Thursday, March 31, 2011

Show preview: Paper Mice, Capillary Action, Lord of the Yum Yum at Hideout, 4/1

Posted by Sasha Geffen

What better way is there to celebrate the one holiday of absurdism than by checking out some of the crazier music Chicago has to offer? The Hideout turns to the avant-garde this weekend, featuring an awesomely bizarre April Fool's Day lineup.

Opening will be Lord of the Yum Yum, who I've been lucky enough to see twice before. His act lies somewhere between the worlds of music and performance art as he uses samplers and other effect pedals to transform and layer his voice. He does electro-scat covers of famous songs from all eras, classical and beyond, as well as a number of strange originals. Also a filmmaker, the Lord delivers a highly entertaining multimedia grab bag of a show.

Hailing from New York, Capillary Action will bring their jazz-inspired experimental tunes to the Hideout as part of their Midwestern tour. Though structurally peculiar, CA's music goes down smooth with a wide variety of organic instruments and classic vocals. Those who miss the glory days of Mr. Bungle will hear plenty of their influence here.

Finally, local trio Paper Mice will headline, spewing their abrasive, mathy punk. These guys make a mature and biting counterpart to the art-punk movement of the last decade. They come recommended for fans of punk rock and math rock alike.

The show will begin Friday, April 1st at 10pm. Tickets are $8 and available here. As always, the Hideout is a 21 and over venue.

Record review: The Dogs - 'Camping'

By Jordan Posner

When I was a young pup, my father used to take us on these quasi-camping trips. I say “quasi” because it wasn’t as if we lived off the land for three days, eating questionable berries and letting our bowels sort them out. If there was a provision that was in any way portable, we had it. I think one year we bought an honest-to-God television set. Yes, my family “camped” in the same way Nickelback “rocks.” So then, why go camping at all? Is it possible that we wanted to take an excursion into a foreign and uncharted territory but needed to retain some semblance of the life we were leaving behind in order to make the transition less scary? Is this why we camped four feet or less from our Dodge Caravan, so that when things got a little weird we could bask in the comforting shadow of the minivan and know that if we really wanted to, we could hightail it to a Holiday Inn before the fire even died down?

“Where is this going?”

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Cameron McGill & What Army release new video, free download

Posted by Frank Krolicki

Cameron McGill & What Army are about to kick off a tour in support of their new album, Is A Beast (available April 12th), and have started things off with the release of a new video and free mp3 of the opening track, "Houdini." The band worked with Antoine Wagner (who directed "Lisztomania" by Phoenix) on the clip, and the result is a black-and-white mix of old footage of the song's title figure and an impressively-bearded McGill singing along to the track. It's a great fit for the grand, nostalgic vibe of the song.

You can check out the band live when they play a hometown album release show at Schubas on April 29th, and see/hear/download "Houdini" below.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A few Chicago music news bites

  • Pitchfork Music Festival announced additions to its 2011 lineup, including Guided by Voices, Neko Case, Kurt Vile, No Age, Baths, HEALTH, Shabazz Palaces, the Fresh & Onlys and Gang Gang Dance. Click here to see the full lineup and to purchase single-day passes (three-day passes are sold out).
  • released a new session with Chicago-based art-rock duo The Loneliest Monk. Check it out here.
  • explored the return of the cassette tape, which more and more indie bands seem to be using to get music out in physical form instead of CDs.
  • posted a review and some excellent shots of the recent Cold War Kids show at the Riviera.
  • WCR is now a part of, a really useful site for finding out about top shows and other events going on in Chicago. If you have a profile on the site, we'd love for you to connect with us here.

Record review: Daniel Knox - 'Evryman For Himself'

Posted by Sasha Geffen

It's refreshing to see an artist select an existing genre not out of familiarity or nostalgia, but as a specific aesthetic tool. Daniel Knox adopts the Randy Newman school of songsmithery to construct a highly theatrical irony, infusing the innocent and dated sound with often obscene lyrics and a lot of attitude. Evryman For Himself is a fascinating little gem of a record that raises real questions of genre while entertaining all the while.

Like Tom Waits, Knox excels at--and delights in--creating twisted characters to play out the drama of his songs. Evryman delivers quite a cast: we've got murderers, rapists, aging perverts and vengeful ghosts, to name a few. All are rendered so lovingly and often with so much humor that it's hard not to sympathize with them. Knox is deft in the language of misanthropy, a gleeful villain. The sensation of hearing filthy scenarios played out by a cheery, piano-playing lounge singer makes for a pleasant discomfort.

Monday, March 28, 2011

EP review: Architecture - 'When We Were Young'

Posted by Frank Krolicki

Words like “haunting” and “atmospheric” are used all too often in music reviews, but in the case of the debut EP from Chicago duo Architecture there’s really no way around it; When We Were Young, the six-track introduction from Melissa Harris and Rebecca Scott (also known for their work in Panda Riot) is undeniably both. But unlike a great deal of dreamy, arty pop, Architecture’s music avoids the pitfall of ever fading into the background and sounding nondescript. There’s something special at work here.

One of the most ear-catching things about When We Were Young is that it sounds simultaneously dark and light, both playful and sad. For every gray-day vibe and nostalgic sentiment there is an bright, girlish vocal or sing-songy chorus to balance it out.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Show review: Lupe Fiasco at the House of Blues, 3/26

Posted by Frank Krolicki

Lupe on 'The Show Goes On' video shoot (
After a painfully long wait, the title of Lupe Fiasco's single "The Show Goes On" held true for a sold out crowd at the House of Blues Saturday night, when the rapper took the stage to celebrate the release of his latest record, Lasers. Unfortunately, the show went on in an incredibly late and extremely unsatisfying fashion. It was pretty much a huge debacle that left Lupe's hometown fans feeling gypped.

Before I go into detail, I have to admit that I haven't been to many rap/hip-hop shows. In fact, the ones I have seen have been at outdoor music festivals, so I'm not really sure if there's typically a different order of things than there is at rock shows. I seriously doubt it, though, by how the audience - made up of visibly enthusiastic, major fans - reacted to the way the night played out.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Flashback: Screeching Weasel - 'Boogada Boogada Boogada'

Posted by Andrew Hertzberg

For those that haven’t heard, during a Screeching Weasel concert at SXSW, singer/guitarist Ben Weasel (aka Ben Foster) assaulted two female fans. This led to public statements from all of the other band members moving on as well as bands dropping out of WeaselFest 2011 slated for the end of May at Reggies Rock Club. I feel no need to chastise the man any more than he already has been. Music forum comment sections are holding down that fort, and that guy’s going to have a hard enough time in the coming months (for his part, Ben did release an apology on his website). Instead, I’m going to use this opportunity to revisit one of my favorite high school albums, Boogada Boogada Boogada.

Show preview: Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears at Double Door, 4/2

Posted by Mike Sullivan

After another successful outing at SXSW this month, Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears are bringing their high voltage garage rock, soul and blues-infused party to the Double Door next Saturday, April 2nd.

With their previous album, Tell 'Em What Your Name Is!, topping the Billboard blues charts and gaining strong crossover appeal among indie fans after two years straight of touring, the boys from Austin are returning to Chicago in support of their sophomore album, Scandalous. Produced by Jim Eno of Spoon, Scandalous finds the young band returning with their modern and original take on classic American musical styles.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Radiohead newspaper comes to Chicago next Tuesday

Posted by Conor O’Hagan

Radiohead have been known to push the envelope when it comes to album releases. 2005’s In Rainbows was released digitally with 10 day’s notice and at the buyer’s desired price. This time they’ve gone one further.

The band have announced there is to be a free newspaper, The Universal Sigh, to be given out for free at newsstands around the world to coincide with the  physical release of their eighth studio album, The King of Limbs. On Tuesday, March 29th at 1 p.m. local time, Chicagoans can pick up their free Radiohead paper at two locations: 1957 West Chicago Ave. in the Ukrainian Village and 26 East Madison St. in Wicker Park. See you there.

For more information, check out

Show preview: Andrew Jackson Jihad at Beat Kitchen, 3/25

Posted by Andrew Hertzberg

long beach, ca
(Photo Credit)
So it was a weeknight. I had nothing to do and a friend invited me to the Beat Kitchen to check out this band from Phoenix, Andrew Jackson Jihad. The opener was a name that is long gone. Generic punk rock: while not entirely awful, nothing too thrilling. I was hoping that the headliner wouldn’t be more of the same and that my friend hadn't led me astray. Luckily for her, she turned out to be right. The razor-sharp, lightning speed duo that assumed said moniker that night hit me immediately.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Lineup revealed for Downtown Sound concerts in Millennium Park

Posted by Frank Krolicki

Ted Leo & the Pharmacists (photo: Shawn Brackbill)
One of the many great music events in Chicago during the summer is the "Downtown Sound" series of free concerts in Millennium Park. While the weather we're currently experiencing might make outdoor concerts seem far off in the distance, Greg Kot of the Tribune has helped to provide some reassurance today by reporting on the series' 2011 lineup. Here's what you can look forward to on Mondays from May 23rd to July 25th (shows start at 6:30 p.m.):

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Video: Canasta - 'Appreciation'

Posted by Sasha Geffen

Here's a charmingly DIY video for Canasta's orchestral indie pop track "Appreciation," off their 2010 release The Fakeout, the Tease and the Breather (reviewed here). Sometimes all you need to illustrate your music is a video camera, great lighting and some good looking bandmates. The footage all comes from the soundcheck for the band's sold-out Old Town School of Music set. Shot, directed and edited by Eduardo Cintron, the video features gorgeous colors and foot shots aplenty. Enjoy.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Support Japan at the Empty Bottle

Posted by Frank Krolicki

This Tuesday, March 22nd, you can help support Japan in the wake of the recent devastating earthquake/tsunami and check out an eclectic mix of Japanese bands to boot. Starting at 9:30 p.m., the Empty Bottle will host the Chicago stop of the "Japan Nite" U.S. tour, featuring Lolita No. 18, Mo'Some Tonebender, Zukunashi and Hystoic Vein.

The show costs $10, and the the Empty Bottle is encouraging all who purchase them online to add a $5 donation to the American Red Cross to help relief efforts; everyone who does will receive a ticket for a free domestic draft beer at the door. In addition, the venue will be donating 10% of ticket sales to the Red Cross. You will also be able to make donations at the bar.

Tickets are available here. Head out, discover some new music and help out how you can.

Show review: Hemmingbirds at Lincoln Hall, 3/16

Posted by Conor O'Hagan

Hemmingbirds perform at a past show (

A host of local acts played Lincoln Hall last Wednesday in a show presented by Betta Promotions, including local indie rock band Hemmingbirds.

Hemmingbirds began as a side project for writer-guitarist-singer Yoo Soo Kim, but led to the release of their debut and self-produced album, Death Wave, last May. The album was described here on WCR recently as “sometimes uplifting, sometimes darkly desperate and most often a powerful mixture of both.”

The show began as a solid indie rock set with surprisingly strong vocals, which impressed on me the extent of Kim’s ability as a songwriter and performer. Supported by a host of talented characters, the songs transitioned from well-rounded originals to a cover of The Beach Boys’ "Wouldn’t It Be Nice," with four-part harmonies to boot.

Friday, March 18, 2011

A few Chicago music news bites

  • Are you a musician who could use free studio time or do you know a musician who could use free studio time? Chicago's Hatch Recording is giving away just that (4 hours of it) to one lucky band who follows them on Twitter @hatchrecording. They'll select the winner on April 1st.
  • If it seems like everyone is at SXSW except you, we can sympathize. Luckily, we can live vicariously through Rabble Rabble, one of the bands representing our city down in Texas, who are documenting their experience with a series of videos on Behold.
  • The idea of 12-and-13-year-olds playing rock and roll might naturally induce a bit of skepticism, but locals Northbrook Garage are proving that tweens can make some damn fine music. Take it from Sharon Jones, who said of them: "The babies are bringing back soul! Ain't that something!" See for yourself when the band plays the Abbey tonight, March 18th. Details here.
  • Daytrotter has just put up a session with the Windy City's own Hollows. Grab it here.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Interview: Drawn From Bees

Posted by Frank Krolicki

I've got a bit of a weakness for Australian bands. I don't know exactly why, but something about most music that comes from the smallest of the continents just clicks. Case in point: Drawn From Bees. The Brisbane-based quartet's sharp songwriting and moody alt-rock sound were a very welcome discovery, and it's easy to hear why they have been receiving buzz both in and out of their native land. For their currently underway U.S. tour - which includes two Chicago shows - the band have put together a five-track introductory EP called Cautionary Tales for the Lionhearted to offer up a sampling of all of their releases to date.

Catch Drawn From Bees when they pass through the Windy City with gigs on Monday, March 21st at Reggies and Tuesday, March 22nd at Elbo Room. In the meantime, check out our interview with frontman Dan James below to find out more about the band and how their time in the States has been going so far.

Help get Empires on the cover of Rolling Stone

Posted by Frank Krolicki

Chicago's Empires could soon land the cover of Rolling Stone. The four piece has been chosen as one of eight finalists in the magazine's "Do You Wanna Be a Rock and Roll Star?" competition, in which the winner will not only score the cover, but also a recording deal with Atlantic and a performance on "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon." Reader ratings will determine which four of the eight finalists move on to the next round, so head here to vote.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Show review: Maps & Atlases at Lincoln Hall, 3/11

Posted by Conor O'Hagan

"Accessible" is a term that is sometimes shunned in the musical community. It has connotations of selling out, of dumbing down. And at times these connotations are well-deserved.
And at times they are not.

Maps & Atlases began as an impressive math-rock outfit, displaying technical capabilities that match up to their influences, such as Don Caballero and Hella. Then the band took a different route. A more accessible route. This more pop-oriented direction was perfectly displayed at their Lincoln Hall show on March 11th.

Photos: Portugal. The Man, Kellen & Me, The Soil & the Sun at Audiotree's launch party

The crew behind Audiotree have been incredibly busy since kicking off a few months ago. Not only have they been acting as a label and management company, they have also been regularly recording really cool live sessions with an assortment of top bands, which you can keep up with on their site. Last Thursday, Audiotree officially celebrated its launch with a show at Lincoln Hall featuring sets by Portugal. The Man, Kellen & Me and The Soil and the Sun. Some of us Windy City Rock-ers were there and had a great time. Here are some shots that WCR contributing photographers Mary-Claire Runchey and Heather Sapp got of all three performances.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

New music from White Mystery

Posted by Frank

On April 20th everyone's favorite redheaded brother-sister garage rock duo, White Mystery, will follow-up their much lauded debut with sophomore record Blood & Venom. Thanks to Giant System, you can now get a sneak preview via a live performance of the title track. The tune is everything you would expect from White Mystery - noisy, raw and full of Alex White's howling vocals. See and hear for yourself below.

In other WM news, there is a very respectable movement going down on Facebook to get the duo a spot on "Conan" in 2011. I, for one, think it would be a perfect match. The Whites and Mr. O'Brien all have extra impressive firepower in the hair department, and are generally awesome. Join the group and champion the cause here.

030 White Mystery from Kyle Obriot on Vimeo.

Show review & photos: Flogging Molly at Congress Theater

By Mike Sullivan

photo: Mike Sullivan
Flogging Molly made the Chicago stop on their 7th annual Green 17 tour this past weekend for two nearly sold out shows at the Congress Theater. They may have been a week early for St. Patrick's Day, but I really doubt that anybody minded. After all, St. Patrick’s is more like a holiday season here than just another holiday.

Once opening act Moneybrother finished their set, the main floor filled in very tightly with barely an open spot to stand. Chants of “Flogg-ing Mol-ly (clap clap clap clap clap)” and “Ole Ole” started. At 9:30 p.m. sharp the lights dimmed and a slight calm came over the crowd. This would turn out to be the last moment of tranquility for the night. Once the very first note from the title track on their forthcoming album, Speed of Darkness, was played, the swirling mosh pits erupted. Frontman Dave King was dancing and running around the stage like a gigantic leprechaun fueled by adrenaline and Guinness, stopping only for brief moments to belt out his lyrics.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Show preview: Sic Alps, Cave at the Empty Bottle, 3/17

Posted by Andrew

Not sure what it was that attracted me to Pitchfork’s 90th best track of 2008, but that is how I began my on-again-off-again relationship with Sic Alps. The San Francisco duo-turned-trio sometimes annoys the piss out of me, and other times I find a certain poignancy in garage-noise all-star "Message from the Law." Music has never sounded so stripped down; you know exactly what you’re getting with track titles like "Bells with Tremelo Distortion." Recently released Napa Asylum continues to show Sic Alps cleaning up their act while maintaining the edge they’ve become known for. When it seems like everyone is migrating south right now, this Thursday the 17th the Empty Bottle will prove you don’t need a plane ticket to Austin or have Irish blood to enjoy this weekend. Drag City label-mates and locals Cave join the fun with their hypnotic, trippy, weird, funky sounds, as well as the Iowa City organ and drum duo Wet Hair. This show will certainly not be the faint of ears.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Record review: Whales - self-titled LP

Posted by Sasha

Whales dream big. They've debuted with a record that holds little back, leaves little out from their unabashedly huge garage rock spirit. A period of prenatal experimentation has led them through the realms of noise, post-rock and grunge to their own potent little niche. They draw noticeably from Sonic Youth's No Wave noise but without adopting its cynicism, instead funneling a playful air into their mountains of distortion. Swap out Thurston Moore for Black Francis and you might get something like Whales.

Gently layered guitar licks echo Robin Guthrie's work with the Cocteau Twins, but rather than float into the atmosphere, Whales build their way up on sheer steel and concrete. More than anything, they know how to construct towers of songs. Instrumentals "Sunshine" and "Snow Day" distress post-rock structures with garage aesthetics, catapulting through lacerated arpeggios to Explosions in the Sky-style crescendos. Tracks like "Population Theory" begin breezily and then explode at the refrain. At points the record begins to sound like Blonde Redhead infused with HEALTH, the melodic arrangements of the former coupled with the mad energy of the latter, reaching places distinct from either.

The comedians of music

Posted by Andrew

Michael Showalter plays Schubas March 14th
The intersection of music and comedy seems to continually be adding lanes in the independent world. Sure, the likes of Weird Al or the Rutles existed long before Stephen Lynch or Demetri Martin, but there is more and more of an overlap between the two mediums. In an interview last year with Pitchfork, David Cross pointed out the connection as well:

There's quite an overlap between musicians-- especially drummers-- who have an affection and a proclivity towards comedy and comedians who fantasize about being in a band. And a lot of comics play instruments: Zach [Galifianakis] plays piano, Demetri Martin and Sarah Silverman play guitar. The two worlds have more similarities than they do difference.

(While on the subject of David Cross, if you’ve never read his satirical attempt at Pitchfork reviews, you probably should)

More recently, former Sleater-Kinney frontwoman has teamed up with Fred Armisen to create one of the funniest and highly self-reflexive comedies in recent memory, IFC’s "Portlandia." Music videos have often been away to promote humor (a recent example by the New Pornographers) and I notice more and more on my twitter feed about musicians collabing with comedians.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

EP review: The Bright White - 'Until Then'

Posted by Frank

The headline of a recent Metromix Chicago article on The Bright White boldly reads "Beatles maniacs." A single listen to the locally-based band's debut EP Until Then offers plenty of proof why. Packed with ringing guitars, well-crafted melodies and heartfelt, rootsy appeal, its five songs are founded on the classic pop elements of the ever-revered British foursome. But that's not all there is to The Bright White; they expand on that core sound with touches of prime-era American alternative rock and then inject it all with an extra shot of raw energy.

Until Then opens with the passionate "Red Summer Rose," featuring a bright melody contrasted by less-than-optimistic sentiments that lie just below the sheen; "There she goes, red summer rose / sure as I was born I'll find a thorn," assert the rich, hard-charging vocals of frontman Matthew Kayser. This sort of split between music and lyrics typically makes for more interesting pop songs, and it's definitely part of what makes The Bright White's debut so grabbing.

Free music from Tandem Shop

Posted by Conor

Some two-and-a-half months after that festive period, I discovered something that would have delighted me when it was first released. Free stuff. I love free stuff. But not only free stuff. This is a generous gift. This is a generous gift of music. Not only music, but new music. New Chicago music. Really good new Chicago music.

Tandem Shop is an independent record label from Chicago. With four acts currently on the label - Project Film, The Island of Misfit Toys, Mr. Bear and Honest Engines - it released a free download of eight songs under the name Happy Holidays from Tandem Shop!: Holiday Mix 2010. The songs give a great introduction to all four of the label’s Chicago bands, who are sure to have prominent futures in the local music scene.

Sure, I’m a little late, so let’s call it a St. Patrick’s Day gift instead. Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

In Tall Buildings cover Cains & Abels on new 7"

Posted by Frank

While they prepare the follow-up to their 2010 debut album, Chicago's In Tall Buildings have cut a couple of tracks for a special vinyl 7" to be released on Record Store Day (April 16th). For the A side, they looked to fellow Windy City musicians Cains & Abels for inspiration, covering "Warm Rock" off the band's 2009 debut, Call Me Up. On the flip side is an alternate, "bedroom pop" version of "The Way to A Monster's Lair," one of the strongest tracks off In Tall Buildings' debut. Grab the 7" next month, but in the meantime you can hear/download their take on "Warm Rock" below.

In Tall Buildings also have a few hometown shows coming up. Catch them supporting Sharon Van Etten and Little Scream at Lincoln Hall on Saturday, April 9th,  and for an in-store at Saki a week later on April 16th to celebrate the release of Warm Rock. They will also be performing at an upcoming installment of Second City's "The Late Live Show."

Interview: DAAN

Posted by Bobby

photo: Jonny Heffernan
One of the most unique and entertaining acts to emerge from Chicago recently is DAAN, a three-man theatrical electro-pop group that has brought a massively energetic gay apocalypse to unsuspecting venues such as Town Hall, Mini Bar and Berlin. The show brings together elements of a sci-fi stage with synth-driven dance pop that makes the room seem like a lost musical sequence from "Blade Runner."

I recently interviewed founding members Dan Foley and Patrick Andrews about the project's inception, theatrical nature and where they're headed.

WCR: Of all the various acts I check out, DAAN is an act that really knocked my socks off. What was the inception of the project and how did the collaborators meet?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Show preview: Walk the Moon at Elbo Room, 3/11

Posted by Andrew

Cincinnati doesn’t strike me as a hotbed of musical potency. I really can’t think of one band off the top of my head from there. A brief Google search tells me the National, the Afghan Whigs and, um, 98 Degrees all have their roots in Cincy. So when I first heard the flying-through-the-stars grooves of "Anna Sun" by Walk the Moon, I wasn’t magically whisked away to the home of the Bengals and Reds. I certainly started head bobbing though, and the rest of my body was quickly infected with the of Montreal meets disco-Vampire Weekend beats.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Show review: Louis and The Hunt at Schubas, 3/3

By Conor O'Hagan

The only inkling I had as to what to expect from Louis and The Hunt at Schubas on Thursday night was the song "Footprints on a Bed," a teaser of things to come from their EP. That and the following sentence from Loud Loop Press: “Few people can say 'love sucks' as eloquently as Louis and the Hunt mastermind Ryne Estwing." I was immediately excited.

The modern folksy number shows controlled efforts from Estwing and is backed up by dreamy backing vocals and a host of composed musicians let the song writing do the work. The finished product is a folk-dream-pop soundscape that begins with whispers of promise and builds to a vibrant flurry of devotion - “It’s been for you, never for me, for me.”

Much was the same live.

Show review: The Pogues, Titus Andronicus at Congress Theater, 3/3

By Matt Ciani

Shane MacGowan of The Pogues
Two generations of punks gathered at Congress Theater on Thursday to mosh and sweat through three hours of booze-fueled intensity, as provided by new-generation Jersey-dwellers Titus Andronicus and classic, Irish shanties of The Pogues. Unfortunately, these two groups were a bit immiscible despite coming from similar scenes.

Titus Andronicus took the stage at 9 p.m. to a largely oblivious audience. “Hello: We’re Titus Andronicus from Glen Rock, New Jersey," mumbled Patrick Stickles, before blasting into the seven-minute opening track “A More Perfect Union” from their most recent album The Monitor. Those there for the New Jersey punks were pogoing and shoving before the first words ever came out of Stickles’ mouth. By the end of the first stanza, they were screaming every word, beckoning “Tramps like us: Baby we were born to die!” before diving into a sing-song version of the screeching guitar part of the epic track.

Check this out: Simian Mobile Disco at The Mid

By Beth Hannon

Get ready to dance, Chicago. London-based alternative/electro duo Simian Mobile Disco will continue their Live North American Tour with a stop at The Mid on Wednesday, March 16. Juan Maclean and Blondes will open.

James Ford and Jas Shaw, the master-electrono-minds behind SMD, have been tearing up dance floors for years and seem to have a knack for getting people to move their feet and swivel their hips. Their latest album  Delicacies was by far one of my favorites of 2010, with tracks inspired by delicacies discovered and experienced by the guys as they traveled the world. This is music not to be missed - tunes where you can close your eyes and bob your head as you get whisked away to a world of ecstasy.

8 p.m. doors, 21 and over, $22.50. Tickets here.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Pitchfork announces initial fest lineup

Posted by Frank

Animal Collective will play Pitchfork on July 15
Those who want to get a jump on buying tickets for Pitchfork Music Festival will at least know some of the acts slated to perform as they click "purchase" starting at noon today. The fest has announced the partial lineup for all three of its scheduled days, from July 15-17 in Chicago's Union Park. Here's the list:

Friday, July 15: Animal Collective, James Blake, Das Racist, Curren$y

Saturday, July 16: Fleet Foxes, The Dismemberment Plan, Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti, Woods, Sun Airway, Kylesa

Sunday, July 17: TV on the Radio, Cut Copy, Deerhunter, Destroyer, OFWGKTA, Yuck

If you like what you see so far, you can grab single-day passes for $45 and three-day passes for $110 at 12 p.m. CST today via the fest's website.

A few Chicago music news bites

  • The Empty Bottle is launching a new customer appreciation concert series called Music.Friendly.Dancing, which will feature one free (with RSVP) show every month. It kicks off next Monday, March 7th with Menomena, so get RSVP-in'
  • Last summer Second City's Late Live Show kicked off its initial run, featuring a talk show-style format with live music, interviews and comedy on Saturday nights. After a successful debut series, it's about to return for a new season from March 5th to May 14th. Expect musical performances by California Wives, REGO, They All Have Legs and more. Tickets and details here
  • Loud Loop Press participated in a bit of speculation on who's going to play this year's Pitchfork fest, set for July 15th, 16th and 17th in Union Park. Tickets are on sale today
  • Experimental Chicago band A Lull won't release their full-length, Confetti, until April 12th, but they have put all of the tracks up for streaming now on SoundCloud. Go have a listen to their truly unique sounds
  • City's Best Chicago was kind enough to interview yours truly about WCR and the Chicago music scene in general. I did my best not to say anything too dumb. Check out the Q&A here

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Show review: The Island of Misfit Toys at Schubas, 3/1

By Conor O'Hagan

The Island of Misfit Toys is the brainchild of one Anthony Sanders. With the considerable backing and input of a bagful of his roommates and friends, the group lit up Schubas Tuesday night in the lead up to the release of their debut album, Bear Hair, on Tandem Shop Records this summer.

There is no doubting that Sanders is a force of nature, but it is the sense of community emanating from the stage that charms. All eight band members - Anthony, Evan, Mark, Danny, Kamila, Jonathan, Julia and Lui - were animated throughout and everyone knew every word to every song, and sang along passionately, regardless of mic allocation.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

EP review: The Kickback - 'Mea Culpa Mea Culpa'

By Jordan Posner

In this day and age, when creating a “new style” merely involves taking a forgotten '80s genre, updating it only slightly and waiting for the Pitchfork Media accolades to come rolling in (This is easily the best synth/twee/math-core record I’ve ever heard!), it’s kind of refreshing to hear a band like The Kickback who don’t come with a gimmick. Rather, in their new four-song EP Mea Culpa Mea Culpa, The Kickback provide an overview of the parameters of what we used to call “alternative rock” before the brief and hideous digression of the late '90s known as “rap-metal.”

In the opening track, “Alpha Flight,” lead singer Billy Yost isn’t afraid to let his voice crack and break over a simple guitar riff that gently reminds us that the Pixies exist. In essence, that’s really the most winning aspect of the band’s music; their songs whisper at their influences without wearing them on their collective sleeve.

Show preview: Dastardly, Milano and more at Reggie's, 3/5

Posted by Sasha

Dastardly love a good saloon
In preparation for their trip to SXSW, alt-country darlings Dastardly will play their first Chicago gig in three months this Saturday. About time, too--this raucus sextet puts on a stomping good show that's not to be missed. The show is free, but the band would be grateful for donations to help sponsor their journey to Texas.

Accompanying Dastardly at their pre-Austin hoedown will be the Champaign-based Dirty Feathers, interstate bluegrass collaborators The Bears of Blue River, and avant-garde gypsy rockers Milano. Expect big American sounds all around. Each of these bands push midwestern music to a different edge, entertaining the genre in exciting ways. If you're looking for an evening of diverse yet aesthetically cohesive rock performances then this might be a good way to fill your weekend. And did I mention the show is free? Because it's super free. It'll all get started at 7 p.m. on Saturday, March 5th at Reggie's Rock Club (18 and over).

For a taste of what's to come, check out Dastardly performing "Freight Train", courtesy of The Kitchen Sessions:

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Video: Manwomanchild - 'Reasons'

Posted by Frank

As Manwomanchild, Chicago-based musician David Child and his studio collaborators produced one of my favorite records released last year in the form of their self-titled full length debut. Now, one of tracks - "Reasons" - has taken music video form. This is one you pretty much have to see for yourself, but it involves a scientist-like character, a havoc-wreaking Medieval sea monster and an important shipment from a certain large online retailer. Take a look below and then check out our recent album review and interview with David for more on Manwomanchild.

Show photos: Baths, Braids at Subterranean, 2/26

California's Baths and Canada's Braids were in town Saturday night to play SubT (along with Chicago's own Houses), and WCR contributing photographer Mary-Claire was there to get some shots of both sets. Take a look below.


Celebrate St. Pat's early with Flogging Molly at the Congress

By Mike Sullivan

Los Angeles-based Celtic rockers Flogging Molly will be making an early St. Patrick’s day stop at the Congress Theater next weekend - Friday, March 11th and Saturday, March 12th - as part of their 7th Annual Green 17 tour.

Flogging Molly fans anxiously await the Green 17 tour each year as the festivities have grown into near legendary status. The band's blend of traditional Celtic sounds, hard-edged punk and thoughtful lyrics, combined with the sheer power of their live shows, have garnered a loyal following that matches their energy night after night. Tickets for the show can be purchased in person at the Congress Theater box office with no service changes or online here. To purchase tickets for other dates, please visit Flogging Molly’s website.

The band is currently touring in support their upcoming album The Speed of Darkness, which is set to be released on May 24th on Side One Dummy Records. You can download the first single, “Don’t Shut ‘Em Down,” for free.