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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Feature Thu Dec 07 2006

Our Favorite Chicago mp3 Blogs

Just in time to aid in your holiday web surfing (maybe while avoiding your family, maybe while avoiding your boss) here's Gapers Block: Transmission staff picks for just some of our favorite local mp3 blogs.


Big Rock Candy Mountain

I fell upon Big Rock Candy Mountain when Googling about Tom Waits' visit to Chicago this year, and I've been a big fan ever since. Indeed, the blogger behind it all, Brian Reese, is quite the Waits fan, and the site is a great resource for local and national Waits news, but it's also a great stop for easily digestible posts on traditional American music. There's his recent post about the man known as Boxcar Willie ("Lecil Travis Martin was a liar, a scam artist, and a media whore. And we love him dearly."), lesser-known blues musicians playing the Chicago Blues Festival like Bo Carter ("Dirty bugger, was old Bo."), and the intersection of Ray Price and drinking benders. He'll be running his holiday-themed music posts through the end of the season, with a promised brief pause to review (you guessed it) the Tom Waits box set Orphans that was released last month.
-Anne Holub


Cake & Polka Parade

Bizarre, baffling, and definitely for the more adventurous, Cake & Polka Parade is the creation of local musician, artist, WFMU DJ and blogger Gregory Jacobsen (aka Fatty Jubbo, aka Miss Candy Shuntz). The site features soundfiles from records of Halloween sound effects, cassettes found at thrift stores, vintage 45s by obscure Chicago "new-wave" acts, recordings of exorcisms and sermons from various religious sects, disturbing children's records from the past, compositions by self-taught composers, mp3s of "automated music" from the House On The Rock (up in Spring Green, WI), and other offerings from Jacobsen's collection of "weirdo" music—much of which indicates an affinity for "outsider" art. And if that isn't enough to placate your inner oddiophile, the site features a great set of links that lead to a network of similar sites and sounds.
-Graham Sanford


Can You See the Sunset from the South Side?

Former Chicago punk rocker, now punk parent, Eric Mueller runs a sweet mp3 blog from his family's home in Aurora called Can You See the Sunset from the South Side? along with an occasional podcast. Not only does he praise emerging local musicians as they come his way, but he also strives to educate readers through his series titled "An Incomplete History of Chicago Punk Rock" that periodically pops up. Despite his punk rock training, he can't escape his new musical influence, namely his daughter, who leads him to discover non-Raffi kid-friendly tunes like Broken Social Scene's cover of "Puff the Magic Dragon".
-Anne Holub


Copy, Right?

I'm a sucker for a good cover song, and one of the best sources for them on the web happens to be right here in Chicago. Copy, Right? mp3blogger Liza's "only goal is to share my love/hate relationship with cover songs and to turn readers on to artists of whom they might not have otherwise been aware."

Liza's collection is wide and deep, enabling her to do a round-up of Adam Ant covers one day and a batch of German ones the next. It's interesting seeing certain artists show up time and again (Guns'n'Roses, The Smiths/Morrissey, Pixies, Michael Jackson), and to spot a favorite song covered by someone you've never heard of before. Spend enough time here and keep up — the mp3s get taken down after a couple weeks — and you'll have more great tracks than a WXRT "Not by the Original Artists" Friday Feature.
-Andrew Huff


Empty Free

Anti pop and pro file-sharing, the guys at Empty Free want to point you in the direction of unexplored and under-appreciated audio. Curious about Polish or Korean hip-hop? Chinese music blogs? Japanese surf-rock? Foreboding industrial sludge-beat? Electronic music and music-concrete from the middle of the previous century? Bollywood disco? Synth-punk rarities? Or who's the hottest chanteuse on the French music scene? Linking to soundfiles and dex from all over the web, Empty Free specializes in assorted esoterica for those with the most open and far-flung musical interests. All of it served up with a generous portion of commentary and 'tude.
-Graham Sanford


Live Music Blog

LiveMusicBlog, true to its name, is "dedicated to indie/jamband music and all things great about live music." Author Justin Ward is diligent and prolific, posting nearly every weekday, often multiple times a day, as well as producing a podcast for over a year.

You'll find news of concerts and festivals, live concert recordings of a variety of bands (as likely Phish as Secret Machines, Wilco as Sufjan Stevens), and mp3 round-ups of some of the better live tracks floating 'round the ether. It's worth picking up the Live Wire feed, a regularly updated list of links to interesting articles and such Ward finds along his web travels. And for iTunes users, he recently rolled out an mp3 feed that automatically downloads anything he posts. How's that for service?
-Andrew Huff


Songs: Illinois

When Oak Park resident Craig Bonnell started publishing his blog, Songs: Illinois, in 2004, he set out to cover music he thought wasn't being exposed through other mp3 blogs. And it's this reason why, amidst the boom of mp3 bloggers during the past couple of years Songs: Illinois is one of its more recognizable names. While most mp3 blogs will die an early death (what starts out in a fit of boredom usually ends in the same) or fall victim to the hype machine that plagues others, Bonnell has effectively avoided both, giving his readers reasons to return to his discoveries. Despite its name, Songs: Illinois' scope goes beyond local geography (this week is an exception) to feature under-the-radar Americana, indie-folk and folk artists and singer-songwriters, spotlighting artists like a pre-Matador Jennifer O' Connor and the subject of his first post, The Damnwells. But Bonnell isn't a one blog man — after consistently discovering Swedish indie music while putting together material for Songs: Illinois, and deciding there was a need for a niche-based blog that covered it, he started his other mp3 project, Swedesplease, in 2005.
-JP Pfafflin


Teaching Indie Kids to Dance Again

(Or as I like to refer to it as really saying: Quit Your Crying and Get up and Dance Already)

Recently, I've found a co-hort in cyberspace, and we’re moving in together. Readers it’s true — someone agrees with me on the sentiment that emo’s gotta go! So, when you need to find something a little more upbeat look no further than Teaching the Indie Kids How to Dance Again — Feet are for Moving Not Staring At, an mp3 blog.

The page is run by Keith Causin who lives in Hyde Park, and covers all areas of music from jazz to dub to guitar laden solos as long as they are not on a major label. The bands that are noted on this blog are all slightly lesser known and there’s not much pop here, but bands that are new and daring with increasingly faster tempos get center stage. There is nothing featured on the site that is going to make you cry in your soup, as tunes that make you stand in one place and sulk are not allowed. The only downside to this one-man-show is that it’s not updated much.
-Catherine Rigod

Got a favorite Chicago MP3 blog that you'd like to share with us? Write transmission {at} and give us the skinny.

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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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