Monday, May 30, 2011

In Tall Buildings Violitionist Session

Posted by Frank Krolicki

While passing through Denton, Texas, Chicago's In Tall Buildings (a.k.a. singer-songwriter Erik Hall) recently recorded a Violitionist Session with the great website of the same name, which offers unique takes of three songs as well as three-question interviews with various musicians. The set includes stripped back versions of "The Way to a Monster's Lair" and "Suitor" from ITB's debut record, in addition to an unreleased tune titled "Bawl, Cry, Wail."

Check out Hall's performance of "Bawl, Cry, Wail" below and head to Violitionist for video and free audio downloads of all three tracks. You can also grab a free mp3 of the album version of "The Way to a Monster's Lair" via the Soundcloud widget below. To catch catch ITB live, head out to this year's Taste of Randolph fest in the West Loop on Saturday, June 18th at 3:30 p.m.


Friday, May 27, 2011

A few Chicago music news bites

  • Pitchfork reviewed Chicago experimental rock act A Lull's debut album Confetti. They weren't feeling it quite as much as WCR's own Andrew Hertzberg was in his review, but still, it's always nice to see Windy City bands getting P4k buzz.
    • Daytrotter.com put up a session with Chicago songwriter Dick Prall for download.
    • Fresh from rockin' NYC, White Mystery are back home in Chicago and will be doing a free in-store performance at Reckless Records in Wicker Park this Saturday, May 28th, at 4 p.m. More details here.
    • Underground Bee has some great photos up from Monday night's show with Bonnie Prince Billy and Eleventh Dream Day at Pritzker Pavilion, which WCR's Bobby Minelli wrote about here.
    • Richard over at Loud Loop Press gave his take on Running From A Gamble, the new album from Company of Thieves. Also check out WCR's review of the record.

    Wednesday, May 25, 2011

    Show review: Rambos, The Woes at The Whistler, 5/22

    By Gene Wagendorf III

    Rambos
    Sunday night is normally my least favorite night to go to shows. With any luck I've been tearing it up all weekend and I no doubt have to work Monday morning. This Sunday was different, though. We, as a species, needed to celebrate. The world didn't end on Saturday. What did the lack of a rapture get us? A great free show at The Whistler.

    The Woes took the stage to a humming and seemingly disinterested crowd. That changed quickly. The band from Brooklyn launched into an upbeat country-blues number that immediately shut everyone up. Lead singer Osei Essed has one of those striking presences on-stage that makes you look like a fool as you grope the bar blindly searching for your drink. Much of the music came from their November EP, The Bird & The Bear, which fluidly moves from between soul, bluegrass, country and rock. Essed's voice has a kind of Tom Waits twinge and an indelible sincerity that fits perfectly into the banjos, pedal guitars and horns that the rest of The Woes expertly manipulate. “World of Stone” moved with the determination of a Baby Huey & The Babysitters slow-jam while “There are Fields” called the audience to slap their knees and sing along. That The Woes come from Brooklyn seems a bit of an oddity considering how authentically southern their stylings are, but that they were playing in Chicago Sunday night was nothing short of a gift.

    Tuesday, May 24, 2011

    Video: Gypsyblood - 'Take Your Picture'

    Posted by Frank Krolicki

    Earlier this month we spread the word about a video of Gypsyblood performing live in NYC at BreakThru Radio, and now the Chicago rockers have an official clip out for "Take Your Picture," the lead-in track from their debut LP Cold in the Guestway. There's a bunch of random things going on in it, including a dude eating photos with a fork and knife, egg yolks on people for no apparent reason and a pretty awesome little girl dancing around throughout (Gypsyblood's own "Bee Girl"?). In other words, it's well worth a watch.

    Gypsyblood " Take Your Picture" from Sargent House on Vimeo.

    Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, Eleventh Dream Day kick off Millennium Park's New Music Mondays

    Posted by Bobby Minelli

    Bonnie "Prince" Billy
    Will Oldham thanked Norse gods for the weather last night, and even suggested attendees of this year's first free "Downtown Sound: New Music Mondays" concert pay tribute by seeing Thor's new blockbuster movie. There are many to thank for the spectacular free outdoor concert series, including the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, the Park's Department the Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture. While at points in the previous year the series was in danger of being canceled due to budget restrictions, this summer the lineup is as strong as it's ever been. There will be ten double bill concerts on Monday nights and, based on last night's attendance, Chicagoans are thrilled about it.

    Eleventh Dream Day took the stage in the Monday afternoon sun and began what inevitably became a coming out party for Chicago--coming out from wherever we all go to get through the winter. It was a collective celebration, full of summer dresses, cut-off shorts, beer and Raybans, and Eleventh Dream Day's minimalist rock 'n' roll was the perfect way to start the party. The guitars carried up from the pit and rattled into the sky a pronouncement of our ended hibernation. The mix was great; one of my favorite aspects of the Pritzker Pavilion is the vocals carry well and are more audible than many outdoor venues. Chicagoans floated onto the lawn, the crowd continuing to grow throughout the entire set, and there was an overall feeling of both relaxation and exuberance. I can't recall the last time I saw so many smiles in public.

    Monday, May 23, 2011

    Download two new Village tracks for free

    Posted by Frank Krolicki

    Village can always be counted on for not only putting out high quality rock and roll, but also being really generous with it. They have offered most of their music for free download in the past, and now they're giving away some more of it via a digital 7" featuring two brand new tracks. Both guitar-driven tunes seriously rock, with "Heaven Is a Shroud" delving into the band's slow-burning, deep psychedelic side and the faster-paced "Got No Hold" bringing a more straight-ahead raveup.

    You can listen to/grab both tracks below, and if you like what you hear be sure to get Village's two excellent full-lengths Minimal Animal and Local Moves, which you can download from their Bandcamp site for just five bucks apiece. Also, catch the band live this Friday, May 27th at Bottom Lounge with Holiday House and The Visitor. More info and tickets here.

    Friday, May 20, 2011

    A few Chicago music news bites

    • The Taste of Chicago revealed the musical acts for this year's fest, set for June 24 to July 3 in Grant Park. Included on the list are a number of locally-based indie bands including Gold Motel, White Mystery, California Wives and Archie Powell & the Exports, to name a few. The full lineup and schedule is up on the Taste's website.
    • Chicago indie duo Pinto and the Bean have just put out a very fun video for their track "Robot Wars," which will be included on their upcoming debut album planned for release in July. They are also calling on listeners to help design their logo, which you can read more about here.
    • Greg Kot of the Tribune reviewed The Cars' Wednesday night show at the Riviera.
    • Pet Lions recently stopped by Giant System to film a live performance of the dreamy tune "Slow Wave" off their new album Houses. Check it out here.
    • In other music festival news, Logan Square's Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival (July 29-31) announced that JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound, White Mystery & The Hood Internet will headline the weekend. Click here to see additional acts slated to play.

    The Airborne Toxic Event at Metro, 5/19

    Posted by Mike Sullivan


    The Airborne Toxic Event, currently on tour in support of their sophomore album All At Once, made a stop in Chicago this week with two back-to-back sold out shows at Metro. The band played through a healthy mix of material from the new LP and their self-titled debut album, including songs such as “All I Ever Wanted,” “This Losing” and “Wishing Well.” The crowd seemed not really into the performance until frontman Mikel Jollett started the ballad "Happiness Is Overrated," singing along during the acappella intro. After that moment, it was like being at a completely different show. During "Something New,", Mikel climbed over the stage barrier and walked into the crowd to join them in an intimate sing-along. The Los Angeles five-piece was truly humbled by the crowd response and they gave as much as they took all night.

    Thursday, May 19, 2011

    Show review: His Name is Alive, In Tall Buildings at Empty Bottle, 5/18

    Posted by Andrew Hertzberg

    (photo source)
    It’s already difficult enough to try to describe Livonia, Michigan's His Name is Alive. I’ve been a fan since Detrola came out in 2006 and have tried to keep a close eye on Warren Defever ever since. For such a prolific artist that puts out consistently great albums, who enjoyed a stint on 4AD and is always pushing himself creatively, HNiA has remained generally under the radar. A less than full house at the Empty Bottle Wednesday proved just how under-appreciated he really is. 

    From the beginning, we knew it was going to be an interesting show. Warren jumped off the stage and handed out percussion instruments (tambourines, bells, etc.) to audience members, actively engaging us to participate. With the audience’s creative noise as well as the dissonance from Warren’s guitar and the chaotic drumming, a tension was being built, only minimally released when Andy FM’s lyrics to "The Darkess Night" kicked in. Musically, however, the track bore no resemblance to the recorded original. Embracing the limitations of drums, six-strings and keys, the group created a new rendition of the song, sans the lead horns that drive the song on the album. The tension remained as the upbeat music confused our expectations (or at least familiarity) from the album version, the somber vocals contrasting with music full of energy that wouldn’t have been out of place on Funhouse.

    Record review: Bailiff - 'Red Balloon'

    Posted by Frank Krolicki

    Bailiff's Red Balloon has been a long time coming. It was back in 2008 that the Chicago band released their introductory EP Mm Hmm, a four-track set of slow-burning indie rock with a raw, bluesy edge that, combined with their tight live shows, succeeded in getting plenty of people interested. After such a long gap from EP to full-length any band would have to deliver something extra special to make the wait pay off, and Bailiff don't disappoint on Red Balloon. Having spent most of 2010 working with engineer Beau Sorenson (Sparkle Horse, Death Cab for Cutie) and producer Jon Alvin (Wax on Radio, Dr Manhattan), the band didn't just create an extended version of Mm Hmm; the bluesy burn is still there, but the basic sound has been built upon and fleshed out into something that's even better.

    The instrumental "Crickets" lets us know immediately that we're in for something stretching beyond what we might have expected. It's a dramatic, two-minute track introducing an exotic flair that runs through some of what follows, including the superb "In the Reverie" and "Everyday Fire." These songs have a cool hypnotic groove that combines with the tribal percussion of Ren Mathew and solid hooks for what could be the band's strongest material to date - or at least their most accessible. "Eventually" is another highlight early in the album, standing out by suddenly bringing in a great, memorable second melody during its final two minutes.

    Wednesday, May 18, 2011

    Vote for WCR in the Reader's 'Best of Chicago' poll!


    So, the Chicago Reader just kicked off their annual "Best of Chicago" survey for 2011. One of the categories is "Best Local Music Blog."  If you like what we do here at WCR and enjoy reading the site, we would really, really appreciate it if you could vote for us. There are quite a few great Chicago music blogs so we know we have some stiff competition, but here's the thing: WE REALLY WANT TO WIN!

    To vote, click here (you will have to enter your name and email address) and then enter "Windy City Rock" in the form next to "Best Local Music Blog" and click "save and exit" at the bottom. That's it.

    Please help us out and tell your friends, too. The survey ends on June 6th. Thanks, everyone!

    Tuesday, May 17, 2011

    New lineup announcements for Wicker Park Fest, Green Music Fest

    Posted by Frank Krolicki

    photo via chadmagiera on flickr
    What would Chicago summers be without music festivals? Significantly less fun, that's what. Thankfully we don't have to even entertain that that frightening idea because lineup announcements keep coming for this year's various fests, reminding us that there will be plenty to enjoy.

    One of the most popular, Wicker Park Fest, just revealed more bands set to play. The current list is: 

    North Stage – Saturday: WILD FLAG, Off With Their Heads!, Dead To Me, Riverboat Gamblers, Ha Ha Tonka, Chaperone, Brent Puls

    North Stage – Sunday: Wavves, Murder By Death, Everest, Ezra Furman & the Harpoons, Jesse Malin & The St. Marks Social, An Aesthetic Anesthetic, Biters

    South Stage – Saturday: MiMOSA, El Ten Eleven, NiT GRiT, Ana Sia, AraabMUZIK, Break Science, Lynx, Loyal Divide

    South Stage – Sunday: Blitzen Trapper, Joe Pug, Van Ghost, The Pimps of Joytime, Big Light, Netherfriends, Dastardly, Docs Delorean, Anna Soltys and The Familiar

    Center Stage – Saturday: Flosstradamus, Porn N Chicken DJs, Dani Deahl, Chaotic Good, California Wives, Napalm Purple Apples

    Center Stage – Sunday: Digital Tape Machine, ZEBO vs. Marco Morales, Midnight Conspiracy, Filligar, Kid Color, Ishi Hiroki

    Monday, May 16, 2011

    Show review: Elvis Costello at the Chicago Theatre, 5/15

    Posted by Andrew Hertzberg

    The lights flickered. “Nothing like a little pressure,” the gentleman at the urinal next to me quipped as the Chicago Theatre let us know the show was about to start. For such an iconic city venue, I’ve never actually seen live music there before. An interesting show to be my first for sure, with Elvis Costello bringing his Imposters and the Spectacular Spinning Songbook. Essentially, the idea is that audience members get to spin a wheel with 40 songs spanning Elvis’s entire career and he has to play what comes up. This idea was reprised from when he first did it with the Attractions in 1986, and I wondered if this show would fare better than the one this reviewer from back then had witnessed.

    Well, unexpectedly the group completely ignored the wheel for the first part of the set. They jumped into classics like "Mystery Dance" and "Radio, Radio." These were played at a 1977 pace, with Costello showing no limiting signs of his 56 years. It took only till the fourth song for the pervasive scent of overly-buttered popcorn to begin being bothersome. Alas, a minor inconvenience, and fortunately, the wheel was about to come into play. 

    Tonight: Three great Chicago bands for free at Empty Bottle

    Posted by Frank Krolicki

    So begins another week and another dose of unseasonably cold weather in Chicago. Fortunately, with it comes another lineup of solid live music options to make things better. Starting the week off is a very worthwhile show at the Empty Bottle tonight. Not only does it feature three genuinely great Windy City bands - Panda Riot, Michael Lux & the Bad Sons and Gypsyblood - it's totally free. There's really not a whole lot better in life than high quality rock and roll combined with free, so be sure to jump on this one. The show starts at 9:30. Here's a bit more info on all three bands:

    Panda Riot's dreamy psych-pop gets a great deal of attention from Chicago indie music fans, and for good reason. Rebecca Scott's airy vocals combined with memorable, ethereal pop tunes makes for some pretty sweet ear-candy. Listen to their track "Motown Glass" below.
       Motown Glass by pandariot

    Interview: Dexter Tortoriello

    Posted by Andrew Hertzberg


    Dexter Tortoriello seems to make music for whatever weather related aural accompaniment I desire. He is half of the (for lack of better term) chillwave duo Houses: perfect summer sunset patio tunes to transport you to the rural Hawaii that helped inspire it. But for the all too common rainy days of 2011 so far? That’s where Dawn Golden and Rosy Cross comes into play. Entirely Dexter’s project, his EP Blow was re-released last month on Diplo's Mad Decent outfit. The six song collection is ominous and brooding, yet oddly comforting. It’s when the sky turns orange from the clouds and you begin to notice the flashes of light through blinded windows. The thunder’s not far off and you catch just a sprinkle of the impending downpour before you find shelter.

    After reading a couple pieces on Dexter, I decided he was a pretty interesting cat and wanted to pick his brain deeper. Read on for his poignant thoughts on the necessity of occasional isolation, unique recording environments and appreciating what you don’t understand.

    Friday, May 13, 2011

    Record review: White Mystery - 'Blood & Venom'

    Posted by Andrew Hertzberg 

    Anyone involved with Chicago’s independent music scene is already quite acquainted with White Mystery. They’ve answered thousands of questions in interviews, played almost every building in the city, they are involved in the local art scene beyond music and the duo Alex and Francis are children to photographer Diane Alexander White, famous for capturing the Disco Demolition in 1979. Their ubiquity in this city is beyond impressive. Needless to say, the DIY and pop-art aesthetics go beyond music for them and are an entire way of life. After an extensive tour already this year as well as seven performances at SXSW, the Mystery Team head to NYC next week to bring Chicago’s finest garage rock for a week long stretch of shows in various venues. It might be almost time to let the rambunctious redheads graze on greater pastures.

    But for now, we’ve got Blood & Venom, the follow up to their eponymous debut from last year. The album picks up right where they left off, although they either made 10 louder or went up to 11. Alex’s vocals move even further up front in the mix, and the reverb is heavy, distorted even on the opening "Whoop!" The first track is an introduction, "White Mystery," and admittedly a bit anachronistic for a second album. But hey, if Meet the Beatles can pass for a second album, I guess we can let that slide. Besides, with the pummeling distorted drums and blood-gushing feedback, you can’t think too intellectually about this. It’s more carnal than rational. After all, it’s garage rock, and the sound is nailed.

    A few Chicago music news bites

    • Tune into 89.5 FM or go to vocalo.org tonight, May 13th, at 6 to hear WCR's own Andrew Hertzberg discussing the issue of OFWGKTA at Pitchfork fest, which has been stirring debate over the last couple weeks. Andrew originally shared his thoughts on it here.
    • Did you see Lou Reed's...err...interesting performance at Lollapalooza back in 2009? Whether or not you were there to catch it, you will soon be able to own it on DVD. It comes out in July to coincide with Reed's European tour.
    • Loud Loop Press published a review of last Saturday's show at Bottom Lounge featuring Surfer Blood and ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead. Check out what they had to say about it here.
    • One helpful commenter on this very site let us know that if you bring this coupon to FYE starting next Tuesday, May 17th, you will be able to get a copy of Company of Thieves' new album Running From a Gamble for absolutely free.
    • Speaking of free, Lissie is giving away a new mp3 her track "When I'm Alone" performed live from Shepherd's Bush Empire, which you can grab via the widget below. It was recently announced that the Rock Island, IL native (who is now based in California) will play Lollapalooza in August, but before that she will be back in the Chicago area to play a benefit concert at the ALS Association Greater Chicago Chapter Walk on May 21st.

    Wednesday, May 11, 2011

    Show review: Tame Impala at Lincoln Hall, 5/3

    Posted by Conor O’Hagan


    They say that imitation is the highest form of flattery. I disagree. Look at Wolfmother. Instead, let’s try reinvention. And Tame Impala.

    Tame Impala are a psychedelic hypno-groove rock band from Australia. They also claim to be a “movement in Orion's nebula and the slime from a snail journeying across a footpath.” That I can not vouch for, but the psychedelic rock I absolutely can. I caught the band performing their old-school revival at Lincoln Hall last Tuesday.

    Building from the solo recordings of Kevin Parker (before he found his bandmates to back him up), Tame Impala’s debut album Innerspeak seems to be exactly that – the imaginative wanderings and close, personal thoughts of the frontman. His vocals are impressively controlled, swimming in a Lennon-esque stream and always controlled and hitting the mark. And while the musicianship holds a hefty '70s influence, the performance remained organic and relevant in a modern soundscape.

    Show review: El Ten Eleven at Bottom Lounge

    Posted by Conor O’Hagan

    Instrumental post-rock is not the most accessible of genres. Commonly associated with the epic darkness of Godspeed You! Black Emperor or the sultry sweeps of Explosions in the Sky, it rarely can be called forthright.

    El Ten Eleven, however, are exactly that. In their Bottom Lounge show on April 29th they showcased their complex and multi-faceted compositions with unabashed Californian pomp and a glee in the simple act of playing music.

    This is surprisingly intricate and undulating rock music for just a two man army - Kristian Dunn, with a fretless bass, some wonderfully nimble fingers and numerous looping pedals and drummer Tim Fogarty, who utilises a variety of pads and steady, pulsating beats.

    Tuesday, May 10, 2011

    Video: Gypsyblood perform live at BreakThru Radio

    Posted by Frank Krolicki

    I've been really getting into Gypsyblood's debut record Cold in the Guestway over the past few days. These guys give me a definite Jesus and Mary Chain vibe and I love me some JAMC. Plus, they just generally rock. So, I was happy to find a link in my inbox this afternoon to a video of them performing "2-4-6 in the Dark" live at NYC's BreakThru Radio; it's great to see them getting buzz both in and out of Chicago. Check out the video below and see the real thing for free on Monday, May 16 at the Empty Bottle, when Gypsyblood will perform along with Panda Riot and Michael Lux and the Bad Sons.

    Show preview: Canasta, Dastardly, Soft Speaker, Secret Colours at Empty Bottle

    Posted by Frank Krolicki

    If anyone needed proof that the Windy City is home to some of the finest indie bands on the planet, they could find plenty of it at the Empty Bottle this Friday, May 13th. Our friends at Betta Promotions and The Deli Chicago have put together a solid showcase of artists that were chosen by fans on the Deli's site as some of Chicago's best emerging acts throughout 2010, including Canasta, Dastardly, Soft Speaker and Secret Colours. 9:30 p.m., $10 tickets, 21 and over.

    Canasta's intricate, well-crafted orch-pop has got them a great deal of attention ever since the release of their debut full-length We Were Set Up, and the sextet has really gained momentum with their most recent release, The Fakeout, the Tease and the Breather. It's an album full of melody and memorable hooks, but also a thoughtfulness and subtlety that reveal more with each listen.
    For more information, check out:
    - Record review: The Fakeout, the Tease and the Breather
    - Video: "Appreciation"

    Dastardly have accomplished a lot in a short time. We first found out about them last summer from a video of them performing their track "Villain," and since then they've been rapidly gaining buzz with an excellent debut release, May You Never..., and many successful gigs. Their alt-country stands out with consistent, relatable honesty, a sense of humor and most importantly, really impressive songwriting.
    For more information, check out:
    - Record review: May You Never...
    - Indiesomnia interview/live session

    Monday, May 9, 2011

    Moon Furies to play 100 shows in 100 days for cancer research

    Posted by Frank Krolicki

    Chicago electro-pop/rock trio Moon Furies are about to take on something big. Starting on Tuesday, May 17th at Subterranean, the band will perform 100 shows in 100 days. Crazy, right? That's a pretty impressive endeavor by itself, but what makes it even more admirable is that the band will be donating all proceeds to the Kellogg Cancer Center to aid in cancer research. I'm happy to be able to say that as Moon Furies' drummer, Windy City Rock's very own Andrew Hertzberg is one of the guys behind this.  Watch the video below to hear Andrew and his bandmates Jim and Andy explain the project in more detail, and help them make money for a great cause by heading out to the shows!

    Friday, May 6, 2011

    Gonzo Chicago Needs Your Help!

    Posted by Andrew Hertzberg

    For half a decade now, the good people at Gonzo Chicago fronted by John Yingling have been obsessively and compulsively documenting the Chicago music scene. Such extensive filming has its drawbacks however, primarily financially. That’s where you come in. Right now there is fundraiser on IndieGoGo to help get Gonzo the equipment they need. Microphones, cameras, editing equipment: all of it requires $$$, which is hard to come by in the DIY lifestyle. So here’s your chance to help out, and let these people continue to do what they do best. Check out previous footage from the Handsome Furs, the Hot Machines, and more on their vimeo page. Don't take my word for it though. Here's a video from John himself:

    Still not enough for you? Ok, fine. Depending on how much you donate, you can get DVDs, Threadless Tees, a custom photo set / short film of a band of your choice, hell, even a Walkmen album that David Letterman used to clean fruit up from his desk. Every dollar over their $3500 goal will go to the non-profit CHIRP as well, so no need to stop donating once the mark is reached. Gotta hurry on this though: the goal has to be met by May 14th.  Ever the optimists however, there is already a celebratory show taking place at the Mutiny on Friday May 20th featuring Magic Milk, Tyler Jon Tyler, the Brothers Gross and Close Hits. With benefits, like this, every little bit counts, so please give anything you can and rest assured you helped out in documenting Chicago’s independent music history.

    Record review: Company of Thieves - 'Running From a Gamble'

    Posted by Frank Krolicki 

    You know how some bands release a really great debut record and then struggle to come up with anything nearly as interesting when they follow it up? Well, Company of Thieves have pretty much done the opposite with their sophomore full-length Running From a Gamble. That's not to say the Chicagoans’ 2009 debut Ordinary Riches wasn't a perfectly good effort; it got plenty of rave reviews, widespread attention and had a successful indie single in “Oscar Wilde.” But good was apparently not good enough for Company of Thieves. With material, performance and production all at a more impressive level, Running From a Gamble is a stunner of an album that amplifies the band's best qualities tenfold.

    Everything about this record is bigger. The melodies are more defined, the production (very well done by Rob Schnapf) is meatier, the band rocks harder, and the lyrics are sharper. But probably most notable is the evolution of frontwoman Genevieve Schatz's voice. I don't know what happened to her between the recording of Ordinary Riches and Running From a Gamble, but her singing has become even bolder, more visceral. It's commanding. Maybe something really pissed her off and she had more emotion to let loose, or maybe she just became more comfortable in the studio. Whatever the reason, it plays a major part in making this collection of songs so powerful.

    Thursday, May 5, 2011

    A few Chicago music news bites

    Rabble Rabble's new 7"
    • Chicago's Rabble Rabble are set to release a new 7" single on May 23. Both tracks - "Why Not" on the A side and "Long Hook" on the B side - show off the band's rowdy garage-psych rock well and were recorded at Gimme That Sound Studios during the their east coast tour last year. They'll play the Empty Bottle the night of the single's release.
    • We are totally jealous of Archie Powell & the Exports right now. Why? Because they (well, a couple of them) wound up in the Cash Cab! See how they did here.
    • The final music lineup has been released for Do-Division Street Festival, going down June 4th and 5th. Among the acts playing are White Mystery, Empires, California Wives, The Shams Band plus many more. Check out the full list here.
    • In honor of Cinco de Mayo, classic Windy City rockers Cheap Trick have recorded a Mariachi version of one of their signature tunes, "Surrender." Yes, a Mariachi version of "Surrender." There's a video, too. See and hear the (quite surreal) fun here.

    Wednesday, May 4, 2011

    Cinco de Mayo shows: Streets on Fire, Kevin Barnes

    Posted by Andrew Hertzberg

    So after destroying some tacos and multiple cans of Tecate or bottles of Sol on Cinco de Mayo, the last thing you probably want to think of doing is dancing to some loud, abrasive post-punk. Well, what if I told you that the loud, abrasive post-punk could be the Streets on Fire? And that it’s at all-too-hip Wicker Park hotspot Debonair? The folks over at music, style, and culture blog Stic of the Week are teaming up with the venue to bring you the first of Indie-Pendent Thursdays, which will feature live bands shouldering up with DJs in order to bridge the unexplainable gap that still exists between indie rock and dance clubs. Expect the band along with DJ Greg Corner and SotW DJs Lauren and Chelsea. The event is free with an RSVP on do312 or before 11 PM ($5 after, 21+). With future Indie-Pendents playing host to Gemini Club, Hey Champ and Blane Fonda, it's just another reason why Thursdays are Chicago’s favorite night of the week to go out.

    Here’s a late night bonus: For those that can’t make it to either the Yacht or of Montreal show, you can at least catch after-party sets for both at one place. At Berlin, DJ Karate Kid Part 3, better known to the world as eccentric of Montreal frontman Kevin Barnes, will be spinning what are sure to be some far out tunes. Jeffrey Jerusalem, after pounding drums for Yacht at the Metro, will perform his computer disco live.

    God help the tamale man if he enters either one of these places.  

    Show review: Bare Mutants, Tiger Bones at Empty Bottle, 5/2

    Posted by Andrew Hertzberg

    Seriously, these supergroups are going to need supergroup-villains to combat soon enough. And if he’s got a part in all of them, does that make Jered Gummere a superman? The mythological √úbermensch?

    The Bottle filled up quite a bit for the free Monday night unveiling of Bare Mutants, headed by the now in-too-many-bands-to-pick-just-one Mr. Gummere, backed with members from the 1900s, Mannequin Men and one of Derek Nelson’s musicians. All these bands have their specific sounds, none of them akin to what the Mutants created. No post-punk or affecting indie-pop swoons here. Rather, think of the hazy, repetitive, percussive driven groove of early Velvet Underground (but with less cacophony) with the pop sensibilities of the later Velvet Underground / early Lou Reed. Guitar and vocals were heavy on the reverb; the 1900s’ Jeanine O'Toole shared singing duties along with keeping pace with a shimmering tambourine. It was easy to get lost in the semi-psychedelic trance of it all, aided visually by excessive fog. “I can honestly say this is the best show we’ve ever played,” quipped Jered. Let’s hope it’s not the last.

    Tuesday, May 3, 2011

    Response: Jim DeRogatis interviews Pitchfork about OFWGKTA

    Posted by Andrew Hertzberg


    Yesterday Sound Opinions music critic Jim DeRogatis posted on the WBEZ blog about the west coast rap collective Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All. Nothing new there. The group’s got a lot of press over the past year from a myriad of sources, discussing everything from live show antics to morally questionable lyrical content glorifying murder and rape with general misogynistic and homophobic overtones. Ok, whatever; this is hip-hop and they’re just teenagers. They’ve probably never actually done anything they rap about and they should be given credit for rapping with tongues firmly planted in cheek. I can be caught giving the camera a finger too at certain times and I listened to Guttermouth in high school.  I don’t want to let them off the line that easily, but after reading a lot of these articles about them, I can’t conclude anything other than they’re just a sideshow that shouldn’t be given any real animosity for the innocuous Die Antwoord / Charlie Sheen meme that it is. If anything, they should be derided for just perpetuating the hip-hop trope of anger, hate and violence.

    But you know what? It’s not that simple. It still bugged me that after I helped Pitchfork sell out their weekend passes for their festival without a single band being announced, that this was one of the initial groups on the bill. I didn’t give it much thought at first, and considering their excessive coverage of the collective, wasn’t that surprised. I had never really got into the music, one of the excluded from their repulsive lyrics (and generally just not really a hip-hop fan).

    EP review: Honest Engines - 'The French Song EP'

    Posted by Sasha Geffen

    Having mastered the three-song concept EP with their 2009 release Captain's Log, Honest Engines return for round two with a similarly succinct little record. This time, The French Song EP takes us to a darker place, diverging from the epic ambitions of the debut EP and tinging its tightly written pop with a melancholic defeatism.

    The EP sets off with its title track, a wistful, uptempo song that cuts its guitars with occasional synth and light sampling. "El Jardin," the record's centerpiece, is driven by a palpable ennui and a sullen regard for time's passing. "I used to be strong; now I'm just tired," remark the lyrics. Like it was strange to hear Neil Young muse that he was "getting old" in his early twenties, this remorse at aging coming from such a young band feels slightly ironic. But it's our twenties that first make us start to feel old, and Honest Engines splendidly captures that passive regret for days gone by.

    Monday, May 2, 2011

    Show review: Colin Hay at Park West, 4/30

    Posted by Frank Krolicki

    photo: Frank Krolicki
    I'm beginning to think it would be impossible to not be entertained at a Colin Hay show. I've seen the former Men at Work frontman-turned-respected solo singer/songwriter a handful of times, and every time he brings a full-on performance that's nearly equal parts music and stand-up comedy. Those only casually familiar with him and the few 1980s hits of his previous band from Australia might be surprised by his body of work, his sharp sense of humor and the power of his delivery. These were all on display Saturday night at Park West as Hay gave Chicago fans another top-quality performance as part of a tour supporting his most recent record, Gathering Mercury.

    Following a tight, energetic opening set from Boston's Chris Trapper (whose world-weary-yet-endearing songs, humor and likable, laid-back demeanor proved a perfect match for the headliner), Hay came on stage and began with the title track from the new album. Starting a show with new material can be a risky move, but the Scotland-born, L.A.-based songwriter certainly pulled it off. The crowd watched and listened intently from the first note. Beyond his songwriting skill and distinctive, grabbing vocals, Hay just has that rare, undefinable quality that forces you to pay attention.

    Show review: Candy Golde at Double Door, 4/29

    By Jordan Posner

    photo: Mary-Claire Runchey
    “I have seen the future of rock and roll, and it is the past of rock and roll.”

    This was the bon mot I whispered to my date as she departed for the conveniently located bathrooms at the Double Door. It was one of those things that sounds profound when you’ve sucked down a few reasonably-priced beers, but in retrospect seems like a paradoxical statement for its own sake. It sacrifices coherence for the illusion of wit, and why I chose to open a music review with it is beyond me.

    I will say this, though. In light of Candy Golde’s Chicago debut on Friday, it makes more than a little sense.

    Rock and Roll, by its nature, is supposed to make you feel young and wide-eyed, like a child who is allowed to stay up past his bedtime just this once, able to witness first hand how the adults get down. When you’re young, everything is new and exciting. Have you ever seen a sullen, jaded, world-weary nine-year old? I’m not sure if one even exists (possibly Baby Steven Patrick Morrissey, which is a children’s cartoon waiting to happen. I retain licensing and animation rights). Nobody wants to feel old at a rock show, because old people are incapable of being surprised, and when rock ceases to be surprising it becomes background noise for people who hate/don’t care about music; an album that “happens,” rather than “happens to you.”