Tuesday, April 29, 2008

DEAD MEADOW to Play Free Show at Apple Store



LA psych-rock band Dead Meadow is coming to Chicago to play two shows on Saturday, May 3, including a free performance at the Apple store on 679 N. Michigan Ave. The free show will start at 3:30 p.m.

That night the band will also be playing the Abbey, sharing the stage with Chicago acts Velcro Lewis and His 100 Proof Band and Plastic Crimewave Sound, as well as Washington band Nudity.

Click here for more information and tickets.

Check out Dead Meadow's tunes on MySpace.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Indiesomnia! - WHPK 88.5 FM



So it's the middle of the night (actually, the start of the morning) and you can't sleep because you're achin' to listen to some awesome tunes? "Indiesomnia," perhaps?

My friend Susan at WHPK 88.5 FM, University of Chicago radio has the cure. Check out her new show (called Indiesomnia! - how about that) from 4 to 6 a.m. every Tuesday.

Susan spins a nice mix of current indie tunes, including tracks by many fine local artists, and new wave/college rock classics. How can you go wrong?

Listen here.

Check out the official Indiesomnia! blog for playlists and other random bits of information.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

THE SAPIENS - Vs. the Hornet (EP)



Take one look at The Sapiens and for a second you might think you've happened upon some sort of British invasion cover band fit to rock the state fair. While the suit-clad group of five channels visions of rock's past, the aggressive, punk-spirited sound throughout their 2007 EP Vs. the Hornet proves they're not quite that easy to figure out. True, the EP features a sound that at times is vaguely retro. At other times, though, it comes across as entirely modern. And occasionally it settles somewhere in the middle.

Vs. the Hornet is a bit like musical caffeine. Push Me kicks off the six-song set with a punch, offering up a frantic punk-indie-electro hybrid. You can't hear much of what vocalist Evan Sears spouts, but it doesn't really matter - in fact, it somehow seems appropriate that way. Void and Cry travel down a similar road. Every Corner - which boasts arguably the collection's strongest hook - is 60s garage on speed. Desperate Measures is 60s garage on slightly less speed. Waitress, Waitress - another highlight - teases with a smooth piano intro that makes you think the band might finally take a breather, only to find the familiar jolt soon kicks in.

Vs. the Hornet showcases a band with undeniable potential that hopefully will soon make its way to a full length release.

Listen to some of the tracks on MySpace, purchase the EP on CDBaby and catch The Sapiens live - they're playing a free show at Double Door on Wednesday, April 30.

Monday, April 21, 2008

MIDNIGHT JUGGERNAUTS Coming to Double Door on May 2



Stop by Double Door May 2nd to catch one of Spin's "best of '08" acts - Midnight Juggernauts.

Midnight Juggernauts hail from Melbourne, Australia, and specialize in a sort of proggy dance indie rock hybrid that, according to their press release, flirts with "sounds reminiscent of E.L.O., Air and Eno-esque synth arrangements."

The band will be promoting its debut LP, Dystopia.

Click here for more information and tickets and here to listen to some tracks.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Looptopia '08: Chicago Bands to See



This year's Looptopia, Chicago's "all-night cultural celebration," is coming up on Friday, May 2. The music lineup includes some cool local bands and artists that you'll want to check out. Below is some more information on some of these acts, and where/when they will be performing during the event. For a full music lineup, click here.

Bang! Bang!

Bang! Bang! is a co-ed Chicago band that have earned themselves a reputation as one of the city's best live rock acts. They were recognized in 2006 as one of New City's Top Ten Bands on The Verge. Daley Plaza, 5-5:30 p.m.

Doko Benjo

Doko Benjo is an innovative 8 piece funky rock band that features the DB horn section. TBD

Flowers for Dorian

Flowers for Dorian is a rock band that won MTV's 2007 "On the Rise" Artist Award. Federal Plaza, 11-11:45 p.m.

May or May Not

May Or May Not explores progressive indie pop through swirling synths, grinding guitars, ear-catching melodies and colorful psychedelic lights. Daley Plaza, 7:20-7:50 p.m.

Schizowave

Schizowave presents a musical performance blending dark cabaret electronica and psychodelic rock, compared to Patti Smith, Diamanda Galas, Portishead and Tom Waits. TBD

TAFKAVince & Lauren

TAFKAVince & Lauren are an acoustic country/folk duet with a bit of glam, performing footstompin' to heartbreakin' songs. Blick Art Materials, 8:15-8:45 p.m.

White Hot Knife

White Hot Knife exploded onto the scene and have stayed in the spotlight ever since. Their sound can be described as "post romantic electro rock defined by chic bass-driven melodies." They have enjoyed a lot of success, and frequently airplay on stations such as WXRT and Q101. Federal Plaza, 9:30-10 p.m.

Friday, April 11, 2008

THE 1900s - Plume Delivery (EP)



The introductory EP from folk-rock unit The 1900s, released in 2006, was the perfect preface to the band's debut LP, Cold & Kind. In fact, there's nothing on Plume Delivery that wouldn't feel right at home on Cold & Kind, with its exquisitely-crafted harmonies, semi-psychedelia and overall 1960s-style charm.

The jumpy Bring the Good Boys Home, arguably the strongest track, kicks the six song set off with no shortage of hooks. The track is sung by sometimes vocalist Jeanine O'Toole, who gives it an endearing, playful vibe. Most-of-the-time vocalist Edward Anderson takes it from there with the melodic A Coming Age, another highlight. After a jaunt into psychedelic instrumental territory (Flight of the Monowings), Whole of the Law serves up more heavily orchestrated ear candy, while Patron Saint of the Mediocre sounds promising at the start, but plods on more than a bit too long at over seven minutes. Heart Props is short, sweet and innocent, providing a refreshing outro to the EP.

Plume Delivery, like its long-playing successor Cold & Kind, kind of makes you feel as though you're running around in some sunny field circa 1964 while Odyssey and Oracle-era Zombies magically plays in the background. What more could you ask for?

Monday, April 7, 2008

Lollapalooza 2008 Lineup Announced



Well, here it is. Looking over this year's Lollapalooza lineup has me thinking they should officially dub the festival "Lolla' 2008: Deja Vu," between take 2 of the promotional ticket fiasco and the emphasis on repeat offenders.

I'd really love to see less repeat acts and more of the "classic" bands that the festival has really been skimping on in the last couple years. Music did exist before the 1990s...

What do you think?

Lineup:

Radiohead, Rage Against the Machine, Nine Inch Nails, Kanye West, Wilco, the Raconteurs, Love and Rockets, Gnarls Barkley, Lupe Fiasco, Bloc Party, the Black Keys, Broken Social Scene, Flogging Molly, Mark Ronson, Cat Power, the National, G. Love & Special Sauce, Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings, Explosions in the Sky, Brand New, Gogol Bordello, Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks.

Dierks Bentley, Okkervil River, Amadou & Mariam, Blues Traveler, John Butler Trio, Girl Talk, CSS, Battles, Jamie Lidell, Butch Walker, Mates of State, Spank Rock, Brazilian Girls, Chromeo, Duffy, the Kills, Rogue Wave, the Go! Team, Mason Jennings, the Gutter Twins, Yeasayer, Grizzly Bear, MGMT.

The Weakerthans, Booka Shade, Santogold, Black Kids, Black Lips, Louis XIV, Dr. Dog, Nicole Atkins & the Sea, the Ting Tings, Kid Sister, Office, the Cool Kids, What Made Milwaukee Famous, Does it Offend You, Yeah?, the Whigs, Manchester Orchestra, Foals, Uffie, the Octopus Project, Cadence Weapon, Ferras, De Novo Dahl, Noah and the Whale, Margot & the Nuclear So and So’s, K’Naan, Serena Ryder, Newton Faulkner, Your Vegas.

Eli "Paperboy" Reed & the True Loves, Steel Train, Bang Camaro, the Blakes, Tally Hall, White Lies, Magic Wands, Electric Touch, Innerpartysystem, the Postelles, the Parlor Mob, Bald Eagle, Krista, Ha Ha Tonka, Witchcraft, We Go to 11, Sofia Talyik.

Friday, April 4, 2008

More Lollapalooza Lineup News

Lollapalooza doesn't announce its official lineup until Monday, but Jim DeRogatis of the Chicago Sun-Times has reported a partial preview list.

As expected, Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails, Rage Against the Machine and Wilco will headline. DeRogatis also mentions Kanye West and the Raconteurs, who both previously played the festival, for top billing.

The other acts listed so far include:

Gnarls Barkley
The Black Keys
Broken Social Scene
G. Love & Special Sauce
Blues Traveler
Mates of State
Bloc Party
Cat Power
Stephen Malkmus
Girl Talk
Kid Sister
Office
The Cool Kids
Battles
The Go! Team
Jamie Lidell
Grizzly Bear

More to come as Lollapalooza makes its official announcement...

Thursday, April 3, 2008

NEWTON FAULKNER to Play Schubas on April 18 & 19



Platinum-selling British singer-songwriter Newton Faulkner is playing two dates this month at Schubas - April 18 and 19.

According to Rolling Stone, "if Prince was an English hippie who was obsessed with Bobby McFerrin-esque percussion and had long cinnamon dreadlocks, you'd have Faulkner." Now there's a combination you really can't ignore.

The 23-year-old Faulkner is touring the U.S. in support of his debut record, Hand Built by Robots, which comes out April 29. The album already spent two weeks at number one in Faulkner's native land, also grabbing the top spot on the U.K. iTunes for six straight weeks.

Here is a bit more info taken from Faulkner's press release:

On Hand Built By Robots—which includes the single “Dream Catch Me”—Faulkner combines finger-picking, string-tapping and percussive drumming on the guitar’s body to generate both melody and rhythm on the same instrument. “Tapping,” explains Faulkner, “is prodding the strings really hard with your other hand, your picking hand. You can have stuff coming from both sides of the strings—you get two notes and they harmonize themselves.”

Faulkner seems to be a talented songwriter who draws upon a variety of sounds and influences, which always makes for an artist worth looking into. You can listen to some of his tunes on his MySpace page and pick up tickets to either of the upcoming gigs here.

MAY OR MAY NOT - Head on Springs (EP)



Hot on the heels of their 2007 LP A Kaleidoscope of Egos and a handful of random 2008 recordings, Chicago indie pop band May or May Not have released a new digital EP, Head on Springs.

The four songs, available for free download on the band's official site, are a bit of a departure in sound, playing up the psychedelic touches that their past releases very effectively mixed with a good dose of poppy hooks. They are also all sung by Zaid Maxwell, marking the first time a May or May Not release hasn't featured multiple members at the helm.

The EP's awesome artwork is a great representation of how the material feels. These hazy tunes are fit for a rainy day, with opener Baby's in LA starting things off with a gentle strum that explodes into a musical thunderstorm. Stationary Motion chugs along in a whirlwind of sounds, while The Self Charmed Man offers a more organic take on the same catchy song from Kaleidoscope. Wet Light ends the EP with a continuation of the downcast vibe present throughout.

Head on Springs is a welcome addition to the band's catalog and further proof that you never really know what to expect from a May or May Not release, which keeps things interesting. Check it out!