Monday, January 31, 2011

Check this out: dreamy new sounds from architecture

Posted by Frank

Photo: Cara Patricia Higgins
If you, like me, are a fan of Chicago's Panda Riot and a sucker for dream pop in general, you'll want to know about architecture. The duo consists of the aforementioned band's Rebecca Scott and Melissa Harris, who are currently putting the finishing touches on the first architecture record and are planning an April release. They already have two of the songs - "Tomorrow" and "In the Morning" - available for free download on their SoundCloud site. With hypnotizing, wistful melodies and sweet-yet-slightly eerie childlike vocals, the tunes have a kind of haunted nursery rhyme vibe going on. Which is awesome. Hear for yourself below and look for more details on architecture's debut soon.

See WCR's Andrew with Moon Furies this Wednesday at SubT

Posted by Frank

UPDATE 2/2: Due to the blizzard, this show has been canceled and will be rescheduled for a later date. In the meantime, you can check out Moon Furies at their next show, set for February 11 at Reggies.

One of Windy City Rock's own, Andrew Hertzberg, also happens to be one-third of local electro-rock outfit Moon Furies. This Wednesday, February 2nd, you can see Andrew and the band in action as part of a great lineup at Subterranean, which also features Future Ghosts, Leah Stargazing and the Ridgelands. Come out, hear some quality tunes and say hello! The show starts at 8 p.m. and $8 tickets are available here.

To prepare for the show, check out the debut Moon Furies record Mercury, available on Bandcamp. The band are letting the first 200 downloaders name their price. Listen to two tracks, "Way Down" and "Sun Burnt Love," below:

Friday, January 28, 2011

Show preview: Panda Riot, Calm Palm Vapor and more at Simone's, 1/29

Posted by Sasha

Panda Riot
If the gray end of January has drained your soul like it has mine, it might be time to escape this winter gloom and get your psych pop on. This Saturday, Simone's Bar in Pilsen will host a lineup of some of the city's favorite shoegazers who are sure to inject some color back into you. The evening features the minimalist brainscapes of Vehicle Blues, Calm Palm Vapor's surfy fuzzstep, and the darling indie dream pop of Panda Riot. There will also be a special secret guest performance (no leads on that one, go find out) and an opening DJ set from Algebra Huxley of Wolf In A Spacesuit. Update 1/29: The "secret guest" band is Loyal Divide.

The show is entirely free and will start at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, January 29th. Simone's is a 21 and over venue.

Check out "Streetlights and You and Me" by Panda Riot below.

Streetlights and You and Me by pandariot

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Video: Gold Motel make bad public access TV good

Posted by Frank

Gold Motel are determined to make our lives more fun. They must be, because they keep coming out with irresistibly lovable tunes and music videos. Take the new video for their most recent single "Cold Shoulders," which premiered on In it, the quintet charmingly channel the spirit of ridiculously bad public access TV variety shows, complete with awkward host, poor quality and cheesy painting instructor (I suddenly have a bizarre urge to watch this). It sort of reminds me of one of the shows produced by my old high school's A/V club, except unlike Gold Motel, the guest band on one of those would have sucked. Watch all of the awkward fun below. And I salute you, Gold Motel, for the continued musical uppers.

Gold Motel - Cold Shoulders (Official Music Video) from Eddie O'KEEFE on Vimeo.

More on Gold Motel:
Record review: Gold Motel - 'Talking Fiction'
Show review & photos: Gold Motel at Subterranean
Gold Motel's makeout music
Q&A with Gold Motel frontwoman Greta Morgan

Smoking Popes announce new LP, spring tour

Posted by Frank

Chicago rock vets Smoking Popes are set to drop their sixth studio album, This Is Only a Test, on March 15th. To coincide with the release they will embark on a spring tour that wraps up with a home city show at Double Door on Sunday, April 3 (tickets are currently on sale here). The band also have two other Chicago area shows lined up: February 19th at Montrose Room in Rosemont and February 25th at Mojoes in Joliet.

Recorded last year at the Windy City's own Atlas Studios, This Is Only a Test marks the quartet's first take at a concept album. According to a press announcement, it tells the story of a fictional high schooler and "explores themes of identity, musical aspirations, love and teen suicide."

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Show review & photos: Battlestations at Liar's Club, 1/21

By Mike Sullivan

Battlestations had their debut live show last Friday night at Liar's Club here in Chicago. A few weeks back I had the chance to sit down with the band and pick their brains, and you can read the Q&A here. I could not wait to see what they brought to the table once they were all together on stage.

The six-piece had a lot of instruments and electronic devices that barely fit onto the small stage at Liar's Club. I didn’t think they would have enough room to work with, but they managed. I was immediately blown away once they started. The raw energy and creativity that they put into their debut album, The Unicorn, really came through when played live. They opened the set with a brand new track, "Guns and Robots." They followed with "The Slums," "No Gold in The Crown," "Can't Sell The Light," "Electric Not Religious," and a few other tracks from their debut CD. The set ended with an outstanding performance of "More Money Than Time." I don't think anybody was sitting down when this song was over. It was an excellent debut show, and I can't wait to see what they come up with next. The album is now available for purchase on their Bandcamp site, with a vinyl release hitting the shelves soon.


Check out more show reviews:
Free Energy at Double Door
TNK 2011: S Carey, Darwin Deez, Young Man, Lionlimb
TNK 2011: Alex Winston, Little Dragon at Lincoln Hall
TNK 2011: Pet Lions, Generationals, Magic Kids at Schubas
TNK 2011: Lia Ices, Generationals, Frankie Rose and the Outs at Lincoln Hall
Netherfriends at the Whistler
Cursive at Subterranean

Monday, January 24, 2011

A few Chicago music news bites

  • We didn't get any photos to go along with our review of Free Energy at Double Door last Thursday, but thankfully did. Click here to check out their excellent shots.
  • Last week picked out their favorite songs from sessions recorded during 2010 and made them available all together here. The collection includes tracks from Beach House, Ra Ra Riot, Caribou and more. While they were at it they also took a vote and compiled their readers' top picks for download.
  • Consequence of Sound was in attendance for Lissie's sold out show at Lincoln Hall Saturday night. Read about how the Rock Island, IL native and her band went down, and check out some pics here.
  • The Chicago Roots Collective - a group of locally-based bands who work together to support each others' music - is about to hit its one year anniversary. To celebrate, they have a show coming up this Thursday, January 27 at Lincoln Hall featuring CRC members The Shams Band, Derek Nelson & the Musicians and Cole DeGenova & the People's Republic.

Show review: Free Energy, The Postelles, Light Pollution at Double Door, 1/20

Posted by Bobby

Free Energy
Well hello there, assumed devoted following! Last Thursday the Double Door boasted an excellent bill as Free Energy started a national tour here in Chicago. They were supported by NYC's the Postelles and Chicago's own psychedelic indie rockers Light Pollution. The Postelles and Free Energy have been in constant rotation at my home office (shitty apartment), and for my money, this was a must see show bringing some Stratocastered sunshine into January. The Postelles were fantastic live at the Hideout Dance Party their first time through Chicago (review here) and Free Energy have been raved about by many Chicago festival goers. The crowd at the Double Door reflected that excitement. 

Light Pollution started the evening off with eclectically layered pop tunes rhythmically driven by an effect-heavy acoustic guitar and raised up by synth riffs. They seemed like they would be right at home playing a desert festival. I was really pleased that there was a band from Chicago on the bill and there were a good deal of people in the place early to check them out. They set the tone of warming up one of the coldest nights of the year.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Show preview: The Please & Thank Yous, The Island of Misfit Toys and more at Subterranean, 1/23

Posted by Sasha

The Island of Misfit Toys
Subterranean has another great, if madly ecletic, Sunday show coming up this weekend. Here's what's in store:

The Please & Thank Yous, a punk rock quartet with roots in the likes of the Queers and the Descendents, will kick things off super loud. Seriously, I caught these kids at a basement show last year and I'm pretty sure my tinnitus got a little worse for it, but it was an awesome time.

The Island of Misfit Toys will let up on your eardrums a bit with their lo-fi blend of indie pop, folk, and hip hop. This quirky ensemble just signed to our friends over at Tandem Shop Records and apparently have finished recording their debut LP. This is the second-to-last scheduled show on their local tour so be sure to catch them while you can.

This weekend: Psych Fest at the Hideout

Posted by Andrew

Is it just me or does Chicago have a strong and growing psychedelic scene? I’ve noticed this more and more over the past year and part of its ubiquity has to be due to the Chicago Metaphysical Circus. The self-described “child’s guide to the Chicago psychedelic community” supports the scene by setting up shows and events that give psych related artists an outlet to perform. Of course, the term psychedelic is as vague and sprawling as the music described as such, which allows for a diverse set of bands ranging from rock to jazz influences as well. The CMC hosts shows throughout the year, often in more underground spots. But this weekend the CMC-curated Psych Fest returns to the Hideout for its second installment, upgraded from one night to two. Bands featured include locals Verma, Plastic Crimewave Sound and the Great Society Mind Destroyers (also the originators of CMC) as well psych outfits from around the Midwest. With band names like Mondo Drag and Thunderbolt Pagoda, it’s sure to be a tripped out, fucked up good time.

All the info you need for the weekend can be found below.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

New track from Brice Woodall

Posted by Sasha

It's a shame the holidays are over already, because the track below, one of the latest from D.I.Y. folktronica artist Brice Woodall, would have fit perfectly on my yuletide playlist. Nevertheless, this charming instrumental should help get you through the dreary months of winter that remain. I understand that Mr. Woodall has a new record in the works, and this song seems to be an indicator of good things to come. Enjoy.

Niiice by Brice Woodall

Free show tonight: Delmar & the Dedications, Gypsyblood, Andy Marchel & the Cocaine Rainbow

Posted by Frank

Delmar and the Dedications
Here are a couple compelling reasons to head to Liar's Club (1665 W. Fullerton) starting at 9 p.m. tonight:  1) you'll be able to catch sets from three great Chicago bands - Delmar and the Dedications, Gypsyblood and Andy Marchel and the Cocaine Rainbow, 2) it's free. You can't beat that. Should you need any more convincing, read on to find out more about each band and sample some tracks.

Delmar and the Dedications
These guys have a very cool, soulful ‘60s thing going on. Think girl-group except without any girls. And more rocking. Frontman Zach Weinberg formed the group after years playing in punk bands, and they recently recorded a five-song introduction called Mansion Sessions. Hints of past punk tendencies marry with poppy Motown vibes for a sound that you can dance to and rock out to at the same time. Check out this week's Sun-Times writeup to get better acquainted.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Tomorrow Never Knows roundup

Here's a quick rundown of coverage of sets we didn't get to at Tomorrow Never Knows from some of our friends around the net:
  • Faronheit reviewed the Man Man/Islands/Modest Mouse supergroup Mister Heavenly's Chicago debut. Apparently Michael Cera was tops with the cheese puns.
  • Check out a video of Gary native Freddie Gibbs and his entourage over at Fake Shore Drive.
  • Peep some photos of Twin Shadow on Timeout and read a review from the Trib
  • Spinner's got the coverage on Wolf Parade side project Handsome Furs at Lincoln Hall on Saturday with more pics from TOC.
  • Locals Yawn get a lukewarm review from Lost in Concert but it comes with sweet black and whites. Headliners from that evening Tanlines were interviewed by the Tribune.
  • Craig Shimala's Flickr account has some great photos from all five nights including sets from Oberhofer, the Helio Sequence, Darwin Deez and more.

Tomorrow Never Knows 2011: S. Carey, Darwin Deez, Young Man, Lionlimb at Schubas

Posted by Bobby

Darwin Deez
I am an avid reader of British music publication NME and recently checked out their 2010 cool list to see who they're frenzying over on the other side of the pond. NYC's Darwin Deez was number 10 on that list, and upon checking out the single "Radar Detector" - which has the diffident cool of the Strokes plus a left field sort of David Byrne production - I decided to keep my eyes peeled for his first trip to Chicago. Lo and behold, he was closing out the excellent Tomorrow Never Knows festival Sunday night at Schubas along with Lionlimb, Young Man and S. Carey.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tomorrow Never Knows 2011: Alex Winston, Little Dragon

Posted by Andrew 

Little Dragon at Lincoln Hall
After two nights off, I was well enough to make it back to Lincoln Hall for the final night of Tomorrow Never Knows. As the title of the festival suggests, many of these artists are to be on the lookout for in the near future, and Alex Winston is an artist certainly fitting that description. The 22-year-old singer-songwriter has been featured on many sites’ lists of musicians to look out for this year and she’s already toured with Ted Nugent and opened for Chuck Berry. She mentioned that she was originally from Detroit, but it was said musically even before that. She’s got a lot of soul to say the say the least and draws clear inspiration from Motown artists; don’t forget to factor in the live spark indebted to the Motor City’s proto-punks of the '60s. The music itself finds itself in the pop realm but with lyrics beyond the shallow slutwave that has overtaken the air recently. The female backing choral trio adds sweet harmonies and a new depth to the often weighty lyrics. Winston is clearly a very talented songwriter and performer but it just wasn’t something for the crowd that night, who never submitted to her pleas of audience handclaps as much as she had hoped.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Tomorrow Never Knows 2011: Lia Ices, Frankie Rose and the Outs at Lincoln Hall

Posted by Andrew

Frankie Rose (Photo Credit: Faronheit)
Writing with the flu does not for a good show review make. But I decided to fight the freezing temps and flurrying precipitation to catch night two of Tomorrow Never Knows at Lincoln Hall. In fact, it was quite the perfect background to walk into the venue midway through Lia Ices' fog-filled and blue-lit set. The crowd was particularly mellow this evening, which I certainly couldn’t complain about. Perhaps everyone was in same frame of mind as I was, or perhaps we were all just entranced by the beautiful music Lia and her backing band were making. The Cat Power-helmed-slowcore she creates is perfect music for a Chicago January evening. The combination of her minimal-orchestral pop and the handful of OTCs I had taken certainly helped alleviate my symptoms, if only for the brief set. If you missed her this weekend, she returns to the same venue opening for the Cave Singers April 7th. Isn’t that convenient?

Tomorrow Never Knows 2011: Pet Lions, Generationals, Magic Kids at Schubas

Posted by Andrew

And we’re off! Welcome to another year of Tomorrow Never Knows presented by Schubas and Lincoln Hall. For the first night of the multi-venue winter festival, I went to Schubas to catch a night of pop-goodness featuring three bands, each with their own twist to the genre.

Opening were Pet Lions, a local band we've written about quite a bit on the site before. Their angular brand of power-pop continually appears on up-and-coming lists, but apparently you all haven’t got the word yet. With a recent bump from Chicagoist and a new record on the way, hopefully 2011 means the year these guys break out of the bands to watch for lists and into the best of lists. Stream their debut LP Houses right now and get physical with it March 1st.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Interview: Battlestations

By Mike Sullivan

I recently got a chance to sit down with members of up-and-coming Chicago band Battlestations and ask them about their sound, their first live show coming up on Friday, January 21st at Liars Club (9 p.m., 1665 W. Fullerton Ave.) and more. You can check out their music before the show on their website and their Reverb Nation page, and find out what members Mike, Dan and Jason had to say below.

WCR: I know some of you have played in other bands together throughout the years. Can you give us a little bit of history on how Battlestations came about?

Mike: We’re all linked up from Twin Wrecks the Memory and Jesus and the Devil. I have played with Dan and Bob since high school. I met Jason about 10 years ago and played with him in Jesus and the Devil. Left there and joined Dan with Twin Wrecks, ruined that band (laughing) and then came back up here (their studio). I love it up here, I have a lot of cool posters.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Record review: Save The Clocktower - 'Carousel'

Posted by Sasha

Ours is a culture fueled by nostalgia. It seems that most of the innovations of this millennium are simply new methods of distributing content invented before the digital age. It's not a bad thing, just an odd thing, and one that can lead to creative reassembly of 20th century fragments. Carousel is one such collage. At its core, it draws from the pop and shoegaze of the early '90s; most songs on the record wouldn't sound out of place over nascent CGI or grainy home video loops. It's fitting that a band named Save The Clocktower would be time travelers, taking us back into a charmingly stylized version of our past.

That's not to say there's nothing new here. Like Doc Brown, Save The Clocktower were scientists before they were adventure heroes, and there's plenty of textural experimentation to keep us engaged. "Drip" kicks off strong with heavy pulses and danceable beats overlaid with electronic aether that wouldn't sound out of place on a Caribou record. It swirls down into the jet engine guitars of "You Got Me," a catchy, hazy number influenced as much by My Bloody Valentine as it is by contemporaneous one hit wonders. The vocal quality feels more in the world of post-punk; syllables are short and strong, but melodic enough to keep interest.

Video: Yawn - 'Toys'

Posted by Frank

A while back I wrote about Chicago quartet Yawn's debut EP, a colorful, tropical-tinged explosion of psych-pop that left me thoroughly impressed. The band is reportedly planning to release a full-length this year, but in the meantime have just put out a video for the EP's opening track, "Toys." The sights probably couldn't be any closer a match to the bright sounds, telling the story of a pinwheel plucked from its pinwheel friends and sent flying on adventures around the world. Watch below to see all the pinwheel action play out and find out if it makes it back safely to its buds. While you're at it, download the full EP for free here and check out the band live this Saturday, January 15th at Metro as part of Tomorrow Never Knows '11.

Check out more videos:

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Record review: Sad Brad Smith - 'Love Is Not What You Need'

Posted by Sasha

I love a good success story from the Chicago music scene. Sad Brad Smith caught a fantastically lucky break when director Jason Reitman commissioned the song "Help Yourself" for his film "Up in the Air," garnering Smith plenty of deserved attention across the country. If you haven't seen the film (which I admittedly haven't), the song's worth a listen or more on its own. Full of melodic layering and charming lyrics, it proves Reitman's choice of unknown was in good faith.

If you come into Sad Brad Smith's debut album Love Is Not What You Need expecting something fully in the vein of "Help Yourself," you're in for a few surprises. Smith has settled into a groove that's more buoyant pop-rock than introspective chamber folk. Instead of lush harmonies and fingerpicked chords, the debut offers bouncy, staccato basslines and gentle pop hooks in a style reminiscent of Jon Brion's album work or Information-era Beck without the hip-hop edge.

A few Chicago music news bites

  • Daytrotter has a brand new session up with locally-based quartet California Wives. If you like what you hear, check out their synth-infused, new wavey indie rock tonight, January 12th, at Lincoln Hall as part of Tomorrow Never Knows '11
  • Did you know that Windy City bar/music spot Darkroom is about to turn eight? It's true, and they've got an anniversary party planned to celebrate. This Friday, January 14th, head over starting at 9 p.m. for performances by The Jordan Years and Diplomats of Sound. DJs LA*Jesus and East of Eden Express will also be on hand. Free before 11 p.m., $8 after
  • has been dishing out some truly rad live music videos from top-notch Chicago bands to start off the new year. Click here to check out last week’s video of In Tall Buildings and here to watch this week’s installment featuring Netherfriends
  • Loud Loop Press talked with local indie electronic duo Houses about their music, future plans and spending time in Hawaii (which I must say sounds pretty damn nice right now...yes, fellow Chicagoans?). Read the Q&A here
  • Chicago's Scattered Trees are prepping the release of full-length album Sympathy on April 5, and in the meantime are offering a track titled "A Conversation About Death on New Year's Eve" for free download. For more info and another mp3, check out our recent Q&A with frontman Nate Eiesland. You can catch the band live January 21st at Schubas

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Record review: Smith Westerns - 'Dye It Blonde'

Posted by Bobby

Tossed into a technicolor swirl for three brief seconds and then we're off. Smith Westerns' sophomore album Dye It Blonde wastes exactly no time giving you a riff to hold onto for the ride before it sends you reveling in its magic.

"Weekend" is a brilliant opener in that it allows no room for questions; just listen, this is what we're doing tonight and it's going to be fun. For a sound that is throwback and heavy on reverb, the track is notably visceral and establishes the tone for a magnificent record. All of the songs are more than well crafted - they are exploratory and delightful at the same time. I am reminded of the first time I heard MGMT, except this dream seems a bit more deliberately constructed, with less impulse and more consistency.

Monday, January 10, 2011

This week: Tomorrow Never Knows 2011

Posted by Frank

Annual winter music fest Tomorrow Never Knows kicks off this Wednesday, January 12, with no shortage of excellent bands set to play Lincoln Hall, Schubas and Metro through Sunday, January 16. Five-day passes are available here, or you can grab tickets for individual shows (though some have already sold out).

If you're still trying to figure out who to see, check out some picks from WCR's own Andrew on The TNK crew has also put together a very helpful mixtape of the fest's bands on Soundcloud, which you can listen to below.

Friday, January 7, 2011

'Follow the Drone' with a new, free single from Secret Colours

Posted by Frank

Photo: Eddie O'Keefe
Nobody can accuse Chicago's Secret Colours of slacking off. Between summer 2010 and the end of the year the band released not only their debut full-length LP, but also two standalone singles - the two-track  In the Absence and a trippy cover of The Beatles' "Tomorrow Never Knows." They have also played frequent gigs and have drummed up quite a bit of attention in the Windy City and beyond. Now they're back with another single, Follow the Drone. It includes two brand new songs and is available for free download on their Bandcamp site.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Show review: Netherfriends at the Whistler, 1/4

Posted by Bobby

Shawn Rosenblatt of Netherfriends
I had been peripherally exposed to Netherfriends through others’ enthusiasm, including within the digital halls of our make believe WCR office because fellow staffer Andrew is a big fan (check out his artist spotlight/interview here). So after settling in to the ol’ apartment Tuesday night and escaping the balls cold outside, I decided, “nope, not staying in,” and called a cab to take me to the Whistler so I could check out Netherfriends myself.

I am glad I did that. Shawn Rosenblatt, the man behind the curtain, performed a solo set but it sounded like the Beach Boys had just returned from some sort of Flight of the Navigator type journey through spacetime and had come back as haunted versions of their younger, eager selves, and with better technology (whew). I have seen a lot of work with loop pedals and self-harmony, but Netherfriends’ melodies were what made the technicality so fun to listen to. While that type of song rendering can often only build to a final cacophony with little in the way of dynamic shift, Shawn's songs moved up, down and all over the damn room like it was its own tiny little universe. Throwing lyrics from late ‘80s/early ’90s popular rap songs in there didn't hurt either.

Record review: Carta Marina - 'End of an Era'

Posted by Frank

Back in 2009 I wrote about Hold the Ghosts from Chicago-based four-piece Carta Marina. Having considered that collection of songs more of a live demo than an official release, the band since returned to the studio to revamp some of the material and add some new tracks to the mix. The result is End of an Era, a nine-track album that finds the the quartet honing their style and building on the strongest elements of Hold the Ghosts.

Much of Carta Marina's material sets a distinct mood with an atmospheric, nighttime ocean-side feel. It's a vibe the band seems to be knowingly playing up, reflected even in their Medieval sea map-referencing name and corresponding nautical album artwork. This particular element of the music is probably their strongest suit and something that sets them apart most from the typical indie rock sound. It's easy to drift away into the album's most ambient moments such as the title track and instrumental "Death Blossom."

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

This Thursday: Gigmaven's Chicago launch party with Netherfriends, The Loneliest Monk & more

Posted by Andrew

Musicians take note: After kicking around the East coast for a bit, Gigmaven has expanded to Chicago. Essentially, Gigmaven is the Google of booking shows. It is a free service that easily connects musicians directly to venues. So no more gruff phone calls or unreturned e-mails for all of the frustrated musicians out there. Although New York-based, the company has grown to include other major cities across the nation and is expecting to continue expanding. The site also sports a blog so you can stay up to date with their picks of artists to watch.

Gigmaven has teamed up with Heave Media to host a Windy City launch party tomorrow night, January 6th, at Subterranean featuring an impressively eclectic group of artists.

Bands I'd like to see play Chicago in 2011

Posted by Bobby

The Vaccines (photo: Roger Sargent)
I've been intrigued by the various methods by which bands have recently been imploring fans to "bring us to your city!" And it got me thinking, who would I like to see come through the Windy City in 2011? Here are five bands I'd drop everything to see. Leave a comment and let us know who you would like to see play from out of town (and which Chicago bands should open for them)!

The Vaccines
A fixture of the London buzz scene for the past two months (an eon in hype years), this band has a sonic nausea that seems to grow out of how damn catchy their pop is. They' ll play New York soon, but would sure look nice at the Empty Bottle.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Some thoughts on Chuck Berry's performance at the Congress Theater

Posted by Andrew

Photo: Elaine Mellencamp
By now we’ve all heard about the collapse of Chuck Berry at the Congress Theater on the first day of this year. As an attendant of the show who was planning on writing a review, I feel I must refrain from adding the kind of subjective critique of the withering rock star that I had originally intended. Rather, I would like to address a few questions and perhaps raise some more regarding the surreal experience.

Interview: The Congregation

Posted by Frank

On their debut EP Not for Sleepin', Chicago eight-piece The Congregation combine classic, bluesy soul with raw rock and roll energy and the power-packed vocals of Gina Bloom for a sound that dares you not to take notice. Tracks such as the heart-wrenching "Save the Wine," the down-and-dirty "A Good Man Is Hard to Find," and a funky cover of "I Wanna Be Your Dog" are prime examples of these musicians' bold, impressive collective powers.

This Saturday night, January 8th, The Congregation will perform at Martyrs' in celebration of what would be Elvis's 76th birthday. Get tickets and more info here (and listen to the their cover of the King's "Little Sister" below). To help get you pumped up for the show and better acquainted with the band, I recently sought answers to some questions from Gina as well as guitarist Charlie Wayne and drummer Dan Wendt. Read the Q&A below and find out more about Not for Sleepin', the band's history and influences and what they have planned for 2011.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Show review: Cursive, Yourself and the Air at Subterranean, 12/31

Posted by Andrew

New Year’s Eve is the greatest by-product of a globalized society. It is essentially a worldwide celebration, each different country and culture finding their own unique way to break in the new year. So to transition from 2010 to 2011, I found myself in the middle of our city’s already crazy Six Corners intersection to see Cursive perform Domestica in its entirety at the Subterranean on Friday.

Record review: Hemmingbirds - 'Death Wave'

Posted by Frank

Don't be fooled by the album title; you won't hear anything in the realm of doom metal coming out of your speakers when you play Death Wave, the debut LP from Chicago's Hemmingbirds. What you will hear is some extremely well-crafted indie rock packed with a serious amount of feeling - sometimes uplifting, sometimes darkly desperate and most often a powerful mixture of both.

Currently a quintet, Hemmingbirds began in late 2009 as a solo project of frontman Yoo Soo Kim. In the project's early stages Yoo Soo recorded Death Wave with only the help of drummer Zack Benkowski, which seems particularly impressive when taking in the full, driving sound of the record.