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. 


Tuesday, June 22

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Benefit Thu May 31 2007

Nite Watch, Kelly Hogan, Nora O'Connor and Robbie Fulks play Benefit Show

If the demise of the Lakeview Lounge has sent you scrambling to get your fix of favorite house band Nite Watch, you're in luck. The venerable trio (Larry, Raul and Gilbert) will be reuniting on stage this Sunday for a special benefit show at Martyrs'. Rounding out the enticing bill are other Chicago favorites Kelly Hogan, Nora O’Connor and Robbie Fulks. The show will benefit Paul Mooney, a local writer, teacher and musician who has cystic fibrosis and is in need of a lung transplant, and will also feature a raffle, silent auction, magician and a psychic along with the good tunes. There is a $20 suggested donation price, and music starts in the afternoon at 2pm. Martyrs' is located at 3855 N. Lincoln Ave.

Anne Holub

Feature Thu May 31 2007

Boundary Issues & the Art of Playing

What if I told you something kind of intriguing, sort of weird, about something brilliant? What if I told you I knew of a place where we could go and watch a bunch of bands and musical artists play inside a big box? "You mean like a club." No, inside a giant stereo speaker. A giant speaker built by hand that looks like a treehouse, a giant speaker that you can peek or even walk into and hang out inside of. And that this thing is in an art museum. "Oh, okay…an art thing. Something arty. Ah, I get it." And then I'd tell you that some of the musicians playing inside the thing were local avant-jazzers and noisemakers, you'd say: "Definitely an art thing, then." But if I told you that we could go see bands like Tirra Lirra and Spires That In The Sunset Rise, and Philadelphia "party rap" pranksters Plastic Little inside the thing, or—get this—an unknown number of people lugging guitars and amps converge on the thing to play an improvised group jam, you might raise an eyebrow and ask me: "Where is this and when are we going?" Or you'd tell me to stop goofing on you.

Continue reading this entry »

Anne Holub

Artist Thu May 31 2007

He really is rocking over London, Chicago now

Today marks what would have been the 44th birthday of the late great Chicagoan Wesley Willis. A staple of Chicago in the way that Thax Douglas or Gene Le can only hope to aspire to, Wesley was a prolfic artist and composer, albeit one with a crude style and monomaniacal sound. His profane lyrical titles, completely untrained style of singing, and recurring theme of product pitching at the end of each song was the perfect formula to win over Chicago youth - as well as a curious and burgeoning Napster. Wesley's schizophrenia was always a point of contention in the sincerity of his audience, but Wesley's big-heartedness and the blossoming trend of low-brow to no-brow humor appreciation seemed to truly delight most fans. Grab a friend and give them two headbutts for Wesley today.

Dan Morgridge

Concert Wed May 30 2007

A Threesome in a Darkroom

M_fb4da638ca36db894c874b5e5bf87c2eAiriel is one of the band's that has quietly risen to the top of the city's burgeoning Indie music scene.  Using a cooled stew of ambient rock and melodic noise, Airiel is a smooth dance. Thursday they'll be at the Darkroom with A Place To Bury Strangers and La Scala.  Boneshaker Records is showcasing these three bands off their label and Filter Magazine is getting in the mix with 'em.  Show is a low $8.

Brent Kado

Transmission Event Wed May 30 2007

Transmission Thursday at the Five Star!

AwwwwWell, it's Thursday again, and you know what that means -- TX will be at the Five Star. DJ Brad Owen will be there as always, spinning your favorite punk and New Wave tunes, as well as some newer indie faves, and the Five Star will be pouring as many $2 drafts as space and time will allow. Last week was pretty wild for a rainy night -- many strangers were accosted, a few unfortunates took to the stripper pole, and eventually the barstaff just started handing out free shots. All in all, a TX kind of night -- check out the pics after the jump. We'll be back again this and every Thursday, see you there! (The Five Star is at 1424 W. Chicago, just east of Chicago and Ashland.)

Continue reading this entry »

Nilay Patel

Concert Wed May 30 2007

The Rabbit Factory's "The Birmingham Sound Volume 1" - A Chicago Connection

The Hideout is taking part in a bi-coastal event (if you consider Lake Michigan a coastal waterway) when they host night two of Rabbit Factory Inc. "Presents: 2 Nights of Classic Southern Soul" on June 23. Appearing at The Hideout will be Clarence Reid, Roscoe Robinson, and Ralph "Soul" Jackson plus Rabbit Factory owner and Chicago boy John Ciba as dj and I imagine master of ceremonies for this evening of lost soul chesnuts. Here's a couple of quotes about this collection of artists and the accompanying cd The Birmingham Sound Vol. 1:

“To make a long story short: if you're a fan of Southern soul, you need to check out this anthology. I think it's great that folks like Ciba are putting in so much work to unearth these lost sides.”
–Oliver Wang, Soul-Sides

“The compositions and recordings coming out of Hemphill’s Birmingham studio were of such consistently high quality, even the tunes by local housewreckers like Bill Butterbean Flippo, Little Lois Barber, Ralph ‘Soul’ Jackson, David Sea, Eddie Steele and Chuck Strong sound like shouldabeen hits… Looks like the boys at Numero Group, Stones Throw, Ubiquity and Light In The Attic have a new crate-digging competitor.” –Tim Perlich, NOW Magazine Toronto

“This stunning compilation now gives Neal Hemphill his due…awash in shoulda-been hits. Love of music drove him, and this compilation is a wonderful testament to that enduring devotion.”
–Jo-Ann Greene, All Music

This early show starts at 5pm at The Hideout on June 23. Here's one of the lost soul nuggets available on The Birmingham Sound Vol. 1:

[mp3]: Set Me Free - Ralph "Soul" Jackson

Craig Bonnell

Artist Wed May 30 2007

With Hearts All Aflutter...

This has been a whirlwind month for Chicago’s Pit er Pat. They’re in the final stretch of a tour that’s had them playing 28 cities in as many days. It's their second — or is it third? — such excursion playing out to support their most recent LP, the John McEntire-produced Pyramids, which was released on Thrill Jockey this past fall. This Friday has them playing their final gig of the country-wide circuit, winding down with a homecoming set at the Empty Bottle. The show involves a meager $8 admission and kicks off at 10pm.Touring companions Priestbird are also on the bill, with local psych-folk trio Scalpels scheduled to open.

As a special bonus for fans, Thrill Jockey recently posted a page featuring Pit er Pat performing covers of some of their own cult fave songs. Featured are the band’s interpretations of tunes by Yoko Ono, Oneida, Sade (yeah, you read that correctly), and the perennial classic “Underneath the Arches.” Check ‘em out:

[mp3]: Pit er Pat - "Dogtown"
[mp3]: Pit er Pat - "Sheets of Easter"
[mp3]: Pit er Pat - "Feel No Pain"
[mp3]: Pit er Pat - "Underneath the Arches"

Graham Sanford

Concert Tue May 29 2007

In Case You Didn't Get The Memo...

Bouncy, synthy, power-pop hook-slingers Office pop their head up out of their cubicles to play a show at the Empty Bottle this Sunday. The up-and-coming local darlings, who've generated no small amount of buzz for themselves with their appearances at SXSW, are reportedly taking an extended breather for a few month until the release of their sophomore album that’s slated to drop in September. Their local gigs have been few and far between lately, so Sunday’s the night to go and catch them. Supporting them on the bill is the Detroit combo Freer, who are accompanying to promote their self-release debut CD, Secret Chorus. Favourite Sons also open. Show starts at 9:30, tickets are $8.

Graham Sanford

Concert Mon May 28 2007

Watch This

Watchers are a good example of Chicago band dichotomy.

Take their frontman, singer/keyboardist Michael Guarrine. As Watchers opened for The Eternals at a recent show, Guarrine appeared a slight, bald, well-dressed man, looking for all the world like the equally awkward David Byrne. Moments later, however, he was a wildman, contorting and humping audience members while band members, guitarist Ethan D'Ercole, bassist Chris Kralik, drummer Jess Birch, and percussionist Damien Thompson looked on.

Their latest album, Vampire Driver, doesn't betray the dichotomy, but sticks to its wildman story. Opening with "Chess Champion," the song proves a jangly, raw-nerved jaunt indicative, of the rest of the CD. Which is not to say there aren't plenty of grooves present: tracks like "Young One" and "Crumbs" add hips a-swinging to the mix. No Wave legend James Chance (Contortions) also shows up, as do fellow Chicagoans Damon Locks and Wayne Montana from The Eternals and Trenchmouth, but where The Eternals are beefing up their sonic layering, Watchers seem intent on doing just the opposite, evident on the angular "S.I.S.I.A.I." and "I Don't Want It."

Experience the hip shakin', audience humpin' good time for yourself at the Vampire Driver CD release party at Schubas on June 2. Jai Alai Savant and the aforementioned Eternals will be opening, so make sure to wear dancing pants.

Kara Luger

Venue Mon May 28 2007

Ice Factory - 2002-2007

(Photo: Joseph Mohan)
Sunday night was the swan song of Chicago and Grand's no longer best-kept secret: The Ice Factory. Not only an underground venue, the hub that was quite literally named for it's former occupation also hosted independent label FP Records, film showcase The Ice Capades and poetry showcase The Urban Sandbox. Seth Vanek, departing Ice Factory resident (and drummer for Velvetron and Crap Engine) cited deterioration of landlord relations as the chief cause for the Factory's demise. Earlier this year, the residents had attempted to gain proper licensing for the venue, but apparently to no avail. But for a final hoorah, the gang could have asked for nothing finer: food, drinks, and people flowed freely through the space, talking, dancing, and eventually all participating in the Ice Factory's signature Good-Time Sing-Along Chorus, with no less than Devin Davis on drums backing the hoarse-throated crowd. As of this time, there is no word as to the re-location of the Factory's many permanent or occasional inhabitants.

Dan Morgridge

Concert Fri May 25 2007

"Don't Call Us Old Timey And We Won't Call You Emo"

One of the best shows of the week takes place at the Hideout tomorrow night. From Chicago, Babyteeth will bring their campy version of disco inspired punk, as if The Who were the backing band for a presentation of Rocky Horror Picture Show. While Thunder In The Valley from the Twin Cities will bring "it" with it's mix of "an exuberant blend of rock and ragtime."

Catch both bands Saturday night at The Hideout.

[mp3]: Altar - Thunder In The Valley
[mp3]: So the Story Goes - Thunder In The Valley

[mp3]: The Simp - Babyteeth

Craig Bonnell

Album Fri May 25 2007

Brighton Ma - Record Release Party

I've been listening to the Brighton Ma song "Bet You Never Thought" for what seems like a year or more. At first I wasn't completely won over but I've come around. Brighton Ma is the band that formed when Scotland Yard Gospel Choir split in two. I don't know any of the politics behind that move, but it seems like everyone is still friends since the guys from Brighton Ma readily admit that the asssociation with SYGC opened many doors for the new band.

With the emotionally charged rock of The National getting much acclaim and endless blog love, it would seem that the time is right for the music of Brighton, Ma. Music that stradles the line between emo and shoegaze, landing somewhere between indie rock and cabaret folk.

Brighton Ma is having it's record release party June 8 at Subteranean. The new self titled debut record is available here.

[mp3]: Bet You Never Thought

Craig Bonnell

Concert Fri May 25 2007

Memorial Day Brunch

The Skeleton News is having a benefit to help continue the free, monthly newspaper. Come celebrate Memorial Day with a brunch featuring homemade pancakes, eggs, bacon, scones, and mimosas! Along with the breakfast spread will be performances by Lesser Birds of Paradise founder Mark Janka and Dead Dare.

The brunch is happening at 2120 W. 21st St. just off the Damen pink line. Suggested donation $10. Support your local free press!

John Lombardo

Concert Fri May 25 2007

Up for Opera?

Yet another Chicago Opera Theater production is getting good press. This time it's Hector Berlioz's Béatrice et Bénédict, a comedic libretto based on Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing. The show provides a fine counterbalance to COT's recent dark, Jungian/Freudian explorations of Erwartung and Bluebeard's Castle. Tickets are still available for the four remaining performances.

Oh, and while you're at it, you may want to listen to Gretchen Helfrich interviewing the COT's director, Brian Dickie [mp3].

David Schalliol

Concert Thu May 24 2007

Fun, Loud, and on a School Night? Chik, Chik, Chik.

Gal brings heat. Love to Susana Meza for the flick.

The following is a conversation between fellow Transmission conspirator Graham and I after !!!'s impressive showing last night at the Metro. He's a veteran of such shows; this was really the first show of its kind for me. A good time was had by all, and we both had our takes on our expectations and experience at the show.

Words continue on.

Continue reading this entry »

Troy Hunter

Concert Thu May 24 2007

Summer Fest Lines Up

The line-up for this year's Wicker Park Festival has finally been announced. Building off of last summer's line-up of charismatic local rockers and touring acts, the festival has announced that Don Caballero, Maritime, and Man Man will be amongst the bands joining the slew of local stand-outs such as The Race, Pit Er Pat, Sybris, and Russian Circles. There is also a rumor that The Thermals, who incidentally play the night before the fest at Subterranean, will make an appearnce on one of the stages set along Damen Ave.

The festival takes place on July 28th-29th. For more info and updates, check out or the festival's myspace page at

John Lombardo

Feature Thu May 24 2007

Lampo's Hot 100 — 10 Years in the Making

Encased in concrete and carpeted with rows of folding chairs and a few couches, the not-for-profit organization Lampo has quietly welcomed its guests into new and challenging musical terrain for an entire decade as of this year. Through a combination of arts grants, member donations, and, of course, admission fees, Lampo has brought almost one hundred experimental sound artists and groups, many of them playing their very first concert in Chicago (or the Midwest, or even the U.S.) through the good graces of Lampo. Most shows happen at Odum (2116 W. Chicago Avenue), the aforementioned concrete womb.

Continue reading this entry »

Anne Holub

Album Thu May 24 2007

Folksongs of Illinois Vol.1

The Illinois Humanities Council, in association with University of Illinois Press, is getting into the music business with a three cd compilation celebrating the folk music tradition of Illinois. The cds will be distributed for free to the state's 3000 school libraries. There are also plans for a free curriculum for teachers.

Volume 1 of the compilation features songs recorded as far back as the twenties up to modern day folk song covers by the likes of Jon Langford and Janet Bean. Since I'm a big fan of Bean's work with Eleventh Dream Day, I chose her cover of the historical folk song "The Hanging of Charlie Birger" for you to sample. On Friday, June 1 there's a record release party at Martyr's from 6-8pm with perfomances by many of the artists on the cds including the two mentioned above. Tickets are free, as is the food, but you'll need to register online for tickets to the event. Buy the cd or register for tickets here.

[mp3]: The Hanging of Charlie Birger (This is a .mov file that you can open in a new window or save as and convert to an mp3 in iTunes if you were so inclined.)

Craig Bonnell

Concert Thu May 24 2007

Just can't wait to get on the road again

Spring is in the air, a song is in your heart, and vacation days are being expended in 10 day intervals. That's right - it's touring season!

Blake Edwards, aka Vertonen, aka the head of the CIP label (see archives for an article on CIP by yours truly) is taking to the road starting TONIGHT (Enemy, 1550 N. Milwaukee, Chicago, 9 p.m., $5 suggested donation). He's launching the "Nice Moments" tour with Bostonian turntable wrecker Jason Talbot. Talbot plays a turntable the way it seems like your bratty younger brother did on the rare moment you let him put a record on the record player - only deliberaely, and for 20 minutes at a time. SCRRRRRRTCH! goes the modified needle across custom-scuffed vinyl. Quiet, loud - just like Nirvana. And just like real nirvana, too!

Continue reading this entry »

Chris Sienko

News Thu May 24 2007

This & Thats From Around The Web

Music Links For Your Enjoyment

The death of MP3s is here. Get to know Ogg, an alternative to the traditional online music format, free of licensing and patent restrictions.

Sally has released thier first single - Goldie Locks - From Long Live The New Flesh The Paribus Records label will release the album in early June.

Jambase reviews The Sea And The Cake's Everybody and talks to the band about the Chicago music scene.

Brent Kado

Transmission Event Wed May 23 2007

Transmission Thursday at the Five Star!

Tranmission's first night hosting Power, Corruption, and Lies at the Five Star Bar and Grill last Thursday went great -- thanks to those of you that stopped by to say hello. DJ Brad Owen (former music director of the Metro) threw us a couple musical shoutouts in between his usual punk, new wave and Britpop tracks, I got into a couple heated arguments about Sky Blue Sky, and the Five Star served a lot of $2 drafts and even passed out free whiskey to everyone at the bar when the Bulls lost. We'll be there again tonight, like we will be every Thursday this summer, and until we get comments enabled, there's no other better way to tell us that we're totally wrong about your favorite band. Plus, a beer and a shot of whiskey costs all of $4. What's to lose? The Five Star is located at 1424 W. Chicago, just east of Chicago and Ashland. Come join us! Pics from last week after the jump.

Continue reading this entry »

Nilay Patel

Concert Wed May 23 2007

3 Reasons to Watch

Three reasons why you should go see The Silent Years at the Metro this Friday (7pm, $9): the immense voice of vocalist Josh Epstein, catchy lyrics, and the chance to see one of the best garage bands of the year. No, seriously. Hailing from Detroit, this quartet has put together an amalgam of delicate and sophisticated sounds that kicks them up a notch from the average indie band. Their debut release, The Silent Years (No Alternative, 2006), is impressive—sweet melodies and unabashed, guitar-driving rock—for a band just starting out. Just give a listen to “Someone to Keep Us Warm”—you’ll be singing along in no time. See if you don’t recognize the Beatles in their blend of poignant lyrics and simple, yet perfect harmonies. “Lidocaine” is a good example. This song is witty and wise, and Epstein sings it without a trace of sentimentality: "Lidocaine, thanks so much for making me feel sane / all these people seem a little bit less lame / Everyone needs to escape their pain."

Go to the band's myspace page to claims tickets that give you $3 off!

Marla Seidell

Concert Wed May 23 2007

For those of you not going to Farm Aid anytime soon...

The Empty Bottle has just announced a new Tuesday-night series of concerts (or in their choice words, "an ongoing programming concern") entitled "Music of Changes". "The goal of the series is to bring varying 'fringe' or 'outsider' musics together for evenings that are to feature wildly disparate elements, but ones that will share an underlying 'anti-commercialist' aesthetic bent," says Pete Toalson. The Bottle website also states that "evenings that will not be bound by musical limitations". It is uncertain what particular other anti-capitalist gusto will demonstrated beyond gathering these bands together for a paid concert experience, but the $7 price is certainly a good start (keeping in mind that Monday nights at the Bottle are "free" only on PBR's promotional dime) in showing good intentions. The first outing will take place on June 19th, with The Late Severa Wires, In The Country (from Norway), and Mykel Boyd.

Dan Morgridge

Concert Tue May 22 2007

Dale Watson's new video (complete with Desperate Housewives cameo)

Dale Watson is in town this week playing a CD release show at Martyrs on May 23rd. This may be just one of the countless shows Dale performs in the Chicagoland area or it may be a bit more. See, Dale Watson stopped flitting around the edges of Johnny Cash adoration and went straight for the jugular on his new record. He recorded his new album, From The Cradle To The Grave, in Johnny's old homestead (that has since burned to the ground), his first single could be an outtake from any of the recent Johnny Cash American Recordings' CDs and in the video that accompanies the single he appears in a Cash-like Western trench coat.

I suppose you could cynically say this is merely a poor imitation, but since few do it better, and few have lived through as much tragedy as Dale has, I think you've got to cut him some slack. Either way it should be a great hard core, honky-tonk show tomorrow night. Buy Dale Watson's new record here, direct from Hyena Records.

"Justice For All" (Check out the Desperate Housewives cameo)

Craig Bonnell

Concert Mon May 21 2007

Pure Unbridled Unsanity

Grown out of the the late-80's New York Hardcore underground, Unsane have successfully blended the prevailing values of volume, speed, and power into a whole new monster. After ending a decade-long run in 2000, Unsane re-united in 2003 to release a greatest hits record and are now back in full-force on the heels of their newest release Visqueen for Mike Patton's Ipecac label.

The trio who helped to define the Amphetamine Reptile sound while defying most critics' relentlessly hurled "grunge" labeling of the era, seem to sound more relevant today than ever. Returning to the fold with a healthy dose of their patented gore-gone-wild, blood-soaked visuals and joining forces with LA uniform-clad powerhouse, 400 blows, this Thursday's show looks to be more brutal than ever!

Unsane play Thursday at Subterranean (2011 North Ave.) with 400 Blows, Mouth of the Architect, and Sweet Cobra. For more info call (773) 278-6600.

John Lombardo

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

News Thu May 17 2007

Music Dish of the Day

In case you missed it

Bo Diddley has sadly had a stroke.  Get well soon "Orginator."

R. Kelly makes a pretty bold statement and gets tons of free press for his soon-to-be-released album.  Well that sounds a bit like Ali. 

Amazon is set to launch an MP3 service that contains no DRM.  Looks like someone is catching on to the rules of the new entertainment economy.

Brent Kado

Concert Thu May 17 2007

More Mucca Tonight At Martyr's

Of course you've heard about Mucca Pazza. Maybe you've heard about the fact that they once did a concert while paddling down the Chicago River, or about their after show thing for Conan O'Brien, or maybe you just missed them at last weekend's Looptopia. Either way you've got about 5 hours `til they hit the stage at Martyr's. They'll be playing with Slavic Soul Party, their NYC Balkan counterpart. It should be a wild night of Eastern European, gypsy-infused dance music. Tonight at Martyrs starting at 9pm with Stone (from Ulele) and Slavic Soul Party.

[mp3]:Teknochek - Slavic Soul Party

Craig Bonnell

mp3 Thu May 17 2007

Ga Ga Ga

It's been a big year for North Carolina's Merge Records already with the releases of Arcade Fire's Neon Bible and the excellent God Save the Clientele by The Clientele, but it's only going to get bigger. Percussive Texan mood rockers Spoon will be releasing their sixth full-length entitled Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga on July 10th. This ambiguous title is interpreted by me, as a good Southern-born man, to be five repetitions of the state abbreviation for Georgia. Any way you look at it, though, this is a big release for the Austin, TX four piece. After a big hit in 2005's Gimme Fiction, and a fantastic set at Pitchfork last year, Spoon will be gracing the stage at Lollapalooza in Grant Park this August. As an aural treat to prep you for the summer's end festival, here's the first released track off of the record. Entitled "The Ghost of You Lingers," the trademark heavy keys and exasperated gasps of frontman Britt Daniel's abound. But be warned: this isn't a chart-topper, though I would be surprised if you can get that keyboard part out of your head anytime soon.

[mp3] "The Ghost of You Lingers" - Spoon

Brandon Forbes

Contest Thu May 17 2007

Really Quick Contest: 3 Free CDs from CIP

Hey, as you've no doubt read in our feature this week, CIP Records is putting out some amazing experimental rock, right here in Chicago. As a bonus to you, dear reader, just be the first to write us at inbox (at) with the subject line "I'm Down with CIP" and you'll be the lucky recipient of not one, not two, but three CDs from the label. Sent right to your mailbox, the albums include Alu Autismenschen, Vertonen Stations, and Leticia Castaneda On The Verge of Redundance (all of which you can read about here).
[Update: We have a winner! Congrats to Zach!]

Anne Holub

Concert Thu May 17 2007

Diplo Was Here - Flosstradamus @ SubT review

Nothing less than a "special" guest was promised last night for Flosstradamus's Wednesday residency at Subterranean, and the dinosaur picture posted in the comments dropped the correct hint - just after midnight, Diplo himself showed up to rock the boards. The crowd had commandeered the stage for most of the night, and Diplo's entrance cleared the view for only a song or so before they returned against the various pleas from Josh and others. A miniature "Soul Train" began, this time with Josh and a friend blocking off room for individuals to show their best moves for a few moments - much juking, sweat, and stage-diving occurred. Diplo played some of his usual dancefloor-demolishing heavy-hitter remixes, and dropped the new M.I.A. track in as well - has reconciliation occurred between the DJ world's Brad and Angelina?

The sound man cued the lights at 1:30, but Floss implored that "these people are gonna riot if we don't get one more song" and get it they did, dropping a long, gritty mix of "Young Folks" and "Walk It Out". The crowd lingered long afterwards.

Dan Morgridge

Feature Thu May 17 2007

CIP Records: Chicago's Industrial Ambassador to the World

Just like you, me, and most people we know, Blake Edwards wakes at the break of dawn, works a 9 to 5, skateboards, bikes, and bowls for pleasure once weekly in the early morning (that's when lane fees are cheapest). However, this straight-ahead routine belies his life's true passion — the creation, production, and distribution of edgy experimental sound. Blake's label, Crippled Intellect Productions (he prefers to use the acronym CIP), is a smorgasbord of musical styles featuring artists from beyond the fringe. His own musical project, Vertonen, has released a bewildering array of CDs, CDrs, tapes, 7" records, and split releases on labels based in all corners of the globe.

Continue reading this entry »

Anne Holub

Transmission Event Wed May 16 2007

Transmission Thursday at the Five Star!

Power, Corruption, and Lies Hey, summer's here and to celebrate we're pleased to announce that Transmission will be hosting Power, Corruption, and Lies at the Five Star Bar and Grill every Thursday night. DJ Brad Owen (former music director of the Metro) will be on the decks, playing punk, new wave, Britpop and other indie faves, various TX staffers will be roaming around with cameras and conversation topics, and the Five Star has graciously proffered up a dizzying array of drink specials, including $2 drafts. We'll be posting photos every week, and there might even be a contest or two in store at the end of the summer if we like you enough. What's to lose? The Five Star is located at 1424 W. Chicago, just west of Chicago and Ashland. We'll be there every Thursday from 9 till late, come join us! Pics of previous Thursdays after the jump.

Continue reading this entry »

Nilay Patel

Artist Wed May 16 2007

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Dancing

Four more years!!!: DJs Bald Eagle and Mother Hubbard

It's been four years since the Life During Wartime DJs crew came together and started spinning at clubs in Chicago. They're still at it, and their chosen moniker is, unfortunately, still relevant. The duo of DJs Bald Eagle and Mother Hubbard currently bills its homebase monthly appearance at The Hideout as “Chicago’s Dance Party.” While that may sound like a bold claim, it’s certainly apt. The past two years have seen LDW move to the top of the local popularity index, having proven themselves to be one of Chicago’s most reliable homegrown party-sparkers. This weekend sees them celebrating their four-year anniversary with a two-night dance party at The Hideout.

Continue reading this entry »

Graham Sanford

Concert Tue May 15 2007

Respekt Is Due

There are pianists, there are vocalists, and then there is a subgenre mix of the two that is the Quirky Piano Chick (see: Tori Amos, Fiona Apple, et al).

Regina Spektor is the latest in this breed, and her May 13 concert/recital at the Riviera showcased that which is gloriously captial-Q Quirky about the Russian-born, Brooklyn-raised performer. All the necessary accoutrements were in place: female-heavy fanbase, singing along with every word? Check. Stuffed snake draped around the neck as a fashion accessory? Check and check.

Fellow New Yawker Only Son (Jack Dishel, of Stipplicon and the Moldy Peaches) opened, a lone man armed with nothing but an acoustic guitar and a dream. Unfortunately, he could've benefited from a backing band as well (which he apparently sometimes performs with). Instead, backing instrumentation was provided by pressing "Play" on a stool-bound Ipod. Whether it was due to bad soundboard mixing, or simply forgetting one's band members at home, Only Son's guitar playing was lost in the shuffle. The effect was largely that of watching someone at karaoke.

Continue reading this entry »

Kara Luger

Concert Tue May 15 2007

West of the Fields

Bombastic choruses, space-rock progressions, and eccentric personalities - Brit pop, thy name is guilty pleasure. Unlike Muse or Travis or (gulp) Oasis, British rock newcomers Fields, while channeling a certain type of heart-on-its-sleeve, layered-haircut rock, do manage (for the most part) to raise above this easy Britpop designation on their freshman release Everything Last Winter. What they do sound like is more akin to early Idlewild - jangly pop-rock that stays away from balladry and focuses more on bringing the noise. That said, the group is still caught between a cultural music wave that trades high in bombast and low in inventiveness, evidenced by the tension between the unique chord progression and suggestive animated video for album opener "Song for the Fields," and the overt glam-fest, in both video and song, of album closer "If You Fail We All Fail." For those interested in working out the band's dialectics, see the videos for both songs below. For those just interested in seeing a good show, see Fields on their first stateside tour tomorrow night at The Empty Bottle. Show is at 9:30 and tickets are $10 advance, $12 at the door.

Fields - "Song for the Fields"

Fields - "If You Fail, We All Fail"

[streaming] Fields - Everything Last Winter (entire album)

Brandon Forbes

Music & Film Tue May 15 2007

Wilco drops Sky Blue Sky today

Sky Blue Sky

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

Nilay Patel

News Tue May 15 2007

Notable News

Bits & Pieces From Around The Web

The Smashing Pumpkins have announced long residencies for two locations.  Eight nights at the Filmore in San Francisco and nine shows at the Orange Peel in Asheville, NC.  That's right nine nights of the Pumpkins in Asheville, hippies beware.

The Reader reports that Lupe had a few tracks leaked to the Net again.  Looks like he needs to keep his studio on extreme lock down.

Flavorpill offers the skinny on Critical Metrics, a site with recommended music from industry and media people.  Rankings of what's popular in I-tunes, Youtube and all the other music players, make the site a worthy visit.

Brent Kado

Album Mon May 14 2007

*insert Finding Forever pun here*

Sure, Kanye's the bigger name (odd how that works), but Common's album release date is closer, and details are the kinds of things fans fawn over. Will this album be a throwback to the One Day It'll All Make Sense or he more alternative Electric Circus?

There is a rip from the radio of a track previously not heard. There's a video interview with Com. Soon, I suspect the T-shirt and promo singles.

It's not the most anticipated album of the summer in some circles, but it is, as they say, an effort from Chi-town's finest, and I don't think this will be the last post on the topic.

Troy Hunter

Concert Sun May 13 2007

The Shaky Hands Shake Things Up

There was once a great mp3 blog called "Indie Don't Dance". The site was run by a teacher in training. I loved her selection of music and her joie de vivre. It's defunct now. I think she moved away and got a good job (the deathnell to any great mp3 blogger). But I still think about that title now and then and how apropos it is to the indie rock world. The Portland based band, The Shaky Hands, have just got to make the kids move their feet, but from the looks of their clever little video for the song "Why and How Come" it's still a constant battle, even for them. I love the bit with the cell phones. That's so true. At Amy Winehouse there were little orbs of light aglow throughout the theater, casting everyone in an erie orb of blueish light. Here's the video:

The band is in Chicago for the first time this Tuesday playing The Note. They'll be playing songs from their debut record The Shaky Hands (Holoscene Music). I wish we'd solve the comments issue here at Transmission. If you could comment I would defy you not to love these songs. Oh yeah, if you go to the show please be the one dancing up front.

[mp3]: The Sleepless - Shaky Hands
[mp3]: Why and How Come - The Shaky Hands

Craig Bonnell

Review Sat May 12 2007

Wilco's new album gets welcome reception in rare intimate venue appearance

[A review from reader and former Transmission staffer Dan Snedigar, who was lucky enough to see Wilco last night at Northwestern.]

Rare is the opportunity these days to see Wilco, unquestionably one of the most influential bands of the past decade, in a small space with a small audience. Friday night, in what amounted to a paid warm-up for their upcoming European and American tours, frontman Jeff Tweedy and company turned in a solid two-hour performance in front of a small, young, but generally receptive audience at Northwestern’s A&O Ball in the campus’ Patten Gymnasium.

The pace started at a slow burn with three selections from the band’s new album Sky Blue Sky, set to release on Tuesday, May 15. "Impossible Germany", "Sky Blue Sky," and "You Are my Face" showcased the laid back, almost retro feel of the new album. Solid selections from 2002's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and 2004's A Ghost Is Born livened things up, and showcased Tweedy’s now cigarette-free voice which sounds better than it has in years, perhaps ever. "I Am Trying to Break Your Heart", which has become something of anthem, perked up the crowd of NU undergrads, most of whom were likely listening to Barney when the song was debuted on stage. Solid re-interpretations of songs such as "Poor Places" and "Pot Kettle Black" featured new arrangements that keep them fresh even after the mileage that the band has gotten out them over the past few years.

After closing with "I’m the Man", the band came back for an extended set of encores including "War on War", "Jesus, Etc." and "Kingpin", the deepest cut from their growing catalog. The band returned to the stage once more with an inspired "The Late Greats", the crowd-pleasing "Heavy Metal Drummer", and another track from Sky Blue Sky, "What Light".

Wilco is currently touring with its longest-lived lineup in the history of the band. This band has obviously learned to play well together, and Tweedy's improved health seems to be paying off in terms of his voice. The intimate confines and small crowd were a throwback to a time that never was; transposing their current powerhouse lineup to the late 1990s or 2000, before the release of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.

Anne Holub

Concert Sat May 12 2007

Three-quarters alien, and no signs of stopping

Tonight: XYIMALLOO, Panicsville, Silvum, Walter Carson, Caves
Location: Nihilist, 2255 S. Michigan, apt 4E (ring buzzer)
Date/time: Tonight (May 12), 8 p.m.
Cost: $5

Please put down your Shaggs bendable action figures, turn off your Daniel Johnston interactive adventure game (just....just save your location then, OK?), and for God's sake, take off those damn Wild Man Fischer plush slippers and hie thine ass down to Chinatown tonight - there's something happening here that is much much MUCH more important than your weekly date with Roky Erickson's ouija board.

For the past 30 years, the musician XYIMALLOO (nee Naofumi Ishimaru), a musician so far outside of the "outside" that using the awful, codified term "outsider art" feels so, so insulting, has been blowing a couple hundred minds per country (his best known release was an LP retrospective on Old Gold about 10 years ago) with tape after tape (and lately, CDr) of completely personal, affectless, ORIGINAL music that seems to be without precedent or follower. YXIMALLOO's muse seemed to be born with himself, and I see nobody really picking up the flag, so I suspect it'll die with YXIMALLOO (but you better see him live before that happens!).

Continue reading this entry »

Chris Sienko

Concert Fri May 11 2007

Life in a Few Stolen Moments

(photo courtesy of Robert Loerzel)

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

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

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

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

Graham Sanford

Concert Thu May 10 2007

Review: Mando Diao, The Films, Pop Levi @ Double Door

Something is very strange in Rockville when the only people you meet at a relatively well-attended show are PR people. A lot of people came out to see Swedish rockers Mando Diao at the Double Door last night, but even the charming young lady with the socks and the cigarettes turned out to be a PR intern. (Side note: Has anyone ever noticed that the Double Door smells like the inside of a suitcase after a week in France? It's all stale cigarettes and sex and foolish fashion decisions that obviously made sense at the time, you know? My fucking notebook smelled like smoke and mating this morning. But I digress.) That's a shame, too, because Mando Diao came out hard, muscling through a terrific hour-long set complete with shout-outs to Elvis and a shirtless accoustic encore.

Continue reading this entry »

Nilay Patel

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

Feature Thu May 10 2007

You'll Know it's Time to Turn the Page When You Hear The Narrator Rock, Like This

"Let's begin now." Remember those book and record sets you had as a kid? Well, maybe not some of you, but for many kids growing up in the '70s and '80s, the mini-LP story record and book set were the highlight of many an evening, where a comforting narrator, along with a helpful sound that would let you know when to turn the page, would guide you through the perils of a Scooby-Doo adventure or re-tell, while you listened with baited breath, the climactic hardware store scene in Gremlins. It's good to find The Narrator picking up where these childhood guides left off. Only this time, kitschy stories have been replaced by jangly guitars and anthemic choruses. It's a nice upgrade.

Continue reading this entry »

Anne Holub

Concert Wed May 09 2007

Dude. Seriously.

Alright, stop me if you've heard this one: four heavy metal band members climb the top of dreaded Blood Mountain in order to find a crystal skull. Here's where it gets a little foggy: once they find it, the skull is inserted into their heads, and lo, the skull enables them to travel beyond their simple "reptile brain" and further their personal evolution. Of course, along the way there's wolves and other beasties. But how can one skull be inserted into four heads? That's really where the storyline falls apart.

Sound familiar? Then you've been listening to Mastodon's latest album, Blood Mountain, in which the group shreds without abandon, all to a Tolkien-themed tale. Seems dang goofy, right? It is, kinda, but not without some heavy indie-supported cred: Josh Homme and Cedric Bixler appear on the album, and the group perform the theme song in the latest Aqua Teen Hunger Force Movie. Hilarity ensues.

Ride the rawk wave and free your reptile brain at their show at the Riviera on Saturday, May 12. Opening are punk heroes Against Me!, Cursive, and Planes Mistaken for Stars.

Kara Luger

News Wed May 09 2007

The Trouble With eMusic

The city of Chicago and it's citizens play prominent roles in the latest online music retailing brouhaha according to an article published on Yahoo. It turns out that at last week's NARM meeting (held in Chicago) there was the start of a mini revolt against eMusic. It turns out some record labels aren't that thrilled with the pricing policy/profit payout that eMusic has put into place. In a nutshell that policy is to keep costs low, sell songs on the cheap and pay out a smaller percentage than iTunes and other digital sites. According to CEO David Packman, "There's no question that eMusic pays less on a per-track basis than other a la carte digital services," Pakman says. But "it's not clear that 99 cents a song is the right price ... Music is an elastic good. If you lower the price, you'll sell more, and if you raise the price, you'll sell less." The hope was that eMusic would sell songs in such high volume that labels would be happy with the service. But with iTunes paying out $.70 per song vs. eMusic's paltry $.12 per song that arguement doesn't seem to be flying with certain labels.

Chicago's Victory label was the first to bolt, but now 6 more labels are rumored to be leaving eMusic. Despite being a fan of the service, Drag City's digital guru, Rian Murphy, also sounds the alarm, "I'm a subscriber of eMusic, and I love it," says Rian Murphy, head of digital sales for Chicago-based Drag City, who says he has no plans to leave the service. "But from the point of view of the label, the profit margin is greatly constricted, and it's a concern to anyone selling records. They would be better off being more equitable, or they will probably lose some labels. Everyone has to live."

This may be a case of the labels looking to pressure eMusic to re-negotiate or it may be the beginning of the end of a popular online destination for independent music.

Craig Bonnell

Concert Wed May 09 2007

DIY DIY DIY, My Darling!

Brookyln die-hard duo Japanther have been turning heads and winning over fans for years now. What’s their secret? Could it be their straight-ahead balls to the wall rock philosophy or their undeniably dancey beats? Maybe its their DIY or die recording/touring ethic? Maybe their constant explorations of other mediums (staging theatrical renditions of their albums, providing the back-drop for a rock-puppet opera, performing along with choreographed synchronized swimming ensembles)?

Whatever the secret is, Ian Vanek and Matt Reily kick off their Summer of Love ‘07 touring spree at the amazing newcomer gallery space People Projects! Heart Shaped Hate, MM/DD/YYYY, and Milwaukee phenom MC JuiceboXXX open. 2129 N. Milwaukee Ave. Show starts at 8:00 pm sharp.

John Lombardo

Concert Wed May 09 2007

I Was Born In A Small Town

Let us be the first to say that Bloomington, IN. is the next Omaha.  With bands like The Coke Dares, Impossible Shapes, Vollmar and labels such as Secretly Canadian, Jagjaguwar and The Fuck Me Stupid Mountain Princess Recording Collective, one of the few cultural bright spots in the Hoosier state isn't just about basketball anymore. Tonight The Post will be bringing their meandering, hypnotic groove to the Empty Bottle and put on a display of what Bloomington has to offer.  Somewhere between the Secret Machines and Grandaddy, The Post makes music that echoes heavy like the low-lying quaries of Southern Indiana.  Enjoy them with Buqlette and Above.Below Sea Level starting at 9:30.

Brent Kado

Artist Tue May 08 2007

Paribus Records - A Local Label To Know

Chicago is a city briming with little-record-lables-that-could, mixing what this city does best, hard working Midwestern drive with an eye on the cutting edge.  One such label that has steadily built up a strong group of artists, is now showing they're ready to begin buidling an equally strong catalog. Paribus Records artists generally offer up dreamy (dreary) electronic rock, but they all have a delightfully unique sound. Menowah, whose recent EP After Everything, is a record all the art kids and grungy post rockers need to pick up.  It's perfect gritty chill out music or gradual party starter. Menowah strikes a balance between Boards of Canada-esque reflections and more energetic, pulsating, hip-shaking pieces that offer a middle ground that makes their form of electronica easily digestable.  Paribus also has upcoming releases from LMNOP (sexy, hypnotic beats) and Sally. (music is an action and Sally is halluconaginic desire) With these new releases Paribus seems to have graduated from upstart label to rising player in Chicago's impressive record label field

Brent Kado

Artist Mon May 07 2007

CocoRosie Get Put in the Pokey

Touch and Go artist CocoRosie made an announcement on their MySpace (now since removed) earlier today that they were forced to cancel several upcoming tour dates including a Saturday stop in Chicago. A comment on and AbsoutePunk message board seems to indicate that band member's work permits may have been the culprit. The sisters are presumably fine, as prisoners are not yet allowed to swap their one phone call for one blog post. Yet.

Dan Morgridge

Concert Mon May 07 2007

American Gods Must Be Crazy

Sure, the world can be a pretty twisted and horrific place sometimes. No joke. And it's for that reason alone that hip-hop renaissance man El-P isn't likely to ever drop a straight-up party jam. Case in point: On his current tour, he’s been taking it to the stage dressed as a Guantanamo Bay detainee — bedecked in orange prison garb and his face smeared with stage blood. The get-up is a theatrical holdover from his latest video shoot, and fairly typical of what some would expect from the man. Expected, I say, because for El-Producto, hip-hop is as much about catharsis as artifice; as much a platform for cultural commentary and dissent as for merely waxing bragadocious. He long ago demonstrated that he could serve the most lethal of battle rhymes, but the battle he’s interested in bringing these days is specifically aimed at certain (ahem) higher powers than at rival emcees.

Continue reading this entry »

Graham Sanford

Review Mon May 07 2007

Review: LCD Soundsystem

While critics have loved Sound of Silver, fans have been grumbling about the album's lack of anthems that made LCD Soundsystem's debut album a great collection of DFA-produced singles. Hopefully, the naysayers were at Metro last night to witness a performance that brought out the best from those songs and actually got some people to dance. (One of my biggest gripes with Chicago audiences is that they we don't dance too much, at least compared to many other towns where I've been a concertgoer.)

So what was it that made songs like "North American Scum" and "Us v Them" really come alive live? Well, for one thing, nobody outside of, like, Konono No. 1 does live percussion as well as LCD Soundsystem. The five multi-instrumentalists that made up James Murphy's backing band all took a stab at percussion at some point during the 80-minute show. Whether a cowbell or conga, each percussive element nicely complemented top-notch and tight musicianship from everyone onstage throughout the evening. Hot Chip's guitarist Al Doyle was a notable hired gun that made up for James Murphy's calmness with his frenzied play on both guitar and percussion. (Murphy at one point remarked that if he were in attendance, he'd be in the balcony because that's "where the old guys go.")

Unfortunately, LCD Soundsystem doesn't seem to understand the concept of ending on a high note. The frantic version of "Yeah" that brought the house down perhaps should've closed the set, but not even a cover of Joy Division's "No Love Lost" could electrify the crowd again. Ending the encore was the serene "New York, I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down." However they ended the show, though, should not take away from the sonic majesty that was unloaded during the peaks. If you missed last night, they'll be back at Lollapalooza on August 4.

James Ziegenfus

Concert Mon May 07 2007

Music For (Gay) Tourists

Chris Garneau will inevitably be lumped together with uber sensitive singer-songwriters like Sufjan Stevens and Rufus Wainwright. But Chris' lyrics are more obtuse and his music is more rooted in chamber folk; it's stark but beautiful stuff dominated by piano and cello. Chris Garneau's 2007 release, Music For Tourists (Absolutely Kosher), is high atop my records to die for list and from the video's that are floating around the web his live show seems as intimate and breathless as the songs on that record.

Chris Garneau is appearing in Chicago this Saturday, May 12 as part of The Old Town School Of Folk Music's "Alt Q Festival". According to The Old Town School's website: "The ALT Q Festival is a celebration of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered experience through music and performance. Conceived by Scott Free for the Old Town School of Folk Music, a portion of the proceeds of this event will be given to the AIDS Foundation of Chicago." Appearing with Chris Garneau will be the Chicago band Actor Slash Model, Tom Yore, and Natalia Zuckerman. More info here, tickets here.

[mp3]: Not Nice - Chris Garneau

Chris Garneau "Relief" from Music For Tourists

Craig Bonnell

News Mon May 07 2007

Monday Morning Music Goodies

Local band Umphreys Mcgee (with Lotus and Tea Leaf Green) will play the annual Jam in the Dam next March.  This will be Umphreys third trip to the Venice of the North.

Newcity reports on their power 45 in the city's music biz.  Kayne West and Pete Wentz come in 1,2.  Double Door and Metro owner Joe Shanahan comes in at a high 3, beating out many corporate big wigs.  Our favorite - lucky number 13, Bruce Finkleman, Empty Bottle Owner.

Illinois Entertainer reports on local releases including Suffrajett, Shipwreck and Kurt Elling. But the Eternals mix of electro-dub may be the best album of the bunch.

Brent Kado

Review Sat May 05 2007

Here come the horns!

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra should be commended for allowing as much jazz as they do. For a genre whose vital signs are either in decline or stronger than ever (depending on who you ask), they always attract artists with something to prove and who bring their best to an appreciative audience.
Last night, Roy Hargove brought an impressive array of musicians to Symphony Center, and showed the fire and command of the trumpet that first got him discovered by Wynton Marsalis.

Continue reading this entry »

Troy Hunter

Concert Sat May 05 2007

Let's Call It Math Alt-Country

When you think of music at Fireside Bowl a band like Cup N' String is not first to pop into your mind.  Cup N' String plays music thick in country pain and covered in casual indie rock. Vocals that both rise and howl, set to the background of subtle roots psychedelia and straight-forward Americana sounds, Cup N' String's sound is art alt-country.(or math alt-country if you prefer)  Catch this unique style tonight at Fireside Bowl with Al Schorsch and KT the band. Show time is 9 p.m.

Brent Kado

Concert Fri May 04 2007

Permanent Records Adds Art

Ukranian Village record shop/community space Permanent Records is having its first art opening tonight! The Show entitled What Comes Out of Eel Kram's Egg? will feature pictures by Chicago artist Lee Marks. Music performances from newcomers Bedfellows, Dios Mi Dios, and Lee Marks' own Oriental Headress.

Tonight's show starts at 6:00pm and is FREE and all-ages. 1914 W. Chicago Ave.

For more info:

John Lombardo

News Fri May 04 2007

Internet Radio Update, and a Really Quick Contest!

As an update to yesterday's Transmission feature, the SaveNetRadio coalition has decided to postpone its "Day Of Silence" scheduled for next week, after it was discovered webcasters will have until July 15 to face the new royalty rates, instead of the anticipated May 15 d-day. They will instead use the two-month reprieve to gain more momentum for its campaign, and hopefully raise its planned silent protest's profile. Making noise, however, is Saturday night's BANDWIDTH showcase, where SaveNetRadio reps will be on hand to let you know how you can contact your local representative to voice your opinion on the upcoming rate hikes. Appearing at the Subterranean show will be Eagle*Seagull, Cake Bake Betty, The Modern Temper and Stiletto Attack!, and we've got a pair of tickets to giveaway! Just be the first person e-mail inbox (at) with the subject line "Save Net Radio!" and get ready to rock.

JP Pfafflin

Concert Fri May 04 2007

Amy Winehouse/Patrick Wolf At The Vic


My mother-in-law would take one look at Amy Winehouse and declare her a poor soul. It's hard to define that term, since the poor souls she's usually referring to are neither poor nor particularly soulful. But when it comes to Amy Winehouse I expect she's right. Her very public battle with alcohol abuse, issues with her weight, ex-boyfriends and her professionalism have seemingly started to take their toll. In fact her offstage antics seem to have taken over her onstage persona. As a result many in the audience at last night's Vic Theater show were as concerned with "will she or won't", "is she or isn't she", and "oh no she didn't"/"oh yes she did" than with whether she was hitting the right note, coming in on cue or flubbing her lines.

At last night's show she was on the edge: the edge of consciousness, boredom and a truly wonderful performance. But for me her public persona got in the way of really enjoying the music. And the music was pretty great, in fact, it turned out it was virtually guaranteed. That's because the Amy Winehouse juggernaught has hired, arguably the best Motown and classic r`n'b band in the country, The Dap Kings (of Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings fame seen performing here on Conan in 2005). This ten piece band was hired after showcasing with Amy Winehouse recently in Austin and LA. While this new arrangement is clearly a temporary paid gig for the band, it's hard to argue with their professionalism, attire and general all around funkiness. So no matter what show Amy Winehouse performed, the rowdy and eclectic sold-out crowd at the Vic was guaranteed a good time.

Continue reading this entry »

Craig Bonnell

Concert Thu May 03 2007

Surplus Value For Your Ears

If Broken Social Scene perfected anthems for seventeen-year old girls, the noise operas constructed by Brooklyn's Parts & Labor can best be described as anthems for middle-aged mechanics. In other words, move over AC/DC. While inserting simple, Celtic-esque harmonies onto layers upon layers of guitar squall, schizophrenic drums, and electronic freak-outs might seem overbearing, the forumla works well and it doesn't take much effort to see a gaggle of oil-stained work bibs bobbing in time to the rhythm. Indeed, with Mapmaker, Parts & Labor's fourth album due out May 22nd on Jagjaguwar, the three piece have made their most accesible record to date. Opener "Fractured Skies" builds upon layered noised until it climaxes in a barrage of joyous horns. "Long Way Down" grows from a simple guitar hook and running-in-place tom licks to add sharp cymbal notes and then melts down into a screeching keyboard fuzz-jam. Minutemen anit-war cover "King of the Hill" avoids any Hank Hill references and instead re-interprets the song with flute swirls, high-end keys and pounding percussion. If you can make it through the 2 minute intro that sounds like a TV getting its guts ripped out, "Ghosts Will Burn" rewards with a quirky drum-driven ode to the supernatural. Bombastic closer "Knives and Pencils" drops in the middle into a lone synth hook that then builds back up into an everyman noise-anthem. It's what P&L do best - tear it down to build it up.

To get torn up and rebuilt yourself, make plans to see Parts & Labor support Mapmaker as the second act opening for ADULT. tomorrow night at the Empty Bottle (details here). Already got Air tickets you can't ditch? No worries, the noise crew will return to the Bottle on July 3rd on the back leg of the tour.

[mp3] Fractured Skies - Parts & Labor

Brandon Forbes

Concert Thu May 03 2007

Do the (Apostle of) Hustle x3!

If you missed out on hearing Apostle of Hustle open for Andrew Bird a few weeks ago, you're in luck. The group will hit Schubas for a triple shot of headlining shows on consecutive Wednesdays in June (the 13th, 20th and 27th) each for just a measly $8. The Canadian group, founded by Broken Social Scene singer/songwriter Andrew Whiteman, brings an eclectic, drumming, strumming, dance-tastic sound to the stage and it'll be great to check them out in a cozy space like Schubas. Check out tunes on their MySpace page, or their wonderfully freaky little Arts & Crafts label site.

Tickets go on sale Friday at noon and the shows are 18+. Openers vary night to night, and include Ola Podrida, among others TBA.

Anne Holub

News Thu May 03 2007

Morning Music Links

In case you missed it...

While Intonation can't cut it, another mid-sized city festival has popped up. The Continental (yes, the of-the-moment bar) is having a music thingy June 23 and 24 with the likes of the 1900's, Airiel and Suffrajett.

RadioFreeChicago is doing one of their Bandwidth shows this Saturday at the Subterranean.  Bands include Cake Bake Betty, The Modern Temper, Eagle*Seagull and more. (See this week's feature for more information.)   

Looptopia will keep the Loop up for 24 hours with art, theater, classes and music.  While this events leans toward the enjoyable-for-all side, sounds from Mucca Pazza, The Ponys, Bobby Conn and the Symphony Orchestra make it worth a look. 

Brent Kado

Feature Thu May 03 2007

The Plight of Internet Radio, Or, The Loudest Silence You've Ever Heard

On March 2, after more than a year of hearing testimony from webcasters and SoundExchange (a non-profit organization created by the RIAA to collect and distribute royalties from satellite and online radio stations), the Library of Congress' Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) decided to increase the royalties paid to artists and record labels, effective May 15. It is a decision that could end online radio, as we know it, in the United States and it's a decision that has many webcasters wondering if they'll be silenced.

Continue reading this entry »

Anne Holub

Concert Wed May 02 2007

The Sound Of All The Things You Aren't

Pablo Picasso once said of his own artistic methods, "I don’t seek, I find." Amon Tobin could probably say the same for his own music-making. Many consider the globe-trotting, Brazilian-born beatmaestro to be the Stephen Hawking of sampling-based music, and there’s plenty to justify the ranking. Over the past decade, he’s made a career of taking bold steps forward with each album and effing up the heads of his fanatically committed fanbase every time. Recent sidesteps have seen him making excursions into more cinematically-inclined domain, working with a chorus and orchestra to create scores for a video game and a Hungarian horror film. But through it all, he never strays far from his trademark style—crafting densely-layered tracks filled with polyrhythmic counterpoint, morphic beat constructions that ride and writhe on their own self-generating momentum.

When Tobin set out to record Foley Room, his recently released sixth LP, he opted for a different approach than before. The operative rule he laid down for himself: No more use of samples of prerecorded music, all material will be mic'd from live sources. He sank money into buying his own mobile recording gear, and went about grabbing sounds from whatever sources he encountered or devised, laying down the undergirdings of the LP with a tapestry of "found sound" and field recordings. These sounds — zoo animals, toys, the purr and roar of a motorcycle engine, kitchen utensils, an ant scurrying around inside a ball of tinfoil, et al.—are manipulated, mutated, and complexly interwoven. It's all in keeping with Tobin’s affinity for taking sounds and “changing their direction,” and the results are often stunning. The Slavic gothicism of "Bloodstone" deliriously waltzes about on the dissonant scraping and screeching of strings as laid down by the Kronos Quartet, over which Tobin places a tarantella-like piano motif that hangs like a chandelier of icicles. On "Ester's" the piano returns again, but this time in the form of a Debussian étude entangled in acrobatic sex with a Harley Davidson. Throughout, the album pivots and twists on some of the most ferocious rhythms Tobin’s laid down to date. But it also features less frenzied moments, offering richly detailed and immersive soundscapes that are arrestingly, spine-chillingly beautiful.

Tobin will be in town this Saturday evening, performing a headlining set at Metro. As a DJ, he likes his beats edgy, heavy, harsh, and high-velocity, especially favoring material of the so-called "drill 'n bass" variety. But he’s frequently prone to throwing in all sorts of curve balls and leftfield tangents, exhibiting the same sort of eclecticism, inventiveness, and ingenious whimsy that drives his own music. WLUW's Abstract Science DJs Chris Widman and Luke Stokes are slated to get the beats rolling. Tickets are $16, and the show is 18 and over. Doors open at 11pm, and the show gears up at 11:30pm.

[video]: Amon Tobin - "Foley Room, trailer #2"
[mp3]: Amon Tobin - "Ester's"

Graham Sanford

Television Wed May 02 2007

King of Primetime For A Day

For that huge crossover audience of Chicago indie rockers and family dramedy TV watchers, The CW gave a little treat - amongst a slew of equally under-the-radar bands, Bobby Conn was name-dropped on the Gilmore Girls last night. Bizarre? Absolutely. Completely mis-targeted? Probably. But unprecedented? Mike Patton and "Days of Our Lives" thinks not.

(If you know of a clip of this mention, let us know!)

Dan Morgridge

Artist Wed May 02 2007

Lupe wants you to Cool out.

Now that the ebb from Food and Liquor has died down, Lupe Fiasco is concentrating on the followup album, Cool. Tentatively, the album will see the light of day in late October.
Lupe has big plans for the album, including reuniting Pink Floyd for an appearance. Sounds as if he should at least get points for trying something new.

Troy Hunter

Concert Wed May 02 2007

Too Young

Throat-bearded Canadian electro-pop duo Junior Boys, the studs of many a '06 year-end list, make their way to the smoky sauna that is the Empty Bottle tomorrow night. Rather than go on and on about how amazing "In the Morning" is, or why So This Is Goodbye needs to be played at least once a week to keep your stress levels down, it might be better to let some news tidbits speak for the band themselves.

- Recent remix EP The Dead Horse features dynamite takes on "In the Morning" by electro-gods Hot Chip and "Like A Child" by Carl Craig.

- Chicago Innerview chews the fat with our heroes in this month's issue.

- Didn't get So This Is Goodbye last year? For shame, but redemption draweth nigh in the shape of a deluxe re-release featuring an extra disc of b-sides and remixes (including the tracks off of The Dead Horse EP), which is due out June 5 [via].

And if you haven't heard it, here's one of the best songs of last year that, if nothing else, should get you to the show at the Empty Bottle on Thursday night. Details here.

[streaming] In the Morning - Junior Boys

Brandon Forbes

Contest Wed May 02 2007

Really Quick Contest: Get Cozy with ADULT.

(Oh, get your mind out of the gutter!) What we're giving away, courtesy of Thrill Jockey and Nicola Kuperus of ADULT. (who's quite the artist) are two handmade iPod cozies (one red, one brown) made by none other than the lead lady of the band herself!


You can't buy these in stores, nor can you pick one up at the band's show on Friday, so consider yourself lucky if you're one of our two winners. Just be one of the first two to email us at inbox (at) with the subject line "warm and cozy!" and you're a winner winner winner! (While you're here, make sure to check out our band preview/review of ADULT.'s latest album Why Bother?.) [Update: We've given away the brown cozy, but we still have the red one available (like the one above). If you want it, email us!] {Update Update We've got our winners! Thanks}

Anne Holub

Album Wed May 02 2007

Scotland Yard Gospel Choir

Chicago's favorite Belle and Sebastian emulators, Scotland Yard Gospel Choir, have a new 7" ep out now on Microindie Records. The song "In Hospital" conjures up early B&S with it's lush, romantic sound and floating, reverb-drenched, female vocals. Ironically this is the very sound that B&S has abandoned on their most recent release The Life Pursuit. It's nice to have it back and I'm sure there are lots of indie pop fans out there clamoring for it. "In Hospital" is also streaming on their Myspace page. Buy the limited edition (250 copies) pink vinyl 7" here.

Craig Bonnell

Concert Wed May 02 2007

Modern Maturity

Some people mellow with age, others just grow more rancorous and bitter. The former happens with most musicians, while a good many couples go the latter route. The Detroit electro duo ADULT., which is comprised of the husband-and-wife team of Nicola Kuperus and Adam Lee, doesn't have to sweat such stuff. They've made a musical career of being spikey and abrasive, and they're not about to knock it off for the sake of pandering to the Prairie Home Companion set. In fact, as their latest LP Why Bother? demonstrates, they're just as likely to notch up the edginess by the smallest of degrees. The album, recently released on the Thrill Jockey label, reveals their music growing slightly more frayed and corrosive around the edges, with the couple tossing in more dischordant textures and tonalities than on previous efforts. "I Feel Worse When I'm With You" punches along pretty heartily on it's own, thanks to some bolstering basswork and a bridge awash in noise that sounds like someone madly scanning a shortwave radio dial. "You Don't Worry Enough" likewise benefits from some muscle and depth added with additional guitar and deeper mixing. And from beginning to end, there's the insistent sputter and thump of the beatbox, providing that very low-budget retro new-waviness feel that has been their calling card from the get-go.

ADULT. will be playing at the Empty Bottle this Friday night. Brooklynite trio Parts and Labor are playing on the bill, about which we'll have more to say later. Tussle also opens. Show starts at 10pm, tickets are $12.

Graham Sanford

Concert Tue May 01 2007


Apparently, the Swedish do not use serial commas.

This would account for why I thought the band Peter Björn and John were a duo. Nej! In fact, the Stockholm-based group are a trio (Peter Morén, Björn Yttling, and John Eriksson) whose neo-'60s power pop sounds are a breath of cold, crisp fjord air in the indie scene.

Dig it live at the Empty Bottle on Tuesday, May 8. And get this: they're so flippin' Swedetastic that they're playing not one but two shows that evening: 7:30 and 10 p.m. Au Revoir Simone opens the first set, and Fujiya & Miyagi open the second. Now quit making excuses and go already.

Kara Luger

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

Concert Tue May 01 2007

Erie Polka Electronica?

No it's not the sound from a new Perry Farrell side project, it's local duo Aleks and the Drummer. Fresh off their VersionFest performace Saturday Aleks and the Drummer drops by the Bottle tonight keeping the Polish electro hoping. Their sound is part erie nightmare, part polka and part hypnotic dance music. Quite a mix, huh?  It needs to be heard to be understood.  Show starts at 9:30 and cost $8. Also playing, Baltimore's Celebration and Tirra Lirra. 

Brent Kado

Concert Tue May 01 2007

Taste of Chicago Lineup Announced

Taste of Chicago will run from June 29 through July 8 at Grant Park and the surrounding streets. For the extended July 4 weekend, the Taste once again brings in some huge names and a few surprises for the free crowds to enjoy. (Don't expect anything like when the Replacements broke up onstage, though.)

This year's July 4 show will be headlined by the abominable John Mayer, but the opening acts may be worth your time. Robert Randolph & the Family Band, who're renowned for electrifying performances, and Ireland via Mexico's Rodrigo y Gabriela, who'll play Chicago for the fourth time in nine months, will open the day at 3PM.

Toledo R&B/Soul musician/producer Lyfe Jennings plays July 5. Friday's show features the Black Crowes. And Saturday's lineup is a big Midwestern rock'n'roll revue with Cheap Trick, Soul Asylum, and Cracker. The weekend ends with a headlining set by Los Lonely Boys.

James Ziegenfus

GB store

Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

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

Read this feature »


  Chicago Music Media

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


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

  Labels, Promoters
  & Shops:

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

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