Thursday, April 29, 2010

Record review: Canasta - 'The Fakeout, the Tease and the Breather'

The Fakeout, the Tease and the Breather, the sophomore full-length from Chicago-based orch-pop sextet Canasta, has been a long time coming. After receiving positive attention from the likes of the Chicago Sun-Times, All Music Guide and PopMatters for their 2005 debut LP, We Were Set Up, the band might have been inclined to rush out more music, but instead opted to take their time crafting a follow-up. The 11-song result proves the time was well spent, offering up a set of thoughtful, heartfelt pop that reveals more and more to love with each listen.

The record's main focus throughout is melody, but it also incorporates an eclectic mix of sounds. Melancholy, introspective tracks such as "Throwaway," "I Don't Know Where I Was Going With This" and "Plan Your Escape" give the album definite emotional power. On other songs, the band takes a more playful, musically upbeat approach that creates some of the The Fakeout's finest moments. One of the biggest highlights is "Reading the Map Upside Down," an instantly charming track that dabbles in blue-eyed soul. The lively "Mexico City," "Magazine (Songwriter on a Train)" and "Choosing Sides" (which finds lead vocalist Matt Priest sharing duties with bandmate Elizabeth Lindau) are also strong points that provide a great balance to the more subdued material.

As is the case with most great records, The Fakeout requires a bit of dedication on the listener's part. The melodies are consistently pleasing, but with more than half of the tracks clocking in at over five minutes and a penchant for subtlety on much of the material, the LP needs a few plays for everything to really sink in. What's noticeable right away, though, are Canasta's superb musicianship, mastery of melody and achingly earnest vocals and lyrics delivered by Priest. On album opener "Becoming You," for example, he sings, "I don't care much for football scores, the great outdoors, guys being guys/I don't dream of fast cars or fat cigars or other things I'm supposed to prize...but I am faithful to the ones I love and that's enough/I will not fail."

We Were Set Up established Canasta as one of Chicago's most notable indie pop acts, and The Fakeout should bring them many more accolades and opportunities. It may have taken a while to come to light, but it was well worth the wait.


Download mp3: Canasta - 'Reading the Map Upside Down'

Canasta are offering free downloads of two other tracks from The Fakeout as well as a stream of the entire record at The CD will be available at the band's two-show record release celebration at Schubas on Saturday, May 8, and everywhere else on May 18. You can pre-order it here.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Video: Lissie interview and live performance

These videos came into our inbox a few days ago via Plays Well With Others, and being the sucker that I am for rock/Americana songstress Lissie and her excellent voice, I had to share. The first video is of her performing "Little Lovin'," a track from her debut EP Why You Runnin', and the second is an exclusive PWWO interview.

Lissie will release her first full-length, Catching a Tiger, on June 7.

Lissie - Little Lovin' (Live) from Plays Well With Others on Vimeo.

Lissie Plays Well With Heifer International from Plays Well With Others on Vimeo.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Five shows this weekend

The Whigs (photo by Jordan Noel)

Friday, April 23

- The Whigs at Bottom Lounge with Empires and Old Fake - In March, Athens garage rockers The Whigs released their third album, In the Dark, marking a shift to a bigger, broader sound. For details, click here to read Colleen O'Neill's record review on WCR. 8 p.m., $15, 17 and over. More info and tickets.

- Carbon Leaf at Lincoln Hall with Alex Band of The Calling - This long-running rootsy rock act released their eighth LP, Nothing Rhymes With Woman, last Spring. 9 p.m., $15, 18 and over. More info and tickets.

Saturday, April 24

- The Styrenes at The Empty Bottle with Daily Void and John Bellows - Since forming in 1975 the Styrene's sound has been tough to summarize, though Rolling Stone once referred to it as "post-punk before punk ever happened." Find out for yourself at the Bottle, which is sure to be an excellent setting for the band. 9:30 p.m., $5 advance, $9 at door, 21 and over. More info and tickets.

-Camera at Schubas with makeshiftprodigy - Chicago's Camera will take over Saturday night at Schubas for The Mary Onettes, who were originally scheduled to play, but had to cancel because of the volcanic eruption in Iceland. The band's live energy and experimental, post-punk-inspired sound are well worth heading out for. 10:30 p.m., $5, 21 and over. More info and tickets.

Sunday, April 25

- White Rabbits at Metro with Here We Go Magic and Pet Lions - This show promises a night of great NYC indie rock in the form of White Rabbits and Here We Go Magic, and get there early because Chicago's own Pet Lions always bring a good time (check out their excellent EP, Soft Right). Doors 8 p.m., show 9 p.m., $12 advance, $15 at door, 18 and over. More info and tickets.

The Wailers, Cloud Cult to play Chicago's second Green Music Fest

Reggae mainstays The Wailers and Minneapolis-based indie rock unit Cloud Cult will perform at Chicago's second annual Green Music Fest, set for Saturday, June 26 and Sunday, June 27 on Chicago Ave. between Ashland and Noble in West Town. The fest debuted last year, fusing environmentally-friendly local vendors with notable live performances. The lineup announced so far, programmed by Subterranean, is as follows:

Saturday, June 26

The Wailers
The Aggrolites

Sunday, June 27
Cloud Cult
David Bazan
Maps and Atlases

Additional bands and specific set times are TBA. Admission is a suggested donation of $5. For more information, click here.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Do-Division Street Fest 2010 lineup

Summer festival season in Chicago is quickly approaching, and first out of the gate is Do-Division Street Fest from Saturday, June 5 to Sunday, June 6. Not only does the fest/sidewalk sale span 10 blocks on Division from Ashland to Leavitt, it features an excellent musical lineup divided between two stages. Here's what to look forward to:

Damen Stage (programmed by Empty Bottle Presents)

Saturday, June 5

1:00pm -- Jeremy Messersmith
2:30pm -- Maritime
4:00pm -- CoCoComas
5:30pm -- Headlights
7:00pm -- Pelican
8:30pm -- The Hood Internet

*Stage Hosted by “America’s Funnyman” Neil Hamburger

Sunday, June 6

1:00pm -- The Mynabirds
2:30pm -- Earl Greyhound
4:00pm -- Warpaint
5:30pm -- El Ten Eleven
7:00pm -- Ponys
8:30pm -- YACHT

*Stage Hosted by “America’s Funnyman” Neil Hamburger

Leavitt Stage (programmed by Subterranean/House Call Entertainment)

Saturday, June 5

1:00 pm -- Days Off
2:05 pm -- The Gunshy
3:10 pm -- The Poison Arrows
4:15 pm -- Vacations
5:20 pm -- Bailiff
6:30 pm -- Sybris
7:40 pm -- The Good Life
9:00 pm -- The Night Marchers

Sunday, June 6

1:00 pm -- John Drake & The Shakes
2:05 pm -- Cameron McGill & What Army
3:10 pm -- Tim Larson & The Owner Operators
4:15 pm -- Rego
5:20 pm -- Soft Speaker
6:25 pm -- Scott Lucas And The Married Men
7:35 pm -- Cory Chisel & the Wandering Sons
9:00 pm -- Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Q&A: The Warmth

By Colleen O'Neill

Chicago's The Warmth is an electronic-indie duo made up of Paul Foreman and Carl Saff, two names that might already be familiar to fans of the city's indie music scene. When the two aren't making music together, Foreman can be heard in Soft Speaker and Carl Saff is busy helping other musicians hone their work running Saff Mastering. As a unit they recently released a new LP, Vulture, and Foreman took some time out to tell WCR more about the record and The Warmth in general:

WCR: Your last record, Fox & Weathervane, came out in 2006. What took longer on the new record?

PF: It just took longer because our schedules became busier. When we started on the first one I wasn’t in a full time rock band, and then when we started this record, I definitely was. Plus, Carl’s mastering business took off - he has been super busy with that, so that’s really the only reason.

How did you and Carl meet?

He mastered the first album I did as The Warmth, which was really just a solo album that I did with some friends in Indianapolis. A friend of mine recommended him because he was starting to do mastering. I randomly sent him an e-mail and asked him if he wanted to remix one of the songs, because I knew that he had done some electronic sorts of projects. He was in this band called Emperor Penguin, and I just knew that was something he would be able to do, and it worked out really great. We kept working together 'til we had an album’s worth of stuff, and we’ve just never stopped.

How does Vulture differ from Fox & Weathervane?

I think that the songs are more concise. I think that this time around, because I was there the whole time, I was able to talk to Carl about what my initial ideas for the songs were. A lot of the songs on the last record were really long, and that was something that I wanted to tighten up a little bit. In the past I would give him a three-minute song and it would come back eight minutes. I think the new album is stronger than Fox & Weathervane.

Talk a little bit about The Warmth’s recording process.

I put together around eight tracks, and then I transfer that to Carl’s computer and we go from there. So the basic structures are always kind of my ideas, and then he is the mastermind behind all the rhythm tracks - he adds synthesizers, sometimes guitar, and other bits and bobs. But for the album before this one, we worked separately a lot. I would do my bit and then I would send it to him, and then he would just work on that on his own, send me mixes and we would exchange ideas. But he’s become so busy now that really the only way we can get anything done is if I go to his house and we sit together and work on it. So it’s been a little different. I really like that, just being able to collaborate.

What are the strengths that each of you bring to the table?

Well, I’ve kind of come to the realization that I don’t really like working on music on a computer, and Carl is like a wizard at that. That’s his main strength, and he’s really good with synthesizers too. I do a lot of that stuff at home, so all the synth tracks are sort of half me, half him, but I think the rhythm tracks, bass and drums, and some of the synths are his primary focus.

So what songs are you particularly proud of on Vulture?

I like "Harvester’s Hand” a lot, I think people seem to like that one. I was really happy with the arrangement on that one. When I gave it to Carl it was sort of this really basic, simple song, and I was actually thinking maybe we could just make this acoustic guitar and vocals, and add some reverb to the vocal, make the acoustics sound good, and keep it really minimal, but that’s not really what we do so we went with the route that we went and I really like the way it came out. I don’t think there is any electric guitar on that song and that’s sort of a rarity for us. The last song on the album, “Denny’s Last Dream,” I worked really hard on - there were a lot of vocal harmonies and it starts off with the chorus, which is something I find is not easy to get to work right. That song I was really happy with. I did a lot of the basic tracking at home on that one. Somebody told me today that the album sounds like The Doors, which kind of freaked me out.

With your busy schedules, what inspired you to keep working on this project?

I just have too many songs really, I write too much to use those songs with the other band that I’m in. I like to write, so it’s sort of a habit that you get into - when you finish a song, you just immediately move on to the next one. I don’t like to not have a song in progress, it makes me uncomfortable. I guess because there’s that fear that one day you’ll be like, “I can’t write another song, I don’t have anything new.” I haven’t run into that.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Get ready for Record Store Day in Chicago

Trying to compile an overview of the happenings around Chicago for Record Store Day 2010 - taking place this Saturday, April 17 - seems pointless when our friend Richard at has already done such an amazing job. Check out his well-researched article for all you need to know about in-store performances, special deals, exclusive releases and free stuff at the city's various record stores. Happy shopping!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Concrete Blonde to resurrect 'Bloodletting' at the Vic

Armed with the indisputably powerful vocals and songwriting of front-woman Johnette Napolitano and an honest, hard-hitting style, LA's Concrete Blonde were one of the most notable bands in early alternative rock. They broke up in 1995 (and again in after a brief reformation a few years ago), but this week announced that they will regroup for a tour celebrating the 2oth anniversary of their most highly-regarded record, Bloodletting, with a Chicago stop on Saturday, June 12 at the Vic.

The show will celebrate the excellent LP with a setlist that will presumably include all 10 tracks, including "Joey," the band's most successful single, as well as other fan favorites such as "Tomorrow, Wendy," "Bloodletting (The Vampire Song)" and "Caroline." It is one of 13 dates on the tour, with other stops covering New York, Texas, California and more. Click here for a full list.

Tickets for the Chicago show go on sale here this Saturday, April 17 at 10 a.m.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Show review: Dead Meadow, Imaad Wasif at Empty Bottle 4/13/10

By Susan Schomburg

Dead Meadow

Fans of psychedelic rock couldn't have asked for a sweeter show at this evening's performance at the Empty Bottle. The evening had cohesion--something that, to their credit, the Empty Bottle manages to get right a lot more often than some of the other venues in town. The acts flowed well from one to the next, and complemented each other well: they had enough in common in terms of sound that a person could go there only knowing one of the bands and enjoy them all, but had distinctive enough sonic pallettes from one another that you didn't feel like you just heard the same band play each set.

Opening act and recent Chicago transplants Black Wyrm Seed set the mood for the evening with a solid set of straightforward, trippy psych-rock that was familiar without feeling cliche, and I am eager to hear what they come up within the future.

Imaad Wasif's stage presence was mesmerizing. He jumped and danced and played fuzzed-out electric guitars (and a 12-string acoustic, which was a bit of a surprise to see plugged in to a pedal board, but resulted in some very cool effects) and sang in his haunting tenor with an urgency that made you feel a bit more alive while you watched him. At one point, he hopped down off the stage and started hugging people as he sang/chanted about life and death. Drummer Adam Garcia's controlled freneticism on the drums matched Wasif's performance well, and bassist Greg Burns provided a sonic (and visual) anchor to the trio onstage. Adding to undertones of blues and folk, Wasif's live sound has a raw, almost dangerous quality to it that hints at the darker side of psychedelia, and makes it incredibly appealing.

Headliners Dead Meadow lived up to their place on the bill, delivering a formidable set of bluesy, shoegazy psychedelic rock that was satisfying and hypnotic. Bassist Steve Kille's sound was thick and meaty--something you could really latch onto and let it carry you away--and Stephen McCarthy's drumming was complex and inventive. I don't know why, but something seemed a bit off with the band's live sound (at least from where I was standing up front, close to the stage)--frontman Jason Simon's vocals were so quiet they were practically inaudible, and there were many times during the band's set that I would've liked to hear his guitar soloing pop a bit more sonically--there were many times that he seemed to get eaten up by the booming power of the drums and bass. In spite of that, it was a really good set, and the parts of his guitar work that managed to come through were impressive. The band deserved (and played) a brief encore, and the evening came to a satisfying close.

* * * * *

This article also appears on the Chicago Indie Rock Examiner website.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Show review: The Morning Benders & Miniature Tigers at Lincoln Hall, 4/12/10

Two indie pop buzz bands - Berkeley's The Morning Benders and Phoenix's Miniature Tigers - are slotted to play Lollapalooza in August (the Benders will also open for Broken Bells May 31 at the Vic), but Chicago fans had the opportunity to see them in a more intimate setting Monday night at Lincoln Hall.

The Morning Benders (photo by Frank Krolicki)

While both bands' sounds could be described by terms such as "laid-back," "breezy" and "West Coast," the Benders veer into hazier, more psychedelic territory, especially on material from their recently-released LP, Big Echo. Overall, the record is more about a big atmospheric sound rather than major hooks or tracks with huge personalities that grab you right away, and for the most part their headlining live set followed suit. Songs that arguably meander in recorded form, such as "Mason Jar" and "Pleasure Sighs," seemed much more powerful played live and loud. The strongest moments, though, came via the band's more upbeat material, including the lush, doo-wop-influenced "Excuses" (which closed the show on a very high note), the brisk, guitar-driven "Promises" and "All Day Day Light," which frontman Chris Chu encouraged the crowd to dance to. The performance was tight, the material was great and the Benders seemed like stand-up, genuinely appreciative guys, so if you couldn't catch them this time around it would definitely be a good idea to make time for them when they come back to the Windy City with Broken Bells or for Lollapalooza.

For their opening set, Miniature Tigers focused more on hooks, lighthearted, quirky lyrics and overall accessibility, as heard on their debut 2008 LP, Tell It to the Volcano. That record is a lot of fun, so it was a bit disappointing the band only played two songs from it - the title track and "Dino Damage." It would have been especially nice to hear the incredibly infectious "Cannibal Queen," their most popular song. Instead, most of the performance consisted of material presumably from their forthcoming follow-up LP, Fortress. Even though most of it wasn't familiar, it was all still highly enjoyable - especially an instantly catchy, dancey tune called "Coyote Enchantment." Like The Morning Benders, Miniature Tigers put on an excellent show, seemed like quality dudes and made it easy to root for their continued success.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Mr Russia celebrate Record Store Day with exclusive 7" of Bowie classic

Record Store Day 2010 is coming up next Saturday, April 17, and Chicago's own Mr Russia have teamed up with Reckless Records to help make the day even more special for local music lovers. On that day, all Reckless purchases at any of the store's three locations (3126 N. Broadway, 1532 N. Milwaukee Ave. and 26 E. Madison) will come with an exclusive free copy of the band's brand new 7" vinyl, which includes two versions of their take on the David Bowie and Brian Eno-penned classic "Boys Keep Swinging." The band will also headline a show at Beat Kitchen that night.

According to Mr Russia frontman Ivan Russia, "Boys Keep Swinging" is especially significant to the group as it's the first song they learned to play after forming. The A side of the 7" features a version recorded in their rehearsal space before ever playing in front of an audience, while the B side includes an alternate take recorded later in the studio. The band also made a video for the song:

"I don't download music, I buy records and CDs," Ivan said. "I have fond memories of trolling the bins at Hegewisch Records (RIP). It taught me a great appreciation for music and exposed me to so many artists I treasure to this day. I feel Reckless Records is keeping that experience alive and I am quite pleased to have them exclusively distributing our first seven inch."

Boys Keep Swinging
comes on the heels of the band's 2009 EP, Training for the Gameshow Host (available for free download), as well as their debut full-length, Teething.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Record review: My My My - 'Leather Silk'

The last record from Chicago's My My My, 2008’s Little Cat Plays the Alpha Rave, was strong enough to earn the band plenty of praise - including a spot on our best up-and-coming Chicago bands list for that year. Little Cat was a solid introduction, but the no-filler indie pop excellence of their new LP, Leather Silk, ups the game in a major way.

What's most refreshing about Leather Silk is that the songwriting is consistently strong and fully-realized, something bands rarely pull off in LP form these days. All 10 tracks are memorable and pop-minded, but have adventurous song structures and clever twists and turns that keep things from ever getting dull or overly repetitive. “Be My Bianca,” for instance, changes direction midway with a sudden, rocking rave-up and a shout-along chant. “Swoon” opens with a slick electro loop, builds a moody dance rock sound, and then introduces a killer chorus. “Loudest Summer” pairs upbeat, infectious music and and hooks with world-weary lyrics (“After a while the ‘whys’ get bigger than you thought, they get bigger than the ‘why nots’") for top-notch power pop.

The bulk of the songwriting was done by My My My’s initiator and driving force, Russell Baylin, who shares vocal duties with bandmate Sarah Snow. It’s hard to believe these two came together through Craigslist (Baylin assembled the band by putting out a series of ads on the site) because their voices sound too good together to have been paired so randomly. Both have passionate rock and roll pipes that bring the material to life and play a major part in the group's distinct sound. Snow’s contributions are more prominent and powerful here than they were on Little Cat, as she takes lead vocals on a few cuts. She’s particularly impressive on “White Lions,” an album highlight that finds her belting out quirky lyrics such as “In your skinny jeans, you’re a thrift store Martin Sheen” over a rollicking, new wave-inspired backdrop.

Everything works on Leather Silk. The entire band is in top form. The production is crisp and bright, bringing out all the nuances of the material. Electronic flourishes add character in all the right places, and all elements are perfectly mixed. Basically, this rocks and deserves a huge audience. My my my, indeed.

Download mp3: My My My - "Swoon"

'Leather Silk' is currently available via CD Baby and iTunes. My My My will play a release show for the record at Bottom Lounge on Saturday, May 8 (also with Green Sugar, How Far to Austin, Josh & the Empty Pockets and Cobalt & the Hired Guns). 7 p.m., $8, 17 and over. Tickets here.

Scotland Yard Gospel Choir plan first show since accident

For the first time since their very serious van accident last fall, Chicago indie pop troupe Scotland Yard Gospel Choir are set to take the stage. The band have continued their recovery and will make their live music return on Saturday, June 19 at Subterranean (9 p.m., $10, 17 and over). Tickets go on sale April 10.

The band also did an interview for the Chicago Tribune earlier this week, in which they talked about health insurance, the role it has played in their recovery and its impact on artists in general. check it out here.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Lollapalooza 2010 lineup revealed

While Lollapalooza will officially announce this year's lineup Tuesday, per usual the list of acts set to perform has leaked early. According to the Tribune's Greg Kot, fest-goers can expect to see the following on the bill:

Soundgarden, Green Day, Lady Gaga, Arcade Fire, the Strokes, Phoenix, Social Distortion, MGMT, Jimmy Cliff, Hot Chip, the Black Keys, the National, Spoon, Devo, Cypress Hill, Cut Copy, the New Pornographers, Erykah Badu, Slightly Stoopid, Grizzly Bear, Gogol Bordello, Chromeo, Wolfmother, Yeasayer, X Japan, MUTEMATH, Metric, Dirty Projectors, AFI, Mavis Staples, Matt & Kim, the xx, Drive-By Truckers, Blues Traveler.

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, the Temper Trap, Jamie Lidell, Frightened, Rabbit, F Buttons, Deer Tick, Blitzen Trapper, Stars, Raphael Saadiq, the Cribs, Minus the Bear, Switchfoot, the Walkmen, Mumford & Sons, Wild Beasts, Rogue Wave, Los Amigos Invisibles, the Big Pink, the Dodos, Hockey, Cymbals Eat Guitars, B.o.B, Dawes, Warpaint, the Antlers, the Soft Pack, Rebelution, Balkan Beat Box.

Wavves, American Bang, the Ike Reilly Assassination, Company of Thieves, Nneka, Harlem, the Constellations, Miniature Tigers, Mimicking Birds, the Kissaway Trail, HEALTH, Javelin, the Morning Benders, Foxy Shazam, Violent Soho, Royal Bangs, NEON TREES, Freelance Whales, Semi Precious Weapons, Dan Black, The Band of Heathens, Dragonette, My Dear Disco, Shawn Fisher, Neon Hitch, Skybox, The Ettes, Jukebox the Ghost, These United States, MyNameIsJohnMichael.\

Perry’s DJ stage lineup: 2ManyDJs, Empire of the Sun, Digitalism, Perry Farrell, Tiga, Felix da Housecat, Rusko, Erol Alkan, Kaskade, Flosstradamus, Wolfgang Gartner, Joachim Garraud, Mexican Institute of Sound, Caspa, Peanut Butter Wolf, Dirty South, NERVO, Cut Copy (DJ Set), Beats Antique, Steve Porter, Didi Gutman of Brazilian Girls, Ancient Astronauts, Ana Sia, Team Bayside High, Dani Deahl, FreeSol, DJ Mel, BBU Vonnegutt, Only Children, Lance Herbstrong.

The festival is set for August 6 to 8 in Chicago's Grant Park. Click here for more information and tickets.

Q&A: Cains & Abels

Fresh from a Spring tour that took them to New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana, Chicago’s Cains & Abels are now gearing up for a home-city show on April 15 at The Whistler (2421 N. Milwaukee Ave., 9:30 p.m., free), and preparing the follow-up to their excellent 2009 LP, Call Me Up (click here for our post on the release, including an mp3). That record’s thoughtful, moody folk rock earned the band plenty of high praise, and their forthcoming material – which they’ve tested during their recent shows – promises to be the most impressive yet. While on the road, lead singer and songwriter David Sampson made some time to answer a few questions for WCR on how things are going for Cains & Abels and what we can expect from the new material.

WCR: You recently spent some time recording new material at Engine Music Studios. How did it go? Tell us about some of the new music and how it compares to what we heard on Call Me Up.

DS: Our time at Engine was really satisfying. We got done exactly what we went in to do, which feels good—sometimes there are roadblocks and frustrations. The songs we recorded are all ones we've been playing live over the last year. To me, they feel like a very natural progression from Call Me Up, both in terms of songwriting, and the orchestration we're doing. I think these feel a little thicker. I don't know quite how else to express that. There are some more rock and roll sounds. The drums are louder. The songs have similar imagery in the lyrics. One song is about taking a bone out of your body to symbolize a deliberate change in your life. In one of the songs, I'm talking to money as a character, as if it's a lover I've never been able to get over or feel any peace about. That one's intense! There is definitely a more positive bent in the new songs. Call Me Up was sad, and even though I feel that the songs were ultimately hopeful, the sadness was the foundation.

Speaking of Call Me Up, what inspired the material on that record? Were there any themes or ideas in specific you set out to get across?

Call Me Up was inspired by the end of a long relationship. Saying "call me up" is a request for a connection to be made, and to me it turned into a bigger global plea that I was making. When I wrote the songs, "call me up" was first something I was saying to my ex, then I was saying it to my friends, other women, new friends, and ultimately the whole world. Human connection was - and is - something I need so much. The whole album resonates with that theme.

How did the band hook up with States Rights Records for the record’s release?

I met Steve Schroeder, who runs States Rights, six or seven years ago on the Internet. His label has always been one of my favorites. It's one of the only labels that I would trust enough to buy everything they put out. It feels curated and special, and it's all really good music. We did exclusive tracks for a couple of the States Rights compilations (Bro Zone, Grown/Groan Zone), which are always so awesome and crazy. He loved Call Me Up, and we were psyched to have him put it out.

Of all the Cains & Abels tracks recorded so far, are there any band favorites—or maybe, songs you'd most want people unfamiliar with the band to check out?

I really love what we did on "Warm Rock,” the first track on Call Me Up. It builds in a way that perfectly replicated what I heard in my brain when I wrote it. "Call Me Up pt 1" on that album, too. Josh's solo rips. The first time I heard it, it made me think of a western gun battle. These new tracks, though! They shred. They're my favorite thing we've done. Wait ‘til you hear the final version of "Run, Run, Run.”

Tell us about the new video for “My Life Is Easy.”

The video for "My Life Is Easy" happened in a day, basically. I envisioned a slow-mo shot of all of us running into Lake Michigan at dawn, so I somehow convinced everyone to get up at 5:30 AM and go to Montrose Beach. It was warm for early Chicago spring at dawn, but it wasn't actually warm. I checked the water temp later, and it was 37 degrees! So cold. It was a fantastic, invigorating experience, though.

How's the Spring tour going? Any standout gigs so far?

The tour is going well. We haven't had a grim night yet. Bloomington was amazing because we played with Citay and then our friends took us to a dance party in a dungeon-like cellar. We got weird. We played Akron, which ruled, because we got to play with Talons', one of my favorite bands, and hang out with Keith and Linda from Trouble Books, another one of my favorite bands.
After the tour, what's next? Any idea of when the new material will be available?

When we get back to Chicago, we're going to work on trying to get the new album finished. We're playing at The Whistler on April 15. We're doing another short tour in June, and maybe a West Coast thing in late summer. Working hard on the album is the main thing. My goal with Call Me Up was to make it the best thing I had ever done, and I have set the same goal for this one. My hope is for it to come out in the summer, but we'll see.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

New mp3 from The Moves, plus show on 4/2

Chicago indie trio The Moves just recorded a very cool anthemic pop-rock tune called "Song for Passing," which you can listen to/download below!

Download mp3: The Moves - "Song of Passing"

If you like what you hear, you can check out two additional songs from the band as well as a Q&A from our post on them back in February.

They are also playing the Rockbox (2624 N. Lincoln Ave., 10 p.m., 21 and over) this Friday, April 2 with Threeville, so if you dig their sound be sure to head over and show your support!