Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Friday, July 12

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Music & Film Wed Sep 23 2015

Le Révélateur Cruise the Back Alleys of Retrofuturism @ Siskel Center

For the inauguration of its 19th(!) year of programming cutting-edge experimental music events in Chicago, Lampo is hosting a rare weeknight event Thursday, Sept. 24 at the Gene Siskel Film Center. As part of its Conversations at the Edge series, the Siskel will host Le Révélateur, the duo of video artist Sabrina Ratté and Godspeed! You Black Emperor/Fly Pan Am's Roger Tellier-Craig.

Continue reading this entry »

Chris Sienko

Interview Sat Aug 08 2015

A Conversation With Mike Raspatello, Director and Executive Producer of FESTIVAL

One of the co-founders of North Coast Music Festival is making a documentary that, unlike many music films of the past, will focus on the perspective of music festival attendees. The movie, called FESTIVAL, is currently using an IndieGogo campaign to raise money for the licensing of featured bands' music and archival concert footage. I got the chance to speak with Mike Raspatello, the brilliant and energetic director/executive producer of FESTIVAL, and our fascinating conversation ranged from his inspiration for making the movie and the process of picking the subjects to his thoughts on the rise of EDM and what makes Chicago such an amazing city for festivals.

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Zach Blumenfeld

Concert Tue Jul 14 2015

Z'EV's Cine(ma) and (Per)cussion Alchemy at Tritriangle


If the moon is looking a little blue and the hen are all growing teeth, check your local listings -- it may portend a rare return of Z'EV to Chicago!

I wrote about Z'EV two other times, once in 2007 and again in 2010. At that time, Z'EV's style still largely involved styles and methods he's developed since the '80s -- resonant metals, found objects, and conventional percussion instruments both struck and rubbed, all of them strategically placed within the room to induce and capitalize on natural room echo and reverberation.

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Chris Sienko

Television Wed May 20 2015

Numero's Secret Role in "Mad Men"

Mad Men dance

If you've ever heard a song on "Mad Men" and wondered where it was from, or maybe smiled smugly to yourself that you could identify what's probably a rare track to most folks, then we have some info for you.

Local label Numero Group proudly notes that many of its songs were used across the seven seasons of "Mad Men." Season six seems to have been when the label's hits were most popular (which makes sense, given the historical timeline involved). See a full list and snag some of the albums yourself at Numero's website.

I'm pretty partial to this Big Mack Label "Crooked Woman" track by Edd Henry. Rowr!

Anne Holub

Music & Film Mon May 11 2015

White Mystery's That Was Awesome Returns to the Screen May 20

thatwasawesome.jpgIf you missed the premiere of That Was Awesome, the new film by White Mystery, at CIMMfest earlier this year, you've got another chance. By popular demand, the film is screening again at the Logan Theatre on Wednesday, May 20.

The Whites describe That Was Awesome as a "psychedelic dark comedy." The film offers a peek into the telepathic minds of the brother and sister duo, Miss Alex and Francis Scott Key, viewed through the lenses of five different filmmakers. It's the perfect reason to start summer hours a little early... and on a Wednesday.

The screening is from 4 to 6pm at the Logan Theatre, 2646 N. Milwaukee Ave., and is all ages. Tickets are $10, $7.50 for students. The Saki store, 3716 W. Fullerton Ave., has a couple tickets to give away, as well as more for sale for $10. Following the screening, there will be an afterparty at Parts & Labor, 2700 N. Milwaukee Ave., with music curated by the band.

Andrew Huff

Music & Film Mon Dec 15 2014

Get that Holiday Feeling at the Chicago Premiere of Jingle Bell Rocks!

jingle bell rocks! filmFor some people, Christmastime is year-round. I'm not talking about your aunt with the entire room of her house devoted to the holiday, I mean Christmas music fanatics. They're always on the hunt for that rare holiday single, that obscure recording deserving of more attention.

A new documentary shines a thousand strings of lights on the holiday music collecting community. Jingle Bell Rocks, directed by Mitchell Kezin, talk with collectors from around the country, including Joseph "Rev Run" Simmons of RUN-D.M.C, Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips, filmmaker John Waters, and radio host/musicologist Dr. Demento. Locally, Andy Cirzan, vice president of Jam Productions and guest host on the annual "Sound Opinions" holiday show, is interviewed extensively.

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Andrew Huff

Concert Fri Jun 20 2014

Robert Beatty & Takeshi Murata Make Motorcycle-Riding Werewolves Cool Again @ Lampo

Robert Beatty. Photo by Angie Evans.

The 15+ year experimental music organization Lampo concludes its winter/spring 2014 season this Saturday, with a mix of sound and visuals by long-running collaborators, musician Robert Beatty and filmmaker Takeshi Murata. The event is free with RSVP, and will contain both live performances and film screenings. It takes place at the Graham Foundation's Madlener House, 4 W. Burton Pl., and starts at 8pm.

For many years, Beatty was probably best known as the electronics mangler in Hair Police, a long running trio of nice guys who manage to sound like a body being buried before fully dead. The group's commitment to audio asphyxiation is a thing to be admired. But when not grinding his electronics into the unforgiving soil with that lot, his solo work, first under the moniker Three-Legged Race and now under his own name, aimed itself directly into the inner eye of the cosmos. With albums like 2012's Persuasive Barrier and 2008's Living Order/Mourning Order, Three-Legged Race revealed itself as a supple, endlessly inventive purveyor of head-bound electronic music, conveying shades of light and shade with beauty and heart. Beatty's distinctive visual art has also adorned LP covers like Burning Star Core's "Challenger" and Ga'an's "Black Equus."

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Chris Sienko

Review Fri Apr 04 2014

Report: Mac Demarco Freaks Out the Neighborhood @ Empty Bottle


"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

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 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

Preview Sun Oct 13 2013

Monday: Bill Callahan @ Alhambra Palace

Bill Callahan has proven over the course of two-plus decades that he's no stranger to bucking expectation. So it makes sense that Callahan will once again be performing in a "unique performance environment," this time at the Alhambra Palace, 1240 W. Randolph, a large restaurant with vaulted ceilings and beautiful interiors with little to no history of hosting indie rock legends and their attendant crowds. In other words, another perfect wrench to throw into the rock-world works and a welcomed disruption to the often tired and conventional thinking of where a performer of Callahan's stature might be expected to appear on tour.

Partnering once again with Land and Sea Dept., the same group responsible for bringing Callahan to the Garfield Conservatory last spring and Kim Gordon's Body/Head to the MCA last month, Callahan returns to Chicago to play material from the newly released Dream River. Callahan's newest set of songs explore themes of sex, love, and acceptance, with his trademark wit and devastating use of understatement keenly intact. Using roughly the same cast of musicians as 2011's excellent Apocalypse, Callahan's newest once again makes use of sparse percussion, the occasional flute and violin, and Matt Kinsey's striking, tumbleweed guitar. What's most remarkable, however, is that Callahan actually sounds happy, which comes as less of a surprise when considering the 47-year-old is newly engaged to filmmaker Hanly Banks, who shot his 2012 tour documentary Apocalypse: A Bill Callahan Tour Film. As he says on Dream River's "Ride My Arrow", he sounds "alive, and enjoying the ride." Callahan's ex-con has finally made good, it would appear.

Like his last tour, Callahan will once again be performing in three-piece format for what promises to be a profoundly intimate take on his newer material. Expect a looser and even more open-plains take on tracks from his last few records, with Callahan's careful baritone leading the charge.

Tickets are $25, and the show starts at 7pm.

Mike Bellis / Comments (1)

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

Music & Film Wed Aug 14 2013

Coming Soon to a Theater Near You: Wax Trax!

Regressive Films, the filmmakers who gave you the Chicago punk documentary You Weren't There are working on a new documentary about legendary record store and Industrial label Wax Trax, in collaboration with cofounder Jim Nash's daughter Julia, who runs a tribute site. They've just released a trailer.

Interviews with musicians Paul Barker, Jello Biafra, Richard 23 and Patrick Codenys, Chris Connelly, En Esch and former store and label employees are already in the can, but they're looking for more material -- video or audio footage, photos and stories -- from fans and members of the scene. Email Regressive and let them know what you've got.

Andrew Huff

Music & Film Wed May 29 2013

Charlie Louvin Still Rattlin' the Devil's Cage Screens at The Hideout This Friday, 5/31

Outside of the traditional country music scene, a renewed interest in the Louvin Brothers' music could arguably have more to do with an ironic appreciation for an entirely unironic album the duo put out in 1959 called Satan Is Real. Then again, the Louvin Brothers are actually just really interesting.

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Marc Fishman

News Wed Feb 27 2013

Old Town School Debuts New TV Show on WYCC

The Old Town School of Folk Music and Chicago's PBS affiliate WYCC have teamed up for a brand new live concert television program focused specifically on bringing world music to U.S. audiences.

"Musicology: Live from the Old Town School of Folk Music" will debut Friday, April 19, at 9pm on WYCC Channel 20, immediately following the legendary, and similarly-themed, live music program "Austin City Limits." And much like "Austin City Limits," "Musicology" will present 45 minutes of pure live music taped in Chicago at The Old Town School's own Gary and Laura Maurer Concert Hall, in addition to interviews and other cultural, historical, and musical context from the artist.

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Marc Fishman

Review Wed Feb 13 2013

Review: Ty Segall and Ex-Cult (Early Show) @ Empty Bottle 2/9

The Empty Bottle was already packed by 7pm last Saturday night when Trin Tran, a ski-masked fellow and Drag City one-man garage band/disco curiosity, played his first song with the help of no less than two synth pads, a guitar, an electronic kick pedal and a homemade snare pedal that looked something like a baseball bat hitting a go-kart steering wheel. The fact that he was doing this all by himself made the crowd slightly less anxious to be listening to his baffling blend of deconstructed basement jams, riding both sides of the line between perfect pop and fried-out chaos. This wasn't Trin Tran's party, to be fair, though he seemed perfectly content to be crashing it. The audience, who was still trickling in, seemed perfectly happy to share in his reverie. It was a great warm up to what was sure to be a lights-out night of tunes. And everyone knew the night really belonged to Ty Segall, reigning garage-rock wunderkind, who would play a few hours later (and then a few hours later after that.) This was only the early set for Segall's twice-sold-out stand of two shows (early and late) at the Bottle, his first time in Chicago since the last time we saw him, but everyone seemed plenty awake.

Segall is already somewhat of a legend in certain circles due to his prolific output in recent years and ascendant songwriting muse (having one of the best working garage bands around doesn't hurt things either). So it turned some heads when Segall opted to produce the debut LP for Memphis punks Sex Cult last year. A quick burst of sessions in San Francisco, a cease-and-desist letter prompting a name change to Ex-Cult, and a little over six months later, they had an album. And, now, they also have a tour: The Memphis punks have been on the road with Segall and his band since mid-January, criss-crossing the States and putting in some serious miles both on-stage and off. And when Ex-Cult hit the stage next, you could tell they were battle-tested.

On stage, Ex-Cult frontman Chris Shaw is a dead ringer for Ron Reyes or even a younger Glenn Danzig, and it suits the band's hybrid of classic California hardcore and Oblivians-obsessed Southern punk well. Combing through tracks from their Segall-produced LP, Ex-Cult, the band was locked-in from the start, shooting out blasts of sound across their well-honed and worn-in hardcore tunes. It was a throwback sound (and temperament, if anything can be assumed by their classical-style hardcore band logo), to be sure, but blended in the space-chamber dinginess of modern-day San Francisco acts like Thee Oh Sees and The Fresh & Onlys nicely. More importantly, it became immediately clear that these guys were the real deal and had no problem demonstrating that to everyone in the room. The crowd, few of which seemed to be familiar with the group before their set, was converted in no more than 30 minutes. Ex-Cult killed it, and they knew it. And they'd be back a few hours later to prove it again.

Ty Segall took to the stage moments later, unassumingly testing out his guitars with the band for minutes on end before his set while people hung out in the front rows looking up at him. Once the band was assembled and a few line-checks were made, Segall said hello and cranked into a hopped-up version of Twins standout "Thank God For The Sinners". The band, which includes ascendant garage peer Mikal Cronin on bass and the perpetually badass Emily Rose Epstein on drums, sounded red-hot, blasting through tunes from across Segall's already vast catalogue. Mostly, they focused on standout tracks from his more recent albums, playing fan favorites like Slaughterhouse's "Wave Goodbye" and "I Bought My Eyes" or Twins' "The Hill". Throughout the hour-plus set, Segall proved again his effortless knack for writing inspired past-leaning and playful songs and even made a serious case for his skills as a guitar player, no doubt. Minor technical problems aside (a bum cable or two), Segall was a true showman, mostly all business if not noticeably quite polite and seemingly happy to be there. No encores here, though — the guy has to remember to save at least some of his energy for the next set.

Mike Bellis

Video Tue Aug 21 2012

The Grid: LAMPO

"LAMPO" is the ninth installment of our short film series, The Grid. These documentaries are posted throughout Gapers Block and compiled in their own multimedia feature section.

Since 1997, LAMPO has presented experimental music and intermedia events to adventurous Chicago audiences. Find out about upcoming shows at, and hear more about LAMPO from Director Andrew Fenchel on WBEZ.

About The Grid

This video is part of a series profiling Chicago businesses, subcultures and landscapes. These short, lyrical documentaries aspire to be art cinema, ethnographies, and experiments in form. Producer Ben Kolak's directorial debut, Scrappers,, won Best Documentary at the Chicago Underground Film Festival and made Roger Ebert's list of top documentaries for 2010. Sound recordist and editor Alex Inglizian does sound for LAMPO and is chief engineer at Experimental Sound Studio. Graphic Designer Akemi Hong is a recent graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago's graduate program in Visual Communication Design.

The Grid is funded in part by the Chicago Instructional Technology Foundation Digital Media Production Fund.


Preview Mon Jun 04 2012

Preview: Outliers, Volume I: Iceland & Exclusive Song from A Lull

Last year, Chicago film collective Scenic (Anthony Ciannamea, Mark Wisniowski and Ryan Sievert) ran a successful Kickstarter campaign to fund Outliers, Vol. 1: Iceland, its first full-length documentary in Iceland. The film was shot in October in a variety of locations around Iceland, with photographers Tim Navis and Kim Høltermand and composer/producer Deru tagging along with the filmmakers to film their journey and make a series of collaborative musical vignettes inspired by the locations they visited. Deru's compositions are supplemented on the soundtrack by contemporary classical and electronic music by Shigeto, Goldmund, Ryuichi Sakamoto,Sweatson Klank, Asura, Son Lux, Loscil, A Lull and more.

Outliers Vol. 1 will be released on DVD later this month (it's available for preorder now), and will premiere at Lincoln Hall, 2424 N. Lincoln Ave., on July 10. There will be a Q&A with the artists after the screening, followed by a concert by Loscil, Sweatson Klank, Shigeto and Dero. Scenic will join Deru onstage for the final set, which will consist of a collaborative A/V performance. Only the first 200 ticketholders will get into the film and Q&A; the rest will see the concert only. Tickets are $20 online or at the Lincoln Hall box office.

As an exclusive on Transmission, Scenic has shared a song from the soundtrack: "Filthy, Wild Animals" by A Lull. Listen to it below or download it here.

Play "Filthy, Wild Animals" by A Lull

Andrew Huff

Preview Thu May 03 2012

The Treasure Fleet @ Beat Kitchen

The Treasure Fleet by Katie Hovland.jpg

Photo by Katie Hovland

Head over to Beat Kitchen - 2100 W. Belmont - this Saturday, May 5th for The Treasure Fleet's record release show for their debut album "Cocamotion" out on Recess Records.

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. You can check out a recent and the bands first-ever interview on Jaded in Chicago.

The House That Gloria Vanderbilt (ex Apocalypse Hoboken) and Rad Payoff open.

Show is Saturday, May 5th, starts at 10pm, is 17+ and is $8.
You can buy tickets and get more info of this show here.

Katie Hovland

Preview Tue Mar 27 2012

The Treasure Fleet @ Township, 4/4

The Treasure Fleet by Katie Hovland.jpg

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

Transmission Tue Dec 27 2011

The Whoevers Speak "Spectacular Vernacular" in Latest Video Release
The Whoevers' album, Renovations

Local emcees J. Arthur and DotKom combine their drive, talents, and roots in the soulful and gritty sounds that make up their style, to create the hip-hop duo known as The Whoevers. They've earned the respect of listeners from the tops of several stages in the city, including one at Wicker Park Fest this past year.

With the digital release of their first album, Renovations, back in September, The Whoevers are wrapping up their biggest year yet, with their midnight release of the music video for "Spectacular Vernacular," the second track off the EP.

Ricardo Villarreal

Music & Film Tue Oct 25 2011

Celluloid Salon with Chrissy Murderbot @ The Viaduct Theatre, 11/2


Wednesday, November 2nd at the Viaduct Theatre polymath Hi-NRG-Disco-Booty-Jungle-Rave producer Chrissy Murderbot will be DJing a live soundtrack to a quartet of films running the gamut of a dog's quest through the afterlife in search of an orange, unintentional slapstick employee training videos, scientists, dancers, and rockets. Expect an evening where dream logic reigns supreme.

You'll remember Chicago DJ Chrissy Murderbot as the dude who bombarded you with kazoos and rave whistles as you shuffled into Pitchfork Fest last year. Starting in May of 2009 Chrissy began a yearlong weekly DJing odyssey through dance music micro-genre history. His demonstration of oft forgotten secret booty moving rituals in the realms of new jack swing, ambient jungle, booty bass, Philly soul, Quebecois Disco, and late '70s roller rink boogie are party starting standouts. Chrissy's love of kitsch and encyclopedic knowledge of dance music paired with the touch of bizarre the film selections provide will make for a one of a kind night.

Continue reading this entry »

Jason Olexa

Music & Film Wed Oct 12 2011

Ministry is Fixed

Ministry made its start in Chicago in 1981, part of the Wax Trax! constellation of new wave and industrial bands. So it makes sense that FIX, a documentary about the band, would screen here. And in fact it made its debut at the Chicago International Music and Movie Festival back in April. FIX is back, appropriately enough, for a Halloween screening at the Music Box on Oct. 27. Tickets are $10 in advance or at the box office.

Andrew Huff

Music & Film Thu Mar 10 2011

The Soundtrack You're Missing

Exploring the life of musicians busking the streets in Chicago, short film Music In The Air presents music and interviews with those who play you home on the train or down the sidewalk every day. Candidly discussing their musical careers restricted by a permit process limited by the City of Chicago and the CTA, along with their motivations to keep at it, the musicians range in age and style, but never in their desire to eek out a living in front of an often unaware audience. The documentary premiered last year as a part of the Split Pillow Film Festival. The director, Alex Mechlin, is currently planning a follow-up film, and is submitting Music In The Air to festivals.

Anne Holub

Music & Film Wed Feb 09 2011

Mucca Pazza Hits the Big (-ger) Screen

You may already know that Mucca Pazza, Chicago's own 30-piece, cuckoo-bananas, circus punk marching band, is a whole hell of a lot of fun to see live. But did you know that they want to transfer that magic to film? It's true! The group, along with Chicago-based artists Danièle Wilmouth (filmmaker) and Peter Carpenter (dancer/choreographer), will star in the short film Marching Banned.

This is where you come in: In order to see the light of day, the group is seeking to raise $4k through Kickstarter. As of this writing, they're already more than halfway to the mark, but the trick is if they don't raise enough dough by the end of the allotted amount of time, they don't get any of it. Boo. Check out their hilarious video explaining the project on the Kickstarter site, and give a little, won't ya?

Kara Luger

DJ / Dance Wed Dec 29 2010

Get Mashed Up in the New Year

WINTERBLOCKARTY_Jan15-small.jpgIf you're looking to start off your 2011 with some creative endeavors, look no further than the WBEZ 3rd Annual Winter Block Party for Chicago's Hip-Hop Artists. This multi-faceted event includes a mash-up contest, a free visual art exhibition, a film screening, a sampling showcase, and a dance battle.

On January 15, 2011, admission is free for the gallery and graffiti art show. Various ticketed daytime events include a film screening and dance battle (tickets range from $3-$5). The evening's main event on 1/15 costs $10-$15 and starts at 8pm (buy tickets). This year's evening event will be a presentation titled "Original Style: Exploring the History of Chicago House" and will host a panel including legends of Chicago House music such as DJ Frankie Knuckles (groove out to some amateur video of him DJ-ing below) and local music promoters, and a screening of an "archival film" from Chicago's House scene in the 1980s and '90s. A free after-party follows.

The Winter Block Party for Chicago's Hip-Hop Artists takes place at the Chicago Urban Art Society, located at
2229 S. Halsted Street. For full information see WBEZ's site.

Anne Holub

Concert Wed Dec 22 2010

The Smoking Popes @ Reggies, 12/31

The Smoking Popes_Katie Hovland.jpg
Photo by Katie Hovland

Chicago's The Smoking Popes are playing Reggies Rock Club, 2109 South State St., this New Year's Eve with Company Of Thieves, The Fold and August Premier. The Smoking Popes will play songs from their new record, This is only a Test, which comes out on Asian Man Records March 15.

Show starts at 8pm and is 18+. Tickets are $30 and you can buy them here. Visit MP Shows for more details.

Want some other options? Check out our NYE concert round-up!

Katie Hovland / Comments (1)

Concert Tue Nov 30 2010

This Week @ Subterranean


The Emergency Room (Dan Andriano of Alkaline Trio) and Sundowner (Chris McCaughan of The Lawrence Arms) play this Thursday night, 12/2. Doors are at 8pm & show starts at 9. It is 17+ and tickets are $14.


Main support for Japanther on Friday night, 12/3, are Chicago's finest, The Arrivals. They play with Vacation and Unstoppable Death Machines. This show is 17+ and tickets are $8. Doors open at 8:30pm with the show starting at 9. Don't forget to pick up The Arrivals new record, Volatile Molotov, released on Recess Records.


Sunday night, 12/5, Dear Landlord (members of The Copyrights & Off With Their Heads) headline with Chinese Telephones, Vacation Bible School, and No Enemy opening. Doors are at 7pm & the show starts at 7:30pm. It's 17+ and is $8.

On Tuesday, 12/7, The Treasure Fleet (members of The Arrivals, The Lawrence Arms, The Smoking Popes, and Sass Dragons) play with Mini Mansions which features a member of Queens of The Stone Age. Thrillage opens this show. Doors are at 8pm and show is at 8:30pm. Sorry kids, this show is 21+. $8.

You can purchase tickets and find more info at Don't miss out on a great week of music @ Subterranean - 2011 North Ave W - in Chicago.

Katie Hovland

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

Event Mon Sep 27 2010

JBTV has free passes for The Brokedowns, 10/2


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 @ 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


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

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

Katie Hovland

Concert Wed Sep 15 2010

Hell bent for (the mind of) black leather


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.

Continue reading this entry »

Chris Sienko

Concert Fri Jul 09 2010

Review in Pictures: Against Me! @ the Aragon Ballroom, 7/3

Gainesville, Florida's Against Me! has been touring with Silversun Pickups promoting their new album, White Crosses. It is their second album since signing with Sire Records in 2005. If you missed this show, don't worry, they recently announced they'll be back to play Chicago at Lollapalooza on Saturday, August 7th.

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Tom Gabel (photo by Katie Hovland)

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Franz Nicolay (photo by Katie Hovland)

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Katie Hovland / Comments (1)

Concert Tue May 25 2010

Windy City Sound Clash


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

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

Concert Sun May 09 2010

Photos/Review: Josephine Foster with Spires That in the Sunset Rise and Arlt @ The Hideout 5/8/10

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It was an exceptional trio of bands that played the Hideout last night, each with their own respective talents that brought together a cohesive evening with almost haunted melodies, lush feminine vocals, and music that was impressive in its originality.

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Continue reading this entry »

Kirstie Shanley

Contest Mon Mar 15 2010

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch Runaways Contest

Between the internet, tv, and TMZ freaking out about the shag haircuts you might have already come across the rocking, tight-pantsed, super glam trailer for the upcoming Runaways movie starting Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning as late-'70s all-girl rock band pioneers Joan Jett and Cherie Currie (respectively).

It's a bit of a happy accident that The Runaways movie will open (well, for its limited release) during March, which is Women's History Month. This badass girl band (and really, that's a far cry from the wimpy moniker "boy band" these days) not only made it big when they were just teenagers, but did it during the late '70s, selling out shows in SoCal and opening nation-wide for testosterone fueled dude rockers like The Ramones, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and Van Halen. A little bit glam, a little bit amp-kicking rock'n'roll, you just can't look away when they take the stage (or screen).

In honor of this sweet rock'n'roll film opening in Chicago on Friday, we have a special contest with beaucoup prizes for two lucky winners.
1. One winner will receive a t-shirt, a poster from the film, a copy of Neon Angel: A Memoir of a Runaway by Cherie Currie and Tony O'Neill (hitting bookstores this week), a copy of Joan Jet and the Blackhearts Greatest Hits CD, a copy of The Runaways film soundtrack (which includes tracks from The Runaways, The Stooges, The Sex Pistols as well as a track by film stars Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning).
2. A second winner will win a pair of tickets to see a preview of the film at the AMC 600 North Michigan 9 (600 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago) on Thursday, March 18th at 7pm. (Both winners must be U.S. residents.)

To enter: Just email us at with the subject "Queens of Noise" and you'll be entered to win (if you can't make the film screening Thursday, say "prize 1 only" in your email). We'll select our two winners later today. One entry per person. Update! We've contacted our winners! Thanks to everyone who entered!

Anne Holub

Music & Film Thu Mar 11 2010

Under Great White Northern Lights

Three years ago, The White Stripes set out to play every each and every province and territory in Canada. They ended up playing everywhere from local bowling alleys to city buses, culminating with their all-time longest set during their 10th Anniversary concert at the Savoy Theatre. Filmmaker Emmet Molloy captured the entire tour on film, and thus The White Stripes Under Great White Northern Lights documentary was born.

The doc will be screening for free tonight at Heaven Gallery, 1550 N Milwaukee Ave, at 7:30 pm. If you can't make it out that early, AMC River East, 322 East Illinois Street, will be playing the film at midnight.

Stephanie Griffin

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

Blog Fri Nov 27 2009

Friday Quick Links

When we haven't been cleaning, cooking, eating, or taking post-turkey naps. We've been looking at these things on the internet:

  • NPR provided a soundtrack for stuffing bread up a bird's hoo-hah. (Also good if you're putting together any food-themed mixtapes.)
  • Pitchfork put out its own 2009 Gift Guide which is great for the music-lover on your list (or yourself. Dang.)
  • Grab a new track from Pelican at RCDLBL.
  • Fake Shore Drive also has the latest track from Nikki Lynnette (who you might have seen if you stayed late at our last GB Anniversary Party at the Metro)
  • Get your speakers ready for Big Rock Candy Mountain's annual Holiday Music post-fest! The links get hot starting today!
  • What to Wear During an Orange Alert has a review of the latest from Boston's Truman Peyote. They head to Chicago in mid-January.
  • Get this: Elvis + Blago + Columbia College. Details here (and it's <em>free</em>).
  • Look at photos from Peaches' show at Metro last week by Tankboy. (And if opener Amanda Blank isn't doing American Apparel ads yet, she should be.)

Anne Holub

Music & Film Fri Nov 20 2009

All Tomorrow's Parties, Tonight

atpfilm.jpgAs the decade comes near it's close, a lot of sites and publications are already starting their lists of the best, most important and most influential albums. Now's your chance to see what it was really like. All Tomorrow's Parties has been hosting music festivals around the world for ten years (Including one night of the Don't Look Back series at our own Pitchfork Music Festival in 2007), and tonight Pitchfork hosts the Chicago premiere of the film that documents it all. Shot by more than 200 amateur and professional filmmakers, the film features performances from Sonic Youth, Grizzly Bear, Animal Collective, Belle and Sebastian, the Stooges, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Portishead.

Tickets are $9 and you can get them at Facets' website. 11:30pm. 1517 W. Fullerton Ave.

The DVD of the film comes out November 25 in the US (It's already sold out in the UK!).

Michelle Meywes

Music & Film Fri Sep 18 2009

Rogue Wave D Tour Screening Saturday (FREE)

I've been on the lookout for the film D Tour to hit Chicago since I first heard about the project, and I'm psyched to see it screening for free tomorrow afternoon at the Cultural Center. An award-winning documentary about Rogue Wave's drummer Pat Spurgeon and his quest to find a new kidney, the film follows Spurgeon just as he's beginning to tour heavily with the band. It's an amazing examination of the emotional struggle of living life and following your passion all the while with an illness. Check the trailer below:

D Tour trailer from dtour on Vimeo.

D Tour screens for free at 2pm, Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St., Claudia Cassidy Theater, Chicago, IL 60602. 312.744.6630 More on the movie here.

Anne Holub

Music & Film Thu Aug 27 2009

Speaking in Code: A Documentary on the Passion-fueled Lives of Contemporary Techno Creators

Being a maker, sharer (DJ), proponent and fangirl of electronic music, I gotta say, working in the electronic music world the past few years having Chicago as my home base has been an uphill struggle for most of the time... and yet I've kept at it because of a passion I've felt, irregardless of monetary gain, fame or status. My non-electronic music friends have rolled their eyes or smiled and nodded politely while I try to speak non-nerd and explain to them why I do what I do and how I do it.

Short story: it's not been an easy journey to stay on target. There's a few things the electronic music world has going against it in terms of popular appeal. First off, there's usually no vocals. How many number ones in North America have you heard in the past few years that had no vocals? I'm slowly clicking through Wikipedia and coming up blank. There was that weirdo period in the '90s featuring Moby and Fat Boy Slim and the like that only featured samples, but I don't think the majority of the public realized they were samples -- they just heard weird, staccato vocals. It seems like we North American folk need a spoken narrative to get into music on a mass level. Techno doesn't have a vocalized narrative, it has an abstract narrative that diverges from the mainstream in that very basic sense.

Continue reading this entry »

Liz McLean Knight / Comments (5)

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.

Continue reading this entry »

Liz McLean Knight

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 [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, 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.

Continue reading this entry »

Liz McLean Knight

Music & Film Thu Apr 09 2009

Get Schooled by Jack Black

schoolofrock.jpgLet Jack Black teach you the ways of rock n roll next week when Sound Opinions hosts a special screening of School of Rock at the Music Box. For those rockers and/or rollers unfamiliar with the classic storyline, Jack Black plays a less-than-motivated rock musician who finds inspiration teaching a class of fifth-graders how to rock when he stumbles into a substitute teaching gig. As even more evidence that Black loves reaching out to kids, last week he appeared on the children's tv program Yo Gabba Gabba (joining an already stellar guest list).

School of Rock is showing Wednesday, April 15th at 7:30pm. The Music Box is located at 3733 N. Southport. Tickets are $9 ($6 for kids 17 and under) and are available at Chicago Public Radio's website.

Michelle Meywes

Event Wed Mar 25 2009

No Strings Attached


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

Radio Thu Feb 12 2009

In The Year 2000...


If you've grown tired of Pandora or scouring MySpace pages for free music, then former Transmission writer Michael Schmitt has you covered. His most recent project, Future Perfect Radio, is a website that offers over 25 streaming channels of today's hottest indie music. The channels are organized by genres and geographic regions, and also offer convenient customization options. The site also highlights five artists each week so you can get acquainted with old favorites as well as up-and-coming bands.

The best part about Future Perfect Radio is its sense of community. Listeners are encouraged to complement or bash artists through Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, or a blog. In effect, listeners can influence what music is streamed on the channels through their suggestions. Unlike Pandora, you'll be constantly exposed to new music and changing playlists. For example, a new Michigan/Detroit channel will be launching soon because of huge listener feedback. Future Perfect Radio also offers sweet channels like Pitchfork's Top 100 Tracks of 2008, Indie Down Under, The Chicago Scene, and Lo-Fi. Check it out!

Raf Miastkowski

Music & Film Wed Dec 17 2008

A Cloisterful of Noise

The Monks in Hamburg, Germany, c. 1966

They always wore black. They shaved their top of their heads into monk's tonsures. They sometimes appeared on stage in robes and with nooses around their necks. And they banged out a style of garage rock that was so minimal and primitive that it made the Velvet Underground sound absolutely baroque by comparison.

The Monks came together when five American G.I.s who were stationed in Germany picked up a bunch of instruments and, for lack of anything better to do, started a band. Like the Beatles who preceded them by a few years, they paid their dues and gained their earliest fans by playing dodgy clubs in Germany, especially Hamburg. But whereas the Fab Four grabbed listeners with catchy tunes and a syncopated backbeat, the Monks had their own musical approach. "We got rid of melody," bassist Eddie Shaw later recalled. "We substituted dissonance and clashing harmonics. Everything was rhythmically oriented -- bam, bam, bam. We concentrated on over-beat."

Continue reading this entry »

Graham Sanford

Artist Sun Nov 30 2008

FINISH HIM! Local DJ and Producer Hernan Sanchez voices key Mortal Kombat phrases


Interestingly enough, his hidden celebrity has brought him admiration from his own heros in the world of electronic music. Hernan says,

I meet people on the dancefloor throughout the world; they'll introduce me as the "Mortal Kombat voice guy" and you can see their eyes get as big as plates. These are people that I respect within the industry, that I'm a fan of, and they'll look back at me and say, "I'm am so glad to meet you!" Then the conversation eventually comes around to, "Hey can you please do 'Finish Him!'" or something like that, and it becomes an exchange of fandom from one world to another.

Hernan performs locally under his own name and as Bastard with Brian Franzen.[via]

Liz McLean Knight

Music & Film Wed Nov 12 2008

And Justice for All


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!

Continue reading this entry »

Stephanie Griffin

Music & Film Tue Oct 07 2008

Undiminished echoes: The life & music of Arthur Russell

At the time of his death in 1992, the 40-year-old cellist, composer and experimental dance-music auteur Arthur Russell left behind an enigmatic musical legacy -- one that included a few (largely overlooked) albums of songs and compositions, a string of quirky disco tracks, and a backlog of some 1000 tapes of unreleased and unfinished recordings. Having connected the dots between American minimalist composition and disco's dancefloor permutations, Russell created music that rode on chromatic shifts and dislocated rhythms -- a music that seemed at the same time both insular and expansive in mood, that existed like a lover's whisper that fills your head, like the melodies of a man singing softly to himself as he drifts across an ocean of sound on a boat of his own making.

It would take much of the rest of the music world a decade or more to catch up. Thanks to the recent efforts of the Audika label, more of Russell's work has become available in the past five years. Still, so long after the fact, Russell's music continues to amaze and baffle listeners; influencing a new generation of songwriters, while leaving fans and critics alike wrestling with descriptives.

And now comes Wild Combination: A Portrait of Arthur Russell, the new documentary by filmmaker Matt Wolf that arrives in Chicago this weekend for a limited run. The film offers an overview of Russell's life and work, featuring rarely-seen archival footage and interviews with various friends, family, and collaborators who knew and worked with Russell throughout the years. Also among the interviewees are Jens Lekman, composer Philip Glass, as well as author and sound artist David Toop.

Continue reading this entry »

Graham Sanford

Music & Film Wed Jul 02 2008

Chicago Film, Slow Down

This is the trailer for the new Matthew Broderick film, Diminished Capacity:

Much of the action takes place in Chicago, and the trailer makes prominent use of the song "Slow Down Chicago" by Canasta -- it comes in about halfway through. Trouble is, the band had no idea it was going to be used.

"We're excited to be involved... although I'm actually having trouble figuring out how it was licensed," said Matt Priest, Canasta's singer. "We definitely didn't know about it until a friend saw the trailer. So I'm looking into that right now."

Priest said he didn't even know if the song was in the movie itself. He'll be able to find out on Friday, when Diminished Capacity opens in theaters nationwide. Watch for a review in our own Steve at the Movie's column this week.

Mystery solved! Details after the jump.

Continue reading this entry »

Andrew Huff / Comments (4)

Concert Wed Mar 05 2008

Sunday Night At The Orphanage

The Orphanage throws a pretty mean Sunday night get together featuring an art showcase, musical guests and a delicious vegan buffett. This week the non-profit Bridgeport spaces welcomes Daniel Knox, who had gained sudden recognition being handed picked by David Lynch and Daman Albarn for thier projects. Also on the bill Henhouse Prowlers, Kumpera Tum as well as artists Luara Hobson, Sharon Parment and Kado. (from this here site and writer of this post!) The event is being filmed as part of a new docu/series on Chicago music and culture, so swing by the Orphanage and you could be in pictures. (and catch some great art)

Brent Kado

Blog Tue Mar 04 2008

Trade your Rabbit Ears for a Pitchfork

Say what you will about the boys and girls of Pitchfork - they've been sneered at and cheered at for their reviews, most recently being slammed by URB for chicago-post-rock-centric favoritism. But whatever your opinion of them, you can't argue with their latest decision - to fill the gaping void of 24-music television with

"We're documenting artists and featuring them in ways we've never been able to," says Pitchfork founder Ryan Schreiber. " is really an extension of the kinds of features we've been doing on Pitchfork for years—it's a new way to see these artists and get to know them better as people."

In addition to regular music videos, will air full-length feature films, vintage concerts, and music DVDs free of charge, sharing a different feature every week. The channel will also include interviews with bands on the road and in the studio. For a dash of Beatles/U2 charisma, the channel is featuring "Don't Look Down", a series of New York and Chicago shows performed entirely on rooftops. The channel is set for a soft release on April 7th.

Dan Morgridge / Comments (1)

Concert Thu Feb 21 2008

"Hey you...don't watch that, watch this! This is the heavy heavy monster sound!"

"Pictures and Sounds" is an annual event hosted by WHPK (88.5 FM) in which musicians improvise soundtracks to silent films. Past events have brought out folk musicians working with Harry Smith films, free jazz orchestras accompanying the Vienna Aktionists, as well as moments less combative. This year's event goes right for the jugular, though, with industrial waste a-plenty and few hummable hooks to be found among the bones.

  • The Fortieth Day bring their resident video-shape-shifter Noise Crush (aka Lisa Slodki) for barren landscapes set to uneasy REM cycles
  • Ghost Ice, St. Louis' most beloved, shall no doubt once again cement his reputation as "out of town guy who brings out even the most reclusive too-cool-for-school Chicago concert-goers with his awesomeness"
  • Mykel Boyd turns conventional electronics into 53 different words for snow
  • Mac Blackout (of the Functional Blackouts) eats tapes for breakfast, and walks out on the check

It all goes down on Saturday at 6 p.m. (starts early in case you wanna haul ass uptown to see Wolf Eyes and Rubber-O-Cement [and by golly, you should]), and it's FREE. 5811 S. Ellis Avenue, Room 310.

Chris Sienko

Music & Film Wed Feb 06 2008

Want 2 C U2-3D?

While we're still months away from the official start of Chicago's outdoor music season, you can still have some fun (in kooky, oversized glasses, no less) sans grass stains and mystery bruises that inevitably follow a general admission arena show. Just sit back and enjoy as U2 performs in 3D at your neighborhood IMAX theater. Lucky as we are, in Chicago, to have several IMAX theaters to choose from (those showing the U2-3D film include the Navy Pier, Woodridge and Lincolnshire locations), it's really a swell winter treat to get to bask in the glow of Bono and the boys sweating thru a 90-minute set recorded across seven shows on their "Vertigo" tour. The production is actually quite entertaining (and avoids stupid 3D tricks like tossing things towards the audience) and there are only a few moments where I felt that Bono was invading my personal space just a bit too much (Aah! Bono!). You can buy your tickets ahead of time, and even pick out that perfect seat in the middle, about three-quarters of the way up the stadium seats (a luxury that wasn't afforded to the concert-goers who enjoyed the same view you'll get from this movie). Perks include getting to watch some serious South American U2 Superfans get really in to singing along to "One" as well as the dozens of white tanktop-clad girls (was there a dresscode mandate I was unaware of?) perched atop their boyfriend's shoulders throughout the show. For once, you're close enough to Bono to really see the detail of his many blazers, hear the music without wandering around to get clear of the subwoofer, and enjoy a show without some sweaty dude harshing your afternoon (unless, you happen to bring that guy to theater, and really, that's your own problem). Check out the trailer and find a theater nearby online.

Anne Holub

Music & Film Tue Feb 05 2008

Pink Floyd: The Wall Screening @ Columbia College

Really? Pink Floyd is still around and active? Well, no- unless you count Roger Water’s recent efforts - but their philosophy is one thing that will never die. Or so says the newest in a series of Open Court books, Pink Floyd and Philosophy, and the accompanying free screening of The Wall that will take place at Columbia College this Thursday.

Why did it take the series 30 releases before they got around to one of the most mind-sabotaging bands in history? Why did they choose such ridiculous pop culture fads as Harry Potter, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and the Atkins diet as more interesting write-ups? Why is the blurb full of the most obvious and demeaning stereotypes, taking only two sentences to mention psychedelic drugs, and five to bring up the absurd connection to the Wizard of Oz? While my intelligence as a Pink Floyd fan might be insulted, we cannot necessarily hold responsible the authors of the book, who happen to include Cari Callis, Sue Mroz, and Joe Steiff, all members of the Columbia College Film and Video faculty.

Following the screening of the movie, which will be shown on a sweet 35 mm film which promises a picture and sound too brilliant for words, the authors and editor, George Reisch, a philosophy professor at Northwestern, will stay around for a reception. Of course you've seen The Wall, you've seen it twenty times, but have you ever seen it like this? The screening will also include a presentation of some of the original artwork for the movie by animation faculty member Ron Fleischer, a definite must-see for anyone influenced, soberly or not, by the “philosophy”, or simple sheer brilliance, that is Pink Floyd.

Screening will be this Thursday, Feb 7, from 6:30-10, at the Columbia Film Row Cinema, 1104 S. Wabash, 8th Floor

Emily Kaiser

Music & Film Mon Jan 28 2008

DeRo and Kot Host "The Kids Are Alright"

The hosts of Sound Opinions, the world's only rock'n'roll talk show, are back with the third in an ongoing series showcasing great rock films. This time around join Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot as they screen, The Kids Are Alright, the classic 1979 Who documentary by Jeff Stein. Candid and insightful and kind of a mess (much like the band), the Kids Are Alright screens next Thursday, February 7th at 7:30pm at the Music Box. Tickets are 10 bucks and can be purchased by clicking here. Once again, after the show, the famed critics will host their own candid and insightful Q & A session.

Nicholas Ward

Music & Film Thu Jan 24 2008

Daytrotter Profiled In the Trib.

There's an excellent article with accompanying video about the Daytrotter empire up at Chicago Tribune's website (and in the Tempo section today). They imply that this site may be the future of the music industry. I've always been impressed with their enthusiasm and curatorial talent (and for the amazing original artwork).

Craig Bonnell

Music & Film Tue Nov 06 2007

Sound Opinions' Movie Night Presents Joe Strummer Film

Chicago's most famous rock critic duo Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot bring their Sound Opinions' movie night to the historic Music Box Theatre Friday, Nov. 16 for a showing of Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten, a documentary about the late leader of legendary punk band The Clash. Though the movie opens on Nov. 9, this special showing will include a post-show Q&A with the two rock critics, and doesn't cost anything more than your normal Music Box film, not counting ticket fees, if you go that route.

Dan Snedigar

DVD & Video Mon Oct 29 2007

Of Poor Gods and Unclad Emperors

Okay, Chicago Punk Rock 101 time. Anyone with a sense of this city's indie music history knows Naked Raygun. Formed in 1980, they were once this city's most formidable reps on the national punk scene, banging out their own brand of "blast furnace monomania" and influencing the sound of countless bands around the country. Strictly textbook, as they say. And by now, even the half-attentive know that the band has reunited "for good"--back in action for the past year or so, playing occasional in-town shows and doing a little touring from time to time.

This month Naked Raygun will be playing Riot Fest at the Congress Theater for the second year running, headlining on November 17. But next week sees the release of What Poor Gods We Make, a DVD overview of the band's history. An exclusive screening of the documentary will be held at Reggie's this Sunday evening, with copies of the two-disc set will be available for sale before the thing properly hits the streets on November 6. The band will reportedly be on hand for some hobnobbing, as well. An afterparty featuring a bunch of other noisy young things will follow. 2105 South State Street. 7pm. The screening is all ages, the afterparty is 18 and up. (312) 949-0125.

[video]: Naked Raygun - "Rat Patrol" (from What Poor Gods We Make)
[video]: Naked Raygun - "Surf Combat"

Graham Sanford

Music & Film Mon Oct 22 2007

Wish You Were There

The fine folks over at Regressive Films have recently released a trailer to their upcomming documentary "You Weren't There". The film closely examines the history of Chicago's criminally overlooked punk scene from 1977-1984, focusing in on Articles of Faith, Naked Raygun, The Effigies, Big Black, Strike Under and the rise of the legendary punk clubs and DIY show spaces that served as their battlegrounds.

The film is set to debut on November 24th at the Portage Theatre (4050 N. Milwaukee) with a suprise show following the film at the Beat Kitchen (details/lineup to be announced).

You can get the first sneak peak by checking out the official trailer here.

John Lombardo

Music & Film Tue Jul 24 2007

You're Gonna Miss Me @ the Music Box Theater

After a turn last year at the Siskel, this fantastic documentary, You're Gonna Miss Me about 13th Floor Elevators frontman Roky Erickson's music career, drug-infused lifestyle, near-tragic family life, and mental health deterioration is a must for any music fan. (If you aren't familiar with Erickson's psychedelic rock directly from his albums, you probably remember the film's title track from the opening scenes of the indie rock movie High Fidelity). After years of reclusiveness, Roky triumphantly returned to the music scene last year at our own Intonation Music Festival, and will again grace Chicago stages this summer a Lollapalooza in August. Chicago Public Radio's "Sound Opinions" show sponsors this viewing tonight (which will be hosted by Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot). In addition, the film's director Keven McAlester will be available for questions. Doors open at 7pm this evening, and the show starts at 7:30pm. The Music Box is located at 3733 N. Southport. Tickets are $10.

Anne Holub

Music & Film Tue Jul 17 2007

Record Labels Blame Their Closest Ally...Nice!

The Chicago Tribune has a piece in it's business section that pits record labels against the media. A number of labels (including Chicago's Bloodshot) are blaming the members of the media that receive advance copies of new releases for the leaks that result from this time honored practice. Ironic that the labels see members of the media as one of their biggest enemies, instead of placing the blame where it belongs with their antiquated new media policies. No wonder cd sales are tanking.

Craig Bonnell

Music & Film Tue Jul 17 2007

Ramp Chicago Electronic Music Industry Night at Sonotheque Tonight

Depending on the industry, service nights can either be awesome (bartender, stripper) or incredibly lame (lawyer, Pitchfork staffer), so it's with some trepidation I post this invite from Ramp Chicago for tonight's Demo Swap industry night at Sonotheque. On the other hand, the organizers have managed to line up four DJs, including video-game glitcher Protman and electro hip hop guru Bounte, as well as visual effects artists Psonikadia (UK) and Spiderback, so it should be an entertaining night no matter how many terrible glitched mashups you end up with in your bag. Electronic musicians, promoters, artists, and other interested misfits should plan on showing up at Sonotheque, 1444 W. Chicago, around 9 with a stack of media to hand out -- CD-Rs, DVDs, business cards, whatever -- to receive the reduced cover price of $2. I'll be there pimping the new H70s remix mixtape, make sure to say hi if you can -- I'm the brown dude.

Nilay Patel

Music & Film Tue Jul 10 2007

Reckless to Smashing Pumpkins: F*** You Right Back

200px-Zeitgeist_cover.pngBy now you may have heard that the new Smashing Pumpkins release, Zeitgeist, will arrive in four different flavors: Best Buy, Target, and iTunes all get unique bonus tracks while other retailers get a standard pressing -- a distribution scheme known in the industry by the technical term "making you buy the same record four times," or, more commonly, "dickslapping the fans." It doesn't look like local indie powerhouse Reckless Records is giving Mssr. Corgan a pass for this behavior, however -- Reckless has declined to place any orders for Zeitgiest and will not stock new copies of the record. It's a small gesture that won't have any huge effect on album sales (the fact that Zeitgeist kinda sucks will probably take care of that), but it's always nice to see an indie fight back. "We all kinda weighed in and decided that if we were going to be inconsequential to Billy and the Pumpkins, than we should make him him inconsequential to our sales," says Dylan Posa, manager of Reckless's downtown location. That downtown location, by the way, is a symbol of how well indie shops like Reckless are doing -- it just opened, in stark contrast to major music stores, which have been closing their doors. Looks like the Pumpkins might have bet on the wrong horse in the long run.

Nilay Patel

Music & Film Wed Jun 06 2007

¡Ay, Mami...a Mi Me Gusta Así!

Chances are good that you know Carlos Santana's "Smooth," which means you've heard at least one classic shingaling groove. Which may beg the question: What's a shingaling? It's partner to the boogaloo, but…hmmm. Okay, tell you what. Let's skip the musicology breakdown and I'll simply tell you this: It was all part of a much-forgotten chapter in the evolution of Latino music, one very specific to these shores, and is hands-down some of the most deeply soulful and vibrantly joyous music ever recorded. It was a style of music that exploded out of the Spanish Harlem scene of the 1960s, combining Latin jazz and Afro-Cuban rhythms with r&b and rock, and which quickly became the sound of young Nuyorica. The recordings in question are, sadly, hard to come by, since the movement itself quickly faded into obscurity, having disappeared through the cracks somewhere between the more enduring popularity of mambo and salsa. But before fading it inspired later crossover Latino funkateers like Santana, WAR, and El Chicano to step up and go for theirs in the years that followed.

This Friday at Sonotheque, DJs Supreme Court and Joe Bryl (of African Hi-Fi association) present "We Got...Latin Soul!" The duo will be digging back to pull from their crates and serve up an evening's worth of the guacha guaro, spinning their selection of solid retro barrio groove from the likes of Pete Rodriguez, Eddie Palmieri, Ray Barretto, Mongo Santamaria, Joe Cuba, Willie Colon, and Latin soul brother number one Joe Bataan. 9pm-2am. 1444 W. Chicago. Cover is only $5.

[mp3]: Pete Rodriguez - "Oh! That's Nice"
[mp3]: Joe Bataan - "What Good Is A Castle?"

Graham Sanford

Music & Film Tue Jun 05 2007

Obey yr concert (film)

Over at YouTube, HardEye Films has posted a sneak peek of its documentary on the seminal Chicago avant-rock band, US Maple.

JP Pfafflin

Music & Film Tue May 15 2007

Wilco drops Sky Blue Sky today

Sky Blue Sky

While opinions on Wilco's newest sound are bound to be mixed -- one of my more famous bandmates just flatly says it's "boring" while we've written that the kids seem to love it -- there's still no denying that Wilco is still arguably Chicago's favorite rock band, and that makes today's release of Sky Blue Sky an Important Occasion. You've got a lot of options here: the standard CD, a "deluxe" CD / DVD package with performances from Wilco's Northwest side loft, and, if you're desperately trying to get laid at the Rainbo extra-special, 180-gram vinyl with an included CD copy for easy archiving. Most stores will get you the bits, but the vinyl looks to be online-only. And if you're still on the fence, don't forget you can listen to the whole thing on for free on Wilco's website, although I've never been able to make it work too well. Maybe Jeff's trying to tell us something, eh?

Nilay Patel

Concert Fri May 11 2007

Life in a Few Stolen Moments

(photo courtesy of Robert Loerzel)

No two ways about it, John Lennox is a singer-slash-songwriter. He’s the kind that some might lazily label "alt-country" or some such animal. But for Lennox, such pigeonholing doesn’t amount to much. He started out playing guitar in various indie and experimental rock combos in his native Ontario years ago before gravitating toward his current musical modus. Ultimately, for him it’s more about the song than any stylistic conceits, and he has sense enough to know that a picture only mumbles if it’s craftlessly hung in the dimmest of lighting. Admittedly, the country-blues-folk-etcetera rubric fits for the way Lennox’s songs deal with the universalizing stuff — with love, loss, yearning, fond reminiscences, obligation, regret, and of the hard-won emotional insight and perspective gained from such things. In the end, the impression his 2005 album Into The Bull's Shoulder leaves isn't unlike that of a long cross-country drive, the sort you undertake with the purpose of being there for a certain someone in an hour of need. It manages to capture the gravity of those moments when you're aiming through those sparser stretches, when the radio goes laconic and you instead listen inside yourself, briefly allowing yourself to think of the why and whatfor of what you're doing, of the reasons for the journey taken.

Lennox also seems to have an exceptional knack for pulling together a good band. His last album demonstartes as much, and judging from his recent performances around town, he's managed to do it a second time after relocating to Chicago this past year. His current band features a collection of local musicians who usually gig on the local jazz circuit, including drummer Daniel Groll, who can bang out some fat Southern soul-styled licks when the occasion calls for it. On the more uptempo numbers, the crew deals out some country-blues swing that can get your foots scooting and hips swaying. His songs are varied in mood and feature arrangements that are astutely tailored to match. A faint tinge of Blonde on Blonde-vintage Dylan colors some tunes. And on the slower numbers, you sometimes catch a Willie Nelson-ish lilt creeping into his voice. Lyrically, he's fairly plainspoken, but the occasional poetic twist turns up. Such is the case on the aching duet "No One Loves You," with its opening verse: “I can hear voices / I can see devils / and counterfeit rebels in the street. / Chinese flowers / Gloves made of powder / And infrequent showers relieve the heat.” Recent material reveals Lennox moving in a slightly more rock-ish direction on some tunes, proving that he’s not limiting himself to balladeering and honky-tonkness.

The John Lennox Band will be playing at the Empty Bottle next Tuesday night, so this is a good time to catch him. He’s in the opening slot on the bill, warming things up for Merle the Mule and Barely American, meaning that this is one instance when you’ll want to get there by opening time. Show starts at 9:30 pm, and admission is $7.

[mp3]: John Lennox - "You Got To Move"
[mp3]: John Lennox - "Pretty Green Eyes"

Graham Sanford

Music & Film Thu Apr 19 2007

Bands You Missed: Millimeters Mercury

Bands You Missed is Transmission's new semi-feature, taking a look back at notable Chicago bands that were big parts of a scene, but are hard to find information about. We're open to your suggestions, if there's a band that shaped a moment in your own personal Chicago history, let us know!

they are here to help!

(A quick opening note here: I am totally biased, because I played in a band that played lots of shows with mmHg, and they're all my friends. On top of that, I'm in a new band with Gabe now, and last week I think I probably humped Chris' leg at Carol's. So this is going to be a little glowing. Fair warning.)

Although Millimeters Mercury was officially formed in the fall of 1999, the band really took shape during the University of Chicago band explosion in 2001, when it seemed like everyone cool in Hyde Park had a band and played shows at The Cove. Founding members Travis Carter and Robert Voyer were joined by drummer Chris Vlasses and bassist Conor Loughridge (he of First Coat fame), and played their first full band show in October of 2001 at the Prodigal Son, a terrific venue on Lincoln that later burned down in a free bacon fire*.

Read on after the jump.

Continue reading this entry »

Nilay Patel

Music & Film Wed Apr 18 2007

The Hood, The Bad and The Ugly

While Aaron Brink and Steve Reidell of local pop outfit May or May Not are becoming somewhat of a minor Internet phenomenon with their new mash-up blog The Hood Internet (see this week’s blogbits), their other bandmates have also recently debuted a side project. MOMN multi-instrumentalists Zaid Maxwell and Amelia Styer, along with Driftless Pony Club’s Craig Benzine, formed the Ozark Cousins earlier this year and have released its first album—a sorta prog-Western—available for free download here. But not to be outdone by their bandmates’ meme du jour, the Cousins are also producing an album-length music video to accompany the album. You can check out the trailer here. Expect a screening, along with a performance by the group, when shooting wraps up this summer.

[MP3] Ozark Cousins, “Cocaine City Teeth”

JP Pfafflin

Music & Film Wed Apr 11 2007

Treaty of Paris Attempts to Set New Record For Selling Out

Let's review some of the most notable sell-outs of all time. Dylan going electric appearing in a Victoria's Secret ad. Sting's entire discography. That "Tubthumping" song. Um, Green Day signing to a major. The unspeakable horror that is Cut The Crap.

Unlike all those bands, who toiled for years building actual credibility to destroy, local rockers Treaty of Paris are going for the gusto from Day One, having been chosen for Q101's Breaking the Band. Everything you need to know can be heard here (mp3). It's true, up and coming bands do need "Mobile Web 2.0" access and the ability to incur additional per-use charges! How else could we download all those New Found Glory songs to rip off? Thanks for the tip, guys!

Nilay Patel

Music & Film Thu Apr 05 2007

An Apology to REO Speedwagon Fans

We get a lot of news in the door here at TX and sometimes we just don't have time to spot-check all the press releases, venue schedules and various strippers with demo CDs taped to their nipples before we post things up. Take, for example, our REO Speedwagon post from a couple days ago. We said that there were three members of the storied Hi Infidelity-era lineup in the band, when clearly, clearly, there are only two, as alerted to us almost instantly by Kathy, the president of REO FANS, the REO Speedwagon Fan Club.

"I wanted to clear up some misinformation. Long time REO keyboardist Neal Doughty does not play hammond organ, keyboards or piano on "Find Your Own Way Home." He was actually replaced by Joe Vannelli, the producer for all songs except "Smilin' in the End." We guessed there was a problem when Doughty told fans back in April 2005 that he was falling asleep during the recording sessions, and was taking jazz piano lessons from Rob Mullins. He subsequently sold much of his original equipment on eBay. So there's really only 2 members of the band's most popular line up on this CD: Kevin Cronin, who joined in 1972 left for 4 years and returned in 1976, and bassist Bruce Hall, who replaced Gregg Philin, who left in 1977. Thanks!"

We are all utterly embarrased by our failure to catch this error before we went to press on the REO Speedwagon in-store appearance at the Elk Grove Village Wal-Mart. As an apology to REO Speedwagon fans everywhere, here is the video for "Keep On Lovin' You," which is a real video the band made in 1980 to showcase their physical attractiveness and also hair:

If you are the president or even just an average member of a militant 80's hair band fan club and you spot an error in TX, please, feel free to contact us and we will do our best to correct that error and post an extremely embarassing music video in contrition. Also, we will make fun of you mercilessly. Thanks, and once again, our apologies.

The TX staff

Nilay Patel

Music & Film Mon Apr 02 2007

Music News

There's been a bunch of music news this past week and one way or another it'll trickle down to bands, labels and music biz types right here in Chicago.

-Apple and EMI have announced that EMI has rid itself of the crippling scourge of the digital age known as DRM. EMI's entire catalog will be available on iTunes in May stripped of any/all copy protection. The quality of the mp3 will also be better than other mp3's sold through iTunes, but the price per song has been raised to $1.29 a track. Chicago's Ok Go could be the first local recipient of a bump in sales as people flock to iTunes to get their hands on a high quality mp3 of "Here It Goes Again" ("the treadmill video").

-Sony BMG Uk has stopped accepting demo cds from bands looking for a deal. Instead bands are asked, as of Monday, to submit their music online to a variety of blog-like websites. So far this is only applicable to Sony BMG UK, but like the DRM-free movement this may soon spread thoughout the majors. Thank god a change has been made; now the major labels will surely listen to all the music they receive!

-Victory Records made news last week (no, another band is not sueing them) when they announced the creation of their in-house booking agency. Victory has signed up Josh Lacey (Lucky Booking, Face The Music) to lead this new initiative and they are starting to put a team together to work with him. Should you get the job may I suggest you supply your own noise cancelling headphones (however black mascara and perpetual frown are provided free of charge by Victory Records).

Craig Bonnell

Music & Film Fri Mar 30 2007


Busker is hosting a music/film combo presentation tonight at the Flowershop (2159 W. 21st Pl., Pilsen). The buzzwords here are some early moving-picture terms, "Media Obscura" (a variation on "Camera Obscura") and "Thaumatope" (check the gig poster for a visual remember these from childhood, I'm guessing). According to the Busker website, the event "will consists of live|realTime performances, and single channel screenings that will hopefully disrupt expectations of clarity that an otherwise proper camera obscura would give." I can't quite visualize what this means in my head, but considering that it's still a bit nippy outside, I think it might be in your best interest to spend one more Friday night indoors, checking out some intense visuals and music. Because you know that as soon as it climbs up over 75 degrees, you're going to be itching to be outside!

Performances and visuals by Mike Miles, jonsatrom, Alex Inglezian & Tim Shaw, and Noise Crush & The Fortieth Day (the latter featuring members of Bloodyminded doing their interpretation of early '80s industrial music via synth, guitar, bass, and drum machine). 8 p.m. Free and Open (I assume that means no admission and all-ages).

Chris Sienko

Music & Film Thu Mar 22 2007

Karaoke + Corn + Metal + Derby. Oh My!

Oh man. Clear your calendars, kids, because this is like a Trifecta of Awesome. In fact, it's an event so Awesome, it needs both capitalization and bullet points:

  • Rory Lake's Karaoke Dreams

  • Special guests Cealed Kasket, a band whose specialty seems to be in metal, metal, and spelling their name incorrectly in a way that oozes "rawk."

  • The Windy City Rollers, derby girls who just want to ensure a good time by kicking your sweet buns with their dj, karaoke, and arm wrestling prowess.

It all takes place at Otto's (118 E. Lincoln Hwy.) in corn-tastic Dekalb, IL, on Friday, March 30.

Kara Luger

Music & Film Wed Mar 21 2007

A Dying Cubs Fan's Last Request - New bio of Steve Goodman

The degree to which people try to keep Steve Goodman's name in the spotlight is a clear testament to his success as one of the greatest songwriters of his generation, and his reputation as one of the all time great Chicago personalites. Steve may be known to some as the consumate cubs fan, or perhaps as the author of the song "City of New Orleans" or maybe as that Chicago singer who died before his time.

A new biography called Facing The Music is coming out soon that will place his deeds in context. Comprised of literally a thousand different sources and hundreds of interviews this seems like it will be the comprehensive bio of Steve Goodman's life and times. You can preorder the book here, along with the book you'll get a companion CD of 18 tracks written and performed by other artists in tribute to Steve. With opening day right around the corner I can't think of a better song to share with you than Steve's slightly novelty tune "A Dying Cubs Fan's Last Request." It's poignant that within days of Steve's death from his battle with Leukemia the Cubs played their first playoff game since 1945, and that his ode to a dying cubs fan would in effect turn into his autobiographical swan song. Steve Goodman's ashes are buried under home plate at Wrigley Field.

Craig Bonnell

Music & Film Mon Mar 19 2007

SXSW Tour Diary - Catfish Haven Final Entry (Reviews/mp3's of The Black Hollies, Vietnam, and The Black Angels)


Here's the last post from Catfish Haven on their adventures at SXSW. The last day they were involved in the two most infamous events at this year's fest — the collapse of the balcony at the Vice party and the police closure of the IHeartComix party. These guys sure have a nose for trouble.

"I awoke Saturday morning feeling possibly the most hung-over I've felt ever. Catfish Haven drinking usually occurs in the evening but a day of free alcohol at SXSW means you can drink from noon to 4am and we did. In the drunkenness of Friday night we had lost two members of the Catfish Haven SXSW 2007 army – our 2nd guitarist Mike Lust and Timeout Chicago writer Leah (who had jumped in the van with us at the last minute the day we left Chicago and soon became one of our band of merry pranksters). I contacted Lust first and luckily he answered his cell. He had ended up partying Hot Tub style at a random Austin Texas Apartment with Chicago band Sybris. George and I went on the mission to retrieve him from the Wendy's and while we were waiting for him had to give in and eat a large Wendy's meal 'cause at this point we felt like we might die if we didn't eat. Leah's cell phone was dead but we sent her a myspace message. We know she's resourceful so we assumed she was fine and later when she finally called me we found out she was actually doing great and was at the Four Seasons Hotel in downtown Austin. She had crashed on the floor of documentary filmmaker Ron Mann who's most know for making the movie "GRASS" a film about marijuana that the catfish crew had coincidentally just watched at like 3 in the morning in Fayetteville, Arkansas earlier in the week during our tour down to Texas. George and Ryan met Ron on wed when we first arrived in Austin and he was a cool guy and gave them a private lecture about his film so we knew Leah was alright and we planned to meet up with her later.

This whole week we've been staying with our friend Caroline's house and she and her friends were throwing a SXSW backyard BBQ party with a bunch of bands including Saturday Looks Good To Me, Mittens on Strings, and us to name a few. Hung-over and hazy we rocked the backyard around 3pm and by the time we left to head to 6th street around 5pm the keg was dry, the food was eaten and the neighbors were sending noise complaints which are all the general after effects of a BBQ done right!

[mp3]: The Girl's Distracted - SLGTM
[mp3]: The Most Complete Skeleton Ever Found - Mittens On Strings

Continue reading this entry »

Craig Bonnell

Music & Film Sat Mar 17 2007

SXSW Tour Diary - Catfish Haven (Booze, Badasses, and Blogs)


Catfish Haven is running neck and neck with Office for heaviest partying band from Chicago at this years SXSW. They also happen to have seen some amazing music and a couple of celebrities to boot. Here's their most recent tour diary entry:


"Thursday night we played our official SXSW showcase, it was the Secretly Canadian/Jagjaguwar party at Mohawks on Red River. We partied all night with some of our favorite SC/Jag bands like Ladyhawk, David Vandervelde, Okkervill River, and I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness. Luckly our show at noon on Friday was at the same venue so we were able to leave our equipment there overnight (and luckly when we showed back up about 5 hours after leaving it was all still there!)

[mp3]: War - Ladyhawk
[mp3]: Jacket - David Vandervelde
[mp3]: Black - Okkervil River
[mp3]: According To Plan - I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness

So on Friday somehow the 9 of us all made it to the venue with just enough time to soundcheck and play. The show was hosted by some of our favorite blogs we met over the last year like My Old Kentucky Blog, and Gorrila Vs Bear, and our friends Thunder Birds Are Now! played right after us so we had a great time seeing everyone again.

The fire marshalls have been coming down hard on the clubs out here during SXSW and we left our equipment next to the stage (blocking a fire exit) while we did a quick video interview for Indie911. After the interview we found out a fire marshall had shown up and wanted us to move our equipment immediately. He said there wasn't enough time to pull the van up so instead we all got our workout for the day carrying our amps and drums up one of Austins many hills.

Continue reading this entry »

Craig Bonnell

Music & Film Sat Mar 17 2007

SXSW Tour Diary - Office's Day Three


Here's another entry from Office. It seems as though the chaos, sleeplessness and partying are starting to get to them. Hopefully they'll make it back to Chicago in one piece.

"Sleeping here is almost impossible. Between nerves, adrenaline and alcohol, it's almost impossible to get a good night's sleep. I woke up early yesterday for more lousy breakfast and decent coffee and checked the listings for shows, still reeking of the chlorine of the hot tub from the night before.

Last year I had a full itinerary of shows and parties that I wanted to go to, but this year I and the band have taken the drifter's approach. We readied ourselves for our evening show leisurely, watching basketball and applying mascara. The breakfast sat in our stomachs like lead. The weather isn't as good as was advertised last week, but hey–beats Chicago, right?

The traffic in the downtown area was bloody murder, and it took us a half an hour to get down 4th on our way to the Fader/Levi's Fort. But by the grace of a cute, young Japanese couple, we found parking directly in front of the space. Subs were ingested as our eyes were covered in shades.

Badly Drawn Boy was lilting through an acoustic set as we arrived. The Fort is a huge labrinthine party space. It's probably the best party down here and it goes all day every day. That's a lot of SoCo and lime. The stage manager was hilarious and incredibly with it. Everything was highly organized and coordinated, which can be somewhat of a rarity in these situations. Another (forgettable) band played before us as we goofed around in the backstage tent, taking photos and cracking our usual crude jokes. The sun cracked through the crowds as we took the stage and looked out to a full, expansive outdoor patio. The floating saddle on my guitar popped out from under my strings during the third song, but somehow I managed to repair it on the fly.

A giant Meatwad balloon was inflated on top of the building as we played. Amy Winehouse paid us some nice compliments as we came off stage and then proceeded to belt out a sweet set of her own. Some Chicago b-boys were breakin' in the back during the djs, and it turned into Alissa and I jumping along with them chanting "Chi-town" and "Office in the house" in front of myriad video cameras. One for the grandkids!

[mp3]: Rehab (Hot Chip remix) - Amy Winehouse

Continue reading this entry »

Craig Bonnell

Music & Film Fri Mar 16 2007

SXSW Tour Diary - Day Two With Office (Music From Midnight Movies and Robbers On High Street)


Here's more from our resourceful band Office; they party, get free stuff and hang in hot tubs down in Austin at SXSW so you don't have to! Office play next today at 5:15 at the Fader Party at The Fort.

(Hot tub party with Office and Robbers On High Street)

"Yesterday was a banger, from start to finish. Scott and I woke up early and ate the mediocre, overpriced breakfast at the hotel, rounded up the troops and headed to our afternoon show at the Nylon/Diesel house. The house is in the middle of a residential neighborhood outside of the main festival area and was a classy little joint with a large live room and several loungy nooks.

We played to a virtually empty room (only Nylon folks and our posse were there), but it was nice to warm up in front of our friends and prepare for our big label showcase coming up later that night. After our performance we were whisked into a dressing area where they hooked us up with free jeans and did an interview for Nylon TV (Nylon Mag's webcast). The swag train led us to free sneakers and Bloody Marys after we left the day's first party and before we loaded in to the Ritz.

All of our Scratchie/New Line buddies were already there as we schlepped in our gear. There were some rousing acapella renditions of mid-90s favorites (think Candlebox and Collective Soul) as we awaited our soundcheck. After everything was deemed aurally satisfactory, we headed to 1887, a café in the swank Driscoll Hotel. We dined boisterously in the 19th Century French-bistro style dining room, riffing on Alanis Morisette's take on irony, baby names and joke immunity (Erica's new nickname is Joe Community, for her penchant for making gay jokes and liking the ladies).

We retired to our manager's room upstairs to watch The Office (isn't it ironic?), take disco naps and put our faces and wigs on. Once outfitted, I took to 6th St. to soak up the ambience and get psyched for our first really big show down here. Jesus freaks preached from their soapboxes as kids with every type of terrible haircut pranced along the main drag. I shopped for a porkpie hat and came up empty.

Continue reading this entry »

Craig Bonnell

Music & Film Thu Mar 15 2007

SXSW Tour Diary - Catfish Haven (including music by Langhorne Slim, Thunderbirds Are Now!, Rahim, and The M's)


There's a good chance that'd you'll find Catfish Haven on any decent list of new, buzz-worthy bands from Chicago. There's also a good chance that they'd be the only trio on that list that specializes in a soulful brand of lively, old-school rock 'n' roll. The band's name comes from the trailor park where lead singer George Hunter grew up. The great American trailer park is a pretty representative symbol of the band's earnest, blue-collar sound.


So needless to say we're psyched that the band will contribute to our SXSW Tour Diary series over the next couple of days. Their four official SXSW showcases are the cream of the crop; on Wednesday they played the Chicago Metro Party with the Smoking Popes; on the 15th they play the RXRW Party; on the 16th they play at arguably the hottest party all week, being put on by Gorilla vs. Bear, at Mohawk; they'll end their stay in Austin with a bbq on the 17th playing with Saturday Looks Good To Me.
Random SXSW photo:


"We arrived in Austin around 4am on Wednesday morning. Tired but excited we all stumbled into the house we're crashing at for the week and each picked out our sleeping spots on the floor. We started our day fighting the lines at the SXSW convention center picking up our wristbands and then racing to our first show of the week at Emo's for the Chicago Metro Party. We arrive in time to see our friends in the Chicago band The M's and after we were done with our set we got to chill out, drink free beer, and watch The Smoking Popes. We all grew up going to see the Smoking Popes when we were teenagers so it was awesome to be able to share the stage with them.

After the day parties end there's kind of a gap in time before the official SXSW showcases start. We were able to fill that gap however with the help of a limousine service that was giving free ride escorted some members of Catfish Haven and some members of our Chicago allies Sybris to a Camel Cigarette sponsored party where we chowed down on free food drank more
free beer and even got free Cigarettes! SXSW has tons of free stuff up for grabs if you know where to look.

Continue reading this entry »

Craig Bonnell

Music & Film Thu Mar 15 2007

SXSW Tour Diary - Office


A couple of the higher-ups at Gapers Block have been down in Austin, Texas at SXSW all week chillin' and minglin'. Unfortunately for me, the grunts don't get to tag along. You're not going either, bummer. Well, we can still experience the festival almost firsthand through the wonders of the internet.


One of Chicago's finest (and most buzzed about) bands has agreed to record their thoughts, misadventures, and musical accomplishments for Transmission. Office will be our unofficial roving correspondents over the next couple of days. They get things started with these thoughts on the start of a crazy week.

"Our trip began Monday night after a beautiful day in Chicago. I was picked up around 9 o'clock after sitting on my lanai, and we loaded in to our big, red rental van. After some serious van tetris, our gear, beer, clothes, cooler and selves were able to fit inside. Erica took the first driving shift while I navigated, as Scott and Jeremy (our tech-extraordinaire) sat behind Jessica and Alissa in the second row.

Many songs were magically transmitted from electronic device to fm radio over the course of the 1,100-some-miles. Rest stops filled with American Indian knick-knacks, jerky and claw games punctuated our naps, some of us only waking to eat from the cooler of snacks.

My shift was a good chunk of Texas in the morning. Winding roads and big rigs. Jessica was my DJ/Navigatrix taking me from ambient electronic undulations to power pop. She was the lynchpin driver, pulling into a Motel 6 that was decided upon primarily for it's proximity to Denny's. We ate profusely from the well of French Slams and grey Tilapia and retreated to our adjoining boy/girl rooms in the back of the motel.

The free case of 312 from the Hideout show became crucial around 6pm, where we indulged in the original YouTube, America's Funniest Home Videos, and yes — a large cheese pizza rimmed with cheesy pustules.

Continue reading this entry »

Craig Bonnell

Music & Film Thu Mar 01 2007

Get Off/On the Internet!

Video Artist and founding member of Le Tigre, Sadie Benning, will be in Chicago on Wednesday, as part of the Art Institute's Visiting Artist Lecture Series. The experimental filmmaker and musician responsible for developing the video/slide show element of Le Tigre's roadshow will speak about her recent video installation and try to tackle elements of gender roles/norms in emerging technology.

Tickets are $5 ($3 students, seniors, and SAIC alumni). More info can be found here.

John Lombardo

Music & Film Fri Feb 23 2007

You got your pictures in my sounds! You got your sounds in my pictures!

Saturday, the University of Chicago Film Studies Center and WHPK present Pictures and Sounds, an annual event in which local musicians improvise soundtracks to silent films. The program is free, and is located at 5811 S. Ellis Ave in Hyde Park.

This year's participants include Robb Drinkwater, Vertonen, and Bird Show, and films to be scored include "Portrait of a Young Man" (Rodakiewicz), "Return to Reason" (Man Ray), "Anemic Cinema" (Duchamp) and "The Sick Kitten" (George Albert Smith, from 1903!).

Chris Sienko

Music & Film Wed Feb 14 2007

Berwyn Rhapsody

Take a collective breath and feel a little older, everyone - It's officially the 15th anniversary of the release of Wayne's World. For those of you who aren't dolled up for the Flosstrapromus, or who have a '76 AMC Pacer and a taste for licorice rope, hop in the car and re-enact one of the most famous sing-a-longs in Chicago and movie history. Don't forget to visit the Cermak Plaza Spindle!

Dan Morgridge

Music & Film Fri Feb 02 2007

Rex Grossman is Robin Thicke

Attention all students of Marshall McLuhan: there is a doctoral thesis being written for you in the city of Chicago as we speak.

In 1985, the Bears went to the Super Bowl. They marked this event by recording the Super Bowl Shuffle, which eventually was nominated for a Grammy. (It lost to "Kiss" by Prince).

Continue reading this entry »

Nilay Patel

Music & Film Thu Feb 01 2007

Valentine's Day at the Debonair Social Club

Look sharp, kids, Valentine's Day is fast upon us. Is this the year you finally break the mods/rockers barrier and ask that one guy for a ride on his Vespa? Will you find true love in the nailpolish aisle?

Probably not, because you're hopeless. Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy knows that, and wants to help. He'll be sharing the upstairs decks at the Debonair Social Club with everyone's cuddliest local beatmaster Matt Roan this February 14th, and if these two swamis of the middle-school love affair can't help you get to first base you're probably better off just giving up and staging a wedding for your cats. Lord knows Mr. Nibbles and Bit-Bit have been living in sin for entirely too long.

As an aside, I am forever in love with the Debonair, since the very first time I went there someone took my photo and I ended up getting called a "good man" in the Red Eye. It's not the highest of high points, I know, but I'm not the one putting my cats on YouTube.

February 14th at the Debonair Social Club, 1575 N. Milwaukee. With J.Lee and B$, free

Nilay Patel

Music & Film Thu Feb 01 2007

Da Bears! Super Bowl Shuffle, Part Deux

The Bears may very well lose this Sunday, but rest assured Chicago will win the competition that matters most - best Superbowl theme song. The Hoyle Brothers have updated and put a honky-tonk spin on the Super Bowl Shuffle of yore. Their new song, "Another Super Bowl Shuffle, Part 2", is available as a download from iTunes for $.99 with most of the money raised going to the Make a Wish Foundation. The song can also be found on WLUP's Monster's of the Midway Tribute CD available here.

I'm sure The Hoyle Brothers will play a rousing version of their shuffle this Friday at their weekly Empty Bottle love in (5:30pm, free). Two step your way to Western Ave. for happy hour and free country music, and get your Bears weekend started off right.

P.S. Dag Juhlin from Poi Dog and Slugs fame also contributes a track to the tribute cd.

Craig Bonnell

Music & Film Wed Jan 31 2007


On April 10, Philadelphia's Joshua Marcus will be releasing his sophomore release on Chicago's own Contraphonic Records (Lesser Birds Of Paradise, The Thin Man). On Make/Believe his simple, plaintive songs are accompanied only by plucked banjo and standup bass leaving plenty of room in the mix for Joshua's quavering vocals. On "Coal or Smoke" pay particular attention to the heavenly female harmony vocals. Preorder Make/Believe here.

[mp3]: Joshua Marcus "Coal or Smoke"

Craig Bonnell

Music & Film Fri Jan 26 2007

Bobby Conn is King for a Day

Bobby Conn is producing a music video rock opera, called King for a Day. The full film, directed by Usama Alshaibi, will be released by Thrilljockey on February 20, but a preview is available now in the form of a single and video on YouTube.

You can download the mp3 here.

Andrew Huff

Music & Film Tue Jan 23 2007

Get Tanked

There are 100 things you should know about Tankboy. For instance, he’s 6’2”, which “makes it easy for [him] to watch bands from anywhere within a club,” and he also got kicked a couple of feet through the air by a cow. Sounds like a done deal to me. The rampant blogger and local DJ will be up to his usual shenanigans at his monthly “Drop, Rock, and Roll” set at The Continental (2801 W. Chicago Ave.), designed to keep dancers knee-deep in rock, indie and soul.

This month, Tankboy will also be working the new Lily Allen into the mix, to celebrate the stateside release of her album Alright, Then. Free copies of the brit-pop-meets-The-Streets CD will be up for grabs, as well as ticket to her show, and some other goodies. Also keep an eye out for giveaways tied to the release of Damon Albarm’s (Blur, Gorillaz) new group, The Good, the Bad & the Queen. It all takes place on Saturday, Jan. 27. It runs from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m., so I suggest you stretch out first. Call 773/ 292-1200 for more info.

Kara Luger

Music & Film Tue Jan 23 2007

Touch and Go Launches 25th Anniversary Video Series

Still a little bummed that you missed out on all the fun at the Touch and Go 25th Anniversary at the Hideout last year? Or perhaps you just want to relive the glory. Don't fret, because you're in luck. The folks at Touch and Go will be hosting a video series commemorating the festivities. Every Monday a new video clip will be posted, featuring live performance and interview footage from a different act, beginning with yesterday's introductory segment.

Chris Baran

Music & Film Thu Dec 07 2006

Riddim Killers Redux

Sure, it's been a whole decade or so since DJ Spooky became the international ambassador of the "illbient" scene –- that shadowy, only-in-NYC, mutant blend of hip-hop, electronica, drum'n'bass, world music, and ambient smoked-out dub. As a DJ, he's kept a busy globetrotting schedule over the years. He's also steadily worked and recorded with a eclectic assortment of musicians and composers; collaborating with various luminaries from the avant-jazz and classical realms, and even getting in one recent project with ex-Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo. And despite his artier inclinations, he still likes to shake the dancefloor by throwing down some block-rockin' beats and classic roots reggae. He'll be spinning the headlining set at Darkroom this Saturday night. Supporting is Trojan Sound System, a duo comprised of local DJs Leo Foss and Angry Skinny (aka Form, of Baldwin Brothers affiliation). 2210 W. Chicago. 10pm, and admission is only $5.

Graham Sanford

Music & Film Wed Nov 08 2006

November's Sexiest Show

This show cannot get any sexier: take one part newly Chicago-based rock troupe Suffrajett, which features Simi, a tigress oft compared to Joan Jett and Debbie Harry, and mix with equal doses of local heroes Detholtz! (that's pronounced Death Holes, by the by) and Skybox.

Wait, hold the phone: it just got leagues sexier by being held tonight at Schuba's. The whole shindig is part of the Chicago Sounds music series, and the $15 admission gets you the chance to score free giveaways and free whiskey.

Kara Luger

Music & Film Mon Nov 06 2006

Playing Favourites

Don't be put off by the Britishy spelling of Favourite Sons - after all, the boys hail from jolly olde Brooklyn. That said, the group delivers good ol' fashioned swagger rock, in the vein of a defuzzed Strokes or Hot Hot Heat. From the wavering yelps of Griffin’s vocals to the thumping lovelorn letter of the title track, Down Beside Your Beauty will more than likely end up a sleeper hit. Best hop on that bandwagon now, sons and daughters, so you can officially say you saw them play at the Empty Bottle (on Nov. 6) before they got big.

UPDATE: Favourite Sons have cancelled tonight and the remainder of their tour. Australia's Drones will still headline, and The Devastations will support.

Kara Luger

Music & Film Thu Nov 02 2006

Takk for musikken

It would seem there’s something in the pure fjord water. How else do you explain the likes of the music coming out of Scandinavia? From Bjork’s all-out cuckoo-osity to the poppy Cardigans and ethereal heavy-hitters Sigur Ros (don’t even get me started about the whole black metal thing), the region appears to nurture an amorphous idea of what music “should” be.

120 Days follows this non-formula with their mildly gloomy electro-meets-garage rock sound — imagine Iggy Pop in a vinyl outfit a la Kraftwerk. Now do your best to rid yourself of that mental image, and concentrate on what the marriage of styles would sound like. The Oslo-based quartet are making their Chicago debut in support of their new self-titled CD. Check out the show on Nov. 4 at the Empty Bottle; by the end you too will be screaming, “120 Days! Jeg er glad for deg! ”

Kara Luger

Music & Film Wed Oct 25 2006

Singing Her Praises

In the Bible, Psalm 1 is a stern warning, concerned with separating the righteous from the wicked. It’s a pretty tall order, issuing a gal from Chicago. Too bad it wasn’t rapper Psalm One’s original choice in name.

“Well, it’s definitely not based on the bible verse,” she laughs. Instead, she intended her hip hop moniker to be the far more clunky-sounding Psalm 65:11, which reads “Thou crownest the year with thy goodness; and thy paths drop fatness.”

“When I was a little chubby girl, I thought fatness in the bible was the funniest thing ever. So, I figured my rhymes have ‘phatness,’ as well,” she says. Unfortunately, the name didn’t exactly roll right off the tongue, and Psalm One ended up changing her name, attaching “One” to reflect her graffiti past.

Continue reading this entry »

Kara Luger

Music & Film Sun Oct 22 2006

Dig It

If there’s anything Chicago knows, it’s a good jazz group. Here’s your chance to catch Chicago natives Keefe Jackson’s Fast Citizens, as they perform two sets to celebrate the release of their debut album on Delmark Records, Ready Everyday. Featuring members of Umbrella Music, a local ad hoc jazz collective, the show will showcase newly composed and improvised material. But, oh, it gets better: Mitch Cocanig will DJ throughout the night as well, as he “hits the shuffle button on his record collection.” Here’s to hoping it’s a bit more involved in that. The whole shindig goes down on Wednesday, Oct. 25, at the Hideout (1354 W. Wabansia).

Kara Luger

Music & Film Wed Oct 18 2006

Sunny Escape

Canadians are a wacky bunch. Just when you think you have them safely stereotyped as touque-wearing lovers of Kraft dinner, they go and turn everything around. Case in point with Islands, an indie group from Montreal, Quebec. You may be expecting Celine Dion theatrics or Avril Lavigne faux-angst, but no: within each Islands song is a little sunshiney pop treasure, combining laid-back harmonies with everything from string ensembles to kiddie electronics. Led by the pseudonymed Nick Diamonds, the troupe packs the stage with seven members, some of which were in the illustrious The Unicorns. Go see what Islands are all about when they play at the Metro on October 27.

Kara Luger

Music & Film Wed Oct 11 2006

Flossin' in Chicago

Here's your chance to OD on some good ol' fashioned turntablism: Chicago natives Flosstradamus have a whole slew of upcoming shows in the city. The Floss-a-thon kicks off with an Oct. 14 show at the Subterranean with Walter Meego, but you can catch the dynamic duo at later dates at the Town Hall Pub (Oct. 18), the Darkroom (Oct. 21), or Sonotheque (Oct. 25).

Kara Luger

Music & Film Tue Oct 10 2006

Swollen Heads

The Hard-Ons have the work ethic of a band half their age. The old-school Aussie punk group is playing not one but two shows in Chicago on Wednesday, Oct. 13, so there's no excuse to miss it. Rock out with your, well, you know at the Beat Kitchen (2100 W. Belmont Ave.) at 5 p.m., or catch the later show at The Note (1565 N. Milwaukee Ave.).

Kara Luger

Music & Film Tue Oct 10 2006

A Sound Beating

The first rule of the Beat Battle Playoffs: You don’t talk about the Beat Battle Playoffs.

No, wait, you absolutely should talk about it. A sonic Fight Club-of-sorts, it’s a great way to catch local hip-hopsters at their best, as they wage war with one another in this first round of three at Sonotheque (1444 W. Chicago). The October 11 event will be run with contestants running head-to-head, in the style of the old school DJ battles, and will feature Chill vs. Battletek and 1120 vs. Radius.

If that wasn’t enough, get there earlier in the evening to check out Verbal Kent’s new solo album, Move with the Walls, at the album’s listening party. A member of the Organic Mind Unit crew, the VK CD features horns, soul hooks, and good ol’ fashioned bass thumpin’ booty.

Kara Luger

Music & Film Wed Oct 04 2006

P.O.S.itively hip-hop

Rapper P.O.S. throws out hip-hop with a punk edge befitting his riotous, mohawked background. Seattle-based group Minus the Bear is melodic, crunch-riff-heavy indie rock. Now, the separate genres of rap and rock have long been known to join forces (the Anthrax/Public Enemy classic “Bring the Noise,” anyone?), but aggressive hip-hop and, well, feel-good harmony? What were the tour planners thinking?

No need to fret, darlings, it’s sort of a Reese's Cup musical metaphor: now two great tastes can go great together. Catch them on Thursday, October 5 at the Logan Square Auditorium.

Kara Luger

Music & Film Sat Sep 30 2006

Daytime Dancing

It's time to bring your proverbial milkshake to the yard, and frankly, who's to tell you just when you can shake it? Anyone who tells you dancing is primarily a nighttime activity is just plain wrong - i mean, what is this, Footloose?

That's why there's events like DayRa , Chicago's original daytime dance party. Another fiesta is scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 1 at the Cactus Bar & Grill. While you're there, enjoy food and drink specials and music by various DJs, including Brian Gardner, Lee Foss, Dan Mnookin, Brian Ffar, and Billy Dalessandro. Best of all: no cover.

Kara Luger

Music & Film Fri Sep 29 2006

(Estro-) Jam on It!

“Lesbionic” didn’t die — it just took a ten-year hiatus.

Estrojam 2006 kicked off its first evening of music on Thursday night at the Abbey Pub with a good-sized crowd and some really freaky puppets. Opener Gina Young churned out earnest, acoustic tunes, followed by spoken word artist/activist Andrea Gibson.

All’s well and full of Lilith Fair-type wymyn, right? Not so fast, Sally Mae. Austin, TX, trio The Tuna Helpers took the stage and proceeded to stun/wow/confuse the audience straight out of their collective Converse kicks. Begging the question, “Is it schtick or is it art?,” the Helpers’ show contained the following elements: wacky outfits, demonic puppet shows, interpretive dance, a unicorn, sign language, and Kate Bush operatics. Goodness.

The crowd thickened as it came to bring out the stars of the evening: legendary queercore punksters, Team Dresch. Reunited after a ten-year split, the group recently started touring together again, much to the delight of fans (like me), some of whom have been waiting nearly 12 years to see them play live. It was worth the wait; as the group ripped into the opening chords of “Hate the Christian Right!” from Personal Best, it was obvious that not only did the gals still have the chops, but they still loved playing together (unlike some groups — I’m looking at you, Pixies). Later, singer/guitarist Kaia Wilson (also of The Butchies) told me that they’ve enjoyed the reunion so much, they’re starting to work on song for a new album. Hold your breath starting… now.

Estrojam continues through Saturday, Sept. 30. Other events include workshops, and performers Lesbians on Ecstacy, Nina Hagen, Paradise Island, and Carnie Gal Extraordinaire & Alexandra of Oracle Aerial Dance Troupe.

Kara Luger

Music & Film Mon Aug 28 2006

Tastemaking Internet Scene

Pitchfork Media may operate out of unassuming offices in Logan Square, but, as Wired is only the latest to point out, its "effect" reaches all over the world of music, independent and otherwise.

[Author name lost in database explosion]

Music & Film Fri Aug 25 2006

Everybody Go to the T.A.M.I. Show

Doc Films has a doozy of a rockumentary tonight, in the form of The T.A.M.I. Show. This 1965 film by Steve Binder (the same director who later brought us Elvis' 1968 Comeback Special) documents the Teen-Age Music International Show, a concert held at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium in October of 1964 and is often hailed as one of the most important rock and roll movies ever made. It featured every style of music from the British Invasion to Motown to girl pop to surf rock, and has performances from The Rolling Stones, Marvin Gaye, Jan & Dean, Lesley Gore, James Brown, The Beach Boys, The Supremes, Chuck Berry, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, and more. Tickets are $4, and the movie plays tonight at 7pm and 9:30pm. Doc Films is located in Ida Noyes Hall at the University of Chicago at 1212 East 59th Street.

Anne Holub

GB store

Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »


  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
Country Music Chicago
Cream Team
Dark Jive
The Deli Chicago
Jim DeRogatis
Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
The Hood Internet
Jaded in Chicago
Largehearted Boy
Little White Earbuds
Live Fix Blog
Live Music Blog
Loud Loop Press
Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
Pop Matters
Resident Advisor
Sound Opinions
Sun-Times Music Blog
Theft Liable to Prosecution
Tribune Music
UR Chicago
Victim Of Time
WFMU's Beware of the Blog
Windy City Rock


Abbey Pub
Andy's Jazz Club
Aragon Ballroom
Auditorium Theatre
Beat Kitchen
Bottom Lounge
Buddy Guy's Legends
The Burlington
California Clipper
Concord Music Hall
Congress Theater
Cubby Bear
Double Door
Elbo Room
Empty Bottle
Green Mill
The Hideout
Honky Tonk BBQ
House of Blues
Kingston Mines
Lincoln Hall
Logan Square Auditorium
Mayne Stage
The Mutiny
Old Town School of Folk Music
Park West
The Promontory
Red Line Tap
Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint
The Riviera
Thalia Hall
The Shrine
Symphony Center
Tonic Room
Uncommon Ground
The Vic
The Whistler

  Labels, Promoters
  & Shops:

Alligator Records
Beverly Records
Bloodshot Records
Dave's Records
Delmark Records
Drag City
Dusty Groove
Flameshovel Records
Groove Distribution
He Who Corrupts
Jam Productions
Jazz Record Mart
Kranky Records
Laurie's Planet of Sound
Minty Fresh
Numero Group
mP Shows
Permanent Records
Reckless Records
Smog Veil Records
Southport & Northport Records
Thick Records
Thrill Jockey Records Touch & Go/Quarterstick Records
Victory Records

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Transmission is the music section of Gapers Block. It aims to highlight Chicago music in its many varied forms, as well as cover touring acts performing in the city. More...
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