Thursday, March 27, 2008

Newcity Chicago Features 10 Chicago Artists on the Rise

Check out this recent article in Newcity Chicago Magazine, which covers 10 up-and-coming Chicago music artists you should know about.

Included in the feature are one of my personal favorites, STAR, as well as Airiel, Brighton, MA, Cool Kids, Flosstradamus, Kid Sister, Mannequin Men, Santiago & Bushido, Scotland Yard Gospel Choir and Ultra Sonic Edukators.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Discounted 3-Day Lollapalooza Passes Go on Sale

Discounted 3-day Lollapalooza passes have gone on sale here. The tickets are $175 and are bound to sell out soon. They're no comparison to the recent $60 promo, but those who plan to attend all three days regardless of the lineup (not announced until April 7) will want to jump on them.

So far, Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails, Wilco and Rage Against the machine have been talked about as headliners, but there will be no official confirmation until next month.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

MAY OR MAY NOT Live - Good Day Chicago 3/21, Hideout 3/22

Check this out on TV Friday morning:

And then check this out live Saturday night:

And for more on why you should check both of these out (if you don't already know), click here and here.

Saturday, March 15, 2008


Washington DC's Statehood - featuring ex-Dismemberment Plan members Eric Axelson and Joe Easley - are playing Reggie's Saturday, March 22 with Chicago bands Kid, You'll Move Mountains and Picture Books. Click here for show details and tickets.

Statehood recently released their debut CD Lies and Rhetoric, a tight, consistently rocking set of songs. This disc starts off with the one-two punch of A Story's End and Giants - both pulsating with the Axelson-Easley rhythm section and the commanding vocals of singer Clark Sabine - and never lets up.

My personal favorite cut is Still Spinning, which mixes a more melodic chorus with the same driving aggression present throughout the album.

Check out some of the tracks for yourself on Statehood's MySpace page.


Chicago band Kid, You'll Move Mountains is currently working on their debut album, planned for release this summer. The band is made up of ex-members from various acts such as Troubled Hubble, El Oso and Inspector Owl - not to mention a classically-trained pianist - and plays lively, intricate indie pop featuring co-ed vocals. Check them out on MySpace.


Five-piece energetic indie pop outfit Picture Books is also from Chicago, and meshes its core of guitar, keys and drums with an assortment of lesser-used instruments such as melodica, ukulele, omnichord and glockenspiel. The band released its debut LP, Maybe, If We Run, in September 2007. You can listen to a few of the album's cuts on the Picture Books MySpace page.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Pitchfork Music Festival Announces Partial 2008 Lineup

Pitchfork Music Festival has announced some of the acts that will be performing this year at the three day event scheduled for July 18-July 20 in Union Park. Those who are missing out on their sold out April 6 show at The Metro will be happy to know that super-buzz band Vampire Weekend is slated for Saturday.

Here is the lineup so far:

Friday, July 18:

Pitchfork Music Festival and All Tomorrow's Parties present "Don't Look Back" Public Enemy performing It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back

Saturday, July 19:

Animal Collective
Vampire Weekend
Dizzee Rascal
No Age
Atlas Sound
Fleet Foxes
+ many more!

Sunday, July 20:

M. Ward
Extra Golden
El Guincho
+ many more!

Pick up a three-day pass for $65, a Saturday and Sunday pass for $50, or a single-day pass for $30.

Check out the Pitchfork Music Festival site for more details.

Coming Up: Chicago International Pop Overthrow 2008 Festival

The Chicago installment of International Pop Overthrow (IPO), the annual, multi-city pop musical festival, will hit the city on April 15 and run through April 27. The festival will take place at The Abbey, Elbo Room, Double Door and The Spot, and feature numerous local acts each night.

IPO is kind of like the Lollapalooza of pop music, giving many fantastic-but-lesser-known bands some exposure and buzz they deserve. We're looking forward to the very real possibility that a number of bands who have played IPO will grab the brass ring and receive major label deals, says the official IPO Web site.

For the full Chicago schedule, including a list of bands for each night, see here.

While you're at it, become friends with IPO on MySpace.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Lollapalooza Souvenir Passes Come and Go...Again

The deep-discounted, three-day Lollapalooza 2008 "souvenir passes" went on sale this morning shortly after 9 and sold out in a flash - around 20 minutes, actually. Deja vu?

The frenzy surrounding Lollapalooza's infamous ticket promotion began again early this week with a cryptic message sent out to the festival's e-mail subscribers that warned of an imminent $60 pre-sale. The message indicated the tickets were to go on sale before the end of the week, but didn't specify exactly when or if subscribers would be notified via e-mail when they hit, as was the case last year.

Apparently, the only way you would know the tickets went on sale was by constantly stalking the "Tickets" section of the Web site or the message board for user updates. By the time I got wind at around 9:45, the site already said, "2008 Souvenir Tickets Went Fast!" Surprise, surprise.

Congratulations to all who scored tickets. It was another year of missing out for yours truly. At least, unlike last year, I didn't have to spend my entire morning in an online queue that never paid out. Not that I'm bitter or anything...

Semi-discounted tickets go on sale March 25. The festival will take place August 1-3 in Grant Park. While the lineup has not yet been announced, Greg Kot of the Chicago Tribune reports that Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails are expected to headline.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Flashback - MATERIAL ISSUE - 1990s Pop Saviors

Amidst the grungey, abrasive landscape of early-to-mid 1990s rock, only a few bands stood out to carry on the tradition of upbeat melodies and pop hooks. One of these bands was Chicago's Material Issue. Although the power pop trio was almost always more concerned with crafting the perfect melody around quick tales about love instead of sounding overly dark, edgy and pained, Material Issue would ultimately come to a tragic end with the suicide of lead singer and songwriter Jim Ellison.

In 1986, Ellison recruited bassist Ted Ansani and drummer Mike Zelenko, and the group released its debut EP the following year. The band's first full-length album, International Pop Overthrow, came in 1991. Produced by Jeff Murphy of classic Chicago power pop band Shoes, the LP was filled with Ellison's impeccable songwriting, playing more like a collection of greatest hits than an original album. International Pop Overthrow produced radio hits in the form of the intense Valerie Loves Me and the straightforward Diane.

After the success of the debut LP, Material Issue released Destination Universe in 1992 and Freak City Soundtrack in 1994. Although both strong releases, the LPs failed to make as much of a mark as International Pop Overthrow, largely as a result of alternative music drifting further away from the lively pop sound the band mastered.

Material Issue continued touring and recording material for a planned fourth album until sadly, and without warning, Ellison committed suicide in June of 1996. Although the reasons for taking his own life remain unclear, it has been speculated that the then recent loss of his band's label, Mercury Records, and an ended romantic relationship were significant factors.

The band may have come to a sudden and tragic end in 1996, but the 1990s saviors of power pop have lived on through various releases and tributes. In 1997 Rykodisc released Telecommando Americano, which complied the Material Issue recordings completed between Freak City Soundtrack and Ellison's death. In 2006 a "best of" collection was released.

In addition, the annual International Pop Overthrow (IPO) power pop music festival was named after the band.

Ansani and Zelenko continue to be active in the music business through various solo projects and Chicago bands, including The Ladies & Gentlemen (Zelenko) and Mighty Pilot (Ansani).

Redd Kross, Shoes, Matthew Sweet, Cheap Trick, The Pretenders

- Material Issue on AllMusic Guide
- Material Issue on Wikipedia
- Video of Valerie Loves Me on YouTube
- Video of Diane on YouTube
- Informative essay on Material Issue
- Ted Ansani official site

Sunday, March 2, 2008

PAPER ARROWS CD Release Show at Schubas

Chicago indie pop band Paper Arrows is holding the release show for their new album, Look Alive, at Schubas tonight, March 2.

The band has a mellow, very pleasant sound highlighted by gentle guitars, chiming keys and the strong vocals of Joe Goodkin. You can listen to four cuts from Look Alive on the Paper Arrows MySpace page.

Also, check out this Redeye article from last week, which compares the band's method of spreading the word about Look Alive via free download to Radiohead's online, choose-your-own-price release of In Rainbows. The article includes an interview with Goodkin.

If you can't make it to the show, you can order a copy of Look Alive from Quell Records.

Paper Arrows Look Alive CD release show
March 2, 2008
3159 N. Southport, Chicago, 60657
All ages
$10 (free copy of Look Alive for all attendees)