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.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Saturday, May 25

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News Tue Feb 10 2015

Mucca Pazza's Tiny Desk Runneth Over

Everyone's favorite punk rock marching band, Mucca Pazza, journeyed east recently and ended up at NPR where they broke some serious records. As a gang of 23 musicians and cheerleaders, they became the largest ensemble to wedge around All Songs Consdiered editor Bob Boilen's desk for their very own Tiny Desk Concert. Check it out, and breathe some life into your work day:

You can also download the band's 14 minute concert as an mp3.

Anne Holub

Stores Thu Dec 19 2013

Your Last-Minute Xmas Buying Guide for the Music Lover

Santa Rockin 2005 inside.jpg

You've done it again. You've flaked the date. It's just a few days till Christmas, and you haven't gotten anything for anyone and now you'd have to pay up the wazoo to get anything shipped in time. But wait! We have a solution that's a win/win: Shop local and get that music-lover on your list something awesome this year. (No, a new tree-shaped car freshener isn't awesome. Stop it.)

You might be able to wait until Christmas Eve to shop, but I wouldn't recommend it. Some businesses will have limited hours on Tuesday and most will be flat-out closed Wednesday, so get out today and get going!

Continue reading this entry »

Anne Holub

Radio Mon Dec 16 2013

A New Spin on Santa

christmas vinyl record.jpg

Throughout the year, you might catch Andy Cirzan and John Soss diving through crates of records with just one thing on their minds: finding the most ridiculous Christmas music out there. This isn't your Lite FM Mariah favorites, or even the weird B-sides from your favorite childhood Santa spin. These are some weird, strange, and otherwise non sequitur holiday oddities — and they're so much fun! All the effort starts to pay off as we creep closer to the 25th. Catch Andy and John on the radio several times over the next week.

I seem to always be go-go-go each year when Andy appears on WBEZ's Sound Opinions, but luckily we can download all his latest Christmas mix for free, or listen to the show online or below:

If you like your radio live, here's where you can catch John and Andy do their Christmas spinning on your FM dial over the next few days:

- Tuesday, December 17th from 10pm–Midnight on WXRT Radio 93.1 FM with "The Eclectic Company" hosts Marty Lennartz and Jon Langford. Listen online by clicking the "Listen Live" box.

- Sunday, December 22nd from 1–3pm and on Tuesday, December 24 from 10pm–midnight. Hear some vintage "Christmas Club with Johnny and Andy" programs on WDCB Radio 90.9 FM or listen online.

Anne Holub

Random Mon Dec 31 2012

Chicago Music 2012: The Year in Lists

The year's almost over, and we've given our $.02 on what we've loved hearing. Here are some great year-end lists (many of which don't just count down albums) from some other Chicago music blogs we hope you'll like (in no particular order).

Got a great Chicago music memories of your own from 2012? Let us know in the comments.

Anne Holub

Lollapalooza Mon Aug 06 2012

Getting Popped the Question at Lollapalooza

Music lovers often find each other, it seems. Chicagoan Stefani Klayman got a surprise when her boyfriend brought her on stage Friday during the Yellow Ostrich set at Lollapalooza and proposed. They got the whole thing on the webcast, too. Spoiler: she said yes. Congrats!

Anne Holub

Random Mon Jun 04 2012

It's all Pete Wentz's Fault.

I'm not sure why, but it is. If you feel the ex-Fallout Boy is the root cause of your troubles, too, has an ecard just for you.


Andrew Huff

Random Tue May 08 2012

Gibson Releases Jeff Tweedy Edition Guitar


Earlier this year, Gibson USA released a new Jeff Tweedy Signature SG electric guitar. Modeled after the 1961 SG, the guitar features a solid mahogany "double horn" body and neck, a decorative "lyre" vibrato tailpiece cover and two BurstBucker pickups. The body is finished in a misty "Pelham blue" with a cream pickguard, a satin-finished neck and acrylic inlays in the rosewood fingerboard; full specs here. Suggested retail price is $2,599.

This isn't the only special edition Tweedy guitar released this year. Martin also released the 00-DB Jeff Tweedy acoustic guitar, built with wood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. It'll run you $2,999.

Back in 2008 Breedlove created a 25-piece edition of Jeff Tweedy signature acoustic guitars. Neither Gibson's no Martin's guitars won't be nearly as limited.

Andrew Huff

Random Fri Apr 27 2012

5 Songs Choose Chicago Should Use Instead of Umphrey McGee's New Anthem — & 1 to Avoid

By GB Staff

Umphrey's McGee Chicago songAs the "official Chicago visitors' site," Choose Chicago aims to provide information and updates on all the city has to offer, "whether you're visiting for business or pleasure." And, like their fellow citizen ambassadors, they want visitors to experience the city with the access and ease of the savviest locals. Recently, to sum up their mission and the city they represent, they commissioned a song -- anthem -- from Umphrey's McGee/Buddy Guy/Chicago that was instantly met with varying degrees of harsh criticism and articulated distaste.

Chicago is a fast, friendly, colorful city with littered backstreets and sparkling main streets where even locals get lost in the grid among skyscrapers, sandwiches, CTA stations, corner bars, festivals, foot traffic and the overwhelming sense that there's always more to do than there are hours in day. We're a diverse but segregated city, a city full of progress but with a conservative side. Comedian Greg Proops, in an Eight Forty Eight interview on WBEZ last week, called Chicago, "the real New York ... I love the culture, the avidity."

To many — including us — the new anthem sounds like the product of design by committee. Take out the word "Chicago" and it could be about any city. (In fact, "Toronto" fits perfectly in there -- maybe we could just donate it to the Canadians.) A.V. Club's Steve Heisler discovered that it's ready-made for karaoke -- the willfully generic tune already sounds like a keyboard cover.

So, in the spirit of positivity, here are some alternatives from the literally dozens of songs about the city that Choose Chicago could choose to use instead of their manufactured monstrosity. Think you've got one that's even better? Add it in the comments.

Continue reading this entry »

Transmission / Comments (2)

Music Business Wed Mar 21 2012

R. Kelly's "Hip-Hopera" Trapped in the Closet returns to IFC

Fear not, faithful R. Kelly fans, we at Transmission are happy to report that R. Kelly's 2007 soap-opera-esque series Trapped in the Closet is making a heroic comeback on IFC with brand new episodes. In an interview with Rolling Stone, the star said: "When I first began experiencing the unknown journey of writing Trapped in the Closet I knew after the first chapter that I had tapped into something that was not of this earth." You got that right, bro.

J.H. Palmer

Random Thu Mar 15 2012

Happy Ides of March!

It's March 15, also known as the Ides of March, made famous by Julius Caesar's murder in 44BC at the hands of Brutus. Several hundred years later Caesar's dying words: "Et tu Brute" were made famous by Shakespeare. But more importantly, the Ides of March are also a Berwyn band who gave us the song "Vehicle" in 1970 and I, for one, have to listen to this song at least four times today.

J.H. Palmer / Comments (1)

Artist Sun Feb 12 2012

Tour Diary: Canasta in Mongolia - Day 5 - Drums

Canasta's drummer, Brian Palmieri, offered up the final tour diary entry from Mongolia before the band headed for the plane yesterday. If you're wondering what in the world this Chicago band is doing in chilly Mongolia, see the previous tour diary entries.

"The final hour is now upon us. In these last hours of our Mongolian adventure, I'd like to take a moment to reflect and reminisce.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you. . .


The Mongolian language has around ten different words for drum or drums (noun).

The one most commonly used is pronounced Boom-Berrr (rolled 'r'). When I finally realized what the word meant, I was delighted. What a fun, onomatopoeic, word for drums! Try saying it. BOOOM-BERRR. Fun, right?

Well, unfortunately, the word that brought me such joy, if for a brief time, would eventually become the source of great disappointment and anxiety.

In preparing for the trip to Mongolia, the band coordinated the gear situation over dozens of emails. There was a lot of back and forth over what would be available, what we could or should bring, and what we could possibly live without. As the drummer, I knew I wouldn't be shipping my own drums overseas. That would be madness (it's my only kit and it's over 50 years old.). As the emailing with our embassy contacts concluded, I felt pretty confident that I would have at least a halfway decent set of drums to play on throughout our visit/tour. After playing our first workshop at the school for the blind in UB, I felt confident that everything would work out just fine. The school (which seemed rather modest and probably not well-funded) provided a totally decent beginner/ intermediate level set for me to play. I assumed that this would be the set I would play throughout the trip.

Continue reading this entry »

Anne Holub

Artist Fri Feb 10 2012

Tour Diary: Canasta in Mongolia - Day 4 - Dining Options

The latest update comes from Canasta keyboardist/pianist Ryan Tracy. I've included an earlier trip photo from their Facebook account, and will have more images to share related to Ryan's post Swhen I next connect with the band [Update! New photos added!]. For now, enjoy Ryan's tales of Mongolian cuisine. PS: How cute is it they now have Facebook fans from Mongolia! [Read all about why Canasta is touring in Mongolia, and the previous three posts.]

Canasta's Elizabeth Lindau enjoying a bowl of "milk tea" which consists of 90% milk,
9% tea, and 1% salt with a little butter for added richness.

"If you're like me, the best part of traveling to new places is sampling a bit of the local cuisine, and trying things that you might never find at home. My concept of Mongolian food was fairly limited based on the "Mongolian BBQ" chain of restaurants and an episode of "Bizarre Foods" discussed in a previous blog.

[Editor's note: Enjoy another segment from the show, below]

Based on our time here thus far, the Mongolian diet consists of two major meats: mutton and beef; and five major vegetables: potatoes, onions, cherry tomatoes, carrots, and cabbage. The good news is that you organic food lovers could not have it any better here. The menus at restaurants are more like a history of the food the restaurant has had, and it's not unlikely for a place to only have 4 or 5 of the things on a 20-item menu. Since the meat and vegetables are so fresh, what they have is what you get. There are no food suppliers or trucks showing up twice a week to stock the restaurant like back at home...the food is simply whatever the town has handy and can sell to the restaurant. Evidence of this can be seen at one rural restaurant in which the cook/waitress/hostess stepped out after we ordered and came back two minutes later with a fresh set of supplies from the store two buildings down. In the major city of Ulaanbaatar the situation is a little different, but the taste of the actual food remains the same.

Continue reading this entry »

Anne Holub

Artist Thu Feb 09 2012

Tour Diary: Canasta in Mongolia - Day 3, Tsetserleg

This next update comes from Canasta pianist Megan O'Connor (subbing in for Sarah Kneebone who couldn't make this trip) after a brief lag where the band was without internet access. Now back in the capital, wifi is plentiful and so are the posts. [Read all about why this indie Chicago band is touring in Mongolia, and the previous posts.]

Canasta's tour van: Mongolian style (photos courtesy of the band)

"Not sure how long we were in the van after leaving Ulaan Bataar, but at least twenty horse herds, one batch of camels and a few yaks later, we pulled in to the small town of Tsetserleg. (I want to get our driver a bumper sticker that says "I brake for cashmere goats." He was truly amazing.) We decided to throw on an extra layer of long underwear and take a walk around town. Pretty empty outside, all we saw were a few stray dogs, some dance music blasting from a doorway, and a couple of men walking around in deels, the traditional Mongolian coat. (More on deels later. Wow, Mongolians know how to stay warm.) We spotted a small Buddhist monastery, about halfway up the side of a small mountain foothill and decided to climb to it. The cold air and the high altitude made it hard for us to catch our breath on the way up the long staircase. The air was cold. Very cold. But really, "very cold" is a woefully inadequate description. This air felt like something alive and aggressive trying to invade us. Like Dementors. Still, the view from the monastery of the village and surrounding mountains made the climb worthwhile. We said very little, just looked out and took many pictures. The sun was slipping behind the mountains, and so we rushed back down the hill to the hotel, red-cheeked and shivering.

Continue reading this entry »

Anne Holub

Artist Tue Feb 07 2012

Tour Diary: Canasta in Mongolia - Day 2

Subtitle: Megan and Elizabeth get lost in UlaanBaatar, or CAMELS!!! Camels everyone!!

This latest tour blog comes via Canasta's violinist Elizabeth Lindau. Read all about why in the world they're in Mongolia, and the previous post.

"Going in order...After performing a set for a local TV show, Canasta headed over to a gallery/bar called Xanadu with some Mongolians from the UB art/music scene. We loaded up into our van, along with Lauren, an American who is in Mongolia on a Fulbright scholarship. After a short drive, we pulled over and all exited the van. Megan spotted some great street art, so I (Elizabeth) pulled out my camera to take a picture. After a few shots, we looked around for our group, and spotted a bunch of folks in puffy coats about a block or so away. We were surprised that they hadn't waited for us, but we scampered over to catch up with them. As we got closer, we began to wasn't our group. And...we were now lost and alone. Being lost in a foreign city isn't a huge deal, but when the temperature is around minus thirty Fahrenheit...well...we knew we wouldn't last too long without getting inside. Some Mongolian girls stopped and tried to help us, but they hadn't heard of Xanadu. We were two little baby birds, fallen from the nest, chirping "Xanadu"! Xanadu!" and getting colder by the minute.

Pianist Sarah Kneebone (correction) Megan O'Connor meets a new friend on the streets of Ulaan Bataar
(photos courtesy of Canasta)

Continue reading this entry »

Anne Holub

Random Thu Jan 05 2012

Donda Esta Kanye?

kanyetwitter.pngKanye West returned to Twitter last night, and in an early morning fit of insomnia (he is in London, where it was 5am when he got started) posted a stream of conscious description of a "design company" he has supposedly started, called DONDA.

"DONDA is a design company which will galvanize amazing thinkers and put them in a creative space to bounce there dreams and ideas..." West tweeted, going on to say he was looking for creative people of all types to staff "over 22 divisions with a goal to make products and experiences that people want and can afford."

The full stream of tweets is posted below for posterity, via Storify. If you're interested in learning more, West shared the email address -- contact as a way of getting in touch.

Continue reading this entry »

Andrew Huff

Event Fri Jul 29 2011

The Ladies Rock Experience


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

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

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

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

Continue reading this entry »

J.H. Palmer

News Mon Jul 25 2011

Nordic Thunder Takes Home the US Air Guitar 2011 National Title

us air guitar devil hornsThe US Air Guitar National Finals were held in Chicago for the first time Saturday night, and all around were signs that this was Chicago's time to shine. And it was four-time Chicago regional finalist Nordic Thunder who stood triumphant in the end, ready to represent the United States in the Air Guitar World Championships in Oulu, Finland, in August.

Nordic Thunder (Justin Howard) had plenty of supporters in the packed crowd at the Metro, but he wasn't alone. Five of the finalists were from Chicago, including the defending national champion, RomeoDanceCheetah (Matt Cornelison), Thundergland and Mr. Serious (brothers Matt and Lee Barats), and Dry Ice (Aaron Alonso). But although the hometown crowd might have given an advantage to the local guitarists, it was anyone's show to win on the strength of their performance. "You could take a 21-sided die and assign a number to each of us and that's about as even a chance as we each have," Mr. Serious said earlier in the day.

Continue reading this entry »

Andrew Huff / Comments (1)

Pitchfork Music Festival Wed Jul 20 2011

'Fork Fashion 2011

[This piece comes to us from writer Anne Chernik (a buyer and amateur fashion enthusiast) and photographer Paul Harris.]

This past weekend thousands of concert-goers and merry-makers converged upon Union Park for the seventh annual Pitchfork Music Festival where the temps were hot and the fashion was hotter. There were abundant feathers, face paint, and enough rompers for a rompage. The sultry conditions did little to inhibit the street style of concert-goers who still managed to look lovely and amazing. We were embedded with a photographer and are still alive to blog about it -- and bring you some of the best looks from the long, hot weekend.

Transmission / Comments (1)

Review Thu May 19 2011

Review: Blue Ribbon Glee Club and Mortified @ Fizz


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

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

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

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

Continue reading this entry »

J.H. Palmer / Comments (1)

News Tue Apr 12 2011

Netherfriends finish 50 States 50 Songs project


When we first met Chicago nomad Netherfriends at Pitchfork Festival last year, he was working on an epic journey of 50 songs in 50 states. The idea was simple; stop working a day job, give up your lease, tour in a van and play anywhere, and record a song in all 50 states.

Well, countless miles, one broken and abandoned van, and one recovered laptop later, Netherfriends have finished their quest. And are releasing the first collection of recordings from the tour, Angry East Coast, complete with an mini-magazine detailing some of the hijinks and adventures from the tour. Here are some of Shawn/Netherfriends thoughts and reflections on the 50 Songs 50 States tour:

  • Alaska: Played a house show the night of my birthday in a huge log cabin with a spiral staircase in the middle and slept in this crows nest at the top of the cabin looking out over Fairbanks.
  • Mobile, Alabama: Running out of gas in at 3AM caused me to miss recording in the state. Got handed a bag of mushrooms for playing "a decent set.
  • Casper, Wyoming: Playing a steak house with Chad Lorne the tap dancing/beer on the head balancing act. INCREDIBLE! Taking that dude on the road at some point.
  • North Carolina: We got asked to take a picture with a bunch of dudes because they thought we were famous and then causing a handful of teens to do the same. When they asked who we were, we told them that we weren't really allowed to say, but they will find out soon.

Clearly ambitious, Netherfriends will now be heading back to the East Coast to face a new challenge: bike to each show. Bicycle Tour 2011 will start and end in Philadelphia, and I'm looking forward to the reports from Shawn of the many interesting stories and thoughts that I'm sure Netherfriends will encounter on this tour.

Lisa White

Random Fri Feb 18 2011

Nicole Fiorentino, Smashing Pumpkins Bassist & Cover Girl?

SmashingPumpkins-SiameseDream.jpgTalk about weird coincidences: According to a tweet by Billy Corgan, Nicole Fiorentino, the current bassist for Smashing Pumpkins, was also one of the young girls on the cover of Siamese Dream (the one on the left, apparently). "She said she didn't want us to know because she thought maybe we wouldn't let her be in the band," Corgan added. Corgan conducted a search for the girls in 2007, so it's interesting that he just found this out now.

Before joining the Pumpkins full time, Fiorentino had been a member of the touring band, and was the bassist for the latest incarnation of Veruca Salt. She also played with Spinnerette, Light FM and Twilight Sleep. Her first band, Radio Vago, broke up in 2005.

According to Wikipedia, Fiorentino was born in 1979, which would have made her 13 or 14 when Siamese Dream came out -- which doesn't put this story out of the realm of possibility, though it would probably mean the photo was a few years old when it was used on the cover. Fiorentino has not addressed the news directly, so keep an eye out. [via]

UPDATE: According to Rolling Stone, an assistant to the photographer who shot the cover photo says he was "pretty sure the photo was shot specifically for the cover," which would most likely mean Corgan is screwing with us.

Andrew Huff

Concert Thu Jun 03 2010

Caribou Crossing


Want to see Canada's Caribou in a more intimate setting before he lights up the sky from Millennium Park in July? Our friends at Daytrotter are hosting Caribou — along with Quad Citians Datagun and Centaur Noir — for an all ages show at the Rock Island Brewing Company this Saturday, June 5.

Caribou is coming all the way from Dundas, Ontario. A tiny-fraction-of-the-way-road-trip from Chicago will complete the circle. (And while in town, might I suggest sampling the deliciously delicious Great River Brewery, Far Out Espresso Stout?)

Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 at the door. Rock Island brewing Company is located at 1815 2nd Ave., Rock Island, IL. 309-793-1999.

Brian Leli

Feature Thu May 13 2010

Welcome to Daytrotter

A hundred and eighty miles west of Chicago, the Mississippi River wraps around Arsenal Island and cuts through Iowa and Illinois. Towering over this river, Centennial Bridge connects these states. A few steps in from shore is the Great River Trail. One can move along it slowly and savor it for miles. A few more steps in is the small city of Rock Island. There are streets and people. At night — voices and lights. There are bars, restaurants, businesses. There is Huckleberry's Pizza, SEO Copywriters. Up above them both, there are engineers and magicians at work. In one room a magnificent sound is created. In another it is nudged gently onto BASF 468 1/4" analog tape. This is done 15 inches and one second at a time. Seven times a week, for several hours a session, for over four years this has been done here. The tape collection has been growing. And now, one can move along it slowly and savor it for miles. Welcome to Daytrotter.

Continue reading this entry »

Brian Leli / Comments (6)

Event Wed May 12 2010

Not Playing Around: Chicago's Ukulele Scene

Uke - Heather Smith.jpg

Heather Smith

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

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

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

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

Continue reading this entry »

Transmission / Comments (5)

Random Sat Oct 24 2009

Gothageddon: A Puppet Show by Billy Corgan

Ever wonder what Billy Corgan does in his spare time? Here's the harsh reality: He plays with puppets. Last night, he put on a puppet show entitled "Gothageddon" - a wrestling match including doll versions of himself, Robert Smith, Amanda Palmer, and Peter Murphy. The show was preceded by a two-hour video chat with long-time Corgan collaborator Linda Strawberry, photographer Kristin Burns and Kat Turner, Billy's personal chef. Seriously. Check out the ridiculousness below (all voices done by The Bald One himself), complete with a James Iha appearance at the end.

Click here to watch the post-show puppet interviews.

Stephanie Griffin / Comments (2)

Event Tue Sep 22 2009

"Feed Me, Seymour!"

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

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

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

Michelle Meywes / Comments (1)

Event Mon Jul 27 2009

The Funk of Forty Thousand Years

Zombie Couple (Photo by Kirstie Shanley)

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

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

Anne Holub

Random Wed Jul 01 2009

Choose to Choose Love


Sky Saxon, best known as the lead singer of The Seeds, passed away last Thursday in Austin, the cause of death not yet released. Shortly afterward, a previously unreleased song featuring Sky Saxon and Billy Corgan hit the net, thanks to the Facebook of Kerry Brown, a long-time collaborator and friend of Corgan. The accompanying video serves as a tribute to Saxon, featuring a photo montage by photographer Kristin Burns. Watch an untagged version of the video here on Facebook.

Billy Corgan via Twitter:

God Bless Sky Sunlight Saxon, who passed from this Earth today. He changed my life for the better. God bless you Sky.

Stephanie Griffin

Random Mon Jun 29 2009

Computer + Guitar = Computar!

Local designer Craig Berman proposes an unusual mashup of modern musical instruments:


Considering the nostalgia for '80s music and popularity of chiptune, could this be the perfect successor to the keytar?

Andrew Huff / Comments (1)

Random Wed May 13 2009

What's in a Name? Daniel Says It All

I'm really liking Bat for Lashes' new single, "Daniel," from her latest album Two Suns, of which she has an awesome video for on YouTube. "Daniel, when I first saw you/I knew that you had a flame in your heart/And under wild blue skies/Marlboro ruby skies/I found a home in your eyes/And we'd never be apart," singer Natasha Khan begins the song.

The song got me thinking...the Daniels in this world must make strong impression on lots of singers. The song made me revist two other odes to mysterious Daniels.

Continue reading this entry »

Sheila Burt / Comments (1)

Random Tue Mar 24 2009

A Glimpse At Ravinia's Past

Ravinia.jpgPack up the car with your Crate & Barrel picnic table, lawn chairs, blanket, food, and of course the libations...It's almost Ravinia season! Every summer the outdoor suburban venue beckons concert-goers to sit in the lawn, relax and soak in the sunshine and music.*

The Highland Park Library holds a collection of Ravinia posters spanning the last 35 years, and you can see them all on their Flickr page. The posters began with a contest in 1974 held by the Women's Board of the Ravinia Festival, and each season has its own design. While the library holds more than 20 posters, its collection is not complete. They are asking that if you hold a poster from one of the missing years and would be interested in donating it, to contact the Library Director (847-432-0216).

Ravinia recently announced their 2009 schedule including performances from Indigo Girls, Pat Benatar, Steve Miller Band, Herbie Hancock, Femi Kuti, Yo-Yo Ma, and of course, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. View the full schedule here.

*Be sure to stake your claim early, because by the time the show starts you wont be able to find one visible patch of grass in the whole place.

Michelle Meywes

News Mon Mar 02 2009

Losers, Beautiful and Otherwise

While he may have once been a running punchline on The Young Ones, it seems that Leonard Cohen's pop-culture status has been overwhelming rehabbed in recent decades. So much so that, as he prepares to tour the U.S. for the first time in over 15 years, it looks like his fans (including those hoping to catch his performance at the Chicago Theater in May) might consider teaming up with those of Bruce Springsteen for a class action suit against Ticketmaster. The Reader's "Crickets" blog tells why.

Graham Sanford

Random Mon Mar 02 2009

'The Weekly Leak' Gives You Exclusive Access

Ever wish there was a listening party for people who get as excited about music-release-Tuesday as you do? You're in luck. The Weekly Leak, Monday nights at Sonotheque, gives you a slight sneak preview of the next day's best releases. The pros at The Decider, Reckless Records and WHPK narrow the week's releases down to a few gems for you to listen, discuss and enjoy. They also have giveaways from selected bands and give you the opportunity to purchase the releases before anyone else.

Tonight's featured releases are the Strange Boys' Strange Boys & Girls Club, Bishop Allen's GRR, and Neko Case's Middle Cyclone (previewed here last week).

Sonotheque is located at 1444 W. Chicago Ave. The party gets started at 9pm and admission is free. 21+

Michelle Meywes / Comments (1)

Random Fri Feb 20 2009

Support Your Local Indie Record Store

Between the recent boom of digital music sales and the current economic downturn, some music fans have lately been speculating about the fate of brick-and-mortar independent record stores. With that in mind, the March issue of GQ features "The Last Record Store" by contributor Dan Kennedy, in which Kennedy profiles -- and spends a couple of weeks working at -- the indie record shop Kiss The Sky in Geneva, IL. (Note: The article is not yet available via the publication's online edition.)

Also of local interest in the same issue: Kanye West makes the mag's latest list of "The 10 Most Stylish Men in America," and explains his low Day-Glo policy for photo shoots.

Graham Sanford

Radio Wed Feb 18 2009

Soundtrack for Hard Times

Chicago Public Radio's latest project "Hard Working" posed the question on their blog late last week: What songs belong on a recession-themed mix tape? They've got some solid starters, but it got me wondering what would the slant of this mix? Would you want bluesy, soulful tunes or peppy mood lifters?

My vote: "Welcome to the Working Week" by Elvis Costello

Anne Holub / Comments (1)

Random Thu Feb 12 2009

Chicago Bands on Twitter

twitter_logo_125x29.pngWe're putting together a list of Chicago bands on Twitter, as a companion to this list of 406 international acts who use it. We most likely missed one or two; add more in the comments, or by DMing us on Twitter.

Andrew Bird
Animate Objects
Big Sky Stringband
Chicago Opera Theater
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
DJ Heather
Eighth Blackbird
The Fold
The Frantic
Hood Internet
Kid Sister
Lost Cartographers
Loyal Divide
Morris Mills
Post Honeymoon
The Right Now
Snows Era
The Sweeps
Treaty of Paris

Andrew Huff / Comments (10)

Random Tue Feb 03 2009

Drew Peterson Sings?!

Reader Jacob Smith recently sent us this email:

I was jamming with a friend of mine when we met Drew [Peterson] singing in the next space. He is actually not bad and is a nice guy. Anyway my friend took a photo with his iphone. Don't know if this is news, but you can use these photos if you want.


All I can say is, with all the other craziness in Drew Peterson's life, the fact that he found the time to hit the studio and lay down some tracks is impressive. Maybe he has more than a little bit in common with R.Kelly?

Andrew Huff / Comments (6)

Event Thu Jan 15 2009

Blogging Big Shoulders

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

Anne Holub

Event Wed Dec 10 2008

Less Cowbell.

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

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

Graham Sanford

Random Fri Nov 07 2008

Tortoise's Spooky Ruben visit

A little afternoon video delight. What does Tortoise/Sea & Cake drummer and percussionist extraordinaire John McEntire do while on a break from a recent show in Toronto? (It ain't a run for Tim Horton's, that's for sure.)


Anne Holub

Random Mon Nov 03 2008

1, 2, 3...VOTE! 1, 2, 3...VOTE!

Colin Meloy and The Decemberists made an impromptu Get Out the Vote PSA at their concert at the University of Chicago this past weekend. (Thanks, Matt!)

Anne Holub

Music Business Tue Oct 21 2008

Because it didn't just go away...

Chances are you heard a fair amount this past spring about the so-called Chicago Promoters Ordinance, and about how -- after rapid grassroots mobilzation from the city's cultural community -- the Ordinance was tabled for a later date.

But in the face of the city's current budget woes, as municipal powers look for ways to fill a $496 million-dollar budget deficit, you can expect they'll be looking for a lot of ways to squeeze out revenue -- tapping into whatever resources that seem viable. Which most likely means that the Ordinance could be making a re-appearance at the earliest opportunity.

As Sun-Times music critic Jim DeRogatis describes it, the Chicago Promoters Ordinance (aka the "Event Promoters Ordinance," or Chapter 4-157) constitutes "a full-on war against the music community." But that's only one part of the larger picture. In case you hadn't followed the details very closely, the Ordinance would have a detrimental effect on culture in Chicago that would extend far beyond the indie music and dance scene. It would also affect the city's art and performance venues of every stripe -- including theater, comedy, literary events, as well as alternative arts spaces and galleries. In short, the scope of the Ordinance would effectively sever this city's cultural life at the roots.

By way of a recap, local multimedia producers JaGoFF and TheRecordIndustry have put together their own video documentary Chicago's Promoters' Ordinance Kills Independent Music. Shot over the past summer and quickly posted for viral circulation, the documentary features interviews with Jim DeRogatis and Chicago Tribune music journalist Greg Kot; as well as commentary by a bevy of other Chicago scene-movers including Shawn Campbell from CHIRP, DJs Derrick Carter and James Lauer, Galapagos4 hip-hop DJ/producer Maker, and plenty of other figures from Chicago's multi-faceted cultural landscape.

The video's long on testimonials, but also features some excellent info and commentary -- most notably an extensive walk-through of the Ordinance provided by Henry H. Perritt Jr. As a law professor and cultural advocate, Perritt subjects the Ordinance to a relentless critique in terms of its legal and cultural ramifications, and offers the verdict that the thing is both "unconstitutional" and "just plain bonkers."

Stay tuned, because we'll most likely be seeing more of the Chicago Promoters Ordinance in the future. And that'll probably end up being sooner than later.

More to come.

[video]: Youtube version
[video]: Google version
[video]: Myspace version

Graham Sanford / Comments (1)

Random Thu Oct 16 2008

Politically Charged

gl-obama-front-2-72.jpgAs we approach two major events in the next few weeks, Halloween and Election Day, it is time for children regardless of age to dress up as their favorite character, politician, monster, etc. In offices buildings across the country adults will be joining in on the celebration and acting like the children they once were. Through the thin walls of my beige cubicle I can over hear departments planning their themes and costumes. On Tuesday, one department had voted on dressing as their favorite political figures (how exciting!), and they had McCain, Obama, Palin, Bidden all covered. On Wednesday they were told that the "climate was too politically charged" and they had to settle for dressing as the folks from Grey's Anatomy. That phrase stuck in my head for a while, "Politically Charged", what does that mean? What would happen if someone came to work on October 31st dressed as John McCain? Would there be violence? Seriously, it is Halloween!

Continue reading this entry »

Jason Behrends

Artist Tue Oct 14 2008

Mahjongg release protest song. Sort of.

Now in the midst of a new European tour, Chicago's electro-tribal "irritainment" pioneers Mahjongg are releasing a new single via the K Records label. The a-side, "Free Grooverider," features a different sound from that of their recent album; with the group serving up some a dose of bouncy, Kraftwerkian synth-pop. The track's title, however, is intended as a topical protest and homage devoted to one of techno's leading innovators, DJ Grooverider.

Continue reading this entry »

Graham Sanford

Event Thu Sep 04 2008

Drag City via the Scenic Route

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

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

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

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

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

Graham Sanford

Artist Thu Aug 14 2008

Follow-up: Rhymefest Releases "Stolen" Video

As we told you about last week, Chicago indie hip-hop emcee Rhymefest issued a pretty bold statement when he was prepping listeners for the release of his new video. The video, which is for his new track "Stolen," stated officially circulating this past Tuesday, and here it is:

Civil war...genocide...refugees...blood diamonds. Yep, Rhymefest definitely isn't treading lightly with the narrative this time around.

Continue reading this entry »

Graham Sanford

Event Mon Aug 11 2008

US Air Guitar Championships: No Win for Chicago

nordic thunder us air guitar championships 2008

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

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

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

Andrew Huff / Comments (1)

Random Sun Aug 03 2008

Radiohead Needs a Copyeditor

I am not enough of a Radiohead fan to accurately review one of their concerts. But I am enough of a fan of the English language to know that they need to take a clearer look at their stage show:

Notice anything around the 40-second mark of that video? "Everything in It's Right Place"? Even one of the biggest bands in the world shouldn't be above proper grammar. Otherwise, I can't be the only person to think that the Field Museum should receive an assist for the unintentionally perfect fireworks display that took place behind Radiohead's headlining Lollapalooza set on Friday evening. The synchronization between those fireworks and "Fake Plastic Trees" was truly trascendent.

James Ziegenfus / Comments (9)

Random Thu Jul 31 2008

Clubland Coming to You Live

The sweet sounds of clubland can now be downloaded from the "Interweb." As of August 1, you can listen to a live performances from Smart Bar (as well as other clubs and venues around the world) via, the first system to broadcast 100% music live over the web. The system was founded in Paris in 2006 by a team of young entrepreneurs in music, entertainment and design. A free 45-day trial membership is available to Smart Bar patrons. For more details visit the Awdio website. Word on the street is that Sonotheque is joining up as well. Now you can go to clubland without stepping away from your computer.

Marla Seidell

Random Thu Jul 03 2008

A Sign of the Apocalypse?

In quite possibly the weirdest news since Obama started his run for president, the remaining members of the Grateful Dead played an Obama fundraiser together and are considering reuniting in support of his campaign.

David Schalliol

Random Wed Jul 02 2008

See the Bird? (Pretty Bird)

Chicago music maker (and expert whistler) Andrew Bird has been writing a monthly column in the New York Times since April. He's writing about songwriting, album making, and hanging with Wilco (who he'll play with in Mass. in August) in the studio. Who knew? Well, now you do!

And don't forget! Mr. Bird will be playing for free at the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park on September 3rd, along with GB favs the Occidental Brothers Dance Band International.

The video for Andrew Bird's "Imitosis" from Armchair Apocrypha:

Anne Holub

Random Wed Jun 25 2008

Obama's Geeking Out for Stevie Wonder

I doubt that we'll see Barack Obama jamming out to Stevie Wonder while munching on a turkey leg this weekend at the Taste, but the presumed Democratic presidential nominee does dig some classic '70s rock and R&B. The latest issue of Rolling Stone takes a look at what's on Obama's iPod—Stones, Dylan, Jay-Z and The Boss (and we don't mean, Daley).

Anne Holub / Comments (1)

Random Thu Jun 19 2008

Jocks vs. Punks in Wrigleyville

A flotsam bit of Chicago musical history from a certain ominous year. "The Cubs? My sister likes 'em." Here's to knowing how to stagger your clientele.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Update: Our friend Steve helped identify some of the people in the clip...

"That guy in the top hat is Devon from Out of Order. Their big song went as follows: 'Took you out to dinner. / Thought you were a winner. / You're so lame. / Why are you so lame? / You're so lame. / Why are you so lame?'

"The band onstage is D.O.A. from Vancouver. Their lead singer Joey Shithead wrote a book last year called I, Shithead. And it's good, too!"

Graham Sanford / Comments (1)

Random Tue Jun 17 2008

Lollapalooza: Visualized

One youngster went to Lollapalooza back in 1992, and it left quite an impression on him (and his opinion of big music fests) over the years. If you'd like to see one festival-goer's reminiscences, in beautiful graph form, then head on over to this clever NYTimes article and see how your memories of three hot summer days of music might compare.

Anne Holub

Random Wed Jun 04 2008

Keep the Crossover…or Expect a Backlash Beatdown

Heads up, y'all. In case you hadn't been paying attention, Chicago has become something of a hotbed for "hipster rap" in the past few years. This week's edition of the Reader, hitting the streets on Thursday, features an intriguing "Sharp Darts" feature by Miles Raymer on a new wave of haterisms – prompted by a couple of webzine articles that have recently stirred up some debate and are landing a number of Chicago hip-hop artists at the top of a couple of shit lists (see here and here).

Graham Sanford

mp3 Tue May 27 2008

Chi-town Mixdown

And what were we just saying about summer mixes?

Come hell or hot weather (whenever that might be), it looks like it's time to just call it -- break out the grill, take the winter coats to the dry cleaners, and just get on with business.

And here here we have a little something to help soundtrack the transition. Local mash-up misfits The Hood Internet keep busy when it comes to crafting and cranking out tracks and mixes, and this week they've added yet a new mixtape to the stack. Entitled "The Hood Internet vs. Chicago," it's a 24-track fat sack of downloadable "bastard pop," sporting an exclusively hometown theme. As in: Juice vs. Liz Phair, Cool Kids vs. Frankie Knuckles, Twista vs The Sea and Cake, R. Kelly vs. Casiotone For The Painfully Alone, and a bunch of other such business (one of which manages to slip in a bit of the "Superbowl Shuffle").

So go and get it via download from The Hood Internet's website. Get a peep of the tracklisting on the other side of the jump.

Continue reading this entry »

Graham Sanford / Comments (1)

Random Thu May 22 2008

C'mon, Summer…!

Agreed: this "spring" weather is officially, uh, bullshit. Here it is nearly June in Chicago and we're still having to keep some layers handy. Be that as it may, that hasn't stopped some of us from breaking out the summer tunes weeks ago and trying to absorb some warmth from vicarious sources.

So, as you close your eyes and picture July and tell yourself that it will (eventually) get warmer, Austin's DJ Chicken George has something that'll help pull you through the lingering chill. By way of the latest Blentwell podcast, he's served up a summery mix that was recently recorded at Chicago's own Darkroom. It's a deep set of hip-hop, nu-jazz, neo-soul, dope beats, and some remixed dusties; all of it building into an uptempo homestretch that caps off -- in a solid Southside summer barbeque tradition – with a tight reworking of a classic Roy Ayers cut. Recommended. Soak it up until the higher temperatures finally kick in.

DJ Chicken George - "Darkroom Mix" (courtesy of Mr. Blentwell)

Download version available here.

Graham Sanford

Random Thu Apr 17 2008

R. Kelly (allegedly) wants to see what you've got...

Not only that, he wants to know how tight it is.

In a promotional campaign for his new single "Hair Braider," Chicago R&B crooner R. Kelly is propositioning fans to send him pictures of themselves. Pictures of themselves sporting their braids, that is. Zig-zags, cornrows, dookies, whatever -- he wants you to show them off by uploading your snapshots his site.

The song is the advance single off of Kelly's forthcoming album, 12 Play: Fourth Quarter, which is slated to be released this summer. Since the contest is being hosted via a Song BMG/Jive's webpage, we're assuming that the promo campaign cleared the label's legal department before going live.

Fans and visitors to the site are invited to vote on the entrees' photos. The contest's judges, however, may have a tough row to how, as it appears (after Gapers Block hit refresh about 20-something times) that people are randomly uploading pictures of their bald, buzz-cutted, be-hatted, coiffed, and mostly non-braided selves to site -- perhaps having mistaken it for just another internet social network opportunity. So, as expected, the jury might be out on this one for a while.

Graham Sanford

News Wed Mar 26 2008

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

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

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

Continue reading this entry »

Graham Sanford

Blog Mon Mar 03 2008

State of the Encore

en·core [ŏn'kôr'] n. 1. A demand by an audience for an additional performance, usually expressed by applause.

There was a time not long ago when anyone who regularly attended concerts was treated to encores all of the time, whether they wanted one (or two) or not. Set lists were/are written with line breaks to indicate the end of a set and the beginning of a planned encore. (Let's not even get into the set lists crafted to note when a band banters with the crowd.) The definition became hazy as audiences foresaw encores when roadies would tweak gear in the dark. The thrill of spontaneity eroded as nearly every band would leave at least one good song for an inevitable encore. Although, the strategy famously backfired for Janis Joplin at the 1968 Stax/Volt Yuletide Thing when she kept "Piece of My Heart" and "Ball and Chain" for an encore that was thwarted by a lukewarm audience.

The raucous applause that should induce encores became tepid and the act was mechanical. But recently the encore has been given stingy treatment by some headlining acts. Over Wilco's five-night Riviera residency last month, Jeff Tweedy made some comments disparaging expected encores, such as "When we're done, we don't wanna come back." Once those shows ended, the house lights and a pop song would come on while everyone justifiably went bananas to show their appreciation and ask for one more. (This request was usually honored.) Around that same time, Super Furry Animals took a stonewalling approach at Metro by holding signs that read "Resist Phony Encores" and not returning to the stage. And these are bands putting on shows that'd warrant real encores from adoring crowds. So why does the latest flavor-of-the-month leave the one song that the blogs love until after the smoke break at the 40-minute point? It should be a privilege instead of a right to be asked to play more. If performers continue to spurn every encore, perhaps they will begin to mean something again when truly deserved by the artist and the audience.

James Ziegenfus

Random Sun Feb 10 2008

Barack Obama: Grammy Award Winner

That's right, add a Grammy Award to Barack Obama's list of achievements. Sunday, at the 50th Annual Grammy Awards (well, at the pre-show where they hand out all the other awards), the Illinois Senator and Democratic Presidential candidate beat out two former U.S. Presidents for the Best Spoken Word award. Obama won for the spoken word edition of his book The Audacity Of Hope: Thoughts On Reclaiming The American Dream, beating Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter along with Maya Angelou and Alan Alda who rounded out the category which includes poetry, audio books and story telling. [Insert comment about somebody Baracking something else here.]

Anne Holub

Random Sun Jan 27 2008

Quintron drums up business online, steers toward Chicago appearance

Before there was Dan Deacon and his battery of patchworked electronic gear, Chicago long ago embraced Quintron and his home-constructed Drum Buddy. The Drum Buddy, a custom-built light-activated analog drum machine of the artist's own patented invention, has long been a part of Quintron & Miss Pussycat's musical act.

In yet another music-related eBay story, the New Orleans-based entertainer is auctioning off the last model in a series of ten Drum Buddies via eBay. Recent purchasers of the Drum Buddy have included Laurie Anderson and Wilco's Nels Cline--the latter having reportedly bought two of the contraptions. Chances are that Quintron and his wife Miss Pussycat could use the profits, given that their 9th Ward home/business, the Spellcaster Lodge, was wiped out by post-Katrina flood waters back in 2005.

The auction of the last Drum Buddy kicked off with a starting price of $999, and is scheduled to end on February 5, the first day of Mardi Gras celebrations. After that, Quintron and Miss Pussycat will be hitting the road to serve as the opening act on Black Lips' nationwide tour. Both bands will be arriving in Chicago on March 1st to play a show at the Logan Square Auditorium.

[video]: Quintron - Drum Buddy demonstration film
[video]: Quintron & Ms. Pussycat - gets Zagreb dancing, live 2006

Graham Sanford

Random Tue Oct 30 2007

Fun Fact: Urdu Music Legend Lives in Chicago


Some very, very late news for those of us uninitiated into the world of Urdu music: apparently, one of the biggest musical legends of Pakistan and India -- now an American -- lives in Chicago. Yesterday's episode of the public radio program "The World" profiled singer Munni Begum, a woman known for putting Urdu poems to music in songs called "ghazals". Listen to it here.

But while popular with those on the sub-continent, the next generation isn't impressed with this kind of music. Funniest lines from the story come from a 13 year old girl listening to Begum:

"Like in our car she'll be like oooooh, ahhhh for like the whole song. That's why you can't understand her because it's like ooooohs and ahhhs, haaas, whoos, blah, blah, blah."

Begum's own son, a high school student in Chicago, isn't really into ghazals either.

"My son, he don't like my song, my music. He like rap music."

David Polk

Artist Tue Oct 09 2007

"You got BBD up on your bedroom wall/ But I'm above the rim and this is how I ball."

Lupe Fiasco has prompted, well, a fiasco.

Charged with performing a verse in a tribute to honorees Tribe Called Quest at last night's VH1 HipHop Honors show, Lupe went out...and forgot a quarter of the lyrics he was supposed to do. Compounding the disaster was the fact that he was performing for an audience full of people who knew the lyrics, and on stage with Pharrell WIlliams and Common apparently set the bar too high.

Afterwards, he blamed the incident on not growing up on Tribe's material and not having actually LISTENED to the albums Tribe's catalog is comprised of. What began as simply forgetting the lines at an awards show ballooned into a PR nightmare when one of hiphop's up-and-coming artists admitted not really giving a damn about it.

Troy Hunter

Random Thu Oct 04 2007

First Halloween Party Of The Year


A few things you need to know about Blackout! Avant Halloween.

  • Yes it's a Halloween event so break out a costume even though it's a few weeks until the real deal.
  • One of the best sound systems outside a true club will be in use.
  • DJs like Trancid and Zebo will be joined by The Greenskeepers, KillMemoryCrash and Menowah.
  • There will be live tatooing and prize giveaways.
  • It is this Saturday, directions to venue by calling number on flyer.
  • $7 if you RSVP now.

Brent Kado

News Thu Sep 27 2007

We Roll Econo

Breakout southside hip-hop duo The Cool Kids have a new video out for their track "Black Mags." It's currently up on, and you help represent the the new Chi scene by voting to push the Kids up on the network's "Freshman 5" contest. Maybe I missed some stuff, but this may be the first appearance of a rap act proudly spotlighting shortie lo-buck rides since Another Bad Creation's "Playground."

In related news, Cool Kids associate Hollywood Holt became something of a international phenomenon a short while back when he dropped his video for "Throw a Kit." The clip was instantly relayed to moped-enthusiast websites and chatboards the world over, and -- for lack of any opposing candidates -- became something of a mopedder's hip-hop anthem. But word has it that Holt's moped was stolen a few days ago. Apparently the theft took place somewhere in the vicinity of Jackson and Western.

UPDATE: Reached for comment after presstime of the above, Mr. Holt reported: "Yeah. My cousin caught the dude. Thanx though man."

Graham Sanford

Random Wed Sep 26 2007

"Please Allow Me To Introduce Myself..."


There’s an old anecdote about the Velvet Underground that I absolutely love. Attributed to Brian Eno, it goes that not many people bought their first record in 1967, but everybody that did started a band. A similar statement can probably be made about their artistic collaborator and producer, Andy Warhol. While both parties are now the celebrated mainstream torch-bearers of avant-garde art and rock’n’roll, it’s a testament to their challenging and sometimes obtuse material that their work initially resonated with certain kinds of people, those frustrated and dismayed by mainstream, consumer-driven artistic bile. There is a possibility, of course, that the influence of Warhol and the Velvet Underground also helped foster the perception of art and rock as culturally elitist, artistic fodder for those folks who are “hip” or “in the know”. This perception is unfair and unfortunate, as I’ve always felt art and rock to be hilarious, highly accessible and generally inclusive.

This Saturday, September 29th, in celebration of their 40th anniversary, the Museum of Contemporary Art launches the first major exhibition distilling the fusion of art and rock music over the last forty years, beginning with that first Warhol-Underground collaboration. Titled Sympathy for the Devil: Art and Rock Since 1967, the exhibit promises a full-on orgy of art, photographs, album covers, music videos, and mixed media, loosely arranged in six geographical sections: New York, Los Angeles/West Coast, Midwestern America, UK, Europe, and the Rest of the World. Personally, I’m most excited for paintings from the Destroy All Monsters collective, celebrating their cultural roots in Detroit, as well as Rita Ackerman’s new wall-to-ceiling mural set to adorn the MCA entrance wall. There’s a film from David Byrne, Funkadelic’s The Electric Spanking of War Babies album covers, a Daydream Nation video and a host of other gems and surprises hidden throughout three floors, all designed to unify the themes of irreverence and rebellion inherent in both art and rock’n’roll. I have a feeling this will go down as one of those once-in-a-lifetime, not-to-be-missed-for-any-reason, go-see-it-twice, this-is-why-rock’n’roll-matters exhibits.

Saturday kicks off the proceedings with a panel presentation, Exploring the Connection Between Art and Rock and Rock that features a discussion between artists and musicians Rita Ackerman, Christian Marclay and Peter Saville. That can be found in the MCA Theater at 1pm.

On October 2nd, at noon, get the inside scoop on the whole exhibit with MCA curator, Dominic Molon.

And, on Sunday, October 7th from 1pm to 6pm, the MCA teams up with Intonation to present a Chicago indie-rock extravaganza held on the plaza with local bands Califone, the 1900s, Flosstradamus with the Cool Kids, the Eternals, Headache City, and Poster Children.

All events are free. In fact, the first 40 days are also free, in honor of the MCA’s 40th Anniversary (so that's cool). Exhibit runs until January 8, 2008.

Nicholas Ward

Artist Mon Sep 24 2007

Wilco in Your Pocket

For the price of a concert ticket, the whole band could be yours.

Andrew Huff

Random Sun Aug 05 2007

RIP: Auggy Doggy

A bit late on this: One of the Chicago rock scene's more colorful characters passed away earlier this summer. August "Auggy Doggy" Tsanakis was best known as the guy who sold bootleg concert videos out of his car outside shows. He was struck and killed by a Metra train on June 30. More rememberanes here and here. (Thanks, Ron.)

Andrew Huff

Random Thu Jun 28 2007

Know When to Run...

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Not pictured: The Holy Ghost

Back when I was an art-school undergrad, our department was paid a visit by artist Roger Brown. The son of a local grocer from Opelika, Alabama, Brown was a hometown boy made good who'd gone off to attend the School of the Art Institute and become a Windy City cultural fixture via his affiliation with the whole Chicago Imagist movement. He'd brought some slides of his recent paintings, and among them was a work that depicted a cameo portrait of Kenny Rogers hovering over a pastoral expanse of the Great American Heartland. Asked why he'd put a likeness of the country vocalist in the painting, Brown replied, "Because I always thought Kenny Rogers looked a lot like God."

Well folks, if you were planning to hit the Chicago Country Music Festival in Grant Park this Saturday, then you'll have the chance to see a stage full of deific doppelgängers. Not only will The Man himself be performing, but the Festival's reportedly hosting a Kenny Rogers Look-alike Contest! And, for shizzle—this has the makings of a big event, as it appears that impersonating Kenny Rogers is something of a cottage industry throughout the country (see here, here, and here). Indeed, it seems that even Kenny himself has had to put some effort into looking like Kenny in recent years. So here's your chance to see the man who was once voted Favorite Singer of All Time in a joint USA Today/People magazine poll without having to make the haul to Branson. It all gets underway at 3pm at the Petrillo Music Shell, Saturday.

Graham Sanford

News Thu Jun 07 2007

A Little Bit of Shhh...

Right. Let's face it: Some things just don't cross the pond, don't transplant to these shores. Some things are just too, uh, British. Case in point: grime and dubstep never really caught on here outside of a fringe listenership. And nobody here knows quite to make of all that "chav" and "tikkiny" slang biz. Which explains why Lady Sovereign has yet to really catch on with American audiences. Jay-Z thought he had a hot item on his hands when he signed her to Def Jam a couple of years back (after her first EP appeared on the Chicago-based Chocolate Industries label). And Def Jam's tried to throw some industry push behind her. First there was the guest appearance from Missy Elliot on the remix of "Love Me or Hate Me," and the new single "Those Were The Days" sports some mainstream hip-hop production that's clearly geared for the U.S. radio market. And now, as you probably heard, she's been touring with Gwen Stefani--meaning that she'll be appearing with Stefani at First Midwest Bank Ampitheater in Tinley Park on Friday evening.

Lady Sov will, apparently, also be appearing at The Underground in Chicago proper later in the evening, kicking out a short set at an RSVP aftershow engagement. Some buzz has culminated around the online video diary she's been keeping as she tours the States. And given the exhaustion she's reportedly been suffering on tour and the drama that transpired during her recent appearance in NYC, it may all be a wait-and-see affair. If you feel like taking your chances to see if she makes it or not, you can RSVP here. 56 E. Illinois. 10pm until whenever.

[mp3]: Lady Sovereign – "Hoodie" (SpankRock remix)

Graham Sanford

Random Mon May 21 2007

Random (Great) MySpace Band Of The Week

What are the rules for this sporadic featurette you ask? I have no idea. If I were to hazard a a guess I'd say the primary requirement is for the band to have only a MySpace page and no other website. Also the band must be from Illinois (that's called the Gapers Block rule) and finally and the rule most difficult to fulfill, the band must be great.

Anni Rossi fits the bill perfectly. Anni Rossi is to the viola what Fred Lonberg Holm is to the cello. That is to say she's one of the few musicians to use her "classical" instrument in a way that its creators hadn't intended.

If Anni Rossi's been know for anything in the past it's been for experimenting with her instrument and music. In 2007 she'll release a record called Afton that should put her more in the forefront of musical discourse, certainly with fans/friends/critics of the likes of Regina Spector, Tori Amos, and Ani Difranco. Listen to "Wheelpusher" otherwise know as "that bee song" on Anni's MySpace page and download her song "Ecology" below.

[mp3]: Ecology

Craig Bonnell

Random Fri May 18 2007

DJs (And Cameramen) Are Not Rockstars


Merlin Bronques takes wicked and sexy pictures. Girls show him lots of cleavage and guys flex their tats. Dark Wave Disco drops new wave electro from a fab stable of DJs.  Sonotheque has a great sound system and is always crawling with highly (un)fashionable kids. Svedka likes to give away free cocktails.  Combine all these into one night (DJs are not Rockstars) and you'll get 2 things - tons of about-to-turn stale hipsters and a hardcore night of partying. The actual sounds will come from Trancid, Mark Gertz, Alexander Technique and DJ Cat. Photos from Lastnightsparty, free Svedka from 9-10 pm and more visuals from Panic Films round things out.  Swing through Saturday night and watch the circus unfold.

Brent Kado

Random Thu May 10 2007

Random (Great) MySpace Band Of The Week - Milly Geronimo

(I love this photo, btw)

Impossible as it may seem to you (i.e. the average Chicago hipster) there is a thriving experimental, anti-folk music scene in Decateur, Il. Milly Geronimo is one member of that scene. And she's our "Random (Great) MySpace Band of the Week". Milly describes her music as "visual, celtic and glam" but none of those come even remotely close. However under the all important "sounds like" section she hits the nail on the head with the phrase, "A murmur from under your bed".

Milly Geronimo has recorded for Tract Records, Sanitary, Popmonster and will release a new cd in 2007 called A Girl Among Windmills on PJ records. I like the scratchy lofi sound of the song "Wind Chimes" streaming on her MySpace page. Milly Geronimo has a couple shows in Chicago in May. Give her a warm welcome to the big city and befriend her now!

Craig Bonnell

Random Tue May 01 2007

Random (Great) Bands On MySpace - Aras And The Volodkas

If I have my way and no one complains hopefully R.(G).B.O.M. can be a regular feature. How is it that Aras and the Volodkas can make the most amazing music with clearly limited home-brewed technology, yet they can't cobble together a Geocities website or return my emails? My plan was to discover the band, post an mp3, sign them to my non-existent indie record label and the rest would be history. No such luck, though. But such is the way of genius.

I came across Aras and the Volodkas (basically just one dude in his Downers Grove apartment) a couple of months ago and have returned to his MySpace page sporadically ever since, hoping there will be live show listings, blog posts or more info about a promised 2007 release titled A Recipe For Disaster. But no luck on that front either. However at least there is an apt description of the band's sound:

"If The Beach Boys and The Beatles forgot how to sing in key and mingled at a benefit for "animal face off"

There's also a selection of streamable tracks. I highly recommend "The World" or "Girls With Glasses". Hey Aras, give me a call it's still not too late. Until next time...

Addendum: More info here via RadioFreeChicago.

Craig Bonnell

Random Fri Apr 13 2007

Secretly Canadian Makes Hoosier Rock History And Minty Fresh Signs One Of The World's Most Crushworthy Bands

Congratulations to Bloomington, Indiana's Secretly Canadian. They turn 100 this year (100 releases, not years). According to the press release this makes them the first label to release 100 records in Hoosier state history. They are celebrating this accomplishment by releasing a 2 cd set of SC bands covering other SC bands' songs. Here's David Fischoff (who we wrote about here) covering Damian Jurado's "Abilene".

[mp3]: Abilene


Also today, Chicago label and "Cosmopolitan pop mecca" Minty Fresh records has announced the signing of the indie pop band White Shoes & The Couples Company. This band has been flooded with accolades including "the best indie pop band from Indonesia ever", "one of the best bands on MySpace" and "one of the 25 most crushworthy bands." Here's their insanely catchy song "Tentan Cita".

[mp3]: Tentan Cita

Craig Bonnell

Random Wed Mar 21 2007

Those Spiffy I-GO Cars Will Soon Come With Their Own Music

The I-GO cars that are parked strategically around town will soon have another accessory - compilation CDs of songs by Chicago musicians. Now through March 28, artists are invited to upload up to 2 songs (each 3MB or less) for submission on I-GO Audio Emissions. Voting will run from April 1 through 15. Just like any online voting adventure, expect some horrible band to corral all of their friends to vote a million times. So do your part to vote for songs that are actually good and that you wouldn't mind hearing were you to use an I-GO vehicle.

James Ziegenfus

Random Sat Mar 10 2007

The End Is Near (and a year old)

If you think going out on Sunday night is a bad idea, then The End at Smartbar is not for you. Help celebrate their one year anniversary with James Lauer, Paul in Chicago and many other DJs. Funky Couture sponsors this weekly event. There are few week ending (or is it beginning?) events that match The End. There's no cover for this industry night bash and Heineken is on special. Winter is over, it's time to party like it.

Brent Kado

Random Mon Feb 19 2007

The Dude Owns Property!

It usually takes a fair amount of effort for me not to include a link to Achewood, my official Favorite Thing On The Internet, in every post, but since we already did one hip-hop Lincoln post today, I figure I should chime in with The Notorious L.I.N.C.O.L.N.

Happy President's Day, suckas!

Nilay Patel

Random Thu Feb 15 2007

Deep Cuts of Southern Soul

You may recall an article in the Reader last summer about Chicago DJ John Ciba's discovery of Neal Hemphill's recordings and the compilation, The Birmingham Sound: The Soul of Neal Hemphill, Vol. 1, that came from his digging (and a lot of help from Hemphill's family). It features some of Birmingham, Alabama's best deep southern soul. On Saturday, Ciba and James Porter, operating as East of Edens Soul Express, DJ late at the Hideout spinning gems and floorshakers. The fun starts at 11:30 and costs $5.

James Ziegenfus

Random Thu Feb 01 2007

Bear Down Karaoke-style

With so many versions popping up, do you really need another? Oh yes. Featuring the barely-day old custom helmets on the lions at the Art Institute, Chicago citizens singing in a "We Are the World"-type studio set and a couple of appearances by George Wendt you can watch or sing along to this version of "Bear Down, Chicago Bears" presented by the Illinois Bureau of Tourism. Don't know the words yet? Just follow the dancing bear. [Thanks, Sarah]

Anne Holub

Random Wed Jan 31 2007

The Lyric Opera has Bears Fever

(Bryan Griffin sings the role of Ivan in Lyric's current production, Die Fledermaus.)

Nilay Patel

Random Fri Jan 19 2007

Friday Quick Licks

• Low Rent Music posted its "Best of 2006" feature, with 28 submissions from around the country and the world.

Glorious Noise has a list of the 20 best legal mp3s of 2006 (plus two from their own label), still available for download.

• "Pure Hype," WHPK's weekly live rock radio show, will feature a performance by Kaspar Hauser tonight from 9 to 10:30pm. Next Friday is Cococoma. UPDATE: Whoops, shift those dates forward a week. Kaspar Hauser is on the 26th, while tonight members of K. K. Rampage will visit the studio and play some unreleased recordings. (Thanks, John!)

Acme Art Works, 1741 N. Western, is running a Jazz Mondays series. Jan. 22 is the John Goldman Quartet, Jan. 29 will be the Jangeun Bae Trio or Quartet, and Feb. 5 will be the Jim Gailloreto Jazz String Quintet. $5 or pay what you can.

Michael STU, regular pianist at the Red Head Piano Bar, is releasing a CD, and the bar is throwing him a party on Sunday, Jan. 28. More details here.

• Hey, did you notice we've got an RSS feed? Get your Transmission fix, including the weekly feature, in the privacy of your own feedreader.

Andrew Huff

Random Thu Jan 11 2007

Go to Class

So, you want to get into the music industry, but don't know where to start? Or maybe you're just interested in learning more about music production software but don't have the cash? Music Industry Workshops has your hook-up: they're offering free classes on ProTools, setting up a home studio, and MIDI sampling and sequencing. Just the sort of thing to give you a little push in the right direction. [via]

Andrew Huff

Random Mon Nov 06 2006

Pissy American Life

What's Pitchfork doing reviewing This American Life's latest compilation CD? Being snide, you say? I never!

Nathaniel Grotte

Random Thu Oct 19 2006

From Manchester, So Much to Answer

Round up your mates (read: a team of four, including you) and head down the pub (read: Smart Bar) to impress the world (read: Chicago) with your knowledge of music trivia (read: stuff crowding your brain and probably taking up space that could be better used). Elliot Eastwick's bringing his World Famous Pub Quiz to town a week from Monday night, the 30th of October. Participation is free, and things'll kick off at 8pm. There are a few days to brush up -- plenty of time to make it through the 1500-page All Music Guide, right? Oh, and it's not entirely free: bring a prize (which apparently "can suck") to contribute to the prize pool.

[Author name lost in database explosion]

Random Wed Oct 18 2006

Jeff Tweedy Punches Fan

Fame and tranquility can never be bedfellows. Pitchforkmedia brings us the story (in some detail) that the Wilco frontman hauled-off-and-decked a fan who ran onstage and tried to kiss him at a show in Springfield, Missouri. Best part? This explaination from the production manager: "Jeff was certainly justified, especially with Dimebag Darrell and that sort of thing."

Nathaniel Grotte

Random Tue Oct 17 2006

Building Better Musicians

The Chicago Music Commission is presenting a series of forums in their Musicians at Work series. Inspired by the popularity of a similar program for visual artists, these forums offer professional advice and ideas for working (or aspiring) musicians in Chicago. The focus of the October 30th session is "DIY Reaching the Public" with other pertinent topics to follow. Is it any wonder Chicago is pumping out some of the freshest talent in the nation?

[Author name lost in database explosion]

Random Mon Sep 18 2006

6 Degrees of Bob Dylan

How well do you know your Dylan trivia? Well enough to connect, say, Sid Vicious to Robert Zimmerman in six steps or less? Find out with Coudal Partners' latest diversion and you could win a copy of Dylan's new album, Modern Times.

Andrew Huff

Random Mon Aug 28 2006

Chic-A-Go-Go in the Park with Thax

Thursday, August 31st, is Dance Day at Millennium Park (see Slowdown). There'll be programming from 10am on, culminating in a special taping of Chic-A-Go-Go. Performers on the show will include Urban Definition, a group of high school students who spent the summer working with the Chicago Urban League to release their first CD and perform a series of concerts, and Yuri Lane, a human beat box who has performed in Hip Hop theater festivals around the globe. Miss Mia and Ratso will also host Thax Douglas as he prepares to leave town. After years of going to gigs, surely you have an opinion about him -- now's your chance to say goodbye.

[Author name lost in database explosion]

Concert Mon Aug 21 2006

Sunday Trib Profiles Touch & Go's Corey Rusk

Gear up for the upcoming Touch & Go Records 25th Anniversary celebration at The Hideout with this extended profile of T&G mainman Corey Trusk. Then for dessert, swing by T&G's site and enjoy some fine free mp3s and videos by the likes of !!! (aka Chk! Chk! Chk!) and Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

[Author name lost in database explosion]

Random Fri Aug 04 2006

At the Bottom of the Dial

Chicago has one of the most interesting radio spectrums in the country, ranging from religious broadcasts to Spanish language sports coverage to such narrow musical niches as "smooth jazz." Several schools, at both the university and high school level, also compete with the commercial stations for your attention. Here's a list of stations around Chicagoland that you might tune in as you wander the roads.

On the high school front:
• Elgin Public Schools: WEPS, 88.9 FM
• Evanston Township HS: WKR, (cable/Internet only)
• Glenbrook North & South: WGBK, 88.5 FM
• Hinsdale South: WHSD, 88.5 FM
• Homewood-Flossmoor HS: WHFH, 88.5 FM
• Lyons Township HS (LaGrange): WLTL, 88.1 FM
• Maine Township HS (Park Ridge): WMTH, 90.5 FM (8 Watts strong!)
• New Trier: WNTH, 88.1 FM
• Downers Grove HS: WDGC, 88.3 FM
• Columbia College: WCRX, 88.1 FM
• College of DuPage: WDCB, 90.9 FM
• Elmhurst College: WRSE, 88.7 FM
• Illinois Institute of Technology: WIIT, 88.9 FM
• Lake Forest College: WLFC, 88.9 FM (formerly WMXM)
• Lewis University: WLRA, 88.1 FM (no site)
• Loyola University: WLUW, 88.7 FM
• Kennedy-King College: WKKC, 89.3 FM
• Moody Bible Institute: WMBI, 90.1 FM / 1110 AM
• Northeastern Illinois University: WZRD, 88.3 FM
• Northwestern University: WNUR 89.3 FM
• North Central College: WONC, 89.1 FM
• St. Xavier University: WXAV, 88.3 FM
• Triton College: WRRG, 88.9 FM
• University of Chicago: WHPK, 88.5 FM
• UIC: WUIC, 89.5 FM
• University of St. Francis (Joliet): WCSF, 88.7 FM
• Wheaton College: WETN, 88.1 FM
Also of interest is Radio Arte, WRTE 90.5 FM, run by the Mexican Fine Arts Museum.

A note about frequencies: Many of these stations overlap; because they're so low-frequency (usually 100 Watts or less) they don't cover much ground. Chances are you won't hear them if you're more than a couple miles from the transmitter, so more than one station can easily share the same spot on the radio dial.

Andrew Huff

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

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

Read this feature »


  Chicago Music Media

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


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

  Labels, Promoters
  & Shops:

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

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