Thursday, November 29, 2012

Show review: Amanda Palmer & Grand Theft Orchestra, Jherek Bischoff, The Simple Pleasure at Metro, 11/10

By Eliana Siegal

The anticipation was almost palpable at the Amanda Palmer & the Grand Theft Orchestra show earlier this month at Metro. Until the crowd had begun a chant of “AMAN-DA PALM-ER!” during the moments before she came onstage, I had forgotten that for most people, this was their first time seeing Palmer in her latest manifestation--with the Grand Theft Orchestra. Palmer had performed as half of the Dresden Dolls from 2001 to 2008, and reunited with her partner Brian Viglione for a tour in 2010. Since 2008, Palmer has been touring solo and with her side project, Evelyn Evelyn, as well as putting out material for free on her website. Her latest album Theatre is Evil, released this year, was her first official album since 2008‘s Who Killed Amanda Palmer?. The album’s recording and release process was funded by a Kickstarter campaign, which offered to backers unconventional and one-of-a-kind rewards for pledging, including an art book inspired by the album. One of the most special rewards was an invitation to the gallery openings in seven major cities, where Palmer displayed the art included in the book (I was lucky enough to see Palmer at the small show that accompanied her art show in Brooklyn). Her campaign raised $1.1 million and was backed by nearly 25,000 people. With such a devoted fanbase behind her, it was no surprise that the theme of the night seemed to be, simply and solely, the audience.

One thing I had noticed immediately about the crowd at the show was that there was an incredible range of people there; Palmer fans did not appear to be limited by any scope, be it sex, race, age, demographic, or subculture. I’m sure it delights Palmer on a daily basis that teenagers with hot pink streaks in their hair can enjoy her music as much as their mothers can. Twenty-something college students in spectacles mingled with blue-collar men with grey mustaches. I met girls there who had made their own costumes -- rarely ever have I seen such dedication. They had dressed up for Palmer; this was no ordinary night, for anyone involved.

Show preview: A Night Out With Moniker Records at the Empty Bottle

By Rachel Angres

Chicago-based label Moniker Records was created by the sharp-eared Robert Manis, a Permanent Records employee who decided to devote his life to signing eclectic musicians that offer up an intense range of sounds.

You can get a sampling of Moniker artists next Wednesday, December 5th at the Empty Bottle. Chicago’s psychedelic and much loved ONO will be teaming up with the magnificent freak-folk mastermind John Bellows, covering/backing song(s) of Bellows and playing music of their own. In addition, Kansas City punk band Lazy, Milwakee's Stacian, Bay Area-based solo artist Jealousy and Chicago’s The Hecks will take the stage.

Manis will be giving away cassettes and CDs—which will feature material from all the bands that are set to perform that night. Moniker Records will also be selling releases by way of the merchandise booth after the show.

This is a rare opportunity; not only for DIY enthusiasts but also for all music lovers alike--to witness these artists all coming together in one place on one night. In other words, it shouldn’t be missed.

$8 pre-show, $10 at the door. Also, according to the Permanent Records blog: "“Hang on to the handbill you get at the show, as it'll be good to cash in for a 10% discount off your next Permanent purchase!”

For a pre-show taste have a listen to Moniker's playlist on Soundcloud.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Record review: Future Ghosts - 'Light on Canvas'

By Andrew Hertzberg

Local shoegaze group Future Ghosts released their first album in three years a few weeks back. Okay, I know shoegaze is a vague term, and in fact isn’t entirely appropriate for the band. They don’t overpower the wall of sound technique, and there are quite a few lucid guitar solos that add a psychedelic quality to the songs as well. While the influence of My Bloody Valentine is prevalent all throughout the album, there are certain parts that express other '90s rock influence. The upbeat album opener “When You’re Dead” brings to mind Brit-poppers Suede before “Radiatorsong” brings thing back locally with lead-Ghost Sean Whittaker affecting his best Billy Corgan.

The first three tracks hit hard, before “The Wake” takes things down a notch. The track isn’t as cluttered as some of the other ones, allowing more empty space between the single notes of the electric guitar, the airy quality of an acoustic guitar and the electronic drums giving way to real ones. The overall relationship between gloom and romance that hangs over the album is reminiscent of the Wedding Present. While the whole album is quite upbeat, “Time” is an unexpected dancier number that’s a nice change of pace from the more distortion heavy songs. “After the Party,” one of my favorites live for Sean’s frenetic energy, doesn’t carry quite the same weight recorded, but comes off more haunting; the confusion of the lyrical content is mirrored by the layered vocals, psychedelic guitar and the mantra/prayer “Oh Lord, let us get to the next place.”

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Go to There: November 27 - December 3

By Andrew Hertzberg

Zs (from Facebook)
Tuesday, November 27th: Rick Rizzo at the Hideout (9:00 PM, 21+, $5)
Rizzo is a founding member of Eleventh Dream Day and who’s roster of coworkers include members of Wilco, Cheap Trick, Califone, Smog and more. He’ll be backed up by Eleventh Dream Day’s drummer Janet Beat for this one.

Wednesday, November 28th: Zs, Kwaidan, Paper Mice at Empty Bottle (9:30 PM, 21+, $8 or FREE w/RSVP)
Well tonight should be a proper weird one. The Brooklyn free jazz outfit Zs features Greg Fox (Guardian Alien, Liturgy, GDFX) on drums headline, the experimental Kwaidan is in the middle, and devotees to Windy City Rock should be familiar with the mathy post-punk of Paper Mice by now; if not, get there early to see ‘em open it up.

Thursday, November 29th: Outer Minds, Heavy Times, Summer Girlfriends at Lincoln Hall (8 PM, 21+, $12)
CHIRP Radio once again puts together an amazing group of stellar locals. Outer Minds is fresh off their second release of the year, Heavy Times has been busy prepping their next LP out early next year, and although the bands name may sound a bit anachronistic, Summer Girlfriends' sunny pop-rock is always welcome even in the cold.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Record preview: Shiloh - 'Mrs.'

By Gene Wagendorf III   

Just under a year removed from the release of their debut full-length All My Friends Are Going To Be Strangers, the jammy folksters in Shiloh are wrapping up work on a follow up. Set for an early January release, Mrs. finds the group hitting familiar marks while taking a logical step forward. Present is the elegant piano work, smooth strumming and poetic whisper that made Strangers so magnetic. Ratcheted up is the playful bounce and enthusiastic delivery that earned the band comparisons to groups like Weezer and The Replacements.

Of the three tracks that Windy City Rock got an early listen to, "Busted Rusty" would have most comfortably fit on the band's last album. The song's slow jangle is illuminated by bright keys and lamenting vocals with just the right amount of electric drizzling. "Midwestern Sigh" is far crunchier- a celebratory grunge-folk tune that mixes moments of giddy aggression with twinkling pop hooks. Most refreshing of the three was "Immaculate Man," an Elvis Costello-esque ditty with a lollipop-sweet guitar solo. The tune harvests energy throughout its five minutes, never truly exploding but always pushing forward.

Listen to "Immaculate Man" below and keep an eye out for the release of Mrs. on Shiloh's bandcamp. You can hear tracks from the forthcoming record live this Sunday, November 25th at The Empty Bottle when Shiloh joins Rambos, Panda Riot, We Repel Each Other, Massive Ego, Tiny Fireflies and DJ Miss Alex White at the Rock For Kids Charity Jam (6pm, 21+, $5-15 donation).

Shiloh - Immaculate Man

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Go to There: November 20 - 26

By Andrew Hertzberg
Turbo Fruits (via Facebook)
Tuesday, November 20th: James Iha at Schubas (8 PM, 21+, $15)
The former Smashing Pumpkins guitarist released Look to the Sky earlier this year, which seemingly flew under the radar. The singer / songwriter is growing out of Corgan's shadow, although not necessarily escaping a certain "90s" sound to the record.

Wednesday, November 21st: Soup and Bread Sandy Benefit at the Hideout (5 PM, more details here)
It’s back! The weekly series isn’t coming back proper til next year, but enjoy some local food for a good cause before whatever over-indulgent Blackout Wednesday plans you have.

Thursday, November 22nd: Hannibal Buress at Schubas (9 PM, 18+, $25)
Not much is happening tonight (duh), but Hannibal Buress is one seriously funny guy. He’s moved to NYC but seeing him a few weeks ago at Ace Bar proves he’s got nothing but love for his hometown.

Friday, November 23rd: Chance the Rapper at Metro (7 PM, AA, $9 adv / $12 dos)
We don’t always plug hip-hop on this site, so you know it’s something special when we do. Chance the Rapper is one of the youngest and freshest voices coming up in this city. His mixtape 10 Day is up for a free download here.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Record review: The Canoes - 'Slim Century'

By Adam Bonich

Listening to The Canoes' new album, Slim Century, I’m taken back to an innocent time in the '90s when I didn’t even know bands like this existed. Why? Oh I don’t know, perhaps I was still spinning Michael Jackson’s Dangerous like a goob, or enduring endless replays of Pearl Jam’s Ten. Then again, maybe I was just too distracted by my desire to get high and crank some Tool as I drove (we called it “tooling” around) down neighborhood streets. “Yes officer, I get that I was only going 5 mph, but like -- I mean, have you even heard Aenima?” Indeed, it was mostly a journey from pop into grunge into metal and psych-rock, for me. Americana? Folk? Indie-rock? These things never really fell on my radar. I was idyllically ignorant -- perfectly content to think of Neutral Milk Hotel as “that one Wilco album” for the rest of my life. Sure, it was kind of sad, but everything in it’s own time correct? I’m cool now, right? Tap-tap -- Is this thing on?

The Canoes didn’t exist in the '90s, although their style absolutely harkens back to that time. Sounding like one part Neutral Milk Hotel, one part Pavement, and topped with a fresh pony keg of Sam Adams Lager -- I see that I wasn’t quite ready for them then. But guess what y’all? I totally am now (Adorns plaid button-down, sips Pabst). 

Slim Century is unquestionably an endearing rock album and one that a more mature person might come to appreciate. Okay yes, that’s borderline ironic given the sometimes child-like nature of their lyrics and melodies. And yet, between the lines lies a certain intricacy -- a certain complexity to the song-imagery that moves ones mind to hither and thither -- to then reflect and behold the warm aspects of some considerably vague self-recollection; like bearing witness to your past through the warped lens of an empty beer bottle.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Go to There: November 13 - 19

By Andrew Hertzberg

A Place to Bury Strangers
Tuesday, November 13th: Delicate Steve at Beat Kitchen (8 PM, 17+, $10)
Delicate Steve (aka Steve Marion) combines very melodic music around an electronic soundscape with more than a hint of African influence. The result is unique, piling layer upon layer to create an unpredictable trail through each song.

Wednesday, November 14th: A Place to Bury Strangers at EmptyBottle (9:30 PM, 21+, $12)
The New York trio put on probably the best show at Do Division last year, and Gene agrees about the intensity of their riotous noise. With Philly garage rock duo Bleeding Rainbow opening, you don’t wanna forget the earplugs.

Thursday, November 15th: Guardian Alien at the Burlington (8 PM, 21+, see site for details)
I feel like GA’s been playing here once a month. The psychedelic noise group is led by drummer Greg Fox (formerly of Liturgy) who manages to confound, bewilder and entice his audience. This is the first night of Neon Marshmallow Fest, who’s curator Matt Kimmel I interviewed last week.   

Friday, November 16th: Massive Ego at Coles (9 PM, 21+, FREE)
From the ashes (?) of Close Hits and Snacks arises Massive Ego. Get a taste of their energetic punk rock set before they play the Windy City Rock / Rock for KidsBenefit on the 25th. Check out their debut NVMND on bandcamp.

Monday, November 12, 2012

A few Chicago music news bites

By Frank Krolicki
  • The 4th annual Chicago Roots Collective festival is set for this Friday and Saturday, November 16th and 17th, at Beat Kitchen. The lineup includes the Ewing Theory, Molehill, The Future Laureates, Jackpot Donnie, Cobalt & the Hired Guns and more. Full details are here.
  • Late last month Rick Rizzo of Chicago's Eleventh Dream Day interviewed Chris Stamey of the dB's for the Chicago Reader. You can check it out now here, and see both Chris and Rick with their respective bands in town this month; the dB's play the Hideout this Thursday and Friday, and Eleventh Dream Day will take the same stage November 27th.
  • ChicagoMixtape interviewed Adam Jennings of Winters in Osaka.
  • Chicago band My My My are putting a twist on raising money to record music. On December 4th they will launch a Kickstarter campaign that will see them pledging community service hours to help improve Chicago for every $100 that's pledged to help them record. The campaign will coincide with the release of a new singe, "Starting to Change," which will also be offered with every pledge.
  • Gapers Block has a review and photos of last Wednesday's Sharon Van Etten show at Metro.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Interview: Neon Marshmallow booker Matt Kimmel

By Andrew Hertzberg

Matt Kimmel is an English teacher’s nightmare. Run-on sentences, “likes,” “ums,” “you knows,” etc. He constantly uses the word “video” as a verb. Probably most offensive to those that have yet to meet him is that he is an ardent Miami Heat fan. But he’s also a hell of a booker, not to mention an extremely nice and personable guy. He was recently declared by the Reader as the “Best New Booker With an Ear for The Weird” (yes, I do believe that is a compliment). The venue in question is the Burlington, which over the past year has showcased some of the best local and national music, from garage rock to psychedelic, experimental to dance, and most any other form of rock-based music you could ask for. Kimmel now returns with the third installment of the Neon Marshmallow Festival, an event he puts on with help of Daniel Smith.

The festival this year is decidedly scaled back from previous years, but probably has the best lineup yet. Four bands a night for four days, including locals Supreme Cuts, Running and Ryley Walker, two spots by Thurston Moore (yes, that Thurston Moore), Julian Lynch, Guardian Alien and many more. The full lineup by day is at the end of this post. Advance tickets are only available in a four-day pass for $60, which includes an mp3 package with most of the artists and access to a hosted bar before the shows begin. A limited amount of day of tickets will be available at the door. Keep reading after the jump, where I talked with Matt about the history of the festival, the heap of limitless talent out there and the hiatus of his live music archive Acid Marshmallow. And if you see Matt over the weekend, suck up your Bulls pride and get him a coffee from Café Marcela’s down the street.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Go to There: November 6 - 12

By Andrew Hertzberg

Sharon Van Etten
Tuesday, November 6th: Magic Milk at Beat Kitchen (8 PM, 17+, $10)
Local garage rock trio know for their ridiculously fun live shows (often packed with sweat, confetti and partial male nudity) are kicking off a brief tour down south. Magic Milk opens so get there early.

Wednesday, November 7th: Sharon Van Etten at Metro
(8 PM, 18+, $19)
The Brooklyn singer-songwriter is back again. She was one of the highlights at Lollapalooza for me (despite the small crowd). Expect Tramp to be on many year-end best-of lists; it’ll certainly be on mine.

Thursday, November 8th: Cave at Hideout (9 PM, 21+, $10)
If you haven’t seen the local psych-kraut rockers, now’s the time to get on it. They’re also kicking off a tour with this show, opened up by Tyvek and Running.

Friday, November 9th: Chicago Underground Duo at Elastic Arts Center  (9 PM, AA, $20)
The Umbrella Music Festival is happening all of the city, showcasing some of the best in the local and international experimental and improvised jazz scene. The duo in question includes Rob Mazurek on coronet and Chad Taylor on drums.

Monday, November 5, 2012

WCR and The Empty Bottle Present: A Rock For Kids Charity Jam

By Gene Wagendorf III  

Where does the music you love come from?

It's a simple question, with an equally simple and completely obvious answer: It comes from musicians.

Chicago's music scene is experiencing a creative swell unlike almost any time in its history; there are new, incredible bands being born seemingly every day. Whether you're into punk, art-rock, garage-pop, folk or just anything that sounds great in a sweaty basement, this city has dozens of killer bands to meet your taste. But even a scene that's flourishing the way Chicago's is can't sustain itself without new ideas and new creators to give those ideas life. That's where Rock For Kids comes in.

Rock For Kids is an inspiring and wholly necessary local non-profit that provides music education to underserved youth. Quite literally, they're putting guitars and drum sticks in the hands of children who might not otherwise get a hold of them. They're teaching critical thinking and musical theory. They're offering kids an outlet for their creativity, and, lucky for you, laying the foundation for the next generation of Chicago bands that you'll be rocking out to. As important as it is to support already existing bands by seeing shows and buying records, it's equally important to invest in the scene's future.

On that note, Windy City Rock is beyond proud to join Chicago's best rock club, The Empty Bottle, in hosting A Rock For Kids Charity Jam. The benefit show will take place on Sunday, November 25th (6pm, 21+), and proceeds from the show will go directly to R4K. We're asking for a $15 donation at the door, but we also understand that times are tough, and have provided smaller donation options that will still allow you the help out and enjoy a night of fantastic local music.

That music will be provided by 7 bands who, in this writer's opinion, are some of the best acts making music in Chicago. The lineup is as follows.

Windy City Rock and The Empty Bottle Present: A Rock 4 Kids Charity Jam
Sunday, November 25th
6pm, $15 donation

Official Website Facebook Bandcamp
Panda Riot

Official Website Facebook Bandcamp
We Repel Each Other

Facebook Bandcamp
The Hecks

Facebook Soundcloud
Massive Ego

Facebook Bandcamp

Facebook Bandcamp
Tiny Fireflies

Official Website Facebook Bandcamp

and special guest DJ Miss Alex White 

The bands have generously offered to donate their sets, and The Bottle is joining them by donating the door. With that in mind, we ask you join us, buy some records, have a few drinks and jam out for a good cause. 

Tickets are on sale at The Empty Bottle's website, and you can join the action on Facebook here.

If you enjoyed this, like us on Facebook and follow Gene on Twitter

Friday, November 2, 2012

Video: Archie Powell & the Exports - 'Job Fair'

By Frank Krolicki

Good work is hard to find. It seems Archie Powell & the Exports know this well, with their latest single "Job Fair" speaking for all who are unable to gain employment or who are trapped in a sucky, dead-end job. But in the video treatment of the track, the guys are able to entertain with their usual style of wackiness despite the song's theme of frustration. The clip includes farm animals, old-timey attire, clown makeup and lots of general tom-foolery to make for three minutes of good fun. Watch for yourself below.

"Job Fair" is taken from the band's most recent LP Great Ideas in Action.  The band have also released the track as a digital single along with a b-side called "Erik Elects to Veto," which you can get via Bandcamp. You can catch A&TE live next coming up November 21st at Metro with JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound (tickets and details here).

Show review: ONO, The Hecks at Quenchers, 10/31

By Gene Wagendorf III 

ONO released Albino on October 31, 2012
In a city that likes to party as hard as Chicago, Halloween runs about two weeks long and offers up more shindigs and shows than the average mortal could dream of attending. Every music media outlet offers up their list of picks (WCR included), but in this writer's opinion there was no better place on the entire fucking plane to be on Wednesday than Quenchers. The evening wasn't just another bland, Malört-fueled costume shit show, it was a celebration of the release of ONO's first recorded music since 1986. More than that (at risk of being overly romantic) it was a celebration of the band itself and the local music scene of which they are such an integral part.

The task of setting the stage for ONO fell upon The Hecks, a jarringly creative two-piece who made a quick fan out of me when they opened up for Black Dice back in May. The songs, and the band, seem to have grown since then, at once aware of their pop instincts and simultaneously torturing them into something fascinating and freshly energetic. It's a nervous energy, one that inspires as much bopping as it does heart-racing. The driving force behind the band is the tension in that duality. Similar to Joy Division (in aesthetic, not so much in sound), the duo whips up bright licks and magnetic shifts, only to yank them into melancholy, and frankly distressing, sonic freakouts. Andrew Mosiman's deadpan delivery consistently dripped across jagged chords and strangely-tuned throngs, biding time until another tightly arranged wave of pop.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Show review: Daughn Gibson at the Empty Bottle, 10/29

By Adam Bonich

Walking into Monday night’s Daughn Gibson show at The Empty Bottle, I had prepared myself for an Alpha-male showdown -- and I fuckin’ got one. Gibson, the baritone-crooning native of Pennsylvania, has developed quite the reputation since releasing his debut album, All Hell, in March of 2012. I mean, has he actually developed “quite the reputation”? I don’t know, but he was once described as charismatic and handsome, and I wasn’t about to let some “electro-cowboy” invade my den without executing a few angry fist pumps. Well, turned out the place was too dark for distant threats, so I just slunk into a PBR and out-flexed him beneath my sweater. C’est la vie.  

If I were to describe Daughn’s music, I might place it just inside the boundaries of a retro-futuristic-country spectrum. Oozing with electronic pulses, guitars, offbeat narratives, and the deepest voice this side of a tranquilized Will Ferrell from Old School; it’s a distinctive mish-mash of modern electronics and barroom country that I haven’t quite heard before. Style points? Sure, he’s gets a few, or maybe several -- but is it merely enough to “sound cool”? (YES, says generation Pitchfork) Well, no, although it certainly doesn’t hurt. Fortunately, D-Gibs has a predilection for melody and the means to texturize his sampled electronics in savvy, impressionable ways. He also possesses enough self-confidence to guide his tunes away from vague imagery and toward the subtly sly realms of his stark imagination. It’s cool stuff. Having said that, to fully enjoy Mr. Gibson, you really have come to terms with that whole, “Elvis on Quaaludes” vocal thing.