman Brian Case.

On the quartet's newest, the band further explores its tendencies toward dub, minimalism and motorik repetition, each track imbued with an unmistakeable early-Rough Trade gloom and doom. Where previously the band traded in a sound reminiscent of a more jagged Spacemen 3, we're picking up more of Liars and even Swans this time around. Early press releases for the record declare Era as "the sound of the void looking back," and who are we to disagree with that? (Though their recent dead-on cover of U2's "New Year's Day" for A.V. Club, embedded below, is admittedly another matter altogether...)


Disappears cover U2

Disappears appear at the Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, on Friday, September 20 at 9:30pm, 21+. Weekend and local janglers Outside World open. Tickets are $12 in advance.

Mike Bellis / Comments (0)

Event Fri Sep 06 2013

First Annual Cassette Store Day

cassettestoreday-page-300.jpg Following a handful of years of Record Store Day success, stores around the country are working to bring some notoriety to the humble cassette tape, with the first annual Cassette Store Day, tomorrow. Chicago's only participant, Bric-a-Brac Records & Collectibles (3156 W. Diversey Ave.), is hosting a full day's worth of events, including some in-store performances, merch sales, and of course, cassette tape love with special releases. According to Nick Mayor, the store's manager, they'll feature "vendors including Decibel Audio (for cassette equipment), Mac Blackout (custom painted boomboxes), Plus Tapes, Maximum Pelt, Already Dead Tapes, Notes and Bolts, Teen River, Nihilist Records, Manic Static, Eye Vybe Records, and Tripp Tapes." In-store performances from Todays Hits, Ant'lrd, the Sueves, Party Bat, Massive Ego, the Funs, and Cairo Gang start around noon.

And, um, don't forget your pencil.

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Anne Holub / Comments (1)

Event Mon Jun 17 2013

Early-Bird Spots Open for Free Chicago Music Summit Sessions

cmslogo356.jpgThe City of Chicago announced today that registration is open for the inaugural Chicago Music Summit this fall, on Friday, September 20, 2013. The Summit is planning panels, workshops, concerts, and networking opportunities, with the aim to "shine a spotlight on Chicago's innovative and thriving music scene and connect professionals with local and national industry leaders." Space is limited, but registration for the Summit is free and open as of today. While the panelists have yet to be announced, the City has promised the following topics to be discussed at the workshops and panels:

  • Industry Leaders
  • Success Stories
  • Innovations
  • Revenue Streams
  • Booking
  • Promotion
  • Technology
  • Audience Building
  • Distribution
  • Songwriting
  • Fundraising
  • Licensing
  • Business Plans
  • Legal Issues & Policy
  • Community

The Chicago Music Summit will take place at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St.

Anne Holub / Comments (0)

Event Fri May 24 2013

Cows and Beer: Dan Kubinski on the Return of Die Kreuzen

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When news spread last May that legendary Milwaukee hardcore group Die Kreuzen was reuniting to play a handful of shows, fans of challenging American punk were understandably ecstatic, though it hardly registered a blip in the mainstream music news cycle. The band has always been more at home in the periphery, though, confronting the limits and capabilities of hardcore on their own terms while waiting patiently for everyone else to catch up. Now, 30 years removed from their '80s heyday, and with a string of live dates this spring including a stop at the Double Door, the band has history on its side.

In the midst of the '80s underground rock nostalgia campaign kick-started by a handful of high-profile reunion tours and books like Michael Azerrad's Our Band Could Be Your Life and, more directly, Stephen Blush's seminal American Hardcore, the reunion of Die Kreuzen is perhaps inevitable, if not more of a gem. But what's more, their reunion finally gives recognition to a long and varied career spent in the trenches that influenced everyone from Steve Albini to Thurston Moore, who is quoted as saying "there was a point there when Die Kreuzen were the best band in the USA." But Dan Kubinski, the group's vocalist, is still surprised by some of the names his band inspired.

"When we quit playing music, there was nothing written saying 'we lost Die Kreuzen.' Things just moved on. So to be removed from that, 20-plus years later, to have people say that we were an influence on them, it's amazing. I'm flattered beyond belief."

Continue reading this entry »

Mike Bellis / Comments (0)

Event Tue May 07 2013

Tonight: Rock Is Dead — Just Ask Ian Svenonius

SupernaturalStrategiesCover.pngIan Svenonius, the man behind the fabled post-hardcore outfit Nation of Ulysses, current member of Chain and the Gang, and writer of Marxist-leaning gazettes will be appearing at Quimby's Bookstore, 1854 W. North Ave., to read from his newly minted treatise on the forming of rock bands, Supernatural Strategies for Making a Rock 'n' Roll Group. Svenonius's latest screed is a "bizarrely erudite" meditation on the hazards and resulting socioeconomic upheaval that occurs with the formation of rock groups (which are really just a natural progression from male street gangs of post-War Western society, he says.) Naturally, it's smart and meticulously crafted, but he gets some help: The book is framed by introductory interviews with dead rockers like Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix, who proffer valuable and surprisingly pedantic advice that Svenonius expounds upon in greater detail in chapters such as "Drugs" and "Sex," and passages that discuss the importance of the Zodiac in choosing band members. Svenonius is no stranger to the firmly tongue-in-cheek interview, and his discussions with rockers from the Great Beyond are essential reading for anyone daring to pursue rock 'n' roll in its current, post-capitalist stage. Part cautionary how-to guide and part philosophical meditation on the current state of rock, Strategies exhumes rock's past to consider its present and help guide its future toward, hopefully, a more astrologically synchronous state.

Ian Svenonius will be appearing at Quimby's Bookstore tonight at 7pm. Admission is free.

DON'T MISS: The official afterparty for tonight's event will be at The Owl, 2521 N. Milwaukee, where Svenonius and fellow rock icon Calvin Johnson will be DJing from 10pm to 4am, and where Svenonius will have a mixtape soundtrack for the book for sale in a numbered edition of 100 tapes with silkscreened covers.

Mike Bellis / Comments (0)

Event Wed Apr 24 2013

Record Store Day Recap 2013

In an effort to avoid the typical post-RSD malaise that befalls me every April, I decided to go into this Record Store Day with no expectations. After all, the best Christmases I ever had were the ones in which I didn't even make a Christmas list. Thought it seemed almost futile to browse casually on a day stocked with rewards for the earnest purchaser, RSDs of the past had left me too disappointed and frustrated to deal with the search for an exclusive, elusive split 7" all over again. In order to facilitate my carefree foray into Record Store Day I avoided Twitter and Tumblr and wandered clueless into Chicago's musical wilderness without a Record Store Day wish list.

I decided that treating this Record Store Day differently meant moseying around one shop instead of mad dashing to a slew of them, so I settled on Numero Group and headed over to Logan Square. This year they housed their pop-up shop at the Comfort Station. Conveniently located and easily navigated, the Comfort Station was far superior to last year's location: Empty Bottle. I'd like to think it was my new and improved philosophy about RSD that enabled such a happy and stress-free browsing experience but more likely it was my post-brunch buzz or just plain good luck. Regardless, this year there was no line for entry and no need to strategize beforehand about how to get to that crate way over there, the one with fifteen people hovering around it.

Everything about my experience at Numero was a win and I particularly enjoyed talking to the staff who were amiable, spirited and hopped up on IPAs, which only made them all the more eager to explain to you the power of their power pop collection. Though everything Numero releases always intrigues, I was actually relieved that contrary to years past, this year's RSD exclusives weren't really in my musical wheelhouse. It meant that I didn't have to shell out my limited allowance right away and could instead save it for something a little outside the typical RSD offerings. I decided to just let myself stumble upon something and in this case it ended up being the Numero staff mix tapes. These connoisseurs and connoisseuses of obscure sound had been playing their mix tapes over the speakers while I was browsing and I wanted to hear each sophisticated earworm over and over again.

Fearful that the tapes would sell out in front of my very eyes, I headed towards the makeshift check out to try and get my hands on whatever was playing. "Just give me that," I said to the staffer, signaling towards the speakers. He began to shuffle through the remnants of the tapes pile and managed to find it. It was Haley's mix and there was only one left. One left! I was finally the person right before they sold out instead of right after. Happy day, my new "no-strategy-strategy" had paid off. I bought a few extra tapes for good measure and left the Comfort Station resolved to treat each future Record Store Day with similar ease.

Abigail Covington / Comments (0)

Event Tue Apr 16 2013

Yours To Keep: Dispatches from The CHIRP Record Fair

Walking into the bright-lit auditorium of The Chicago Journeymen Plumber's Union, its stage playing host to a series of DJs spinning rare vinyl, its walls adorned with all manner of music ephemera long past their sell-by date, and its floors teeming with record collectors eager to share their collections with any and all passersby, was admittedly a bit overwhelming. The scent of dust that hung in the air was unavoidable, the result of the hundreds of cardboard boxes lining each vendor's table and, of course, the hundreds of pieces of vinyl that lay within each box. The effect was dizzying. When a friend asked me how many individual pieces of vinyl might be housed in this one room at any given point, I said that there had to be hundreds of thousands, if not more, on the right side of the room alone. This fact, combined with the constant, colorful barrage of organizers, small labels, "Flip Your Wig" Beatles board games, Dead-head vendors and greenhorn collectors, had me quickly ditching my punch list of desired titles, and what awaited me instead last Saturday afternoon at the Eleventh Annual CHIRP Record Fair was a lot more than the search for a few stray John Cale records.

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The morning began at 10am (and even earlier for the dedicated, pre-admitted few) and lasted until just after 7pm, with hundreds of people filing in and out of the auditorium to get their vinyl fix. Local roasters Dark Matter and brewers Goose Island were on hand to keep people buzzed in one way or another, with food from local restaurants Irazu and Handlebar keeping people fueled if fatigue ever set in. The assembled dozens of vinyl vendors ranged from the casual two-man label to major collections from shuttered record-store owners, and even a handful of scrappy independent enthusiasts (one of whom found me an old copy of Europe '72, and another I spotted hawking beer as a vendor at the Cubs game the next day). Everyone was eager to help find whatever was being sought by whoever was seeking it out an all seemed to know their massive collections like the back of their hand.

Continue reading this entry »

Mike Bellis / Comments (1)

Concert Fri Feb 01 2013

Preview: Kim Gordon and Peter Hook @ MCA

The Museum of Contemporary Art, in a move to continue its hot streak of cold-month showcases in recent years, will be featuring Peter Hook (Joy Division, New Order) and Kim Gordon (Sonic Youth) in upcoming events on the museum's Streeterville premises. Mr. Hook will be appearing on Tuesday, February 5 via special invitation courtesy of the MCA, while Ms. Gordon will be appearing on Tuesday, March 26 as part of the famed, worth-its-weight-in-weirdness series known around these parts as Face The Strange.

Mr. Hook will be appearing to discuss his new career retrospective, Unknown Pleasures: Inside Joy Division, which is described as offering "fascinating insight into the larger-than-life characters that formed a vital part of the Joy Division legend." Lots to chew on there, folks! He'll be appearing with Metro Chicago main-man Joe Shanahan, who will lead the conversation and hopefully provide fond anecdotes of New Order's first Chicago appearance at the Metro thirty years ago. Memories, make no mistake, will be the focus here — and lots of 'em!

Ms. Gordon will be appearing with Chicago psych-droners White/Light, whose members Matthew Hale Clark and Jeremy Lemos help coordinate the MCA's series (and who can also, most importantly, call up Ms. Gordon to sit in for one of their sets.) For those counting, this will be the second appearance by a member of (the late?) Sonic Youth for Face the Strange; drummer Steve Shelley appeared with kraut/drone locals Disappears and White/Light when he was still a member of the former in March 2011. White/Light, it should perhaps also be noted, is a current member of the Smells Like Records roster run by Shelley. So, really, it's all in the family.

Tickets for Mr. Hook's event are $10 at the MCA box office to reserve a seat, and the price of admission will be deducted from any audience purchases of Unknown Pleasures, which Mr. Hook will sign following his talk. Tickets for Ms. Gordon's Face the Strange showcase with White/Light are free for Ilinois residents or with suggested museum donation for all others. Capacity is very limited for both events, but you probably already knew that.

Mike Bellis / Comments (0)

Event Fri Jan 11 2013

"Dolphin" Reinvented, to Opens its Doors 1/18

Green Dolphin Street, located at 2200 N. Ashland Ave., first opened its doors back in 1992. Stemming from the song title-inspired name was the jazzy climate of the music venue, often raucous and lively. Hip hop shows were booked here during the weekends, while Monday promised the "Boom Boom Room" dance music extravaganza that attendees cherished. However, in 2010, the establishment suddenly shut its doors, rebooking artists, leaving frequent attendees befuddled and curious as to the reason for its hasty change. Spaces filled with dancing bodies and loud music became hallowed and weathered over time, with no real future date set for the club's shakily billed reopening.

However, on January 18, newly dubbed "Dolphin" will open its doors, in the same spot that its predecessor once stood. Reimagined, the club will bring to life the elements of Green Dolphin Street that attendees cherished, while infusing fresh aspects into the club's identity. Redesigned, the club now features numerous distinct spaces, including the Ballroom, which features numerous VIP tables and the main dance floor, The Garden Lounge, which paves the way to a outdoor area perfect for Chicago's spring and summer months, and The White Lounge, which acts as a secondary dance space of the nightclub.

Continue reading this entry »

Sarah Brooks / Comments (2)

Concert Thu Jan 03 2013

"Nice Fence Posts, Schubert!" ICE, bowling, and octets this Sunday

This Sunday, catch the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) in two different locations in Chicago, first as a listener, then as a competitor.

At 3 p.m., the Chicago Cultural Center (78 E. Washington St., Preston Bradley Hall) welcomes ICE for Shadowgraph: Octets by Franz Schubert and George Lewis. Using the wide-open theme of "music for octet," ICE contrast Schubert lyrical yet complex piece from 1824 with two compositions by AACM member George Lewis, whose works ICE performed at the MCA in February of last year. Shadowgraph (1977) and a reprise of Artificial Life 2007 (2007) will bookend the Schubert piece, giving listeners a look at the many ways that groups of eight can be ordered and utilized. The performance is free, seating is first come, first served.

If you're feeling making a day of it, head over to the Fireside Bowl (2648 W. Fullerton) at 7 p.m. for ICE's 10th Birthday Bash. The $10 admission fee gets you unlimited bowling and shoe rental, with live music by DJs Searchlight and Good Evening. There's also talk of rouge ICE performances throughout the night. Go frame for frame against an honest-to-Debussy MacArthur Grant winner in the true sport of kings!

Chris Sienko / Comments (0)

Event Tue Dec 18 2012

Review: Outer Minds, Bare Mutants, Radar Eyes and Blizzard Babies @ Empty Bottle

For what promised to be one of the better local outings for Chicago independent rock this year, garage-rock upstarts Outer Minds more than made good on the heaps of positive attention surrounding their pair of 2012 releases at Saturday night's stacked quadruple-bill at the Empty Bottle. Enlisting local peers Bare Mutants and Radar Eyes as openers, each of whom have been making noise of their own as of late, Saturday marked a celebration of the physical release of Outer Minds' latest LP, Behind The Mirror.

Blizzard Babies, a ukulele-toting punk outfit, set the night off at 10pm, blasting through a tightly coiled set of tunes indebted to "New York in the sixties, England in the seventies, New Zealand in the eighties, the Northwest in the nineties" according to the Babies themselves. Taking liberally from the punk/surf/garage feel of everyone from X to The Cramps to Vivian Girls, the group served as the perfect opener for a night of drunken stage banter, affectionately sloppy introductions and killer hooks.

Radar Eyes were next, affixing their Clean-indebted rock to the rafters and effectively raising the volume knob for the remainder of the night. Hitting a sweet spot between the Kilgour brothers' legendary washed-out jangle and the fangs-out power-punk of Jay Reatard, Radar Eyes had the place totally packed by 11pm. Standing (or gently moshing) shoulder to shoulder, the crowd was never too rowdy, as many were undoubtedly transfixed by the psyched-out barrage of sound coming from the stage. With earplugs readily available behind the bar, the Eyes' set gave more than a few reasons to snag a pair (this writer included.)

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Mike Bellis / Comments (0)

Event Wed Dec 05 2012

A Wednesday for Giving and Giveaways

So, it's official. Winter is here, and seemingly for good, concluding that strange few days where I saw numerous individuals walking around in shorts and flip flops, in December. To boost your spirits as the official winter doldrums roll in, I've highlighted a few events to partake in where you can contribute to your sense of holiday cheer.

If you purchase anything on Bloodshot Records' website today, Chicago's respected label for alt-country musical stylings, you are entered to win the last of the Waco Brothers designed flasks in stock, and a limited edition copy of their record, New Deal. All you need to do is purchase items from the Bloodshot Records holiday sale and write "Waco Bros" under the comment section as you complete your purchase. Simple as that!

Schubas is giving away a pair of tickets for the Other Lives and Indians show on Friday evening. Comment on the relevant status on their Facebook page and you could gain the chance to see this indie folk group play some of their hauntingly melodic tunes, with Indians as the opening act.

Continue reading this entry »

Sarah Brooks / Comments (0)

Review Mon Nov 26 2012

Review: Adventures in Punk Patriotism with Titus Andronicus @ Metro

What does American patriotism look like in 2012? It depends who you ask, but I'm pretty sure Patrick Stickles, frontman of New Jersey punks Titus Andronicus, has a few ideas.

Since their start in 2005, Titus Andronicus have tapped into a new way of channeling the American spirit via the true-believer punk of Fugazi and a little Springsteen guitar glory. Where the bands last release, 2010's excellent The Monitor, was a collection of Civil War-inspired epics that transformed the Emancipation Proclamation into a pogo-ready soundtrack, the band has since turned hyper-local — perhaps more than a little inspired by the Occupy protests of late — for this year's Local Business. A lot's happened in the past two years, and while the ghost of Lincoln is certainly still in the air — and if Sunday night's show at the Metro is any indication — Stickles seems to have moved on to Reconstruction.

With locals Coffin Pricks and Ceremony getting the night off to an excellent and fuzzed-out start, Stickles and co. hit the stage at 10pm sharp to chants of "USA! USA!" from the packed audience apparently ready to indulge the band's punk populism. Stickles was clean-shaven (having ditched his Lincoln-esque beard for a more business-forward look for the new election/record cycle), rallying the band's three-guitar attack with a "Ready, fellas?" before flying into Local Business standout "In A Big City." The newer, more condensed tracks from Business sounded just as punchy if not quite as epic as the band's earlier work, and mark a shift in Stickles songwriting style toward a more classic rock feel that puts the band closer to Cheap Trick or even The Knack, albeit with the band's trademark fury intact.

Continue reading this entry »

Mike Bellis / Comments (0)

Event Thu Nov 01 2012

Exhuming the Dead with Father John Misty @ Lincoln Hall, 10/30

Halloween, among other things, is one of the only times in the year where taking on a new persona is accepted without question. Artifice and affect are celebrated, and even expected. So it was especially appropriate that ex-Fleet Foxes drummer and journeyman songwriter Josh Tillman's latest hat, Father John Misty, rolled through Chicago Tuesday at Lincoln Hall, in the middle of the city's Halloween frenzy. Luckily, costume or not, Tillman wears his new role well.

Openers Jeffertitti's Nile were the most seasonally appropriate act of the night, with their psychedelic trash-rock offering the perfect soundtrack for the "eve of Satan's reign," as Tillman later pointed out. The more low-profile but no less excellent outfit was led by Tillman's bassist Jeffertitti and actually included Tillman on drums (introduced by Jeffertitti as "L. Ron Hubbard.") Jeffertitti even had a funny rant imploring to the crowd to "maybe not use so much plastic and weird stuff like that" (a comment on Hurricane Sandy?), all the while looking like a hybrid of Ariel Pink and a young Dave Pirner with his long, stringy hair and sparkling blazer.

Next was La Sera, the latest project from Vivian Girls' "Kickball" Katy Goodman, mixing in plenty of surf-inspired tracks alongside her more straight-ahead garage-pop ballads. Goodman, who is something like the Drew Barrymore of indie rock, was all smiles throughout her set, gently swaying along as her voiced cooed along to tracks from her newest LP, Sees the Light, like "Break My Heart." There were even some revealing moments of insight: When asked by a random member of the crowd why she goes by "Kickball" Katy, she paused, went into another song, then responded matter-of-factly that she used to play kickball in college. And now we know!

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Mike Bellis / Comments (0)

Review Mon Oct 29 2012

Getting Down at the Numero Group's Eccentric Soul Omnibus Release Show @ The Hideout

Not that anyone needed another excuse to hit the town in costume last Saturday night, but the Numero Group's Eccentric Soul Omnibus release party at The Hideout certainly made a case for dancing around to old soul in full hallows garb as one of the best options you're likely to find. From midnight until just short of 3am, Numero staff spun records from their latest compilation of long-lost soul 45s, the Eccentric Soul Omnibus. Billed as "the mother of all rare 45 compilations," the box sets each come with a unique selection of 45 individual 45s from within the Numero archives, all neatly wrapped in a deluxe box with metal fasteners and a vinyl-wrapped exterior. Whether it was worth its $200 asking price is up to the soul collector die-hards — as for me, I was happy enough just kicking my two left feet around to unknown gems like The Intentions and The Procedures underneath the Hideout's string-lit rafters.

Along with the always helpful Hideout staff, label employees were on hand throughout the night to offer helpful information about the box set, offer tidbits about what we were hearing, and provide slow-dancing tips where necessary. Seeing as the event doubled as much as a standard Saturday night dance party as a proper release show, really it was an opportunity to get down in full costume to the Numero staff's carefully curated picks. And oh, did they get down — I never thought I'd see Pippi Longstocking and a replacement referee dance like that before, let alone together. But 'tis the season for soul, I guess, at least around these parts.

The event also served as a warm-up for the label's upcoming trip out to the East Coast for round two of the Eccentric Soul Omnibus release party in Williamsburg on November 1st, hurricanes be damned. Costumes optional.

Mike Bellis / Comments (0)

Event Thu Oct 18 2012

A Day at the Record Stores with CHIRP

Chicago online radio station CHIRP is focused on the power that independent music has to transform our lives. CHIRP fills the airwaves with music selections crafted by local DJs and advocates for an emphasis on more underground music, highly local-focused, and frequently undiscovered. Discovering new music can occur through the airwaves or in the record store; If you're an avid record collector, there's no better feeling than locating that one record you've been searching for, and the first time you place the needle on the edge of the album, hearing that crisp sound emanate from the speakers.

So what happens when you merge the sponsorship of Chicago online radio darling CHIRP with the pursuit of discovering your favorite new records, and locating old favorites? At what event can you spend hours sifting through records at a discounted fee, like a thrifty treasure hunt dotted across our city? That would be the 2nd Annual CHIRP Record Crawl, happening this Saturday -- a magical day devoted to scouring boundless record shelves, searching for that prized album to complement your collection at six notable Chicago record stores.

Continue reading this entry »

Sarah Brooks / Comments (0)

Event Wed Oct 03 2012

A Day of Crate Diving at the Pig, Swig and Record Dig @ Schubas Tavern 9/29

It's hard enough finding an excuse not to swing by Schubas when you're in Lakeview and damn near impossible to resist making a stop when they combine a poster sale, record fair and backyard pig roast all in one afternoon get-together. Lucky, then, that when I showed up to the corner of Southport and Belmont on Saturday afternoon I was just as hungry to get my hands on some rare 45s as I was some pulled pork. And turns out I wasn't alone: From the beginning of the event at 11am to well after 2pm, Schubas catered to a growing but casual crowd eager to peruse through crates of records, dig some tunes, and sample some pig. If you roast it, they will eat — plus records, or something.

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Photos by Mike Bellis

Most of the day's festivities took place outdoors in the venue's converted back lot, where local record store fixtures like Reckless, Dusty Groove and Permanent Records set up impromptu booths of carefully picked-out collections from their respective stacks next to labels like the garage punkers Hozac and Numero Group, the home for soul-grooves-that time-forgot. (The latter offered my favorite piece of ephemera of the day in their deck of "No Hitter" trading cards, modeled after old-fashioned baseball cards and showcasing — while also glorifying — their catalogue of local no-hit wonders found over the years.) Tables and chairs were setup throughout to accommodate the lunch crowd, correctly anticipating an overflow from the bar inside.

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Mike Bellis / Comments (0)

Preview Thu Sep 13 2012

The Perfect Place to Hideout This Weekend

Well folks, the time has come again. The 16th annual Hideout Block Party/A.V. Club Festival is upon us, and this year we are presented with some fantastic acts that are going to bring high-caliber indie rock music to (just outside) one of Chicago's most unique music venues. We here at Gapers Block have decided that there are several new acts that you should be sure to catch, and familiar acts that you should consider catching up with.

Continue reading this entry »

Sarah Brooks / Comments (1)

Event Wed Aug 29 2012

Dwyane Wade Proves Chicago Has Talent

For Chicago native and NBA superstar Dwyane Wade, all kids deserve a "shot" -- a chance to show their artistry -- and through the Wade's World Foundation's D. Wade's Chicago Has Talent, his annual youth showcase, they showed it in a huge way. "This is our fifth year with Chicago Has Talent and every year the talent gets better and better," said Wade.

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Front: Dwyane Wade; back row, l to r: David Silbaugh (judge), Lil Rel (host), Tika Sumpter (host) & Billy Dec (judge).

For hundreds of kids, the showcase, held last weekend at the Chicago Theater as part of "Wade's World Weekend," was a welcome escape from the day-to-day ills that lately have plagued the city's youth. "Chicago Has Talent is a no-brainer for us to do; it's our way of answering the violence," said Tragil Wade, the foundation's executive director. "What we decided to do is to create a platform for all our creative babies out there."

Continue reading this entry »

LaShawn Williams / Comments (2)

Event Tue Jul 24 2012

Preview: Scotland Yard Gospel Choir @ Empty Bottle 7/26

Scotland Yard Gospel Choir (LIVE) - "And the horse you rode in on" from Bloodshot Records on Vimeo.

In an event so diverse I don't know whether to post it in Transmission, A/C, or Book Club, SYGC performs Thursday at the Empty Bottle (1035 N. Western Ave.) along with Cloudbirds, and Angelina Lucero.

Their performances are part of Curbside Splendor Publishing's event "Words & Music," with readings by authors Joe Meno (writer of Hairstyles of the Damned, and Office Girl,) Patrick Somerville (The Cradle, The Bright River,) and Jac Jemc (My Only Wife.)

This event is free with RSVP on Facebook and will have a raffle to benefit Chicago Writers House. Music, writing, and philanthropy all in one event!

J.H. Palmer / Comments (1)

Blog Fri Jun 15 2012

Friday Quick Links

With the return of the hot (and packed) days of summer, I thought it's only fitting that we jump back into this weekly post, and try to spread the word about all of the amazing music in Chicago you might otherwise miss. Feel free to make sure we're in the know, by Tweeting at us, or emailing anne@gapersblock.com with tips.

  • Thoughtful piece on Dale Watson, and his place among the country music canon. He plays Martyr's tonight (Friday) by The Reader.
  • The Grant Park Chorus and Orchestra celebrates Chicago history with the composition "An Exhaltation of Place." Catch it performed live (for free) in Millennium Park Friday or Saturday night this weekend.
  • Numero Group is adding another format to a recent album "spruce-up" with a release...on cassette. Fire up your boombox for Antena's Camino Del Sol.
  • Another past music venue, Lounge Ax, is putting on a cool retrospective at saki, along with some parties at the store (with live music, of course) August 10 and 11.
  • Interview with Chicago's "heavy instrumental" musician, Trevor de Brauw, of Pelican who plays Lincoln Hall on Friday, June 29. Tickets.
  • David Byrne and St. Vincent are keeping it freaky with a new collaboration. They'll play the Chicago Theatre on September 18.

Anne Holub / Comments (0)

Event Wed May 23 2012

'Uke 'Uke 'Uke, All Weekend Long

The Old Town School of Folk Music is filling Memorial Day weekend with their Festival of Aloha. There are music, hula, and Hawaiian culture workshops all weekend long, but that's not all. Concerts start Thursday night with an opening ceremony and traditional `oli (chanting) and hula (dance). Come Friday night for the school's Global Dance Party at 8:30pm featuring Daniel Ho and Kumu Hula Puanani Edgar, or Saturday for a show featuring Daniel Ho at 8pm and Sunday night for a show featuring Ho and Darlene Ahuna at 7pm.

Below is video of Daniel Ho performing in 2010 in Australia.

But that's still not all! In addition to the line-up of stellar Hawaiian music concerts and workshops, there's also a chance to be a part of a Guinness World Record history. There will be an attempt to break the record for the largest number of 'ukulele players in one place and establish the record for the only group assembled to play a traditional Hawaiian song. If you're interested in participating, come to the gazebo in Welles Park in Lincoln Square at 2:30pm on Saturday, May 26th for a free lesson and then stick around and strum the song "E Huli" along with (hopefully) a few thousand new friends. This is a BYO'U (Bring Your Own 'Uke) event. Not surprisingly, 'ukuleles and Hawaiian lap guitars are on sale at the store at the Old Town School. In fact, Mahalo painted ukuleles are only $25. That's a cheap price on a fun weekend.

Anne Holub / Comments (1)

Preview Tue Mar 27 2012

The Treasure Fleet @ Township, 4/4

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Photo by Katie Hovland


Head over to Township - 2200 n. California Ave - next Wednesday, April 4th for The Treasure Fleet, Shy Mirrors and Ratasucia.

The Treasure Fleet are a 60's influenced psych-rock band from Chicago featuring members of The Arrivals, The Smoking Popes, Sass Dragons and The Lawrence Arms. The band will be at Township this Friday for a special listening party of their new record titled Cocamotion due out in May on Recess Records. You can check out the bands first-ever interview on Jaded in Chicago.

Shy Mirrors of Stockhom, Sweden features Mike Downy of Chicago's New Constitution. This is their first US tour as a band.

Ratasucia is Dan Hanaway, (The Honor System/The Broadways/Slapstick) Chris Carr, (The Honor System) and Tim Scare. You can order their record "White Noise Pollution" from Asian Man Records.

Listening party for Cocomotion is this Friday, March 30th, goes from 5-8pm, is All Ages and is free. Be there for you chance to win tickets to the show!

Show is Wednesday, April 4th, starts at 9pm, is 21+ and is $8.
You can buy tickets and get more info of this show here.

Katie Hovland / Comments (0)

Event Thu Mar 15 2012

CHIRP Record Fair Returns This April

There's nothing quite like the fresh scent of vinyl in the morning. Or the adrenaline rush of finding that missing piece from the puzzle that is your record collection. Is your mouth frothing at the thought of that type of sensory overload? It's people like you that keep the annual CHIRP Record Fair coming back year after year.

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Photo credit: Flickr.com/mediafreek

This year the fair can be found at The Chicago Journeymen Plumbers Union (1340 West Washington Boulevard) on April 14 and 15. The fair runs each day from 10am-5pm.

Now in its tenth year, the only record fair in Chicago proper will boast more than 80 sellers tables. While the record selection is the real highlight of this two-day collector's paradise, expect to find CDs, posters, 'zines and whatever else gets the music lover in you going.

Continue reading this entry »

Katie Karpowicz / Comments (0)

Concert Tue Feb 14 2012

Lotus, Conspirator, and Emancipator @ the Congress Theater, Friday 2/17

To someone like me, whose taste in electronic music developed at a time when wafting ambient acts like The Orb drew a lot of water, and even the "heavy" dance stuff wasn't much more than speedy disco with more low-end bump, a fair share of the modern electronic music being produced sounds something like R2D2 being shoved down a metal staircase. I'm solidly on board, however, with the lineup at the Congress Theater this Friday, which brings together Lotus, Conspirator, and Emancipator, three acts which manage to carve their own space in the spectrum of electronic sounds, while keeping a firm grip on the fundamentals.

Lotus is a band with its feet firmly in two different worlds. On one hand, they are a traditional rock group, with traditional instrumentation, and have long been stalwarts of the jam band and festival scene, appealing to the patchouli-scented masses with comparatively long-form songs and an obvious virtuosity. At the same time, the band has from its late-90s inception been at the vanguard of incorporating available electronic gadgets and gizmos to shape their sound into something like a live techno production, there on the stage, sans-studio. While their latest album, self-titled Lotus, gives a good taste of what the band is all about, they truly shine in a live setting, where their improvisational genius can come through.

Continue reading this entry »

Dan Snedigar / Comments (0)

Artist Mon Feb 06 2012

Tour Diary: Canasta in Mongolia - Day 1

As we'd hoped, the band members of Canasta have made it safely to Mongolia for their whirlwind tour [see previous], and they even found a brief pocket of internet connectivity in order to send in this quick update, and a photo.

The following comes from guitarist, Jeremy Beckford:

"I dont think any of us were quite sure of what to expect before arriving in Mongolia, other than ball shrinking subzero temperatures. Arriving at midnight after a 17 hour trek across the north pole and through China didn't exactly prepare us either, but the warm greetings of U.S. embassy staff definitely helped with the -38 air temp outside. The first thing that surprised me was the number of expatriates here, catered to by businesses striving to provide American culture all over Ulaan Bataar, the capital city. Our first orders as Team Canasta were to report to the nation's only school for the blind for a performance and Q&A. It quickly became clear the people of Mongolia have a love of music that knows no boundaries. Clapping along has become passé in Chicago indie rock circles, but these guys are full blown 7-100 members of canasta. Their focus and appreciation of created the warmest environment for a concert I've ever experienced. The highlight was 1 boy who asked to sing a song with us and came up to shyly stand in front of his peers and hold the mic for a couple of minutes. The crowd cheered him until be belted out the most heartfelt rendition of his school song, later joined by the rest of the student body. Pretty much the most touching moment on stage I've experienced.
To be continued....."

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Read Day 2! -->

Anne Holub / Comments (1)

Event Wed Dec 07 2011

Mouth Taped Shut Comes to the Congress Theater

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If you're a fan of the Girl With The Dragon Tattoo series, you've probably been following along with the Mouth Taped Shut marketing gimmick/interactive fan experience for the past few weeks, culminating in a handful of free concerts around the world to celebrate the release of the new film. This Friday night, Mouth Taped Shut comes to the Congress Theater for a free, 18+ show. Our Chicago line-up includes Sebastian Ingrosso, James Murphy, Proxy and Eye, but if you want tickets, you'll have to act fast. An RSVP will guarantee you a ticket, providing you can pick it up from the Congress Theater box office tomorrow (Thursday) between noon and 8 pm. Tickets are on a first come, first served basis.

Stephanie Griffin / Comments (0)

Event Tue Dec 06 2011

Free Booze and Free Music Courtesy of Reyka Vodka tonight

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What better way is there to get into the holiday partying spirit than by staying up late on a Tuesday, drinking a hosted bar in a bank vault, and listening to Icelandic rock. It sure will make your weeknight a bit brighter, as Reyka Vodka rolls into town to buy our fair city a few drinks.

They'll have two hosted bars, the first at Anthem from 7-9pm at 1725 W. Division St. But my pick to hit up is the later hosted bar at The Bedford from 10-12, where there will be a performance from the band Jeff Who?. The band has opened for Franz Ferdinand in the past and have played Iceland Airwaves Festival, so expect a good dose of pop friendly indie rock. Enjoy the show while sipping complimentary drinks, and there will be a raffle to win a trip for two to Iceland. Not a bad deal at all for a Tuesday night.

Reyka Vodka presents Jeff Who? at The Bedford tonight from 10-12. RSVP here, and here for the earlier hosted bar at Anthem.

Lisa White / Comments (0)

Event Wed Nov 30 2011

Born in 1989? See Matt & Kim For Free!


Budweiser's 22nd Birthday Bash is rolling through Chicago tomorrow night, so if you are 22 or turning 22, prepare for your biggest birthday party ever. The party will feature photobooths, games, prizes, free food and beer, but most importantly, dance punk duo Matt and Kim will perform. The catch is you have to be 22 years old, or turning 22, to RSVP. There's still hope for us old folks, though: RSVP'd guests may bring in friends of any age over 21. Register here and head on over to the Congress Theater tomorrow (Thursday, December 1st). Doors open at 9 pm.

Stephanie Griffin / Comments (0)

Event Thu Nov 10 2011

See The Drums, Look At Phones, Drink For Free

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Microsoft is celebrating the release of the Windows 7.5 phones this weekend in Chicago by loading our city with free food, free booze, and free rock 'n 'roll. This Friday and Saturday night, Windows is taking over a "secret location" to showcase the Samsung Focus S, Samsung Focus Flash, HTC Titan and HTC Radar phones. As the effects of S.A.D. start to seep in, the summertime sounds of indie pop band The Drums might do our poor souls some good in this miserable weather. The band will be performing at the parties, which will also feature life-sized X-Box games. Did I mention the free booze?

Lucky you (and your friend) we've got two pairs of VIP tickets to these events to give away (one for Friday and one for Saturday night). VIPs get guaranteed free entry, access to a special VIP area, as well as free food and drinks. To win them you must A) be 21+, and B) email us at contests@gapersblock.com with the subject: DRUMS! and you must indicate which night you prefer (can be either) in your email. We'll select two winners at random at noon on Friday, 11/11. [Update: We have our winners! Congrats to Wes and Joey!]

Tickets can be reserved through Microsoft's Facebook page, but you'll have to hurry as tickets are limited. The parties go on from 7pm to 9pm Friday and Saturday night at a location you'll learn about in the RSVP. Note: your RSVP does not guarantee entry, so get there early!

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Stephanie Griffin / Comments (0)

Concert Tue Nov 01 2011

Roger Waters Brings The Wall to Wrigley's Ivy, June 2012

After rumors surfaced a few days ago, it became official this morning when LiveNation announced Roger Waters of Pink Floyd would be bringing The Wall tour to Wrigley Field on June 8, 2012.

Waters had recently mentioned to Rolling Stone magazine that he was working on an outdoor version of The Wall to tour in 2012 and had even conducted several light tests in ballparks around the country, including Wrigley Field.


Tickets will eventually be available online. Prices for tickets at similar venues on this tour range from $55-$200 plus fees.

Breeann Tuch / Comments (0)

Event Fri Oct 28 2011

Be In The Next Cool Kids Video

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Chicago hip hop duo The Cool Kids are filming a new music video and they need your help! If you've got style and a free evening, head on over to the Bridgeport Art Center, 1200 W. 35th St., on Thursday, Nov. 10 as the group performs songs from their new album, When Fish Ride Bicycles, and shoot the video for their latest single, "Rush Hour Traffic." Free food and Mountain Dew Code Red (which apparently still exists) will be provided. RSVP here and plan to get there early as space is limited. Sorry kids, this event is 18+.

Stephanie Griffin / Comments (0)

Event Tue Oct 11 2011

Crate Diggin' with Numero Group

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I get you. You've been hankering for something new, but you don't even know where to start. Try taking a lookiloo at this weekend's yard sale hosted by local archivist record company Numero Group. Numero deals with deep funk, way-out disco, '60s soul, pop, folk, gospel, jazz, and plenty of WTF. So you're not going to find Bieber and Big Boi here -- but you are going to find plenty of used records, books, posters, and other items for sale. Other labels will also be representing, including Plustapes and Addenda Records. The sale goes down Saturday, Oct. 15, at the Numero Group HQ (2348 S. Marshall Blvd.) from 9am to 3pm.

Kara Luger / Comments (0)

Event Fri Sep 23 2011

STRFKR Score Local Film, Play Lincoln Hall

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Portland electronic act Starfucker (STRFKR) are stopping through town next week in support of their second album Reptilians. The band has gone through a few name and line-up changes since their 2008 self-titled album, and their sound has undergone some transformations as well. After the death of songwriter John Hodges' grandmother, they've been exploring dark and morbid themes in their songs, but ironically have remained as catchy and poppy as ever.

STRFKR will be scoring the soundtrack to feature film In Bloom, written and directed by Chicagoan Chris Birkmeier. The movie, which follows a couple falling out of love, has just wrapped up filming and is about to move into post-production, but they need a little cash to help with production costs. Tonight at minibar, the film's producers are hosting a fundraising event featuring music from local DJ Beakr and specialty cocktails. 20% of the night's sales will be donated to fund the post-production of In Bloom. For more details, check out the Facebook event page.

STRFKR play an all ages show Lincoln Hall Tuesday, September 27th at 7 p.m. (show moved from Monday, September 26th). Tickets are $15 and can be purchased here. Beat Connection and Alexico open.

Stephanie Griffin / Comments (0)

Event Tue Aug 30 2011

D. Wade's Chicago Has Talent

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Dwyane Wade knows talent — and he wants everyone to know that his hometown, Chicago, has plenty of it. This past weekend at the Chicago Theater, the NBA superstar held "D. Wade's Chicago Has Talent," a youth-inspired showcase held in conjunction with his fourth annual Wade's World Weekend.

Hosted by Chicago comedian Lil Rel and television personality Rocsi ("106 and Park"), with celebrity judges including "Windy City Live's" Ryan Chiaverini, Chicago's own funnyman Damon Williams and singer/actress Drew Sidora, the event featured a twelve-contestant competition with acts from the world of music, dance and spoken word.

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LaShawn Williams / Comments (0)

Event Fri Jul 29 2011

The Ladies Rock Experience

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The author's fingers, after a day of playing bass.

I am the perfect candidate for Ladies Rock Camp. I've always wanted to be in a rock and roll band, but never had the balls to do it. I regularly update my facebook status with names of fictional rock bands, sometimes going so far as to list the name of their breakout single. A sampling includes:

• Caffeinated Eyedrops; breakout single: Friday Can't Come Soon Enough
• Canadian Viagra Apology; breakout single: Sorry, Eh?
• Strength in Numbers; breakout single: There Are More Of Us Than There Are Of You
• Kiss Me Back; breakout single: Paul Stanley Was Made For Loving Me
• Ctrl, Alt, Delete; breakout single: When Life Opens a Window You Cannot Close
• Paid in Canadian Dollars; breakout single: The Ratio Is Practically One to One, and
• Perceived Facebook Slight; breakout single: Unanswered Friend Request

I'd seen an end-of-camp Girls Rock! Chicago showcase at the Metro, and was impressed. Seeing a bunch of girls aged 8-16 get onstage and strut their stuff was inspiring. When I was a girl, I wasn't encouraged to be loud, and it seemed like boys got to have most of the fun; they got to be class clowns, they didn't have to worry about getting their clothes dirty, and they got to play in garage bands. Things may have changed a little bit since I was a girl, but inspiring self-confidence and creative self-expression in girls is always a good idea.

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J.H. Palmer / Comments (0)

Review Thu May 19 2011

Review: Blue Ribbon Glee Club and Mortified @ Fizz

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The BRGC rocks the house at Fizz as part of Mortified Turns Bright Pink, a fundraiser for the women's health organization Bright Pink.

The Blue Ribbon Glee Club, an a capella group that performs covers of classic punk rock songs, opened Tuesday's Mortified show at Fizz with what I eventually realized was "Where Eagles Dare" by The Misfits. It took me a verse or two to figure it out, but when I heard the lyrics "I ain't no goddamn son of a bitch, you better think about it baby," being sung in sweet, four part harmony, I knew my instincts were right.

The Mortified reading series, in which willing participants read ephemera from their youth, teamed up with BRGC for a benefit show, raising $1,070 for Bright Pink, an organization that provides education and support to young women who are at high risk for breast and ovarian cancer.

If there's anything more incongruous than an a capella singing group using curse words, it's a fully grown woman reading a diary entry that she wrote at age nine that includes the phrase "don't pull my dick, bitch". I can't think of a more apt pairing than BRGC to set into words and music the angsty and awkward real-life moments that were shared onstage by brave women who, in their own words, read about struggles with weight loss, aspirations of becoming the next Christian rock pop star, being boy crazy, and being sent to bed without any dinner, to name a few.

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J.H. Palmer / Comments (1)

Event Fri Apr 22 2011

Ready for the Lolla Lineup?

If you can't bear to wait until Tuesday morning to read the Lollapalooza 2011 lineup (like me), come out the night before to the Official Lollapalooza Lineup Announcement Party. Be one of the first in the know about Chicago's biggest music festival when the lineup is revealed at midnight on a giant videoscreen. Our friends at Do312 and Rehab are hosting the bash Monday, April 25 at the Debonair Social Club.

Join other Lollapalooza fans for a night of drink specials, performances from Lollapalooza 2011 artists (to be announced the day of the event) and, of course, the lineup revealing. Doors open 10pm and the party goes til 2am.

RSVP here for the event and for a chance to win tickets to the festival. The guest list closes at 9pm on Monday, so don't put it off until the last minute! Debonair Social Club is located at 1575 N. Milwaukee Ave. This event is 21+. Call 773-227-7990 for more details.

Katie Karpowicz / Comments (0)

Preview Fri Apr 22 2011

Preview: Passing Strange @ Chicago Center for the Performing Arts

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L to R: Whitney White, Aaron Holland, Jayson "JC" Brooks, Osiris Khepera, Sharriese Hamilton, and Stephen Perkins in the Bailiwick Chicago production of Passing Strange. Photo credit: Jay Kennedy.


If my life story ever gets made into a musical, I want it to be narrated by JC Brooks. Even if the lyrics are composed entirely of lines describing boring everyday things: brushing my teeth; clocking in at work; making dinner; JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound would transform it into a gorgeously memorable journey.

Bailiwick Chicago has taken on Passing Strange, a Tony-Award winning rock/soul musical that premiered in New York in 2008, and was filmed by Spike Lee in a 2009 documentary of the same name. The results are stunning.

Even after seeing the Spike Lee documentary (I watched it directly after seeing the Bailiwick production) I can't imagine anyone but JC Brooks narrating, nor can I imagine any actors cast other than those in the Chicago production. Stephen Perkins plays the role of "Youth", the young man whose journey is being narrated by JC Brooks (who is narrating his own story, he is the grownup version of the Youth), and his take on the character has the perfect balance of self-consciousness and soul-searching that defines the story. Brooks' presence is at once omniscient and so perfectly blended into the story that the one never upstages the other.

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J.H. Palmer / Comments (0)

Concert Wed Apr 06 2011

Chicago to Host 2011 US Air Guitar National Finals July 23

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Chicago is no stranger to national championships, and this summer it will play host to yet another. Chicago will for the first time be the setting for the 2011 US Air Guitar National Finals on July 23 at the Metro. Tickets go on sale at noon this Saturday.

"Chicago has always been one of our favorite stops on the competition circuit, and has even produced our reigning national champion, Romeo DanceCheetah," said Kriston Rucker, co-commissioner of US Air Guitar. "So it was with unmitigated delight that we accepted the Windy City's airtight bid and agreed to bring our nation's top virtual event to her number one second city."

Here's how it works: each regional competition consists of two rounds. In round one, each air guitarist performs for one minute to a song of their own choosing. Contestants are judged on a combination of technical merit, stage presence and "airness." (It goes without saying, all instruments must be invisible.) In round two, the top competitors from the first round perform to a surprise compulsory song. The national finals follow the same format, but each contestant performs a longer "set" in round one.

The national finals will bring together winners from 18 cities across the country to compete for the title of US Air Guitar Champion and go on to represent the United States in the Air Guitar Worldwide Championships held in Oulu, Finland.

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Andrew Huff / Comments (0)

Concert Tue Dec 28 2010

Monotonix is (not?) Coming

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Photo by Giles Smith

There is a little band from Tel-Aviv called Monotonix, and if you haven't seen them live yet you're really doing yourself a disservice. This spirited trio embodies the unbridled raucousness and vigor that rock and roll music was spawned from. They never fail to put on a hell of a show, climbing across ceilings, dangling from plumbing, drumming whilst crowd surfing-- behaving like (and looking like) possessed cavemen-- all the while skillfully hammering out some truly inspired garage rock with an eastern twist.

Monotonix are reputed to have inspired audience members to set themselves on fire and/or start canoodling during live shows, therefore being banned by half the venues in Israel they've played at. They may be from The Promised Land in the biblical sense, but some would argue that they are also from The Promised Land in the punkrockian sense.

Do the party animal in yourself a favor and go see them at the Empty Bottle on February 11. UPDATE: Due to the illness of a family member of one of the Monotonix guys, the show has been cancelled. We will let you know if it is rescheduled. Jeff the Brotherhood, Rabble Rabble, and Call Me Lightning open. The show starts at 9:30pm; tickets are $12.

Kelly Reaves / Comments (0)

Benefit Wed Dec 15 2010

Chicago Zine Fest benefit featuring these 5 bands

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photo by Laurie Koblesky (Huffington Post)

The Chicago Zine Fest is now fund-raising for its second year, and you can help them raise money by attending their benefit show this Saturday, December 18 at The Juicer (house show), 1238 N. Noble St. It is near the Division stop of the Blue Line and it will be from 7 to 10:30pm.

Here are the five bands that will perform.

1. Geoff Hing is a member of Defiance, Ohio and he will play a solo acoustic set.

2. Pagan Youth is a local pop band, similar to the Lemonheads.

3. Maribelle is a folk Chicago trio.

4. The Please and Thank Yous. Self-described as punk and screamo. From Chicago as well.

5. Canadian Rifle just got back from tour. Chicago punk rock.

Vicky Lim / Comments (0)

Event Thu Dec 02 2010

Sad Brad Smith @ The Paper Machete 12/4

If you were looking for a reason to check out The Paper Machete this weekend, Sad Brad Smith of "Up in the Air" fame will be the musical guest this week. (He wrote the song "Help Yourself"). The Paper Machete is a free weekly live magazine that takes place at Ricochets Tavern (4644 N. Lincoln Avenue). Show starts at 3pm and is free. For more info, check out The Paper Machete or Ricochets.

J.H. Palmer / Comments (0)

Hip Hop Thu Nov 18 2010

Matlock Raps (But It's Not Who You Think)

[This piece was submitted by freelance writer and creator of many mediocre YouTube videos Daniel Shar.]

Chicago-based rapper Matlock, like most of you, has a friend who seems to love nothing more than showing off YouTube videos he has incorrectly deemed worthwhile. Every now and then, as you know, that friend unwittingly manages to strike gold. If you're Matlock, this happy accident opens the door for a chance at wide-scale exposure and promotion unlike anything you've experienced in the first decade of your music career.

Though most people today hear "rap battles" and immediately think of 8 Mile, it is not unreasonable to expect future generations to associate the phrase with Grind Time Now. The league, which began humbly in Florida just two years ago, now has multiple divisions throughout the country, several copycat leagues around the world, and more than 35 million views on YouTube.


After his buddy turned him into part of that sizable audience, Matlock realized the opportunity available to get involved as a battler and expand his own following. Battling has long been viewed as a great way for rappers to earn respect, but Grind Time Now has truly transformed and heightened this reality.

By encouraging participants to write verses for their opponents, and by eliminating the presence of instrumentals, the league manages to put a fresh spin on one of the oldest traditions in hip-hop. This cultural tornado will touch down in Chicago for the sixth time since 2008 at The Windy City Takeover IV this Saturday, November 20, at Elastic Arts Foundation.

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Transmission / Comments (0)

Preview Wed Oct 20 2010

The Arrivals Record Release Show, 10/23

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Silkscreened "Red Line El" Poster by Francisco Ramirez from The Bureau of Print Research and Design will be available at the show.


One of my favorite bands, The Arrivals, are playing this Saturday night at Beat Kitchen in Chicago. They are celebrating their brand new record Volatile Molotov that came out October 5th on Recess Records. The Arrivals hit Atlas Studios earlier this year to make their fourth full-length with Matt Allison who has recorded bands such as The Alkaline Trio, The Lawrence Arms, and Less Than Jake.

No two people will describe The Arrivals' sound the same way, though many have tried; "Naked Raygun trying to revisit The Kinks," from their bio, does well. Keith Harman from Exclaim! magazine accurately describes Volatile Molotov as "a Billy Bragg-meets-Futureheads new wave synthesis. These songs couple the former's penchant for storytelling, slightly off-tune vocal delivery and overtly socio-political slant with the latter's innate sense of dynamic, passionate, emotive choruses that even Robert Smith would have to admit are beyond his spectrum." Other reviews even mention Refused, all trying to put their finger on it. But The Arrivals are their own animal. Filled with classic rock and punk references, they have called Volatile Molotov their "love letter to their favorite music," and Todd Congelliere, of Recess Records, says it "listens like a classic novel."

Opening the show are The Intelligence (In The Red Records) who play reverb-drenched psychy-garage. Toys That Kill (ex. FYP) are San Pedro, CA legends with a signature punk/psych stomp, and The Gateway District (ex. Soviettes, Rivethead, Salteens), a female-fronted Minneapolis power house of great songs filled with punk passion, country heart, and everything in between.

Doors are at 9pm and the show starts at 9:30. Tickets are $10 and the show is 17+. In any case, it's not to be missed.

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Photo of the Arrivals by Katie Hovland

Katie Hovland / Comments (0)

Concert Thu Sep 30 2010

No Entry Unless You Can Spell The Festival Name Right On The First Try

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Abort, Retry, Fail?

So, here's a thing: for the next few days (Thursday through Sunday, Sept. 30 through Oct. 2), Chicago welcomes the underground art/electronics/music festival GLI.TC/H to the table. Billing itself as "a noise and new-media event/conference/symposium/festival/gathering in CHICAGO," GLI.TC/H derives its power not just from music/visual technology, but the strange allure of technology in the almost orgiastic death-spasm of error. This ain't your pappy's blue screen of death. Don't believe me? Check out their site. Wear protective eyewear.

Events happen throughout the city each day, but I would like to direct you specifically to some Transmission-worthy events on Friday night at Transistor (5045 N. Clark St.) starting at 8pm.

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Chris Sienko / Comments (0)

Event Wed Sep 29 2010

The Quarrymen Return

Celebrate what would have been John Lennon's 70th birthday* at the Music Box Theatre, this Sunday, Oct. 3. Not only will the theater be screening Nowhere Boy, a film about the rock'n'roll icon's teenage years and the founding of The Beatles, but the remaining members of Lennon's original band, The Quarrymen, will be on hand for a Q&A and performance after the show. WXRT's resident Beatlemaniac Terry Hemmert will host.

John Lennon formed The Quarrymen with Colin Hanton, Rod Davis and Len Garry in 1956. Over the next four years, the band's lineup changed, with Paul McCartney and George Harrison joining Lennon. The band eventually changed its name to The Beatles, added Ringo Starr and the rest is history. Hanton, Davis and Garry -- now all 70 themselves -- have reformed the band and perform the songs they played back in the '50s, including songs from those early days of the band.

The event starts at 7pm. Tickets are available online or at the Music Box ticket office.

*True Beatles fans would know that Lennon's actual birthday is Oct. 9. The Quarrymen will be performing on the 9th in New York, so this is close enough.

Andrew Huff / Comments (2)

Event Mon Sep 27 2010

JBTV has free passes for The Brokedowns, 10/2

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JBTV has 40 free passes to give away for a special taping of The Brokedowns playing in studio this Saturday, October 2nd at 3:30pm. If you want to go, contact Toby @ toby@redscare.net and he'll set you up with tickets. JBTV is located at 318 W Grand Ave. in Chicago.

Their new record, Species Bender, just came out on Red Scare Industries which is home to bands such as The Menzingers and La Plebe.

They're also playing Red Oktoberfest at Metro with Propagandhi, Cobra Skulls, Vultures United, and Brendan Kelly of The Lawrence Arms (Solo Acoustic) on October 7th.

Katie Hovland / Comments (1)

Concert Wed Sep 22 2010

Preview: Record release show for The Brokedowns @ Ronny's 9/25

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Go to Ronny's - 2101 N. California Ave - this Saturday, September 25th for a very special record release show for The Brokedowns new record Species Bender and Bust! new 10" Suck Kuts.

The Brokedowns are Johnny, Kris, Moose, and Grozzy from Elgin who have been playing and touring together since 1998. They recently signed with Red Scare (Sundowner, The Menzingers, and The Falcon) and put out their fourth full length last week. You can stream Species Bender free here on Punknews.org.

Bust! is on Cassette Deck which is also home to Johnny Bodacious and the Bad Attitudes, Dr. Manhattan, and Vicelords.

Vacation Bible School, The House that Gloria Vanderbilt (featuring Todd of Apocalypse Hoboken), and Double Bird are also playing.

Show starts at 9 pm, is 21+ and is $8. You can find more information about this show and others at Ronny's on Mpshows.com.

Katie Hovland / Comments (0)

Concert Tue Sep 21 2010

Deerhunter Secret Show! (Updated with Location!)

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Photo via the band's MySpace.


In the age of Twitter, Foursquare, and music blogs, the concept of a "secret show" has pretty much gone out the window. Nevertheless, tag the "secret" label onto any event and it is automatically enveloped in an aura of exclusivity and mystery, even if it is anything but. Still, a free show featuring experimental rock band Deerhunter is pretty darn cool, secret or not.

The show is being presented by Urban Outfitters and Levi's, and will take place Saturday evening in a yet-to-be-revealed location. What we do know is that the concert will be run on generator power, so we can expect an out-of-the-way, unconventional venue. Hints will be provided via the Urban Outfitters blog, with the exact location to be revealed at least 48 hours before the event. Clues will also be available via Urban Outfitters' Facebook, or by texting SECRET to UOUOUO.

UPDATE! The location for Saturday's show has been revealed! This unconventional show will go down at 4 pm at the underpass at 560 W Grand Ave at the Chicago River under the Kennedy overpass. Told you it'd be an unusual location. Make sure to head out early, as the show is first-come, first-served. The concert is free.

Shh... I won't tell if you won't.

Stephanie Griffin / Comments (0)

Event Tue Sep 21 2010

Review: Hennessy Artistry feat. The Roots and Q-Tip, 9/18/10

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Questlove gets interviewed (photo by Dave Knapik)

I'm usually not one to pass up free drinks, but if you add a free show with The Roots into the mix, you can't keep me away. Such was the case as the annual Hennessy Artistry event ran through town this past Saturday. The Hennessy Artistry series is my personal most anticipated event each year, mostly due to their ability to book over-the-top surprise guests. This year they went all out, bringing the iconic Erykah Badu on stage, performing with The Roots as the house band. Add in Q-Tip and one of my hometown favorites, Kid Sister, and we've got one unspeakably awesome line-up.

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Stephanie Griffin / Comments (2)

Review Fri Sep 17 2010

Review: Rangda @ Empty Bottle / Appleblim, Cosmin TRG @ Smart Bar, 9/10

Chris Corsano

Chris Corsano of Rangda (photos by Dave Knapik)

Late September is traditionally quite an exciting time for Chicago experimental music lovers, as it is when one of the most revered publications for the genre, UK-based magazine The Wire, brings its Adventures in Modern Music festival to the Empty Bottle. When it was first announced that Chicago would host its own version of Barcelona's Sónar festival this September, many were left wondering if it would conflict with Adventures in Modern Music, and if so, what that would mean for one of the city's most unique celebrations of far out sounds. Of course everyone involved found the perfect solution by simply joining forces to make it all one big party. Ironically, Sleep was one of the first gigs of the festival, but it would be in short supply the rest of the weekend for any die-hard fan unable to imagine missing a beat.

Drag City artists Rangda headlined Friday night's Empty Bottle line-up. An experimental supergroup comprised of Sun City Girls' Sir Richard Bishop, Six Organs of Admittance's Ben Chasny and frequent collaborator with the stars, Chris Corsano, Rangda faced the challenge of waking up a crowd already weary from several days of live music. Their fast-paced freakouts proved more than fit for the job, as the tight three-piece frenetically ripped their way through the first portion of their set.

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Dave Knapik / Comments (0)

Concert Wed Sep 15 2010

Hell bent for (the mind of) black leather

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Camilla Ha takes pride in making crowds uncomfortable. This should surprise nobody familiar with Ha's primary background, extensive experience in the Japanese performance art known as Butoh. The form emphasizes grotesque movements and exaggerated gestures that illustrate Andre Breton's motto, "Beauty will be convulsive, or it will not be at all." Most recently known for her one-woman sound/performance project Magic Is Kuntmaster (and before that as a member of My Name Is Rar-Rar, Panicsville, and Foamula), Ha channels a poised unease, a seeming contradiction that punches through the ennui permeating your average loft space performance.

This Saturday, Ha says farewell to Chicago in her own peculiar way, curating a multimedia cavalcade of performance, readings, interactive exhibits, and video art titled "The Cosmic Mind of Black Leather" this Saturday (September 18) at Reversible Eye Gallery (1106 N. California). The doors open at 8 p.m., but the exhibit itself will stick around until the 30th. Admission is free.

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Chris Sienko / Comments (0)

Review Wed Sep 15 2010

Review: Ben Frost @ Chicago Cultural Center, 9/11

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Ben Frost (photo by Dave Knapik)

When Sónar Chicago first announced that Ben Frost would be on its inaugural line-up, their commitment to innovative electronic music became clear. This wasn't going to be a watered-down sibling to their annual Barcelona event, rather it would present dance music and experimental sounds in equal measure. Frost was an ideal candidate for bridging this gap, as his uncompromising ambient noise explorations were introduced to dubstep fans on Mary-Anne Hobbs' 2008 compilation Evangeline. That appearance, coupled with powerful recent releases like 2007's Theory of Machines and last year's By the Throat, ensured this would be one of the most eagerly anticipated performances of the entire festival.

One look around the Chicago Cultural Center on Saturday night was all it took to see that this anticipation was not idle, as the Claudia Cassidy Theater could not contain everyone that hoped to see Frost deliver his ambient epics live. Fortunately, an adjacent overspill room had been arranged to accommodate everyone not lucky enough to fit into the main venue. Whether you watched his image projected onto a screen or shared the room with the man himself, hearing the hour-long set provided exactly what every great gig should: a sizable leap beyond what can be reproduced at home with a CD.

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Dave Knapik / Comments (0)

Preview Tue Sep 14 2010

Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band: not just another rock out rock band

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Seattle's Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band is made up of four members who made their debut last year with a self-titled release (Dead Oceans). This year, they have followed it up with Where the Messengers Meet: twelve songs layered with assertive guitars and enthusiastic percussion that build up and up but shifts directions often enough to create a zig-zag narrative of anthems for the winter.

This sophomore album moves us song by song without falling into an exhausting repetition of rock out rock songs. While there is still repetition, which leads into a predictability at the rise of each song, the songs are still engaging because the lyrics tightly correspond to the music, like the hook of A fire only burns in your eyes at night in the opening track, "At Night," which hammers us into listening further or something.

Sometimes Benjamin Verdoes (guitar, vocals) harmonizes with a choir while his wife, Traci Eggleston-Verdoes, plays multiple instruments, and everyone likes to note that their adopted brother, Marshall Verdoes, is quite young, like fifteen, and owns the drums. Jared Price, a friend, plays bass. The snatches of images in the songs they write stir up a night time meditation that is reminiscent, to me, of qualities in a band like Land of Talk with a hint of similarity to groups that hide in the forest, like Fleet Foxes.

The live energy of MSHVB sounds promising. Tomorrow, Wednesday, Sept. 16, the band will perform at the Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western Ave., at 9:30pm. Tickets are only $5. 21+

Vicky Lim / Comments (1)

Review Tue Sep 14 2010

Sonar Chicago @ Pritzker Pavilion, 9/9

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Martyn (photos by Dave Knapik)

Although summer is slowly slipping away, festival season in Chicago carries on. The first annual Sónar Chicago kicked off on Thursday at Millennium Park's Pritzker Pavilion, starting the weekend early for electronic music lovers, curious downtown office workers and passing tourists. Whatever brought you to the first day of Sónar, you arrived at a rock gig, a dubstep club night and a live electro breakdown all rolled up into one.

The evening started at 5 pm with the soft sounds of Spain's Bradien. A three-piece combo incorporating guitar, synthesizers, melodica, trumpet and a single snare drum, Bradien's dub exotica provided a gentle ease into an action-packed weekend. Hailing from Sónar's native city of Barcelona, the band were put into the position of sonic ambassadors, underlining the fact that Sónar was as much a cultural exchange program as it was a music festival.

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Dave Knapik / Comments (3)

Preview Sat Sep 11 2010

Chew Heart celebrates record release @ The Whistler, 9/12

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So it would appear as if Laura Granlund (guitar, vocals, keys) and Curt Swank (drums, nice name) of Chicago's Chew Heart have been in hiding for more than six years while they recorded music together, a collaboration which started after Swank had given Granlund a 4-track recorder for her birthday and they discovered their mutual appreciation for 60's pop, 80's new wave, 90's indie rock.

Their debut album, Messy Snarls (Loose Tooth Records), introduces us to their "treetop pop" in six songs, asking us to give them just 15 minutes of fame. With the help of Brian Zieske at the Gallery of Carpet, Messy Snarls was recorded live to analog tape with minimal overdubs and zero computer manipulation, which is supposed to sound nostalgic, according to reviews elsewhere.

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Vicky Lim / Comments (0)

Review Fri Aug 20 2010

Neon Marshmallow Festival - Day One wrapup

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We're only one day in, and already, the Neon Marshmallow Festival (Friday through Sunday at the Viaduct Theatre, 3111 N. Western) is off to a terrific start. Despite the quick pace of set-up and break-down between sets, just about every set last night fit snugly into its spot, with only a tiny handful of acts overlapping others. The rooms were sufficiently isolated from each other that little bleedthrough occurred, save for events with extreme volume differences, like Greg Kelley's ultra-quiet trumpet improvisations were backed by Slither's low-end booms in the next room. This was an exception, though. For all my concerns, it seems like the formula works, for the time being.

Here's everything my mind (currently running on three hours sleep) can remember:

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Chris Sienko / Comments (2)

Preview Fri Aug 20 2010

Mad Decent Block Party, Saturday 8/21

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Last year the Hideout Block Party was taken over by Bloodshot Records, but this year the festival is doing a complete 180 with Diplo's Mad Decent Block Party.
The party is going down tomorrow and is 100% free (with RSVP). Headlining the festival is our very own Kid Sister, and she'll be joined by Freddie Gibbs, Blaqstarr, and Ghetto Division, among others. Between this, North Coast Music Festival and Sonar Chicago, dance kids are set to become downright spoiled this summer.

Diesel is teaming up with Mad Decent to throw a pre-party tonight at their downtown store, which will include free drinks, Diesel dollars to buy merchandise at the festival, and tunes provided by Willy Joy. The pre-party is also free, with no RSVP required, tonight at 923 Rush Street from 4-8 pm.

The Mad Decent Block Party starts tomorrow at 1 pm (with gates open at noon) and runs until 8 pm. The Hideout is located at 1354 W Wabansia. The festival is all ages.

Stephanie Griffin / Comments (0)

Event Tue Aug 03 2010

See Chiddy Bang and Hockey Before the Fest

Eblast Chi Lounge_Confirmation.jpgWant to go to an exclusive Music Lounge party this Thursday? Entertainment Weekly is hosting an event event at Rockit with performances from Lollapalooza artists Chiddy Bang and Hockey, and we've got your invitation right here. All you have to do is RSVP to EWLoungeRSVP@ew.com by tomorrow (be sure to include first and last name for you and your guest). The event runs from 6-8:30pm, but make sure you get there early, because even with your name on the list, entry is limited to venue capacity and will be on a first come, first served basis.

Rockit Bar & Grill is located at 22 W. Hubbard St.

Michelle Meywes / Comments (0)

News Tue Aug 03 2010

Old Town School Celebrates Construction of New Facility


Image courtesy of Old Town School of Folk Music

To celebrate the beginning of construction of the Old Town School of Folk Music's new 27,100-square-foot building, politicians and young musicians will don hard hats and shovels to break ground in a ceremony this Thursday, August 5 at 10am.

The expanded facility, which marks the School's first new construction in its 53-year history and its third facility in Chicago, will become the nation's largest community arts campus and expects to create 250 jobs at the School and in Lincoln Square.

The $18 million investment will also increase the School's ability to accommodate growing class sizes and high demands for expanding multicultural music and dance programs.

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Vicky Lim / Comments (0)

Concert Wed Jul 14 2010

Tesco Vee @ Quimby's @ The Abbey Pub, 7/17

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Tesco Vee in the early days, photo from his website.


Tesco Vee first published the punk zine Touch and Go with Dave Stimson in 1979, when the two were grade school teachers in Michigan. They published 22 copies in all, which have recently been compiled into a new book titled Touch and Go - The Complete Hardcore Punk Fanzine 1979-1983, and comes in at a hefty 576 pages.

In addition to his publishing ventures, Tesco Vee is the front man for The Meatmen and The Hate Police. The Meatmen made fun of the hardcore punk scene, and used uncouth and humorous lyrics in their music. There are at least three Meatmen songs with the word "suck" in the title: "French People Suck", "Crippled Children Suck," and "Camel Jockeys Suck."

On Saturday Tesco Vee will be reading at Quimby's Bookstore (1854 W. North Avenue) to promote Touch and Go at 7pm, and later that evening will be performing at The Abbey Pub (3420 West Grace Street) with the Hate Police, White Flag, and Fester. The first 50 people in the door at The Abbey Pub will get a free copy of the DVD Meatmen - Devil's in Detail. Doors open at 9, show starts at 9:30, tickets are $12. For info on the For more information call 773-478-4408 or visit The Abbey Pub.

J.H. Palmer / Comments (0)

Event Mon Jul 12 2010

Venus Zine Hosts Free Pitchfork Aftershow at Beauty Bar

Venus Zine is partnering with Kanine Records, Wao Wao Record, InSound, and SoundScreen Design to host a special, free installment of its After Hours series post Pitchfork, featuring Brooklyn's We Are Country Mice, known for their lively rock, and L.A.'s Pepper Rabbit, a psych-pop band heavy on the instrumentals.

Venus Zine readers and guests are also invited to dance, dance, dance to the DJ sets following the live performances, including Delorean, a Spanish alternative dance band, Real Estate, a psychedelic surf pop band, and Headlights, an American indie rock band.

A night of national and international music begins at 9pm on July 16 at Beauty Bar, 1444 W. Chicago Ave. Send an RSVP to rsvp@venuszine.com. RSVP is required but will not guarantee entrance. Photographers are welcome.

Vicky Lim / Comments (0)

Concert Mon Jul 05 2010

Preview: ChristMisfits in July @ Lilly's

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the ChristMisfits in full regalia at their Songs of the Season show last December at Lilly's, photo by Marie Kelly.


Misfits tribute bands are a longstanding tradition that includes bands like Crimson Ghosts, The Nutley Brass, and The Misfats, who bill themselves as "the fattest Misfits tribute band ever." In recent months the list has grown by at least one: The ChristMisfits, a Chicago-based tribute band who made their debut over the holidays at Lilly's dressed in Santa hats that fell over their faces in a metaphorical devil-lock hairdo. They came armed not only with instruments and vocals, but with songbooks printed on faux parchment paper so that fans could follow along to altered Misfits songs with titles like: Gratitude; Where Reindeer Dare; and I Turned Into a Snowman.

The band returns to Lilly's this Saturday for ChrisMisfits in July, and have added six never-before-heard songs to their repertoire. The ChristMisfits are comprised of Bret Tanzig on "vocals & gifts", Jonny Only on "bass & scream", Jeff Wolfgang Von Frankenstein on "guitar & tights", and Lizzie "Robo" Cook on "drums & tinsel". I spoke to them by phone and email to get some perspective on their upcoming show.

Continue reading this entry »

J.H. Palmer / Comments (0)

Artist Mon Jun 28 2010

Fred Anderson - Wake Information

As reported last week, saxophonist, bandleader, and owner/operator of the Velvet Lounge, Fred Anderson, passed away at the age of 81. Mr. Anderson's wake will be held at Leak and Sons Funeral Chapel, 7838 S. Cottage Grove, on Tuesday, June 29, between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m., followed by Mr. Anderson's Going Home service. There is expected to be a large turnout due to Mr. Anderson's revered standing in the jazz community.

A number of people and newspapers have published remembrances to Mr. Anderson, including the Chicago Reader, the Chicago Tribune, Crain's, the LA Times, the New York Times, NPR, and fellow saxophonist Ken Vandermark.

Please enjoy this footage of Fred Anderson in a trio with Hamid Drake (drums) and Peter Kowald (bass).

Chris Sienko / Comments (0)

Event Mon Jun 28 2010

Girls Rock! Chicago End-Of-June Camp Extravaganza @ Metro

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campers take the stage at the Girls Rock! Chicago end of June camp extravaganza on Saturday, photo by J.H. Palmer

The Metro was a hive of activity on Saturday afternoon as Girls Rock! Chicago presented their end of session extravaganza. Due to increased demand, there will be two camp sessions this year: one that ended last week, and a second session that will take place in August. In all, 17 bands performed on Saturday afternoon to an audience of parents, grandparents, and siblings who mingled with GR!C counselors and Metro staff.

Downstairs in the green room, campers and counselors prepared for the show. I caught up with the members of Bling, comprised of: guitarist Ciara Butler, age 13; drummer MacKenna Butler, age 11; guitarist Jesse Osborne, age 13; and bassist Tafari (Taffy) Rhodes, age 11. This is the second year that Ciara and MacKenna have attended the music camp, the first for Jesse, and the fourth for Taffy.

"Girls Rock proves that just because we are girls doesn't mean we can't rock out," Taffy said when I asked what the camp meant to her, "it teaches us that just because we're girls doesn't mean we can't do things." She furthered her point by invoking the story of Amelia Earhart, "which proves a girl can do anything." "When it's all girls you can express yourself fully," Ciara added.

Continue reading this entry »

J.H. Palmer / Comments (0)

Event Fri Jun 25 2010

Worth a Taste This Year

taste of chicago1.jpgNormally I wouldn't be caught dead at the Taste of Chicago. Something about heat and humidity and crowds of sweaty people combined with food grosses me out (I was scarred a few years back during my first visit by a large sweaty man in a sleeveless shirt, with a turkey leg). But this year, the musical aspect of the fest might have me making multiple visits to Grant Park.

Don't get me wrong, normally fests of this sort have past-their-prime musical acts that I could care less about seeing (with the exception of Stevie Wonder last year), but something is telling me that I should see Spinderella "cut it up one time" at least once in my life. See the rest of my picks after the jump.

Find the full lineup on the Taste of Chicago's website, or download their comprehensive app to have the schedule at your fingertips.

Continue reading this entry »

Michelle Meywes / Comments (1)

Video Thu Jun 17 2010

Dastardly at Lincoln Hall 6/19; Live Video

Chicago-based Americana band Dastardly have released a live performance video for their song, "Villain." The video can be viewed below. Dastardly play Lincoln Hall (2424 N Lincoln) this Saturday, June 19 with Aktar Aktar and Automata. The show is at 10pm, $8 in advance and $10 at the door.


Brian Leli / Comments (0)

Event Fri Jun 11 2010

"Stars of Tomorrow" To Rock Fosco Park

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Trace

Trace, The Pop Tots, Six In The Mix, Fatal Attraction, Red Hard Stones/Dangerous Rock Stars, Five Star Kids, Soul Children, The Scorps, The Davis Square Park Community Band, Rockin' Wit Swag, The Jammin 4...You might not know these band names quite yet, but in ten years or so, you just might.

Intonation Music Workshop is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing music instruction and performance opportunities to kids age 6-17 in Chicago's underserved communities, and tomorrow at their "Stars of Tomorrow Rock and Soul Music Fest" you can see performances from all of these young bands, and more. They've teamed up with the Chicago Park District and MusicianCorps Chicago to present this festival by kids and for kids. In addition to live music, there will be an instrument petting zoo (don't ask me what that is, but it's definitely something I want to see) and a decorate-your-own album cover art activity. Best of all, the whole day-long event is free.

So pack up your kids (or your sister's kids, or your friend's kids) and head down to Fosco Park (1312 S. Racine). The fest runs from Noon to 4:30pm.

Michelle Meywes / Comments (0)

Event Thu May 27 2010

Takin' It To The Streets: Urban International Festival @ Marquette Park, 6/19

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If you ask most music loving folks what kind of music they like, you almost always get the response "I like a little bit of everything." What is lacking in this "little bit of everything" is that sometimes a huge percentage of the globe is left out. Music is being made in almost every corner of our planet and so much of it can go unheard or worse; world music can be seen as something only appreciated by people similar to Tim Robbin's character in High Fidelity.

Takin' It To The Streets: Urban International Festival is a chance to change what music fills our ears and experience a little bit more of everything. It is also a chance to get outside, explore some new music as well as get involved with some social justice causes. The day long event is the nation's largest Muslim lead music and arts festival, features over 100 performers from all over the world and is produced by IMAN, the Inner-City Muslim Action Network, a community based non-profit that works for social justice, delivers a range of social services, and cultivates the arts in urban communities.

The fest takes place Saturday, June 19th from 9am-9pm in Marquette Park and features a dazzling day of Hip-hop, Sufi, Soul, Reggae and DJ sets, as well as a day of diverse activities. Included in the massive line up is qawwail singer Amjad Sabri, Moroccan afro beat star Malika Zarra, and Hip Hop master Mos Def.

Marquette Park is located at 6734 S. Kedzie Ave. The event is free, although donations are strongly suggested. For more information contact IMAN at (773) 434-4626.

Aharona Ament / Comments (0)

Concert Tue May 25 2010

Windy City Sound Clash

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This is the second year for the independent punk festival and it's about to take over Subterranean - 2011 W. North Ave - for three days this Memorial Day weekend. The event will feature Teen Idols, Be My Doppleganger, Toys that Kill, Vacation Bible School, Winepress, the Menzingers & more.

Here are the details:

Weekend pass - $38
Friday - $12, 7:30pm, 17+
Saturday early show - $15, 3:30pm, All Ages
Saturday late show - $10, 9:15pm, 17+
Sunday - $15, 5:30pm, 17+

Tickets available at Subterranean's website.

WCSC Facebook Page
WCSC Myspace Page

Katie Hovland / Comments (0)

Event Thu May 20 2010

This Sunday: The Legacy of Chess Records @ Blue Heaven Studios

In addition to being the subject of the 2008 film Cadillac Records, the Chess Records Studio, located at 2120 S. Michigan Avenue, is the historic site where luminaries such as Howlin' Wolf and Muddy Watters recorded tracks. Chicago Public Radio Presents a rare tour of the studio, which includes a blues harmonica workshop taught by musicians Doktu Rhute Muuzic and Fernando Jones (harmonicas included in the ticket price). Ticket holders will also have the chance to meet Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot, hosts of WBEZ's Sound Opinions, who will share their thoughts on the Chess Records legacy.

The building was bought by Marie Dixon, Willie Dixon's widow, in 1993 and donated to the Willie Dixon Blues Heaven Foundation, and is ordinarily open to the public by appointment only. This event is sold out, but for more information visit Chicago Public Radio.

J.H. Palmer / Comments (0)

Event Tue May 18 2010

The Secret History of Chicago Music Comes To Life

vermette200.jpgSteve Krakow (aka Plastic Crimewave) publishes a bi-weekly info strip in the Chicago Reader highlighting obscure but important blues, jazz, rock, funk, soul, folk, R&B and punk musicians that according to Krakow, "somehow have not gotten their just dues."

Right now at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Krakow's The Secret History of Chicago Music comes to life as a selection of the strip is on display in the UBS 12 x 12 gallery along with live performances from some of the featured artists in a short Tuesday night music series. While we missed ONO last week, tonight you can catch "soul/jazz" pioneer Kelan Phil Cohran who started the Chicago Affro-Arts Theater. The exhibition is on display until May 30, but the musical portion concludes next week with Chet Nichols, known for his loner-folk record, Time Loop. Both performances begin at 7pm, and don't forget, admission to the museum is always free on Tuesdays. 220 E. Chicago Ave.

Michelle Meywes / Comments (0)

Event Wed May 12 2010

Not Playing Around: Chicago's Ukulele Scene

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Heather Smith

[This piece (along with photos) comes to us from GB Merge writer MVP (and ukulele player) Jim Allenspach.]

The ukulele, that seemingly simple four-stringed instrument from Hawaii, has risen and fallen in the public consciousness throughout its 100-plus year history, but has never really gone away. It currently seems to be surging in popularity, as plenty of contemporary bands and musicians play the instrument and the sound of the uke can be heard in TV and radio commercials.

Once saddled with an undeserved reputation as a novelty or toy, the ukulele is increasingly being seen as a respectable, easy-to-learn musical instrument, but venues for budding musicians to practice their uke skills have been few and far between. After seeing an ukulele cabaret show in New York City, Mike Simons got the idea to produce a similar event in Chicago. His friend Tony Bianchi, who had taken uke lessons at the Old Town School of Folk Music in 2000, excitedly (and, by his admission, a bit drunkenly) agreed to help out, and before long the two had their first event scheduled at Silvie's Lounge in February of 2008.

To the organizers' surprise, Chicago's Ukulele Cabaret shows have been popular right from the start. They started putting up fliers at the Old Town School to advertise the shows, but they reckon that the majority of people that show up nowadays hear about the Cabaret through word-of-mouth from other musicians.

Continue reading this entry »

Transmission / Comments (5)

Concert Tue May 11 2010

Review: Frightened Rabbit @ Metro, 5/8

Hailing from Scotland, Frightened Rabbit has been crafting their sound since 2003 and touring persistently to cultivate their sizeable fan-base. On Saturday, May 8th they took to the stage of Chicago's renowned Cabaret Metro, performing a variety of songs from all three of their albums to a sold-out crowd. Openers Our Brother the Native and Maps & Atlases got the young, polite crowd modestly warmed up. After 30 minutes of downtime, Frightened Rabbit steadily began their 75-minute set with "Skip the Youth", a track from their latest album, The Winter of Mixed Drinks. Drummer Grant Hutchison anchored the lengthy set, providing unique and powerful tempos that added a peppy flavor to nearly every song. His enthusiasm also set the tone for the evening, as he passionately sung along while pounding away, despite having no microphone to contribute back-up vocals to.

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Frightened Rabbit's Scott Hutchison (photo by Katie Hovland)


Frightened Rabbit's sound is definitely rooted in '90s alternative, and enjoys enough hooks to make a compelling argument that this band is knocking on the door of mainstream success. At points, their music is reminiscent of everyone from Semisonic to Counting Crows. Indie rockers might liken them to acts like The National, but as Frightened Rabbit continues to evolve the emphasis really is on the pop tendencies. Their Metro performance added increased instrumentation and at times a ridiculous amount of guitars, providing a glimpse of what a future show in a larger venue might be like. The dark lighting added a pleasurable ambiance to the already pristine-sounding atmosphere, making it that much easier for the attentive crowd to indulge in the many great songs. The night ended with "Keep Yourself Warm," which was a perfect way to close the set. For those lucky enough to be in attendance, this may have been a last chance at an intimate glimpse of a group destine for bigger things.

Katie Hovland / Comments (0)

News Tue May 04 2010

The Dead Weather Is Coming

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The Dead Weather yesterday announced a string of summer tour dates, including a July 30 date at the Congress Theater. Tickets go on sale this Saturday, May 8. The Dead Weather's new album, Sea of Cowards, comes out next Tuesday, May 11. Video of the band performing the album in its entirety can be viewed on their MySpace page. A full list of tour dates, after the jump.

Continue reading this entry »

Brian Leli / Comments (0)

News Thu Apr 22 2010

Daytrotter Presents: Barnstormer III

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The Barnstormer III tour — presented by Rock Island's Daytrotter and featuring Delta Spirit, Ra Ra Riot, Nathaniel Rateliff, Pearly Gate Music and Free Energy — kicks off next Tuesday 4/27 in West Libertyville, IA. The tour makes its Illinois debut on Friday 4/30 in Monticello, but Chicagoans can take advantage of a shorter trek and an early start to the weekend in Lake Geneva on 4/29.

Camping is available at four of the tours five stops (sorry Milwaukee). Advance tickets are available now and about to be capped for the Monticello date. So head over to Daytrotter.com to purchase yours now. They're a bargain at $10 and include lossless downloads from Barnstormer 2009 performances. And if the cheap tickets and exclusive downloads weren't already enough, half the price of admission will go to someone in need:


Each night, half of every paid admission will go to someone who needs help. Maybe it's someone you know. We are choosing one individual or family — based on your nominations — to receive some help from the Barnstormer. So, write rsvpdaytrotter@gmail.com with a story of someone who's fallen on hard times and could use some assistance. We'll take the best five stories and do what we can to make things a bit better.

Full tour schedule, links to purchase advance tickets and Daytrotter sessions from all the artists after the jump.

Continue reading this entry »

Brian Leli / Comments (0)

Benefit Wed Apr 21 2010

Pinups for Pitbulls @ Cobra Lounge, 5/15

Carla Lou.jpgPinups for Pitbulls is an international non-profit organization dedicated to restoring the image of the American Pitbull Terrier. (Like Carla Lou, pictured right, courtesy of Pinups for Pitbulls' Facebook page) They will host an event on May 15th at Cobra Lounge (235 N. Ashland Ave.) in Chicago. Burlesque by Pinups for Pitbulls founder Little Darling and Miss Pussykatt as well as an act from Chicago's own PainKurst Girls. Bleeding Heart Bakery, Metropolitan Brewing, among others are donating prizes to the event to be raffled off.

Doors are at 7pm, Show at 8pm (21+) and leave your dog at home, OK? They're asking for a suggested donation of $10 at the door and all funds raised will be used to help sponsor bully-friendly rescues and individual dogs in need.

The Bands:
House that Gloria Vanderbilt
The Wanderers
Elephant Gun
Blind Staggers
American Draft
LORD
The World in Heat

Katie Hovland / Comments (0)

Feature Sun Apr 18 2010

Record Store Day 2010, Part 2

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Reckless Records in Wicker Park on Record Store Day 2010
(photo by Kirstie Shanley)

Our intrepid staff of audiophiles headed out on Saturday, April 17, 2010 to our favorite record stores in Chicago to see what we could find. If you've got your own experiences to share, please let us know in the comments or drop us a line. Don't forget you can share photos from Record Store Day in our Transmission Flickr group.

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Laurie's Planet of Sound on Record Store Day 2010
(photo by Kirstie Shanley)

Continue reading this entry »

Transmission / Comments (2)

Album Thu Apr 08 2010

Free Vinyl from Mr. Russia

Chicago natives Mr. Russia were nice enough to send us some vinyl recently, a 7" tribute to Bowie with a nice little cover of "Boys Keep Swinging" on it-- a version which is quite loyal to the original but slightly less Bowie-sparkly and a bit rougher around the edges.

In case you're not familiar with these guys, all you need to know is that they are proponents of simple, no-nonsense garage punk and I don't think they ever use guitars (except those of the bass variety.) Fans of stripped down rock and roll will surely dig their jams. I, personally, gravitate toward their demonic renditions of Nick Cave songs. Mr. Russia sure has a knack for injecting a little 21st century angst into 20th century staples.

To get your own free copy of the "Boys Keep Swinging" 7" stop by the Reckless Records at 1532 N. Milwaukee on April 17. Check them out live that night at Beat Kitchen and, while you're at it, download their free new EP from their website.


Kelly Reaves / Comments (0)

Event Wed Apr 07 2010

We're Out Of Our Minds for Melissa Auf der Maur

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After working closely with both Billy Corgan and Courtney Love, you'd figure that Melissa Auf der Maur would have a few screws loose. However, between her Black Sabbath tribute band Hand of Doom and her debut self-titled solo album, Melissa seems to be the only former member of either Hole or The Smashing Pumpkins to still consistently release fantastic music. Looks like she's got a good head on her shoulders. Just last week, she released her sophomore solo effort, Out Of Our Minds, which is a visionary combination album, film, and graphic novel.

Melissa's gracing the cover of the latest Venus Zine issue, and to celebrate the folks over at Venus Zine are hosting a screening of her new 28-minute silent film, along with a Q & A with MAdM herself. The event is taking place at the Chicago Art Department's Pilsen Gallery, 1837 S. Halsted St., on Friday, April 23rd at 6 pm. If you'd like to attend, RSVP to events@venuszine.com. MAdM will be rocking Beat Kitchen the following night (Saturday, April 24th) at 9:30 pm. Tickets for the Beat Kitchen show are $12 and can be purchased here.

Stephanie Griffin / Comments (0)

Event Thu Mar 11 2010

8th Annual CHIRP Record Fair And Other Delights Is A-Comin'

Now that you've got your bike out and are riding it to and fro in the early spring warmth, it's time to fasten that milk carton to the back seat as well - Spring means Record Fair season is here as well. Returning to the Chicago Journeymen Plumbers Union (1340 W. Washington), the 2010 CHIRP Record Fair and Other Delights should be good cause to warm up your vinyl-scouring fingers. Local shops and labels, record distros, and personal collections will all be in attendance, as well as entertainment from bands and DJ sets throughout. And proceeds go to CHIRP, so you can support independent radio (even if you secretly just want to be a vinyl junkie). Mark your calendar for April 10-11 - the early bird gets the Funky Worm on 7" vinyl.*

(*We can't promise this will be there, but if you find a copy, let us know. That would blow our minds.)

Dan Morgridge / Comments (0)

Album Wed Mar 03 2010

The Blacks In Sickness and Health

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The Blacks (photo courtesy of their Myspace page)
In Sickness and Health is The Blacks' first album since their breakup a decade ago and their subsequent reunion after a performance at the Hideout's Block Party last fall. It is a six song EP, and is being released in digital format only on March 9, with an accompanying record-release show this Saturday, March 6 at Schubas.

Much tamer than their previous work, In Sickness and Health reflects the wisdom (and perhaps exhaustion) of mature musicians. Many of the punk rock riffs have been replaced by steady Americana strums, but the freshness is still there. This is music for people who don't want anything fancy--who love the blues and "real" country music but wish they weren't quite so darn sad. Make sure to check out the show this weekend and then let us know if they've still got the raw energy they used to.

Kelly Reaves / Comments (0)

Concert Wed Feb 10 2010

Spandex and Bad Attitudes

2008-02-27_LL.jpgAbout a year ago, I flew down to Florida to visit my mom, who was dating a man my boyfriend's age. We were looking for something to do, and her boyfriend suggested we go to a club in Ybor City to see his friend's band play. Well, he got his dates mixed up, and as it turned out, we were accidentally in store for a treat. That treat was Leslie and the Ly's-- a colorful, overstated, and wildly entertaining dance act employing such accessories as sassy attitudes, lame', and, of course, bedazzled sweaters. Leslie emphatically danced around the stage, singing about Dairy Queen and stretchy pants, glaring at the audience through her giant plastic glasses. Her sidekicks, playing keytars and wearing dark sunglasses, managed to never crack a smile, which totally worked for them.

Over the years, Leslie has become wildly popular in niche markets-- particularly with budding hipsters and gay guys-- and I haven't been able to get that performance out of my head. It's hard not to have a good time at a Leslie and the Ly's show. Even my mom came up with some new moves.

Check her out this Friday at The Subterranean with Christopher the Conquered and Locks. The show starts at 10pm and admission is $12.

Kelly Reaves / Comments (0)

Event Wed Feb 03 2010

Elvis Costello Live @ A Prairie Home Companion, February 4th

Costello.jpgIn addition to the regular Saturday time slot on NPR for the radio broadcast of A Prairie Home Companion, Thursday's taping will be broadcast live via satellite from the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul, MN to movie theaters across the country, including several in the Chicago area. Elvis Costello will appear as a featured guest, as well as the Minnesota performers Jearlyn and Jevetta Steele, New York-based singer/songwriter Heather Masse, and the folk duo Robin and Linda Williams. If you've always wanted to catch Garrison Keillor's long-running show, but the thought of traveling to St. Paul in the winter keeps you close to home, this could be the perfect opportunity.

Show starts at 7pm, tickets are $22. For more information and tickets, visit A Prairie Home Companion.

J.H. Palmer / Comments (0)

Concert Wed Jan 27 2010

Dame-Nation @ The Portage Theater 2/20/10

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Chicago Girls Rock (not to be confused with Girls Rock! Chicago) is kicking off their first concert, a "mega-show" titled Dame-Nation at the Portage Theater, located at 4050 N. Milwaukee, just north of the intersection of Milwaukee, Cicero and Irving Park.

The concert will showcase female musical talent, with a lineup of seven female-led hard rock bands from the Chicago area, including: Whiskey Blonde fronted by Brooke Bartlett, their debut EP Scream Like You Mean It is available on iTunes if you want to give it a listen; The Hannah Ford Band, named for the woman who not only sings lead vocals, but plays drums too; Losing Scarlet, featuring vocalist Jodi Kell; SAGE4, named for front-woman Tracey Sage, and whose new CD Graves is out now; F.H.O.D., (word has it the acronym stands for Flying Hamsters of Doom) with lead vocalist KK; and Dead Man's Wake, with front-woman Kryssie Ridolfi. The band's EP Back to Blood is available on iTunes. High Gloss Black will be headlining, with vocalist Jessica Robinson. The evening will be hosted by VH1's Ambre Lake.

Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door. For information and tickets go to Chicago Girls Rock.

J.H. Palmer / Comments (0)

News Thu Jan 07 2010

Slayer Cancels Tour Plans

Slayer vocalist/bassist Tom Araya's recently scheduled back surgery has forced the California metal legends to cancel their tour plans through April. This includes the cancellation of the American and Canadian Carnage Tour dates with Megadeth and Testament, which of course also includes the cancellation of the tour's February 5 stop at Chicago's UIC Pavillion.

According to a press release issued today:

"Tom gave various medical treatments more than a fair shot," said Slayer's manager Rick Sales, "but they just haven't handled the problem, so he's biting the bullet and is scheduled for back surgery at the end of this month."

The headbanging Araya, known for aggressively swinging his long mane of hair while performing, began experiencing back problems while on the band's Australian/New Zealand/Japanese tour last October. In spite of his rapidly increasing pain and discomfort, he carried on with the tour, but immediately upon returning home saw an orthopedic specialist who diagnosed a Cervical Radiculopathy. The rocker initially did not want to take the major surgery route, so the specialist recommended a series of minimally-invasive procedures. While those procedures have resulted in some improvement, Araya continues to deal with intermittent bouts of severe pain, numbness and muscle spasms. The surgical procedure that Araya will undergo, called an Anterior Cervical Discectomy with Fusion, is a relatively routine practice and the recovery rate is excellent.

Booking agents for both Slayer and Megadeth are already hard at work rescheduling the tour dates; tickets already purchased for these shows will be honored at the rescheduled dates.

Brian Leli / Comments (2)

Review Mon Dec 21 2009

Review: Chicago Afrobeat Project @ Martyrs

afrobeat.jpgSunset was at 4:21pm on Saturday, but that didn't stop the lineup at at Martyrs' from playing into the wee hours of Sunday morning, winter doldrums be damned. The James Brown tribute band Get Up With The Get Downs kicked things off with their stellar brass section, front man Izzy's endless energy, and a guest drummer who filled in at the last minute with just a few hours to rehearse. The band roused the audience into singing along with Cold Sweat and Hey! Hey! I Feel Alright!, and secretly I hoped there would come a moment when Izzy collapsed onstage, only to be rescued by a cape-bearing well-wisher strategically waiting in the wings. Get Up With The Get Downs play every 3rd Thursday at the Cobra Lounge, and will be playing at the Hideout January 2nd. Catch them if you can, they put on quite a show.

Chicago Afrobeat Project took the stage next, with up to 14 people performing at once, including vocalist Antar Jackson, and dancers Tosha Alston and Imania Detry from The Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago. This was CAbP's first time performing in Chicago in several months, and the audience was clearly glad to see them. Between the dancers and the hypnotic mix of funk, rock, jazz and Afro-Cuban music, the energy was unstoppable. Each song was its own production, and it was early Sunday morning before they finished their set.

Continue reading this entry »

J.H. Palmer / Comments (2)

Event Wed Dec 16 2009

Last Minute Plans: Adler After Dark

adlerafterdark.gifWhile not quite a "Night at the Museum" dose of zaniness, an evening at Adler Planetarium for their monthly Adler After Dark event should prove to be an interesting night. If not for the chance to gaze through the Doane Observatory telescope - the largest public telescope in the Midwest - catch a space show narrated by Robert Redford, or learn more about the Big Bang theory, then surely for the great tunes promised by DJs Olin and Warp on behalf of the Chicago Electronic Music and Arts Coalition. Only going from 6-10pm this Thursday the 17th, consider this an early start to your weekend, and it's an excellent date idea if you're into hugely nerdy things like we are. Olin and Warp are planning to bring a bit of forward-thinking electronic music to one of Chicago's oldest landmarks, and there will be plenty of cocktails and appetizers, even a photo booth! Advance tickets may be purchased online here for $10 non-members and $7 members. On-site tickets are $15 for non-members and $10 for members. Check out the Facebook event and past event info at the Adler After Dark page.

(Full disclosure: I'm a member of CEMAC, the Chicago Electronic Music and Arts Coalition.)

Mica Alaniz / Comments (1)

Concert Thu Nov 12 2009

Lissie's New EP and Live Performance Tonight

Promo.jpgLissie is a pop/indie/country band with a pretty blond front-woman, Lissie Maurus, who hails from Rock Island but now lives in Ojai, CA. Why You Runnin' is her new EP, fresh off the presses from Fat Possum Records.

Why You Runnin' is good, probably best when it's knee-slappin' indie-country, like in the single, "Little Lovin'," which kicks off the EP with delicate picking on an acoustic guitar and crescendos into greatness with the help of a tambourine and an electric guitar, among other things. Then there is the melancholy country cover, "Wedding Bells," with heavily layered vocals, reminiscent of those of My Morning Jacket, and "Oh, Mississippi," the hymn-like tune that I could have sworn was Mississippi's state anthem, but it's not-- it's just a homesick tune Lissie wrote in London. The EP ends with "Everywhere I Go," which is a little too sappy, and "Here Before," the poppy ballad in which her voice really shines; all twisty and soulful.

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Kelly Reaves / Comments (0)

Event Fri Nov 06 2009

Before I Self Destruct Advance Screening


Curtis Jackson (aka 50 Cent) has just embarked on a 10-city promotional tour for his new film Before I Self Destruct, a companion to his latest album of the same title. Fiddy wrote, directed, and starred in the film, and will be hitting up Chicago on Monday night with a preview screening. Want in? Head on over to MovieTickets.com to print out free passes (you'll have to create an account, also free). The screening will be overbooked to guarantee a full house, so it would be wise to arrive a bit early. It'll all be going down at AMC River East 21 (322 East Illinois St), Monday night at 8:30 pm.

Stephanie Griffin / Comments (1)

Preview Wed Oct 14 2009

Preview: Sharon Van Etten (opener for TV on the Radio's Kyp Malone) @ Double Door 10/17/09

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Nestled within the crowded heart of Brooklyn lives a delicate soul. Not unlike the gems of Sibylle Baier, Sharon Van Etten's songs are filled with both solitude and longing. Van Etten has played Chicago twice before, both at The Empty Bottle, most recently as part of the Wire UK festival. Her stage presence may seem subtle at first with usually just her singing with an acoustic guitar. Yet, the more you listen, the more disarming it becomes. It isn't just indie folk, it's genuine and makes you want to devote your attention to it. Even those who are not fans of lo-fi may find her stripped down style appealing because she's such a talented singer and songwriter. In a sense, the songs succeed in wrapping around you where you hurt and providing you with a warmth and reassurance that it's not just you who feels that way.

Some may also be pleased to know that Sharon Van Etten is part of a bill that also includes Rain Machine, which is the side project of TV on the Radio's guitarist Kyp Malone. Some may feel that Rain Machine shows off an interesting creative diversion from the TV on the Radio tracks and allows more of Malone's songwriting to develop. It's quite possible that TV on the Radio are much too famous to play a venue this small so fans of the band should see it as a rare treat.

Doubledoor lineup also features local band Reds and Blue with doors at 8pm and show starting at 9pm.

Kirstie Shanley / Comments (3)

Event Sun Oct 04 2009

Review -- Stripped: An Unplugged Evening With Marilyn's Dress @ Gorilla Tango Theatre

Of the dozen or so people in the audience on opening night, I am fairly certain that I was the only one not personally connected to the band through the bonds of blood, friendship or commerce. The band, starring Jeremy M. Eden as front man Talon St. Lee, Dan Eden as bassist Cyrus Long and Kevin Kirchman as Brodie the Roadie - who doubles as a guitarist, was originally conceived as a homework assignment for a high school film class in 2002. Onstage, it unfolded like a post-Thanksgiving dinner skit designed for an audience of family members, and although uneven, it had some genuinely inspired moments.

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J.H. Palmer / Comments (0)

Concert Sat Oct 03 2009

Front 312 1-Year Anniversary @ Liars Club 10/9

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In Chicago's contemporary club culture, it is easy to forget that house and industrial could once be heard at the same club on the same night. Bands such as Nitzer Ebb and Front 242 took as much of their influence from punk and new wave as they did from
Chicago house. One year ago, promoters Mr. Automatic and Adam Black decided to create Front 312, a night dedicated to this time in Chicago's club history.

For its one year anniversary on October 9th, 2009 , Front 312 will take a turn toward techno and house, with DJ Gant Man headlining. KHA and Mikul Wing of Members Only AV will be play separate solo sets as well, throwing down anything from classic italo tracks to extended versions of 80's new wave dance classics.

From releasing his earliest 12″s on Dance Mania, to rocking clubs and raves worldwide alongside legends such as Paul Johnson, Gant has been pushing his signature Chicago sound for almost two decades. Mixing up rapid-fire juke beats while referencing all the house and disco classics that first paved the way. His recent work includes a remix for Fool's Gold of Kid Sister's "Damn Girl", production on "Switchboard", and his new solo single debut on Fool's Gold, "Juke Dat Girl." For Front 312, however, he will be bringing out the classics.

KHA and Mikul Wing have made a name for themselves as Members Only AV over the last year, playing with anyone from Le Castle Vania to The Rapture. For Front 312, however, they will be playing two rare solo sets of all new wave and italo disco.

Mr. Automatic will be playing classic Razormaid tracks, 80's new wave, classic industrial, acid house, and new electro tracks prior to the headliners. Expect anything from Meat Beat Manifesto to The Presets and Frankie Knuckles. DJ Adam Black will open the night with punk rock, new wave, and alternative rock.

Doors open at 9pm. Admission is Free before 11pm with RSVP to Front312@gmail.com and $5 without RSVP or after 11.

Drink specials include $2 PBR, $3 Goose Island IPA and $4 well drinks, and plenty of other reasonably priced options are available at the bar.

Liars Club is located at 1665 W. Fullerton in Chicago. at the intersection of Fullerton and Ashland.

Liz McLean Knight / Comments (2)

Event Tue Sep 22 2009

"Feed Me, Seymour!"

little_shop_of_horrors.jpgOne of my favorite films growing up was Little Shop of Horrors, although, looking back on it now, maybe it wasn't the most appropriate movie for a kid to love. Nevertheless, there was singing and dancing and I thought Audrey was so pretty (the girl, not the plant) that I wanted to be just like her (again, not the best role model for a kid).

A week before Halloween, popular Chicago venue The Hideout plans to bring the musical to life. The cast and crew will be made up of Hideout employees, musicians, friends and regulars. As Hideout owner Tim Tuten says: "This is true 'Community Theater.'" Come and see if Hideout employee Tyler Myers lives up to the legend of Steve Martin as "The Dentist" (no pressure, Tyler) or if musician and regular Marvin Tate makes a believable man eating plant. No matter what, a fun time is sure to be had by all, and it's the perfect way to get geared up for playing dress-up yourself a week later.

Showtimes are: Thursday, October 22 and Friday October 23 at 8pm, Saturday October 24 at 3pm and 8pm, and Sunday October 25 at 3pm and 7:30pm. Tickets are $15.

Michelle Meywes / Comments (1)

Event Tue Sep 01 2009

Bust A Move With The Black Eyed Peas

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Photo via Blackeyedpeas.com


Chicago-based casting agency ExtraOrdinary Casting is searching for 2,500 volunteers to dance on an unnamed television program with the Black Eyed Peas. Details about the event are being kept hush-hush, but we do know it will be filming somewhere in Chicago on Tuesday, September 8th, and extras will also be required to attend a rehearsal on Monday, September 7th. If you'd like to get involved, send a photo and contact number to darlene@extraordinarycasting.net, or check out the ExtraOrdinary Casting website for more information.

Let's just hope Fergie doesn't wet herself in excitement.

Stephanie Griffin / Comments (4)

Concert Wed Aug 26 2009

Announcing the 6th Annual Gapers Block Party!

2009gapersblockparty.jpgOur annual Gapers Block Party is finally here! And this year it's bigger and better than ever -- we're taking over the Metro!

Friday, Sept. 4, head to 3730 N. Clark St. for our killer lineup featuring Nikki Lynette, The Hood Internet, Blane Fonda (featuring ex-members of The Sapiens) and Panda Riot. We have some other fun stuff planned, including a photo booth by IDM Photography, a found imagery slideshows by Big Happy Funhouse and Square America, giveaways and more!

Doors open at 8pm
, and best of all, the show is FREE if you get in before 9:30pm! Tickets are just $6 after 9:30pm or in advance through Metro website or ticket office. Look forward to seeing you there!

After the jump, videos of each of the musical acts...

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Andrew Huff / Comments (1)

Event Thu Aug 13 2009

"I got it at the Dusty Groove Sidewalk Sale!"

dglogo14.gifYou, like all of us here at Transmission, may still be nursing a music hangover from Lollapalooza, but you should be able to face the sunshine again by Saturday for Dusty Groove's first ever sidewalk sale. They're going to have tons of vinyl and CDs that just didn't fit in the store available at special prices including lots of "odd artists and genres." But don't expect to find these titles in the store next week--this material has never been offered to the public before and will be sent back to storage after the sale.

The event is going to be a party of sorts, with all their retail neighbors on the 1100 block of North Ashland taking part and offering sales as well. They'll also be offering refreshments and "other great surprises..."

So if you like funk and/or soul, or any of those eclectic dusty grooves, I'll see you at Dusty Groove this weekend. The sale runs from noon to 5pm. Dusty Groove is located at 1120 N. Ashland Ave.

Michelle Meywes / Comments (0)

Concert Thu Jul 30 2009

Oh, Those Pitchfork People

We've been trying to play catchup since Pitchfork, so I apologize for the lateness of this little gem, but our intrepid Pitchfork Music Festival photographer, George Aye, caught tons of snaps of some of the best part of the summer fest experience: the people.

Click here to remember the joy, the pain, the spandex pants.

Anne Holub / Comments (0)

Event Tue Jul 28 2009

Bloodshot Records Celebrates 15 Years with a Beer-B-Q at the Hideout

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Chicago label Bloodshot Records have been cranking out quality music for 15 years now, and to celebrate they're taking over the Hideout and throwing a Beer-B-Q for their birthday!

Sponsored by WXRT and Rolling Rock, the party will highlight some of the artists from Bloodshot's catalog over the the year. The line-up includes: Alejandro Escovedo, The Waco Brothers with Rico Bell, Bobby Bare Jr., Deadstring Brothers, The Blacks, Scotland Yard Gospel Choir, Scott H. Biram, Moonshine Willy. Also, proceeds will benefit the wonderful organizations Rock for Kids and 826 Chicago.

Save the date (September 12th) and head out to enjoy a day of alt-country rock goodness and wish Bloodshot Records a happy birthday and many more.

The Bloodshot Beer-B-Q is September 12th at the Hideout. It's all ages (there is a provided kids area) and the price is a $10 donation. Doors open at noon.

Lisa White / Comments (0)

Event Mon Jul 27 2009

The Funk of Forty Thousand Years

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Zombie Couple (Photo by Kirstie Shanley)

Plenty of zombie-loving Thriller fiends got their stagger on Saturday at the Thriller-themed Zombie Walk in Wicker Park. Our own Kirstie Shanley snapped some great pics.

[See Michelle's previous post about the crawl here.]

Anne Holub / Comments (0)

Event Mon Jul 27 2009

Jessica Hopper is your Rock Advisor

girlsguidetorocking.jpgJessica Hopper (Chicagoian, music journalist, This American Life music consultant, and now author) has had a busy year finishing up her book The Girls' Guide To Rocking. We talk a lot about girls rocking on Transmission, but don't think you have to be a girl to pick up this book, or a kid for that matter. If you're a musician looking to start a band, or you're already in a band trying to figure out how to book gigs, or you're just interested in buying your first guitar or drum set, this book has everything you need to know that won't find anywhere else (unless, of course, your best-ie is already a successful musician...)

Jessica is currently on a break from her book tour, but this Thursday she will be reading from The Girls' Guide To Rocking at Harold Washington Library (400 S. State St.). The book tour resumes on August 19th in Oak Park and she will be joined by Katie Stelmanis and her 5 girl band and twin sister duo Ghost Bees. Dates and deets after the jump.

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Michelle Meywes / Comments (0)

Event Fri Jul 24 2009

Wicker Park Fest 2009

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Wicker Park Fest continues to bring the most top-notch entertainment of any street festival every year, and now they've completely outdone themselves with this weekend's line-up.

Headlining the North Stage Saturday night is Black Francis (Frank Black) and wife Violet Clark's new project Grand Duchy. I've been listening to their debut album Petits Fours all week and can't get enough. Violet in particular stands out on the album, with a dream poppy voice that reminds me of Kim Deal. (And if you're unable to make it to Wicker Park Fest, they'll also be playing tonight at Subterranean.) Hailing from Toronto, electronic act The New Deal will be headlining the South Stage. Other highlights include Scott Lucas (of Local H)'s new project Scott Lucas and the Married Men, California rock band The Night Marchers, and Chicago pop rockers Treaty of Paris, who are currently working on the follow-up to their debut album Waking Up the Dead and are about to embark on a tour with Ha Ha Tonka, who we recently profiled.

Sunday's line-up includes two fantastic headliners as well - folk rock act Elvis Perkins in Dearland and indietronic group Junior Boys. One of my favorite local bands, Company of Thieves (who I've gushed about before), will take on the South Stage at 6:25 pm. Margot and the Nuclear So & So's, who I always think of as a local band because they play here so often even though they're actually from Indianapolis, will be playing the North Stage at 7:55 pm. If you're looking to dance, the Center Stage will be where it's at. DJs Kid Color, The Hood Internet, and Zebo will be spinning, among others, before local rockers The Smoking Popes take the stage.

The fest is happening this Saturday and Sunday from 12 - 10 pm at Milwaukee and North Ave. The festival is all ages and a $5 donation is suggested at the gate. Be sure to stick around afterward to check out the Thriller Zombie Walk, or head over to the Congress Theater for the after-party with Jamie Lidell on Saturday night. Check below for the full festival schedule.

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Stephanie Griffin / Comments (1)

Event Fri Jul 24 2009

Cause This is Thriller

Zombies-Sized-GB.jpgSaturday will be the one month anniversary of Michael Jackson's passing, and what better way to celebrate his life than a Zombie Walk?! Come dressed as the "best damn Thriller zombie you can be" (For help perfecting your Thriller moves, go to thrilltheworld.com) or at least come out to witness the spectacle that is sure to ensue. And don't forget your camera!

For more details, check out the Facebook Event Page. The walk starts at 10pm on the east side of Wicker Park.

Photo by Kirstie Shanley from last year's Thriller re-enactment at the Hideout Block Party.

Michelle Meywes / Comments (0)

Event Fri Jul 17 2009

Pitchfork Festival Coverage and a Conversation with The Jesus Lizard

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The sound of sound checks are in the air at Union Park, Ice Cream Man is in Chicago, and a flock of hipsters are descending upon the green line. It can only mean that it's that special time of the year known as Pitchfork Festival.

Gapers Block will be out in full force this weekend, reporting on our favorite sets, shooting some wonderful pictures to share, and holding down the fort at the Gapers Block table at the CHIRP Record Fair (stop by and say hello).

I'll be showcasing some special content this year, as I sit down with various bands at the festival to chat about the matter at hand; music festivals. We'll get the bands take on Pitchfork, their favorite festival memories, and much more. So keep checking back all weekend for freshly ripped and exclusive conversations each day with some of your favorite Pitchfork Festival bands.

We kick things off today with a short conversation with David Yow, the singer for seminal rock band The Jesus Lizard.

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Lisa White / Comments (0)

Event Thu Jul 16 2009

Pitchfork Festival Releases 300 More Single Day Passes to Purchase

Pitchfork Festival has been completely sold out since Wednesday, but we just got word that the festival is releasing some more single day tickets right now.

Due to popular demand (and wanting to offer fans a chance to get a ticket if they missed out without paying the insane offers in Craigslist), they are releasing 300 single day tickets.

So if you waited until the last minute, go get them, because I'm sure they'll be gone in no time, leaving everyone else to pay an inflated price from a third party.

You can purchase the tickets over at the festival's site.

UPDATE: The newly released tickets sold out in about 2 minutes.

Lisa White / Comments (0)

Interview Wed Jul 15 2009

Pitchfork Festival Organizers Interviewed

Heeb recently caught up with Pitchfork.com publisher Chris Kaskie and editor-in-chief Scott Plagenhoe to discuss the upcoming Pitchfork Music Festival, Pitchfork.com and more. Check it out at Heeb.

Brian Leli / Comments (0)

Event Mon Jun 22 2009

Start Gearing Up for Pitchfork Now

Now that the weather has (finally) warmed up, it officially feels like summer and we're even more eager for the 2009 Pitchfork Music Festival creeping up in just a few weeks. But if you're having a hard time waiting for the real thing, make your way to Fizz this Friday from 8-10pm for a listening party featuring only artists playing the fest on the jukebox. Think of it as a really early pre-party, presented by AMI Entertainment and Flavorpill who will also be giving away festival tickets, CDs, vinyl, DVDs, downloads and other swag by acts performing at the festival--including The Flaming Lips, Built to Spill, The Walkmen, The Thermals, Matador Records, 4AD and more.

Fizz Bar & Grill is located at 3220 N. Lincoln Ave.

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Michelle Meywes / Comments (1)

Artist Fri Jun 19 2009

Can Music Relieve a Hangover?

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Hangovers are the annoying, productivity-inhibiting result of a night spent drinking quite a bit, and yet we still put up with them because it's fun to loosen up, be social, and dance. Sure, it's easy to pop some aspirin, rehydrate and muddle through the morning, but wouldn't it be cool if music could relieve your hangover?

That's the concept behind Exception AM, a free digital compilation from subVariant that aims to present a collection of electronic music to help you feel better in the morning after a night of drinking. To celebrate the release on June 20, the release party will be held at Ai lounge in River North as the first in a series of concept parties called "Artificial Intelligence." Liz Revision will mix the mostly-ambient and downtempo tracks from the compilation together at the beginning of the night and will then hand over the decks to local DJs Silentcorp, Andrew Kevins, Dirtybird, and Droopy to finish out the night with techno and house. The party will be free all night from 10pm-3am.

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Liz McLean Knight / Comments (0)

Event Thu Jun 18 2009

Concert Preview: Dressed in Decay in Homewood

Attention all you suburban Gapers Block readers: The suburban musical landscape has got to be a whole other scene when it comes to getting exposure and finding a niche.

Here's a tip on a local suburban band that's definitely going places: When researching an article on a music production program offered at Prairie State College in Chicago Heights, I interviewed student Kamille Contreras, who told me about her band Dressed in Decay. The six-piece "industrial goth" band just finished recording its demo at a local studio, and will be performing Friday, 7 p.m., at The Zone Comics in Homewood.

Contreras, who plays guitar and sings back-up, says the singer's operatic voice creates a very different sound compared to most bands, adding "the hardest part of describing the band is our sound. There are a lot of different influences from film score to death metal to progressive rock along with video game music. We are unique because of these aspects and the clothing themes we incorporate into our live set. We're not the average sound that Chicago has going, and we stick out like a sore thumb." They sound pretty unique, so if you're around the south suburbs, stop by and say hi to show your support.

Sheila Burt / Comments (0)

Artist Mon Jun 15 2009

On June 18 Fashion :: Sex :: Music Series Brings in Godsgirls, Drops the Beat

kelsey.jpgFashion :: Sex :: Music is a multi-disciplinary event series hosted by Godsgirls.com [NSFW] -- a Suicide Girls-type site that takes things a bit further -- that aims to showcase and cross promote fashion, sex, music, and art in a single night. With attractive girls in lingerie, a photo-installation from the site, a mixed media and fashion installation by My Broken Heart Mafia, and a diverse, dance-oriented sound from an all-girl DJ lineup, FSM delivers more than just another hipster dance music night.

The night also encourages community building and intra-industry networking by concurrently billing itself as a meetup for The Chicago Fashion Industry on Meetup.com, a group that has amassed more than 1,000 members. Judging by the comments and introductions on the site, the group is filled with ambitious and dedicated amateurs and professionals alike who work within or on the periphery of the fashion industry in Chicago. Combined with the increasing focus on Chicago as a fashion hub (with the relatively recent Chicago Fashion Week, for instance), grass-roots efforts like FSM that reach out to build a thriving network may help bolster Chicago's image as a fashion resource as well as a thriving and innovative music community.

The event starts at 9pm on Thursday, June 18 at Sonotheque, 1444 W Chicago Ave, and features an-all girl DJ lineup that includes Liz Revision, Fathom, Avi Sic, and Hilary Rawk.

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Liz McLean Knight / Comments (0)

Event Fri Jun 12 2009

I AM Fest Saturday at Congress Theater

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Most festivals in Chicago are put on by large-scale production companies such as C3 or Jam productions. These are huge corporations that have the manpower and money to put on massive, successful, wonderful events, yet sometimes balk at the DIY ethics that are a staple in the modern music industry. This weekend the tables will start to turn though, as the Chicago Noise Machine host the massive I AM Fest at the Congress Theater.

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Lisa White / Comments (1)

Event Thu Jun 11 2009

More Than Just Ribs at Ribfest

waltermeego.jpgI love barbecue as much as the next guy, but luckily there's more than just ribs at this weekend's Ribfest.... This year the fest has a pretty kick-ass music lineup that would satisfy any indie-darling including Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, Margot and the Nuclear So & So's, Dusty Rhodes & the River Band along with hometown groups Walter Meego, OFFICE and Tom Schraeder & His Ego.

Ribfest takes place this weekend at the intersections of Lincoln, Irving Park and Damen. The full lineup and set-times after the jump.

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Michelle Meywes / Comments (0)

Video Wed Jun 10 2009

Steve Albini's Conversation With Soft Focus Finally Up at VBS TV

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(Image thanks to We Listen For You)

A while back I had the lovely opportunity to attend the VBS (Vice Magazine's television station) taping of Soft Focus, the interview series where Ian Svenonius sits down with artist and other luminaries of their respective industries and has a conversation in front of a live audience. We just got word that the conversation with Steve Albini that was taped that night is now up at VBS.

You can check out the video of the interview here, and watch as Albini has a delightfully sarcastic (and sometimes awkward) conversation with Svenonius. And make sure to check out the most recent work that Albini had a hand in, Jarvis Cocker's latest release, Further Complications. It's some of Cocker's most innovative work in a long time, already one of my favorite albums of the year, and I'd be lying if I didn't say that I think a large part of this album is due to him (thankfully) working with Albini.

Lisa White / Comments (0)

Event Fri Jun 05 2009

U.S. Air Guitar Regionals @ Metro (and a Contest!)

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The U.S. Air Guitar Championship competition is every kid's dream - rock stardom without that pesky little hassle of actually learning to play an instrument. In the past few years, the U.S. Air Guitar Championships have grown from a small event in NYC to a huge national tour with a cult following, largely due to the popular documentary Air Guitar Nation and the voyeuristic joy of watching strangers display their inner geek onstage. This weekend the air guitar geekery makes its way to Chicago for the Air Guitar Regionals. Saturday night's winner moves on to the U.S. Air Guitar Nationals, competing for a spot in the Air Guitar World Championships in Finland. The United States have taken the World Championships for 3 of the last 6 years, showing that if there's one thing we do well, it's rocking out.

The U.S. Air Guitar Regionals take place this Saturday night at the Metro, 3730 N Clark St. The show starts at 9 pm and is 18 & over. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased here. Think you have what it takes to compete with the best of them? There are limited spots left for entry into the competition. You'll have to create a stage name and prepare a 60-second song. It costs $20 to enter and you can register here. Musical instruments are strictly prohibited.

Really Quick Contest! Just be the first to email us at contests@gapersblock.com with the subject line "Big Air" and you'll win a pair of tickets for tomorrow night's competition at the Metro. Update! We have a winner! Congrats to Mary! Rock on.

Stephanie Griffin / Comments (0)

Event Wed May 27 2009

Do Division This Weekend

dodivisionhand.jpgSummer in Chicago officially arrives this weekend with the Do Division Street Festival. The kick off of street-fest season, Do Division features food, fashion, and sidewalk sales from Division Street businesses and most importantly--music, programmed by the Empty Bottle. The Handsome Furs, Menomena, White Rabbits and Flosstradamus ,among others, will all hit the main stage this weekend. There will also be a Family Fun stage plus the Second Annual Bass, Bubbles and Beats DJ party in the Wicker Wash Car Wash.

Another bonus--if you were concerned about missing Around the Coyote Arts Festival this year since it moved from its original location at Wicker Park's Six Corners, fear no more because this year the event has moved to West Town and coincides with Do-Division. Click here for ticket information.

Do Division takes place on Division Street from Ashland to Leavitt from 2pm to 10pm. Full band listing and set times after the jump.

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Michelle Meywes / Comments (0)

Concert Fri May 22 2009

Pulsing Endlessly in the Hush

Back in the '90s, perhaps no one figure played more of a single-handed role in reshaping the German electronic music scene than Cologne-based producer and musician Wolfgang Voigt. Issuing recordings via a plethora of pseudonyms and short-run labels, Voigt was at the center of a network that stepped up to challenge the supremacy of rave-centric Berlin techno; all of which would eventually lead to his co-founding the broadly influential Kompakt label. But in the years since, Voigt's legacy has mostly rested on the work he did throughout the late 1990s under the alias Gas.

Over the course of numerous albums and EPs, Voigt developed an enigmatic and impressionistic take on dance music. The average Gas track struck the ear like a soft-focus pastorale -- all awash in layered, sweeping timbres that sounded like an orchestral string section sawing away at Mahler's Sixth in slo-mo, with the muted throb of a persistent beat thumping through the atmospheric haze. Musically, it was more the stuff of dreamscapes than dancefloors; but a decade after the fact it seems that Voigt's now in a position to trade on his work's lasting appeal. This past year's seen the Nah und Fern 4-disc boxset reissue of the Gas discography, as well as a book of Voigt's artwork with an accompanying CD via the Raster-Noton label.

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Graham Sanford / Comments (0)

Event Thu May 21 2009

A Warmup to B-LIVE

badge.jpgDJ Z-Trip, who brought us his Obama Mix: Party for Change (which we had on repeat through the election) and Victory Lap: The Obama Mix Pt. 2, is coming to Chicago with Q-Tip as part of Bacardi's B-LIVE Tour. The Chicago stop on the tour takes place at House of Blues on June 12, 2009, but The FADER magazine is presenting a "warmup" next Wednesday, May 27th at Evil Olive. The event, dubbed SOUNDCHECK, will have complimentary beverages from 9-midnight with music by DJ Ghetto Division. Evil Olive is located at 1551 W. Division. 21 & up. RSVP for SOUNDCHECK here.

Michelle Meywes / Comments (0)

Event Tue May 05 2009

Biggest Mouth: Campus Clash Preview: DePaul University

Biggest Mouth green.jpgThe Biggest Mouth: Campus Clash talent contest takes place tonight at Metro and puts finalists from Columbia College, DePaul University and Roosevelt University up against each other to find out "who has the biggest mouth in Chicago."

Now that you've already had a look at the finalists from Columbia College and Roosevelt University, let's meet some of the contestants from DePaul:

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Michelle Meywes / Comments (0)

Event Mon May 04 2009

Biggest Mouth: Campus Clash Preview: Roosevelt University

Biggest Mouth pink.jpgThe Biggest Mouth: Campus Clash talent contest takes place tomorrow night at Metro and will put finalists from Columbia College, DePaul University and Roosevelt University up against each other to find out "who has the biggest mouth in Chicago."

Earlier today we met the finalists from Columbia College, now let's get to know the contestants from Roosevelt University:

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Michelle Meywes / Comments (0)

Event Mon May 04 2009

Biggest Mouth: Campus Clash Preview: Columbia College

Biggest Mouth blue.jpgThe Biggest Mouth: Campus Clash talent contest takes place tomorrow night at Metro and will put finalists from Columbia College, DePaul University and Roosevelt University up against each other to find out "who has the biggest mouth in Chicago."

As promised, we at Gapers Block: Transmission are giving you a preview of what to expect from tomorrow nights performers. First up: the contestants from Columbia College:

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Michelle Meywes / Comments (3)

Event Tue Apr 28 2009

Versionfest '09: K Records showcase, others to perform

As it happens, the Lumpen-organized Version>09 is winding down for the closing night of its eighth annual arts and media activities this Saturday with the Chicago Art Parade and this year's episode of the Journey To The End Of The Night street-game event. As it happens, all of this coincides the latest cross-country tour from the Olympia-based K Records stable rolling into town, so it looks as if the two parties decided to merge paths for an evening of music at the Co-Prosperity Sphere.

Headlining for the occasion is Chain And The Gang, which effectively makes for the latest musical incarnation of Ian Svenonius -- previously the frontman for Nation of Ulysses, The Make-Up, Weird War, and author of the 2006 subcultural polemicist screed The Psychic Soviet. Also on the bill in a supporting role are the Hive Dwellers. Both bands, reputedly, are more or less the same groups of musicians; an ensemble of various members of bands from the K Records network -- except that as C&G they back Mr. Svenonius and as the Hive Dwellers they accompany K Records founder and former Beat Happening/Dub Narcotic Sound System impresario Calvin Johnson. And if that billing wasn't confusing and incestuous enough, Calvin Johnson is slated to get the evening's show rolling with a set of solo material.

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Graham Sanford / Comments (0)

Event Thu Apr 23 2009

Taste of Randolph Street Will Rock This Year

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Chicago sure does love a neighborhood summer street festival. Sure, Pitchfork and Lollapalooza are great, but nothing beats paying around 10 bucks to bask in the sun while eating a BBQ turkey leg and checking out some great music.

The Taste of Randolph Street just threw down the gauntlet with their first announcement of acts playing the festival this year. The three headliners this year are Dr. Dog, Tinted Windows, and The Hold Steady. And in my opinion, these three acts alone already blow last years bill out of the water.

Dr. Dog recently played a sold out show at The Double Door, and has opened for the likes of Wilco, The Black Keys, and The Strokes. If you've been living under a rock and haven't heard about Tinted Windows (a much buzzed about act here at Gapers Block), it's the supergroup that was born out of the equation of 1 part old school Smashing Pumpkins, 1 part Fountains of Wayne, a dash of former pop sensation Hanson, and the bizarre addition of the drummer from Cheap Trick. And to finish off the Taste of Randolph will be the Springsteen loving indie rockers The Hold Steady, who brought down the house/field last year at Pitchfork Music Festival.

And all this for a suggested donation of $10. Nice.

The Taste of Randolph is June 19, 20, and 21st. The Festival is held on Randolph Street between Peoria and Racine. Keep checking the website for more band announcements.

Lisa White / Comments (4)

Event Fri Apr 17 2009

CHIRP Record Fair And Other Delights This Weekend!

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This weekend is the ultimate music nerd dream. Record Store Day is tomorrow, and all weekend long is the CHIRP Record Fair. CHIRP (Chicago Independent Radio Project) is a non-profit organization working to secure a broadcast license for a new community radio station in Chicago. CHIRP have been busy lately, working on building their new station space and getting ready to head to Washington later this month to meet with members of Congress, FCC officials, and other leaders to discuss the issues surrounding Low Power FM. We'll have more on CHIRP and their approaching trek to Washington next week, but this weekend it's all about the music!

And not only records will be sold. They'll be literary goods, posters, and other various handmade goods. And live music throughout the day including Scotland Yard Gospel Choir, and DJ sets by members of Tortoise and Mucca Pazza. To top it off, you can meet many of the amazing and talented individuals behind some of the top Chicago independent labels. Shake their hand, ask them what their favorite album is, and thank them for working their butts off to bring good music into the world.

Oh, and on Sunday Gapers Block will be there ALL DAY! Come buy an awesome poster to hang in your barren apartment, get some free buttons and stickers, and if you come early while I'm there, I'll even give you a free hug. Or a high five. Us music writers may not be the richest people, but we sure are loving individuals.

The 7th annual CHIRP Record Fair is April 18th and 19th from 10 am to 5 pm. The cost is $7 or $5 with the CHIRP Record Fair ad from their website, or a receipt from any record store that is dated 4/18/09 (another excuse to go celebrate Record Store Day). The CHIRP Record Fair is located at the Chicago Journeymen Plumbers Union at 1340 W. Washington. It's close to Union Park for all you Pitchfork Festival fans who need a reference point.

There is also a Saturday pre-admission from 8-10 am for the serious audiophiles that want the first picks of the day.The pre-admission is $25, but once again, you get first pick two hours before the fair opens.

Lisa White / Comments (0)

Event Wed Apr 15 2009

"Who Has The Biggest Mouth In Chicago?"

Think of it as our very own version of 'Chicago Idol.' On May 5th students from Columbia College Chicago, DePaul University and Roosevelt University will compete in the Biggest Mouth: Campus Clash talent contest to determine "who has the biggest mouth in Chicago." The event will take place at Metro and feature spoken word, hip-hop, R&B and rock bands. Each school will have five finalists facing off for the grand prize.

Judging the competition will be professionals from Bandit Management, Biz 3, and a talent buyer from the Metro. This is an exciting opportunity for students not only showcase their craft, but to perform on the Metro stage and be seen by influential leaders in Chicago's music industry. The winner of the competition will receive $3,000, a Shure Microphones prize package, a $100 Epic Burger gift certificate and an opening slot at a future Metro show.

Here at Transmission, we will be your source for all things "Campus Clash." Finalists will be announced soon, and in the weeks leading up to the event, we will be spotlighting the contestants from each of the three schools--so you can size up the competition for yourself.

The Metro is located at 3730 N. Clark St. The show will start at 6:30pm and tickets are free. 18 & up.

Michelle Meywes / Comments (0)

Event Sat Apr 04 2009

Happy Birthday Schubas

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One of Chicago's favorite music venues is currently celebrating its 20th anniversary. The beautiful building Schubas Tavern resides in was originally built in 1903 by the Schlitz Brewery. Chris and Michael Schuba bought the building in 1988 and began the laborious process of refurbishing it--ornate exterior and all. 20 years later, things are going pretty well. The venue regularly hosts popular musical acts and there are plans in motion for the opening of a new Schubas-owned venue.

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Raf Miastkowski / Comments (0)

Concert Tue Mar 31 2009

April, By The Numbers

The month of April is going to be a busy one for the folks at the soul-slinging Chicago-based Numero Group.

Firstly: this Saturday evening at the Park West Theater, the label presents its first-ever live event, The Eccentric Soul Revue. The evening's billing features sets by top-flight R'n'B veterans Syl Johnson, The Notations, and Nate Evans; as well as reunion performances by Renaldo Domino, The Kaldirons, and the Final Solution. Chicago's own deep groove merchants The Uptown Sound will also be on hand to provide backup throughout. It's an all-ages show, tickets are $22, and it gets underway at 7:30 PM Saturday.

The label's also putting the finishing on the next edition in their Eccentric Soul series of archival anthologies for a scheduled release date in late May. Entitled Smart's Palace, the volume will chronicle the story of the Smart family, who were prime movers and organizers on the R'n'B scene in Witchita, Kansas in the 1960s and early '70s. This atop their deluxe audio & DVD package Local Customs: Downriver Revival, which officially releases this week.

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Graham Sanford / Comments (1)

Event Thu Mar 26 2009

A Look at the Live Taping of Soft Focus for VBS TV

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photo courtesy of Vice Magazine/VBS TV


We had the privilege to attend the taping of the VBS series Soft Focus this week, when they rolled into town to tape conversations with Mick Collins and Steve Albini. Originally posted at The Deli Chicago, here is a look into what you missed during the live taping Tuesday night. Make sure to keep an eye on VBS's website for video of both conversations coming soon.

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Lisa White / Comments (0)

Event Wed Mar 25 2009

No Strings Attached

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Do you have nimble fingers, no sense of shame, and a repertoire of jaw-dropping dance moves? Perhaps you should consider entering the 2009 US Air Guitar Championships. Steadily growing in size since 1998, US Air Guitar now hosts competitions in 25 cities. Yes, you read that right. There's no denying that plenty of people still love watching burned-out hair bands perform, but the USAG Championships are guaranteed to provide more thrills than a Spinal Tap reunion tour. You'll have to check for a pulse if you can't get excited about watching half-drunk headbangers laden with layers of spandex rocking out (without a guitar) to Accept's Balls to the Wall and other rock n' roll "classics". The 2009 US champion will travel to Oulu, Finland to represent the United States in the Air Guitar World Championships. Last year's champion, Hot Lixx Hulahan, will be looking to repeat. Chicago's competition will be held at Metro on June 6th and you can purchase tickets this Friday, March 27th on USAG's website. No need to wait if you're planning on competing, you can sign up on the website today.

Raf Miastkowski / Comments (0)

Event Mon Mar 16 2009

Double Door Turns The Big One-Five

dd15.jpgI have spent many a night at that music club under the tracks at Wicker Parks' six corners. I have waited outside in the rain and/or cold to get into a show, stood inside the (formerly) smoky confines along with many many other music-lovers, punks, rockers, and most recently hipsters. The venue has even had it's own "15 minutes" of fame, appearing in major motion pictures such as High Fidelity and Wicker Park.

This summer our dear ol' Double Door is turning 15. The birthday celebration kicks off this Saturday, March 21st with a performance from Brutal Truth in what will be a cd-release show for the recently reunited grindcore group. Festivities will continue throughout the year, with Double Door paying homage to and hosting many of the bands that have made the club what it is today, including: Local H, OK Go, Smoking Popes, Electric Six and Kill Hannah.

So come out and reminisce about all the good times you've had there, the first time you saw *that* band there, or that night you got waaaay too drunk and puked on the bar--or were just yelling inappropriate things at people in the Dirtroom (it was a friend, I swear). Whatever your memories, come celebrate and make some new ones.

For dates, and additional information on upcoming 15th anniversary events check out Double Door's website.

*And, just in case you were curious (or wanted a bit of trivia to impress your friends), Double Door's first show was June 12th, 1994 featuring Lloyd Cole.

Michelle Meywes / Comments (1)

Event Fri Feb 13 2009

Obey Your Brain presents new Beirut recording, Golden Birthday & more

A couple of years ago, Zach Condon -- multi-instrumentalist and maestro for the indie band Beirut -- took a detour from his usual Balkan-ized musical fare and ventured into different terrain. Approached to do the soundtrack for a film to be set in Mexico, Condon traveled to a remote village in the province of Oaxaca in order to conduct some musical field research. There he worked with a local ensemble -- a 13-piece Jiminez funeral marching band, to be more precise -- and began crafting a new series of songs influenced by the Oaxacan style of banda music.

In the end, the film's backers reputedly opted for a soundtrack of the more generically cinematic variety. But the result of the journey was the new Beirut recording March Of The Zapotec, which is now seeing release in its U.S. vinyl edition via the Chicago-based Obey Your Brain label. The album features six tracks of the new Beirut material born from the Mexican sojourn, as well as five additional tracks (grouped under the title Holland) of Condon's bedroom electronics work under his pre-Beirut alias Realpeople.

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Graham Sanford / Comments (1)

Concert Mon Jan 26 2009

Legendary English Rockers The Godfathers play Metro on Valentines Day

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On one of the most commercial holidays of the year, you can't beat spending the evening with some good old rock music at a show with the word massacre in it. I can't think of a more romantic sentiments to a sweetheart or a more awesome first date. Add in the factor of being part of music history, and you've got yourself a pretty prolific evening courtesy of the Metro and legendary English rockers The Godfathers.

The Godfathers were a alternative garage rock outfit from London, forming in the mid 1980's as a beacon of hope in a UK market dominated by New Wave and Electro. The band was bursting with gritty rock that possessed swagger and soul, were known for their explosive live shows, and basically helped lay the foundation for much of the Brit Rock music and movement of the 90's.

And the band is choosing our fair city for their first US show in 20 years! Also the first St. Valentine's Day Massacre show (a staple of their career, always done in London) ever on US soil. This guarantees that huge music nerds in the Midwest are rejoicing, while those around the world just let out a collective sigh.

Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 the day of. The show is 18+ and doors open at 8:00 with the band scheduled to go on at 9:00. Grab a pair of tickets and get on your music nerd sweetheart's good side this Valentines Day.

Lisa White / Comments (0)

Concert Mon Jan 19 2009

Liveblogging the Big Shoulders Ball

Transmission had a couple friends head to D.C. for the Inauguration festivities and of course they were excited to visit The Black Cat to check out the Hideout's curated Big Shoulders Ball. Tonight's entertainment includes the following exciting lineup (lineup times EST):

Judson Claiborne (7:30)
Freakwater (8:00)
David "Honeyboy" Edwards (8:30)
Icy Demons (9:10)
Ken Vandermark (9:35)
Tortoise (10:00)
Andrew Bird (10:30)
Thomas Frank (11:00)
Waco Brothers (11:05)
Ted Leo (11:30)
Eleventh Dream Day (12:00)
Jon Langford w/ Sally Timms (12:30)

(Liveblogging times Central)

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Anne Holub / Comments (7)

Event Fri Jan 16 2009

A.C. Newman Listening Party

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The release of New Pornographer A.C.Newman's long-awaited follow-up to 2004's The Slow Wonder is fast approaching (that is, if you're not counting the two Pornographers albums released in the interim). His sophomore solo effort, Get Guilty, is due out January 20th, but the Empty Bottle is giving you the chance to hear the album a few days before your friends. Not only is there no cover charge for this listening party, but they are also offering free canned beers! Now that's a reason to jolt yourself out of hibernation during this all-too-freezing week if I ever heard one.

The listening party is taking place this Saturday, January 17th, at the Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western Ave. Copies of Get Guilty as well as tickets to Mr. Newman's show at the Logan Square Auditorium on March 25th will be available for purchase. The listening party lasts from 7 p.m. til 9 p.m and is 21+. Just be sure to bundle up and remember the Golden Rule of Open Bars: always double-fist.

Stephanie Griffin / Comments (0)

Event Thu Jan 15 2009

Blogging Big Shoulders

Hey trusty reader! Are you headed to D.C. for the inauguration? Are you also lucky enough to have a ticket to the Hideout's sold out Big Shoulders Ball (featuring scads of Chicago talent) at Black Cat on Monday night? If so, and you'd like to do some live blogging (or text messaging, or photography) for Transmission, give me a shout! Email me at transmission {at} gapersblock {dot} com with the subject line "Big Shoulders".

Anne Holub / Comments (0)

Event Mon Jan 12 2009

Tomorrow Never Knows at Schubas

tnk_logo.jpgIt's a fact that "tomorrow never knows."You can never predict what the future will bring, although you can try. Schubas will attempt to do just that, or at least offer you some candidates for the future of indie music. Tomorrow Never Knows is a festival presented each winter at Schubas and showcases some of the up-and-coming musical acts from all over the country, including Chicago. The Soft Pack, Department of Eagles (see our preview here), Cursive, Hey Champ, and Bishop Allen are just some of the bands appearing. The festival begins this Wednesday, January 14th and continues through Sunday, January 18th. Tickets for each night are $15 and can be purchased at Schubas' website, where you can also purchase a 5-day pass good for entry to every show for $55 (UPDATE: 5-day passes have sold out). Thursday and Friday individual tickets are already sold out, so act fast if you want to see any these acts in the home-y confines of Schubas before you're stuck seeing them in a larger venue...

Schubas is located at 3159 N. Southport. All shows begin at 9pm and are 18 & up.

And for a glimpse a little further into the future, don't forget to see the Paul Green's School of Rock students present British Invasion on Saturday and Sunday afternoon at 2pm. Tickets can be purchased separately for $10 ($15 at the door), but admission is included if you opt for the 5-day pass.

The full lineup is after the jump.

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Michelle Meywes / Comments (0)

Event Tue Dec 23 2008

Need a last minute gift?

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The lovely folks over at The Hideout are having their annual Holiday sale tonight. It's a handy event for all of us that loathe Holiday shopping and put it off until the last minute. Or at least prefer to shop while drinking. I thankfully fall under both groups.

You can find all sorts of items for sale. I saw some pretty sweet vintage guitar straps from Souldier that a few musician friends would love. And our friends over at Bloodshot Records will be there with a booth full of their aural goodness. If you don't own Buckle in the Bible Belt by Ha Ha Tonka, I suggest you pick it up while visiting their booth.

Best of all? The Holiday sale is totally free. It goes from 6:00-9:00 PM. So go support some local businesses, warm up with a nice drink, and get your last minute shopping done all in one place tonight at The Hideout.

Lisa White / Comments (0)

News Wed Dec 17 2008

The Hideout Brings Chicago to the Inauguration

If you've got plans to go to DC (and a place to stay...) for Obama's Presidential Inauguration, you can celebrate the night before with the folks from The Hideout at The Black Cat where they, with Interchange, present The Big Shoulders Ball: a Chicago concert celebrating change. Hideout co-owner and staunch Obama supporter (as is evident by the ENORMOUS picture of Obama hanging on the front of The Hideout), Tim Tuten, has chartered two buses to take the bands and company on the cross country trip. Why am I getting a feeling of America ala 60s full of VW buses, hippie braids and peace signs... Anyway, the lineup is stacked; Tortoise, Waco Brothers, Ken Vandermark and Icy Demons are among the local artists already slated to play. Tickets go on sale today at 4pm and are $50. You can get them from The Black Cat's website, or pick them up in person at The Hideout (1354 W. Wabansia). (UPDATE: The ball has sold out.) The exact date of the show is Monday, January 19 (just in case you've been living under a rock and hadn't heard when Obama would take over as Commander in Chief). The Black Cat is located at 1811 14th St. NW WDC 20009.

**UPDATE** Andrew Bird has been added to the line-up as well!

Michelle Meywes / Comments (1)

Concert Mon Dec 15 2008

Medulla Obbligato

Owned and operated by the crew at the Shape Shoppe studio and members of affiliated groups Icy Demons and Chandeliers, the recently-launched Obey Your Brain label aims to showcase the work of the Shoppe's allies, associates, and fellow travelers alike -- of adventurous musical artists from Chicago and from across the country. This Tuesday evening, the folks at OBY take the venture one step further as they kick off a series of monthly events that will be hosted by Sonotheque.

The lineup for the first show of the series features a headlining set from the Mahjongg side-project Waterbabies, and DJs Alex Valentine and Smart Cousin are scheduled to spin. Piling onto the bill at the eleventh hour are DJ HoloGram Trav (of the band Killer Whales) and a set from Warhammer 48K offshoot CAVE. Word has it that Nashvillian underground hip-hop emcee Count Bass D, who recently recorded some new material to be released via Obey Your Brain, might -- repeat: might -- also be in the house. Admission is free and doors open at 9 PM. 1444 W. Chicago Ave.

[video]: Waterbabies - "Whoop Draft"
[video]: CAVE - live at Heaven Gallery, 2007

Graham Sanford / Comments (0)

Event Wed Dec 10 2008

Less Cowbell.

Chances are you're familiar with the work of local visual artist Cody Hudson by now; either by way of his silkscreened posters for various events and venues, his public art installations, or perhaps even his work as in-house designer (under the moniker Struggle Inc.) for the Chocolate Industries record label. Or you might know him -- along with Mike Genovese and Juan Angel Chávez -- as one of a core cluster of this city's most notable street artists.

This weekend, Hudson will be trotting out a new batch of work at a show that opens this Friday evening at the Andrew Rafacz Gallery in the West Loop. Entitled "Tambourine Solo: Take One," the exhibition will also feature musical accompaniment -- a musical score crafted by local musician Zachary Mastoon. In recent years Mastoon's released albums of shoegazey, downtempo tunes under the name Caural. The score for "Tambourine Solo," incidently, was originally done in collaboration with Hudson for a show that took place at New Image Art in L.A. this past August. So peep the work, hear the soundtrack, maybe even buy a print of something. 835 W. Washington, 5-8 PM. 312-404-9188 for info. The exhibition is scheduled to run until January 24.

Graham Sanford / Comments (0)

Event Tue Dec 09 2008

Pandora Invades the Apple Store

Did you ever wish that there was a radio station that would cater to you and play new music based on your likes and dislikes? Well, it exists as an Internet station called Pandora.

Pandora gives you the option to create many different stations for whatever your mood. Each station will play songs similar to your initial request, you give them a thumbs up or a thumbs down, and Pandora will use that information to specialize the station even more to you. It does this based on The Music Genome Project that founder Tim Westegren started in 2000 with other musicians and music-loving technologists. They broke songs down into hundreds of different attributes or "genes" for matching, not necessarily by popularity or genre.

Tonight, CTO Tom Conrad (Westegren himself was supposed to be there, but had to cancel for personal reasons) will be at the Apple Store on Michigan Avenue to talk about The Music Genome Project, the history of Pandora, and Pandora on the iPhone (yes, you can take it with you, you aren't chained to your computer). He will also answer any questions you might have about anything Pandora related. It's free, and there's no need to rsvp, just show up! 679 N. Michigan Ave. 7pm.

Michelle Meywes / Comments (0)

Event Wed Dec 03 2008

Attention Local Musicians!

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So you've gotten some friends together and decided to form a band. You've thought of a clever name for yourself and have written a few songs together. You're ready to take the next step, but aren't sure where to start. Rather than sitting around waiting to get noticed, you can take matters into your own hands. With some hard work and ingenuity, you can book your own shows, promote yourself, and sell your music without paying someone else to do it for you. Martin Atkins is here to show you the way.

Martin Atkins, author of Tour:Smart, has made a name for himself as a drummer for Public Image Ltd., Ministry, Pigface, Killing Joke, and Nine Inch Nails. He's also the owner of Chicago label Invisible Records, and writes an advice column for bands on Suicide Girls (link NSFW). Pretty much, this guy knows his stuff, and he's willing to impart his wisdom onto you and your band tomorrow night, for free. Martin will be hosting a seminar at Reggies on Thursday, where he will discuss the state of the music industry, plus how to book yourself, market yourself, and succeed as a band. Did I mention the seminar is free? They'll also have free appetizers and Red Bull.

The Tour:Smart Band Summit is happening Thursday night at Reggies, 2105 S. State St. It lasts from 6:30 - 9:00 pm and is all ages. While the event is free, you must register beforehand by signing up here.

Stephanie Griffin / Comments (0)

Event Wed Dec 03 2008

What is the future of music?

soundopinions.jpgGreg Kot and Jim DeRogatis have a ton of knowledge between them in rock music and the going-ons in the industry. You've heard them on "the worlds only rock 'n' roll talk show," Sound Opinions, and now you can join them live to discuss the future of the music industry in this uncertain time.

It's no secret that the Internet and the digital age have changed the way we listen to music, buy music, are exposed to music, and generally enjoy artists we like. Record companies are left scrambling to try to figure out how to still make a profit in this new time, but what does it mean for you the consumer/ listener, and for the musicians themselves? Kot and De Rogatis promise to break it down for you tonight at Columbia College's Conway Center (1104 S. Wabash). It's free, but space is limited so get there early. Doors open at 5:30, and the talk begins at 6pm.

Chicago Public Radio Event Details

Michelle Meywes / Comments (0)

Concert Tue Nov 25 2008

See The Bravery without Emptying Your Wallet

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Puma (yes, the shoe company) is turning 60 years old and will be celebrating right here in Chicago with a party at the Metro. The party will have free food and (of course!) birthday cake, along with DJs and drinks.

Retro rockers The Bravery will be headlining the event. They may not be the most original band (think Franz Ferdinand + New Order), but the show will certainly be high energy and entertaining. I've never seen them live before, but I hear they have a pretty intense stage presence. If you're into heavy synths and catchy guitar hooks, you'll most likely enjoy this. Plus, it's free! What have you got to lose?

The party is happening on Wednesday, December 10th at 9 pm at the Metro, 3730 N. Clark Street. The concert is free, but you must pick up a ticket beforehand at the Puma Store, 1051 N. Rush Street. Throw on your best kicks and head over there ASAP as there are a limited number of tickets available. The show is 18+. Email info@puma.com/bday48 for more details.

Stephanie Griffin / Comments (1)

Event Fri Nov 21 2008

Come Collaborate at the Underground Lounge Tonight

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As the weather in Chicago starts to dip into frigid temperatures, a wonderful way to keep warm on a winter weekend night is a strong drink, a nice mix of people, and a good show. You can have just that tonight at the Underground Lounge in Wrigleyville with the return of music, comedy, and art showcase Collaborate.

Collaborate helps to provide an open forum for local acts in a relaxed setting, providing a showcase for not only their art but also a meeting place for likewise talent (hence the name Collaborate). The night kicks off at 8pm with an open mic and visual arts showcase. Other highlights include Comedy Central comedian Prescott Tolk, WXRT praised band The Innocent, and Stealth Like a Canoe, a duo that bills their instrumentation as guitar, accordion, and sometimes rap. I don't know about you, but a good freestyle over a sweet accordion beat always makes my night a little better.

Collaborate is tonight at The Underground Lounge at 952 W. Newport Ave. Doors open at 7:30pm and cover is $10 for the whole evening of entertainment. The show is 21+

Lisa White / Comments (0)

Event Wed Nov 12 2008

Icons for Atheists and Songs for the Silent

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This Friday Chicago gets a chance to see some songs. Yes, see them.
Jon Langford, of the Mekons for one, as well as a good number of other bands (don't tell the punk kids he's also part of the kiddie rock band the Beasties) is opening his show "Song Paintings" at Thomas Masters Gallery this Friday.

Back in the day Langford gave up painting in favor of being in bands. It was easier for him to write songs than get paint onto a canvas. But then he started investigating why one creative process might be so much easier than the other. It was through that investigation that Langford's songs got into his paintings, and occasionally a painting or two got into his songs.

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Alexis Finch / Comments (2)

Music & Film Wed Nov 12 2008

And Justice for All

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Anyone who enjoys an evening spent crushed in a sea of sweaty dancing hipsters will tell you that the place to be this New Year's Eve is the Congress Theater, where Parisian duo Gaspard Augé and Xavier de Rosnay (otherwise known as Justice) will be bringing the house down. For the past two years, the name Justice has become synonymous with party, and for good reason - when I had the pleasure of catching them live at the Metro last October, I left the venue drenched, bruised, and with someone's weave stuck to the bottom of my shoe.

Luckily for those of us who can't wait until December 31st to get our electro-fix, this Friday night the Metro will be screening A Cross the Universe, a documentary following Justice during the final three weeks of their MySpace-sponsored tour this past spring. Best of all? The screening is free! Be prepared to D.A.N.C.E. afterwards as DJ sets by Eamon Harkin, Bald Eagle, and Yello Fever follow the screening. The film starts at 11:30 PM, but be sure to arrive early as seating is limited.

The Metro is located at 3730 N. Clark Street. The screening is 18 & over and free before 2 AM ($5 afterwards for DJ sets only).

NSFW trailer after the jump!

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Stephanie Griffin / Comments (0)

Event Wed Nov 05 2008

Umbrella Music Festival Starts Tonight

2008-Umbrella-Music-Festival post.jpgThe third annual Umbrella Music Festival begins tonight and continues through the weekend with events at different venues around the city. If you're into jazz, you should definitely check it out. Umbrella Music is a group of jazz musicians who wanted to give the creative music scene more exposure, and give improvisers more opportunities to play together. They have been successful in doing just that with weekly concert series held at Elastic, The Hideout, and The Hungry Brain.

The festival kicks off tonight with their second annual European Jazz Meets Chicago event at the Chicago Cultural Center. They've brought in groups from Austria, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Poland, and Switzerland who get the opportunity to improvise with local jazz musicians. The best part? This first night is FREE to the public. Come out and listen to some music you might not otherwise ever be exposed to and see some acclaimed artists of the Chicago area practicing their craft.

Schedule to follow:

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Michelle Meywes / Comments (0)

Event Tue Sep 09 2008

What is the Future of Music?

The Future of Music Coalition, a national non-profit "education, research and advocacy organization that identifies, examines, interprets and translates the challenging issues at the intersection of music, law, technology and policy," is holding a workshop titled "What's the Future for Musicians?" at the Old Town School of Folk Music on September 22, from noon to 7pm. Quoth the news release:

The "What's the Future for Musicians?" seminar will provide musicians, songwriters, independent label owners and music fans with practical advice about a range of internet-based promotion and distribution options, how to navigate the health insurance landscape, the importance of open internet structures and how copyright law and business models affect musician compensation. Breakout sessions will give attendees a chance to interact with the experts on the latest developments in music, technology and policy. The forum is a great opportunity to network with other musicians while getting informed on topical issues.

Panelists will include several FMC folks as well as Nan Warshaw, co-owner of Bloodshot Records; Frank Mauceri from Smog Veil Records; Shawn Campbell from the Chicago Independent Radio Project; Todd Bachman, producer of "Sound Opinions" and more. The organizers also promise a "special conversation" with Rob Sevier of Numero Group about how they find the artists they highlight and how they get permission to re-release recordings.

Admission is $25; register here.

Andrew Huff / Comments (0)

Event Thu Sep 04 2008

Drag City via the Scenic Route


Gastr del Sol, Mirror Repair EP, 1994, Drag City Records


As it goes with music, the best art can often be a little unruly, a bit difficult -- doesn't behave, in other words. It can prompt discussion, steer conversation in unforeseen directions, or -- at its most poignant -- sometimes render speech useless altogether.

Throughout the course of its long and diverse history, the Drag City label has dealt with its share of musical artists who defy pat categorization -- releasing records by the likes of Bonnie "Prince" Billy, Royal Trux, Silver Jews, Gastr del Sol, U.S. Maple, Joanna Newsome, and many others. Not only do many of these musicians also produce visual work on the side, but a few of them have collaborated with artists in other disciplines. Case in point: The stalwart experimental-rock outfit Red Krayola, whose ranks have included a number of internationally-established artists from the visual art realm -- benefitting from contributions by Albert Oehlen (see above) and Christopher Williams, as well as sometimes collaborated with members of the British conceptual art collective Art & Language.

To showcase this facet of the label's history, Drag City and the UIC's Gallery 400 recently mounted the exhibition Chances Are The Comets In Our Future - A Visual Introduction To Drag City. As expected, the show features cover art and various designs from the DC back catalog, but it also includes miscellaneous art-works from label artist such as Ian Svenonius, Neil Michael Haggerty, and Will Oldham. Also included as related pieces by Oelhen, Williams, Stephen Prina, and legendary punk designer/illustrator Savage Pencil.

The exhibition is currently on view at Gallery 400 at the UIC School of Architecture and the Arts, is free to the public, and runs until October 8. For directions, gallery hours and additional info, see the Gallery's website.

Graham Sanford / Comments (0)

Concert Thu Aug 28 2008

Remiss? Us? Never.

Your plans are probably made for tonight; either watching the speech or avoiding it, but we at Transmission would be remiss if we did not mention the Chicago Jazz Festival. Four days of the celebration of a true American art form in a city that's done so much as a showcase and as stomping grounds for its luminaries and its everyday practitioners.

The Chicago Jazz Festival is being bookended by two legends of jazz; Sonny Rollins tonight, and Ornette Coleman on Sunday night. Both men are nearing 80 and are still creating and playing gigs worldwide.

Other publications have done excellent recaps of both men's careers; Rollins as possibly the greatest saxophonist alive, Coleman as one of the fathers of free jazz. But we'd like to stress that, while the titans bookend the event, the musicians in the middle aren't slouches. Very few will play "straight ahead" jazz, as that has seemed to fall out of favor in favor of standards and histrionics, but there's something for everyone. Schedule is over here. Here's to hoping that a (mostly) dry weekend will get you out into the sun and into some good music.

Troy Hunter / Comments (1)

Concert Sun Aug 24 2008

Blue Notes from the Bandshell

Labor Day weekend is upon us and that can only mean one thing -- the close of the city's music festival season with the 2008 Chicago Jazz Festival in Millennium Park. And this year's CJF schedule showcases an especially solid line-up.

The Festival kicks off Thursday evening at the Pritzker Pavilion with a keynote performance by the venerable Sonny Rollins. Other headlining acts for this year include Latin jazz master Eddie Palmieri, Gerald ("Viva Tirado") Wilson and his Orchestra, and free-jazz pioneer Ornette Coleman.

Some other noteworthy attractions on this year's billing are appearances by the AACM-/Tortoise-affiliated ensemble Isotope 217, a tribute to the legacy of the AACM as led by Roscoe Mitchell and Wadada Leo Smith, vocalist Dee Alexander joining up with Eight Bold Souls, plus a performance and composer's talk by pianist Vijay Iyer (who's debuting a specially-commissioned piece for the Festival).

Those, however, are only some of the highlights. If you've yet to see the full schedule, you might want to avoid any of the City org's clunky and byzantine sites and instead dial up the Jazz Institute of Chicago page for the most compact and comprehensive listing. Or just click here.

Graham Sanford / Comments (0)

Event Mon Aug 11 2008

US Air Guitar Championships: No Win for Chicago

nordic thunder us air guitar championships 2008

By chance, I found myself in San Francisco last Friday, and able to score a ticket to the US Air Guitar National Championship Finals. More than two dozen air rockers from across the country competed to become the US Champion, representing us in Finland later this year.

Though Chicago's champion, Nordic Thunder, called upon the gods of rock to grant him victory over his foes, he fell just short of the compulsory round. That doesn't mean he didn't rock, though -- competition was so close that fifth place was a tie, and the next best contestant missed by just a tenth of a point.

And seriously, how do you beat a guy who breaks his thumb while playing an invisible guitar? That's right, US Champion Hot Lixx Hulahan managed somehow to land thumb down during his onstage acrobatics, badly mangling it, yet continued to perform and rode that bad-assness all the way to the win.

Andrew Huff / Comments (1)

Venue Tue Jul 15 2008

Mahjongg, HEALTH, others play Hideout Pfork after-parties this weekend


Drums and wires: Mahjongg

The guys in the L.A.-based noise-rock outfit HEALTH haven’t exactly made things easy for anybody, least of all themselves. First there’s their choice of a Google-that-again name, and the fact that their debut album of last year threw the trend jockeys for a loop with all of its abrasive jolts, asymmetrical arrangements, and spectral vocals. Throwing another curveball into the mix, the band managed to somewhat placate pop-minded listeners when they recently released the follow-up HEALTH//DISCO -- a bubble-wrap remix affair in which artists like Crystal Castles, Acid Girls, and Drop The Lime gave the band’s debut a club-oriented workover.

HEALTH will be playing this Friday night at the Hideout. Better yet -- in an act of astute matchmaking for the evening’s billing, they’ll be appearing alongside Chicago’s own electro Afro-funk experimentalists Mahjongg. Both groups will be performing early on the Sunday schedule for Pfork Fest; but if you’d rather experience both groups in the more cozy and conducive confines of a club, Friday’s show makes for an ideal opportunity. Alex & the Drummer are also slated to play. Doors open at 10 PM and tickets are $10.

For Saturday night’s post-Pfork soiree, the Hideout will be hosting a special edition of their Saturday night dance party event. To celebrate being named “Best Dance Party” by the Chicago Reader, the Hideout’s throwing a big eight deejay pile-up of a throwdown. Scheduled to spin for the evening (in order of appearance) are: DJ Treetop Lover, the East of Edens Soul Express DJs, Gutterbutter DJ Logan Bay, Bald Eagle and Mother Hubbard of the Life During Wartime DJs, and Smashing Time DJs Mary Nisi and Carrie Weston. It all gets underway starting at 9 PM and admission is free.

For further details, see the Hideout’s website, and our own feature run-down of this year’s Pitchfork lineup.

[video]: HEALTH - live (via Pitchfork TV)
[video]: Mahjongg - "Teardrops"

Graham Sanford / Comments (0)

Event Tue Jul 01 2008

KEXP Invades Chicago

For the third straight year, KEXP will visit Chicago and feature some homegrown talent live in the studio on their airwaves. On July 16, 17 and 18, KEXP hosts 4 bands each day at Engine Studios. Many local acts like Bottomless Pit, The M's, Mahjongg, Occidental Brothers and David Vandervelde will perform. And because they're such nice folks, KEXP is letting almost anyone join them to see and hear them play live. But you have to sign up. And you should do it sooner rather than later because these events fill up. Performers and times are listed at KEXP's Live from Chicago 2008 website. In addition to the studio sessions, Au and Sleep Out will perform for free at Darkroom on the 16th as part of KEXP's Midwest invasion.

James Ziegenfus / Comments (0)

Event Tue Jun 03 2008

Wednesday: "Father of Hip-Hop" Kool Herc to DJ at South-Side Dance Party


When he first arrived in the U.S. with his immigrant parents in 1967 at the age of twelve, Jamaican-born Clive Campbell, aka DJ Kool Herc, carried with him the seeds of a cultural movement. Bearing memories of classic DJ soundclashes and block parties in his hometown of Kingston, he would later aim to recreate similar events on the streets of the Bronx -- rigging up his own sound system with two turntables, PA columns, and a guitar amp, and setting up block parties in the park, spinning (against the disco trend of the time) a selection of funk, soul, and breakbeat-heavy selections that provided a dance-friendly vibe that folks weren't getting anywhere else. And with that, Campbell established the first of hip-hop's four elements, paving the way for all that would follow.

That, of course, is Hip-Hip History 101 -- so Old School that it's positively Pre-School. But, according to Herc, the role of playing selector and party-starter was always of a matter of knowing how to please a crowd. "When I started DJing back in the early '70s, it was just something that we were doing for fun," he wrote in his introduction for Jeff Chang's Can't Stop, Won't Stop. "I came from the 'people's choice,' from the street. If the people like you, they will support you, and your work will speak for itself."

Continue reading this entry »

Graham Sanford / Comments (0)

Event Thu May 15 2008

Between Descartes and That "Dirty Old Egg-Sucking Dog"

It's been said that those artists who possess the highest degree of creative genius are often those who carry within them the greatest unresolved paradoxes. Kris Kristofferson might've had something similar in mind when he said of his friend and fellow artist Johnny Cash, "He's a walking contradiction, partly truth and partly fiction."

Truth, of course, is the end concern of philosophical inquiry – getting at the brass tacks of life, human knowledge and experience, the nature of the world. As the latest in a series of titles from their Popular Culture and Philosophy line, Chicago-based scholarly imprint Open Court Publishing has just published Johnny Cash and Philosophy: The Burning Ring of Truth. In a collection of academically-inclined essays, eighteen deep thinkers and die-hard Cash fans offer a variety of perspectives on the metaphysical, social, and spiritual aspects of the Cash's music – the whys and what-fors of how Cash's lyrics connect with the singer's own life and speak to a large and varied audience on so many levels. The contributing authors examine the man's music from a range of perspectives. You get Cash on crime and the American penal system, Cash on sin and redemption and the many pitfalls of human nature, Cash on the value of honest labor and making what you can of what you've been given, Cash on the matter of love as examined in light of his relationship with June Carter, and a number of other topics.

The volume of essays was co-edited (along with David Werther) by former Chicago musician and current philosophy professor John Huss, who contributed the chapter "Johnny Cash and Justice." Before he vacated town to pursue his career in academia, Huss used to play around the Windy City as the frontman for the John Huss Moderate Combo back in the 1990s. Next weekend, the Moderate Combo will be reuniting to play a couple of shows in town to celebrate the book's publication and to pay tribute to the Man in Black.

Continue reading this entry »

Graham Sanford

Concert Wed Apr 30 2008

Shows Not Happening This Weekend

The announcement earlier this month that Sly & the Family Stone would play at the Vic this Saturday evening was greeted by potential concertgoers with emotions ranging from absolute glee to serious hesitation. Not surprisingly, considering Sly's erratic behavior over the last, oh, nearly 40 years, Saturday's gig has been cancelled "due to health reasons." Whether that is actually the case or not may remain a mystery in the same way that the Minneapolis cancellation the night prior is due to "scheduling conflicts." Reviews from last weekend's shows in Los Angeles (here and here) indicate inconsistent performances highlighted only by moments of greatness among many of mediocrity.

In other news about events that aren't happening, this weekend's rescheduled grand opening of the new Bottom Lounge has been postponed. Last weekend's Earth show had been moved and this weekend's shows by Urge Overkill and MU330 (They're still around?) have simply been postponed. Hopefully, the proper Ts and Is are crossed and dotted before next weekend's shows.

James Ziegenfus / Comments (0)

Event Sat Apr 19 2008

*insert High Fidelity joke here*

In this digital age, the iTunes Music Store and Amazon's mp3 service reign supreme. The indie record store, some say, is getting absolutely shellacked by the movement to mp3s, Ogg, and FLAC, and are forced to close their doors. We're lucky that, here in Chicago, there are quite a few indie stores holding on and kicking, and today is their day.

On Record Store Day, the goal is to patronize actual brick-and-mortars who serve as an alternative to the bog-box entertainment outlets. The advantages are many, the locations smaller, but the attention and selection are, in many cases, FAR better than the nationwide chains.

We've reviewed some of these spaces here before, and some places are having star-studded events for the occasion. So, whether JazzMart, Deadwax, Lauries, or anywhere else, get out there today! At least you won't freeze.

Troy Hunter / Comments (0)

Event Fri Apr 11 2008

CHIRP Record Fair Entertainment Schedule

The Music-Buying Event Formally Known As the WLUW Record Fair kicks off Saturday, April 12 and continues through Sunday, April 13. Now held as a fund raiser for CHIRP (Chicago Independent Radio Project), the sixth annual fair will be held at the Pulaski Park Fieldhouse (1419 W. Blackhawk St.). Saturday hours are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $7, or $5 if you can get your hands on one of their ads. There's also a special pre-admission price for Saturday that will allow you to sneak in at 8 a.m.

Entrance details aside, there'll be much more at the record fair than two rooms full of music vendors and a plethora of record geeks: CHIRP has also set up two days' worth of DJs and local live acts, including Mahjonng, Black Bear Combo, and the Revelettes. Check out the schedule:

CHIRP DJs (second gym)

Saturday:

10am – 11am – Carrie Weston
11am – 12pm - Elizabeth Ramborger
12pm – 1pm – Christopher Shively
1pm – 2pm – Jenny Lizak
2pm – 3pm – Deirdre Titel
3pm – 4pm – Emily Agustin
4pm – 5pm - Mica Alaniz
5pm – 6pm – Michael Ardaiolo

Sunday:

10am – 11am – Dan Morgridge
11am – 12pm – Erik Roldan
12pm – 1pm – Jen Van Matre
1pm – 2pm – Nick White
2pm – 3pm – Megan Timmons (Dj Megatron)
3pm – 4pm – Tony Breed
4pm – 5pm – Rachel Hinsdale

Main Stage

Saturday:
10am - 11am Dr. Drase
11am - 12pm Raise High the Roofbeam
12pm - 1pm Dylan Posa
1pm - 2pm Speck Mountain
2pm - 3pm Blue Ribbon Glee Club
3pm - The Revelettes
3pm - 4pm The Soul Rebel's Chic-A-Go-Go Dance Party
4pm The Revelettes
4pm - 5pm Black Bear Combo
5pm - 6pm Colorlist

Sunday:
10am - 11am William Luck
11am - 12pm Johnny from J+J+J (DJ Set)
12pm - 1pm Ferdinand Fox
1pm - 1:30pm DJ Nick Tracy, DJ Limbs / Chicago Breakerz
1:30 - 2:30pm Yea Big & Kid Static
2:30pm - 3:30pm Mahjongg (DJ Set)
3:30pm - 4:30pm Willy Joy & Capcom (DJ Set)
4:30pm - 5:00pm DJ Mary Nisi spins finds from the fair

For more information, visit CHIRP's record fair page. While you're there, stop by the Gapers Block booth!

Kara Luger / Comments (0)

Concert Fri Mar 28 2008

KEXP To Broadcast Live from Pitchfork Fest, More Bands Announced

kexp.jpg

Pitchfork Music Festival announced today that KEXP, the "where the music matters" public radio station in Seattle known for its innovative music and web programming, will broadcast live from the actual festival and from Chicago in the days running up to the festival.

The announcement helps bolster KEXP's efforts to become the nation's top new music/rock station via its internet stream. KEXP replaces KCRWMUSIC.COM (Santa Monica, CA) as the chief radio sponsor, and why KCRW did not grab this opportunity is unknown. The fact that, for two years in a row, public radio stations from other states have sponsored the festival seems to demonstrate how sorely lacking Chicago is of a great rock station, public or commercial.

In addition to the radio broadcast announcement, the festival announced the following newly added acts to the lineup, and expects to announce more in April.

Those newly announced acts are:

* Dinosaur Jr
* The Pitchfork Music Festival and All Tomorrow's Parties present "Don't Look Back" featuring Mission of Burma performing "Vs."
* Jarvis Cocker
* Ghostface & Raekwon
* The Apples in Stereo
* Jay Reatard
* Ruby Suns
* Dirty Projectors
* Cut Copy
* A Hawk and A Hacksaw
* Fuck Buttons
* King Khan & His Shrines
* Occidental Brothers Dance Band International

They will join the following previously announced performers:

* The Pitchfork Music Festival and All Tomorrow's Parties present "Don't Look Back" featuring Public Enemy performing "It Takes A Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back"
* Animal Collective
* Spiritualized
* !!!
* M. Ward
* Boris
* Vampire Weekend
* Dizzee Rascal
* No Age
* Atlas Sound
* Fleet Foxes
* Extra Golden
* El Guincho
* and more than a dozen others TBA

David Polk / Comments (0)

News Wed Mar 26 2008

Brace yourselves: Lollapalooza tickets on sale, rumors make the rounds

When I was a kid, I was certain that the apocalypse was right around the corner. The constant sabre-rattling of the nuclear arms race with the Soviets, a steady diet of evangelical dogma about the imminent approach of Armageddon; it all pointed to total annihilation occurring within my lifetime, or (more likely) before I even saw adulthood. What's more, in the spring of 1982, an ominous celestial event was to occur -- that being the rare phenomenon of syzygy, when all of the planets of the solar system were to briefly align in their orbits around the sun. Some theorized that the effects of this freak occurrence would create all sorts of seismic and tidal catastrophes on Earth. I recall a summer camp playmate telling me that, as he understood it, the event would result in the destruction of Earth; our planet would be ripped apart when it was caught between the dueling gravities of Jupiter and the sun. Yep, we were all gonna die. And soon.

Needless to say, the spring of '82 passed with nary a tremor; so obviously my campmate was wrong. This summer, however, might be another thing altogether. Thanks to the organizers of Lollapalooza, another ominous alignment might be in the offing. In recent weeks, some hearsay's had it that big-namers like Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails, and Bloc Party have agreed to play. But the big rumor that's been pinging around the internet the past few days is that the festival has scheduled the polar entities of Miley Cyrus and Nine Inch Nails to headline on the same evening -- with Cyrus appearing on one stage while the NIN crew play on other end of the festival grounds.

Continue reading this entry »

Graham Sanford / Comments (0)

Event Tue Feb 05 2008

For Valentine's Day: Hearts. Flowers. Grindin'.

So, uh, Valentine's Day is next week. And if you know what's in your own best interests, you won't eff it up or fumble the occasion, right? There's plenty of things you could do for your special someone, but if going out dancing factors into your plans, the folks at CHIRP (the Chicago Independent Radio Project) are there to help in the best way possible. For the third year running, they're throwing their FlosstraPROMus V-Day benefit blowout.

The whole thing's going off at the Abbey Pub next Thursday night. As you might've guessed, the event is also a prom-themed celebration. Meaning that you can do Valentine's Day in style AND relive your high school prom night under more auspicious circumstances--starting with better music to dance to. Of course, Flosstradamus will be there to steer the party into high gear. Topping it all off, the organizers have procured the services of nightlife shutterbug Clayton Huack from Everyoneisfamous to provide prom portraits for attendees.

Joining Flosstradamus will be DJ C & Murderbot. Maybe you've caught them around town, recently. The pair are recent transplants to Chicago. DJ C runs the Mashit! label, and for a decade operated as a pioneering figure in Boston's experimental electronic/dance scene. He and his Mashit associates are mainly known for rolling in a rough'n'tumble ragga-jungle and breakcore style; but C's a pretty eclectic and versatile DJ on the decks, and he and Murderbot will be spinning tunes that'll get the evening on the proper track.

Given the theme of the evening, attendees are welcome (and encouraged) to dress "formally"--but of course it's not required. Abbey Pub, Thursday Feb 14, 10:30pm. Admission is $7.

[video]: FlosstraPROMUS 2007 clip
[mp3]: DJ C - "Bouncement" mix set
[links]: Event info on Going and Myspace

Graham Sanford / Comments (0)

Classical Thu Oct 09 2014

Pulling Strings: For classical music in Chicago, you got a guy - October 2014

By Elliot Mandel

"Classical music is dead. Long live classical music!" - The Internet. The lesson: Read less internet. See more music.

Read this feature »

Blogroll

  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
BackStage
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
ChicagoMusic.org
Chicago Music Guide
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CHIRP
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Cream Team
Dark Jive
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Resident Advisor
Songs:Illinois
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

  Venues:

Abbey Pub
Andy's Jazz Club
Aragon Ballroom
Auditorium Theatre
Beat Kitchen
B.L.U.E.S
Bottom Lounge
Buddy Guy's Legends
The Burlington
California Clipper
Concord Music Hall
Congress Theater
Constellation
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Double Door
Elbo Room
Empty Bottle
FitzGerald's
Green Mill
The Hideout
Honky Tonk BBQ
House of Blues
Kingston Mines
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Logan Square Auditorium
Martyrs'
Mayne Stage
Metro
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Old Town School of Folk Music
Park West
The Promontory
Red Line Tap
Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint
The Riviera
Rosa's
Schubas
Thalia Hall
The Shrine
Smartbar
Subterranean
Symphony Center
Tonic Room
Township
Uncommon Ground
The Vic
The Whistler

  Labels, Promoters
  & Shops:

Alligator Records
Atavistic
Beverly Records
Bloodshot Records
Dave's Records
Delmark Records
Drag City
Dusty Groove
Flameshovel Records
Groove Distribution
He Who Corrupts
Hozac
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


Events

Thu Oct 23 2014
Cass McCombs & Meat Puppets @ Empty Bottle

Thu Oct 23 2014
Stars Align @ GMan Tavern

Thu Oct 23 2014
Local Brews, Local Grooves @ House of Blues

Fri Oct 24 2014
Psychemagik @ Smart Bar

Fri Oct 24 2014
The Atlas Moth @ Beat Kitchen

Fri Oct 24 2014
Project Recall: HCL @ Mana Contemporary

Sat Oct 25 2014
Spektral Quartet @ Constellation

Sat Oct 25 2014
The Toasters @ Beat Kitchen

Sat Oct 25 2014
Red Scare 10th Anniversary @ Metro

Sun Oct 26 2014
The Adventures of Danny & Mike @ Lincoln Hall

Sun Oct 26 2014
Beat Swap Meet @ Empty Bottle

Mon Oct 27 2014
Oozing Wound @ Empty Bottle

Mon Oct 27 2014
Nude Beach @ Subterranean

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About Transmission

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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Editor: Anne Holub, anne@gapersblock.com
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