Tuesday, July 15, 2014

P4K Picks: Pitchfork Music Festival Preview

Did you get your passes for the almost entirely sold out Pitchfork Music Festival yet?  Hopefully so because the line up this year is stacked.  Despite some unfortunate cancelled acts (RIP Death Grips and Get Well Soon Kathleen Hanna!) the mix of up and comers with some seriously solid old school headliners make this one of the most anticipated Chicago music festivals of the summer.  Happening THIS WEEKEND, July 18 - 20 down in Union Park, here's a few of our picks for "don't miss 'em" bands each day:

FRIDAY (7/18)

DEATH GRIPS - Well, Death Grips cancelled all their gigs and broke up via a note written on a napkin (RUDE) so there goes that.  At least they cancelled BEFORE their scheduled performance this year.  Oh well.  Definitely not still butthurt over this at all.  Nope.

The Haxan Cloak (5:15pm // Blue Stage) - I'm generally not one to recommend electronic acts (I prefer my musicians to actually play, you know, instruments) however, the dark and twisty instrumental soundscapes created by British musician and producer Bobby Krlic are incredibly seductive with a mix of haunting strings and heartbeat like percussions among the droning digital fuzz. This is not your usual thumping bass kind of electronic music.  He already played an entrancing evening set at Pitchfork Paris last winter, so it will be interesting to see how his set goes over before the sun goes down.

Giorgio Moroder (7:20pm // Red Stage) - Keeping with the electronic theme for Friday, sometimes there are just those once-in-a-lifetime performances you have to check out and 74-year-old (!!) Italian producer and musician Giorgio Moroder is one of them.  Disco pioneer Giorgio Moroder has been constructing synthwave vibes since the '60s and had a hand in producing music all over the past few decades, including the soundtrack for a little known gangster movie from the '80s called Scarface.  Bring your disco dance shoes for this one!

Beck (HEADLINER // 8:30pm // Green Stage) - OMFG Beck!  Morning Phase, Beck's most recent album released this past February, is VERY good, plus he will probably play his older crowd pleasers.  Just want to sing along to Devil's Haircut and Loser plz and thanx!!


Circulatory System (1:55pm // Blue Stage) - Make it an Elephant 6 Saturday!  Start off your Pitchfork on the early side with these long standing psych-rockers from Athens, GA to set the tone for the day.  They just released  a new LP Mosaics Within Mosaics a few weeks ago that had some input from NMH's Jeff Mangum and since they are playing later in the day is it too much to hope that the elusive Mangum might join Circulatory System on stage?

Cloud Nothings (3:20pm // Red Stage) - Noisy pop-punk rockers Cloud Nothings have been around for years but they always bring it when playing live. Veterans of the festival circuit these Cleveland dudes are just straight up fun.

tUnE-yArDs (5:15pm // Red Stage) - Merrill Garbus will almost certainly have a very danceable set with her unique brand of afrobeat-electro pop and her strong vocals. It's hard not to move around listening to tUnE-yArDs tunes and with her recent album Nikki Nack just out in May to follow up her hits from 2011 there will be plenty of material for her to work with for an upbeat joyful set.

St. Vincent (7:25pm // Red Stage) - If her set at Pitchfork is even half as good as her recent show at the Riv this past spring, this is definitely a set you shouldn't miss. Annie Clark is a fantastic performer as well as a talented musician and has yet to put out a bad album. She knows which songs her audience wants to hear and maybe if we're lucky she'll do her chill-bump inducing cover of Nirvana's Lithium.

Neutral Milk Hotel (HEADLINER // 8:30pm // Green Stage) - OMFG NMH!!  If you somehow missed them on their reunion tour this past fall/winter you are in for a real treat.  The best part of watching Jeff Mangum and friends is how much fun they have together on stage.  In The Aeroplane Over the Sea is an amazing album that has really held up over the years and Julian's singing saws are just plain old enchanting.

SUNDAY (7/20)

Perfect Pussy (1:55pm // Blue Stage) - We covered their very short show back in January and if you missed these rowdy noisy hardcore rockers from Syracuse consider rallying on Sunday morning and coming to Union Park a little early to catch a (hopefully) longer set to kick off the last day of the fest.

Deafheaven (2:30pm // Green Stage) - Depending on how long Perfect Pussy plays this time you may be able to catch their full set and then Deafheaven immediately afterwards on the Green Stage.  Deafheaven is about as metal as it gets at Pitchfork.  Described as "shoe-gazey black metal," Deafheaven definitely had the crowd going for a daytime set at NYC's Governor's Ball back in June and is more accessible to most Pitchfork fest goers than a lot of metal.  Sunday's early selections are pretty heavy so best bring earplugs if you can't handle it.

Earl Sweatshirt (3:20pm // Red Stage) - Take a break from the heavy and head over to what may be Earl Sweatshirt's last hip hop show for a while.  Although he recently cancelled the remainder of his tour due to extreme exhaustion, he did say he would still play Pitchfork as scheduled.

Slowdive (6:15pm // Green Stage) - This British shoegaze band has been around since 1989 but it was quite a surprise to see them on the lineup since the band pretty much broke up back in 1994 (they reunited in 2014 and recently announced they'll go on tour this fall).  There are a number of "blast from the past" performances this Pitchfork which works with the lineup quite well.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Show photos: Empires at Summerfest, 6/25/14

WCR's Eliana Siegal headed up to Milwaukee's Summerfest late last month to catch Chicago's Empires play the fest, and captured some photos of the performance. Check out a selection of the shots below, and take a look at the Saudade Photography Facebook page for more.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

New Tunes: Tutu & The Pirates - 'Trail of the Great White Beaver'

By Gene Wagendorf III 

Drop the needle on Trail of the Great White Beaver and, at first, you might think nothing has changed with local punk pioneers Tutu & The Pirates. Formed in 1977, the group's material was heavy on tongue-in-cheek, adolescent snottiness, crunchy riffs and driving, fist-pump inducing beats. Raw anthems like "I Wanna Be A Janitor" and "Anarchy, Man" showed off an eye for satire and a warped sense of humor that helped make Tutu outsiders in a local music landscape dominated by what we now call "classic rock."

Flip the calendar almost 40 years and the band's new album opens with the raucous, crude and ultimately hilarious rocker "Jerk It To Sleep." Delightfully perverted lyrics aside (I didn't wanna wake you up/Had to jerk it to sleep/But I needed to shake things up/And make a mess on my sheets/Ew...), the song sets the tone for Beaver with it's combination of derecho guitars, bludgeoning drums and Lil Richie Speck's ornery crooning. "Debbie Debbie Debbie (And Her) Prison Baby" follows with a buzzsaw riff and massive percussion- think an even more buoyant take on The Ramones' "Teenage Lobotomy."

Monday, June 23, 2014

Go To There: June 24 - 30

By Gene Wagendorf III   

Tuesday, June 24th: Young Distractions and Dead Sheriff at Double Door (8:15pm, 21+, $8)

Chicago's power-poppers Young Distractions are a band that follows in the footsteps of predecessors like Material Issue and Smoking Popes; hook-heavy rock 'n' roll littered with cathartic lyrics, white-hot guitar solos and a healthy dose of crunch. Singer Nico Deportago-Cabrera has a voice that sounds as good used for confessional story telling as it does during fits of punk defiance, and his bandmates form a tight rhythm section that's sure to have the audience bopping. Bluesy, grungy, kinda Pearl Jammy quartet Dead Sheriff open up, and will likely play some material from their forthcoming album Acoustic - Friends & Total Strangers, which seems to have a much folkier vibe than their previous work.

Wednesday, June 25th: Music. Defined. presents Ghostpal, Ariada and No Shoes at Empty Bottle (9pm, 21+, $5)

We ran a preview a few days ago, but in case you missed it, we still haven't changed our minds. You should spend your Wednesday night checking out Ghostpal, Ariada and No Shoes at The Bottle. Our friends over at Music. Defined. have put together this awesome bill featuring two dynamic, electrifying NYC bands alongside one of Chicago's finest indie/soul groups. For their parts, Ghostpal brings a sort of Sondre Lerche meets Of Montreal swoon and No Shoes gets a little bit psychedelic and a lotta bit algebraic. Not convinced? Check out the full preview here (streaming tunes included!) and then grab yourself that five-bone ticket.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Show preview: Ghostpal, Ariada and No Shoes at The Empty Bottle, 6/25

By Gene Wagendorf III

Our friends over at the excellent blog Music. Defined. have put together an awesome gig at The Bottle that will mark the first Chicago appearance by Brooklyn psych-soul outfit Ghostpal. Featuring former members of The Hysterics, Ghostpal blend influences like The Beatles, Sly Stone and Brian Wilson for a sound that's akin to Sondre Lerche singing songs written by Rufus Wainwright while backed by Of Montreal. That's a mish-mash of sounds I just threw at you, but the end result is anything but sloppy. Ghostpal's recently released record This Was Ghostpal is a devilishly seductive listen; a professionally executed, ridiculously infectious album that'll settle effortlessly into your personal playlist of favorites.

Also making the trip from New York is "post-apocalyptic pop" band No Shoes, who sound like a sandwich of Mines, MGMT, Animal Collective and Paper Mice. Another jumble, another fascinating result. Those sounds are all at work their cover of Basal Gang's "Sean The Paul," which starts off in a romp of Dionysian mischief with a twinkling hook, then grows these sort of nervey, math rock appendages that yank the song through a staccato jam. If that sounds like it'll be cool to see live, that's because it will, especially for only 5 fucking dollars.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Quinn Tsan, Jones and Female Basic at The Hideout, 6/12

By Gene Wagendorf III 

Female Basic
Female Basic opened up Thursday evening at The Hideout, kicking things off with a set of throwback tunes and oldies covers reworked as harmony-heavy uke ballads. The trio, Rachel Landrum, Bekah Miller and Anna Phalen, shared and swapped vocal duties, making for a playfully dynamic performance. The mood was set with a cover of Nancy Sinatra's "Bang Bang," a rendition as cool and mysterious as a late night breeze. Female Basic glided on a mixture of guitar, banjo, ukulele and stunning vocal work, giving the show a pleasantly nostalgic flavor. That isn't to call Female Basic a nostalgia act, because they're not. The personalities of the three singers came off as clearly different- individuals with a remarkable chemistry/magic whose electricity gives these traditional tunes a fresh sound. No, the word for that isn't nostalgic, it's classic. Sprinkled throughout their aesthetically on-point and plain fuckin' fun string of originals were covers of "classics" like "Jolene," "Leader of the Pack" and a particularly exceptional romp through Diane Renay's "Navy Blue" that ought to be the new anthem of the Coney Island Mermaid Day Parade. They wrapped it up with a charmingly awesome cover of "The Sign" that, as happens with the Ace of Base version, was stuck in my head for the rest of the night.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Go To There: June 9 - 16

By Gene Wagendorf III 

Monday, June 9th: Circuit des Yeux, The Humminbird and Pillars & Tongues at Joseph Bond Chapel (7pm, All Ages, FREE) 

WHPK 88.5 FM is bringing three of the city's finest experimental acts down to U of C's gorgeous Bond Chapel for a free show that ought to be like nothing else you've seen before. The evening will serve as the kick-off to Circuit des Yeux's upcoming summer tour, and this date will feature Haley Fohr performing solo. Those who made it to Reckless on Record Store Day know how chilling/awe-inspiring she can be on her own, and the chapel setting makes this a can't miss gig. The Humminbird and Pillars & Tongues are on the bill as well, and both acts use of atmosphere and space should be perfect for this unusual location. For a taste of what to expect, check out our reviews of CDY's excellent Overdue, The Humminbird's dreamy Beyond the Orchard, and P&T's delightful 2013 release End Dances.

Tuesday, June 10th: Toupee, Lil Tits and Haki at Township (8pm, 21+, $5)

I normally rag on MP Shows, but you've got to give credit where credit's due, and they've put together an awesome show for Tuesday night that's packed with face-melting, ear-bulldozing, female-fronted Chicago rock. The ultra-versatile Haki kicks things off with their blend of alternative, punk, jazz and metal. It's a weird combination that shouldn't work, but it does (Proof: Haki's April release, Positive). Next up are bombastic "witch punks" Lil Tits, whose sludgy, dirty, catchy jams are pure audio adrenaline- the kind of music you can't help but bash around to. Bystanders beware. Ending of the night duties fall on Toupee, whose driving, droning metal/post-punk hybrid is a hypnotic maelstrom of awesome. If that sounds like silly hyperbole, head on down to Township Tuesday night and stand in front of the speaker during their set. Fuck you.

Wednesday, June 11th:  Rivals of the Peacemaker and Luke Henry & Rabbitfoot at The Whistler (9pm, 21+, FREE)

A couple of Americana/folk acts getting together for a free show where you can get a $2 beer or a fancy-ass cocktail? Yeah, this is what you should be doing with your life. Luke Henry & Rabbitfoot's sweet, psych-tinted folk is meditative and alluring and just might get you stoned while keeping your piss clean. Rivals of the Peacemaker are a little more polished, a little more country, a little sweeter and sure to be just as relaxing. The band's self-titled debut sounds like a northerner's romanticized idea of The South, complete with perfectly country choruses like I shoulda quit you last June/I shoulda quit you/But I can't resist you/Oh darlin', you bring my love down. Those lines get angelic treatment from singer Alexandra Watson before a big ol' guitar solo kicks in. The song is called "Day After The Rapture," and I bet if you ask real nice like they'll maybe play it for you.

Thursday, June 12th: Vaya at Quenchers Saloon (9pm, 21+, $5)

Bright, bubbling melodies and serpentine percussion, crunchy riffs and fluttering vocals; the songs of Logan Square's Vaya are a unique and addicting blend of indie pop and math rock that astounds more and more with each listen. They're so good that you can fall into them effortlessly, get lost in the groove until zig! something unexpected shoots one way and then zag! you're pulled another. It's tangled and dizzying but it all makes perfect sense. What makes zero sense is missing this show, so I guess I'll see you there.

Friday, June 13th: Goat, Holy Wave and Outer Minds at Thalia Hall (8pm, 17+, $12)

The 13th of June will go down in history as one of the most loaded nights for live music in the history of Earth. Silver Apples and Wreckmeister Harmonies are playing an outdoor show at Bohemian National Cemetery. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah are playing Taste of Randolph. Local punk trouble-makers Rabble Rabble have their FREE w/RSVP record release show at The Bottle.

Those are all great ways to spend a Friday night, but for my money it doesn't get better than Sweden's mysterious and incredible Goat headlining new Pilsen venue Thalia Hall. The group's 2013 debut, World Music, is a perfect fusion of Sabbath riffs, psychedelic meltdowns, Afro-beat percussion, magical chanting and disco-leaning dance tunes. The group's first Chicago performance was one of the single greatest shows I've ever seen, and no matter what's going on that night, I can't justify missing their return. Playing with them again are excellent Austin psyche rockers Holy Wave, and local '60s-tinged garage outfit Outer Minds. You can't go wrong with any of these shows, but seeing Goat live should be on every music fan's bucket list. You'll have plenty of time to hang out in a cemetery after you're dead.

Saturday, June 14th:  Richard Album & The Singles and Red Sea at Wally World (9pm, All Ages, $5)

RIYL Ben Folds, Elvis Costello and/or Buddy Holly, Richard Album swings by Logan Square DIY space Wally World on Saturday night for a set that's sure to be a boogie-friendly good time. For an idea of what to expect, check out his track "Logan Square" recorded at Public House in, you guessed it, Logan Square. Also on the bill are Atlanta's Red Sea, who've got a little bit of an Of Montreal thing going on, but with an extra dash of shoegazeiness.

Sunday, June 15th: Columba Fasciata and The Hecks at Connie's Plank House (9pm, All Ages, $5)

The dark, dreamy side-project of Toupee members Whitney Allen and Nick Hagen, Columba Fasciata's recent tape Enemy Eater is ripe with cool, staggered beats, crystalline melodies and curious tape loops. It's the kind of stuff that sounds great on tape, but absolutely other-worldly live. And while we're on the subject of extraterrestrials, experimental rock duo The Hecks are making an appearance at Connie's as well. You may remember The Hecks from such blog posts as this one about their debut 7-inch, Trust and Order,  this one about the time we booked them to play a charity show, or this one about the first time we saw them, opening for Black Dice at Bottom Lounge. Yeah, we like them a lot, and you should too.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Metronomy at Metro, 5/21/14

By Melissa Bordeau

The Metro overflowed with energy last Wednesday night at the Metronomy show. You could not only feel the excitement, but see it--almost every person danced and sang along to the cool synth-pop tunes after the London-based group took the stage, looking amazing in their matching white suits glowing against the cool blue and purple lights.

Metronomy played all of their best songs from their latest, fourth album Love Letters, but mixed up the set with old time favorites like “Radio Ladio” and the very popular 2012 hit “The Look.” The crowd went especially wild during “I’m Aquarius," a song off Love Letters.

“This is an exciting night for us. The Metro is the largest venue we’ve performed at in Chicago,” exclaimed lead singer Joseph Mount in the middle of their set. The 1,100 capacity venue was pretty packed for a Wednesday night in Chicago.

Mount is the original member of Metronomy, which he started as a solo project when he was a teenager. A few years later, in 2005, he released Metronomy’s debut album Pip Paine (Pay the 5000 You Owe). The album got little recognition, which encouraged Mount to focus on his live shows. He wanted to invite people to perform with him, to improve his performances. So his cousin Oscar Cash (keyboards, saxophone, vocals) and an old friend Gabriel Stebbing (who is not apart of the group anymore) joined in. Eventually Metronomy started to earn praise for their live shows.

Since then, Metronomy has added two members to the current group, Anna Prior (drums, vocals) and Gbenga Adelekan (bass, vocals). Adelekan can easily steal the show with his dance moves and lovable smile, while Prior delights as an amazing drummer. The whole group really has a lot of charm.

Metronomy’s encore was their 2009 hit, “Heartbreaker.” During this song it was as if you were at a punk rock show as most of the crowd was headbanging and dancing like crazy. It was a very lively, fitting ending to their set. I am sure Metronomy will be back in Chicago to play even larger venues very soon.

Check out Metronomy's "I'm Aquarius" below.