Monday, June 23, 2014

Go To There: June 24 - 30

By Gene Wagendorf III   

Tuesday, June 24th: Young Distractions and Dead Sheriff at Double Door (8:15pm, 21+, $8)

Chicago's power-poppers Young Distractions are a band that follows in the footsteps of predecessors like Material Issue and Smoking Popes; hook-heavy rock 'n' roll littered with cathartic lyrics, white-hot guitar solos and a healthy dose of crunch. Singer Nico Deportago-Cabrera has a voice that sounds as good used for confessional story telling as it does during fits of punk defiance, and his bandmates form a tight rhythm section that's sure to have the audience bopping. Bluesy, grungy, kinda Pearl Jammy quartet Dead Sheriff open up, and will likely play some material from their forthcoming album Acoustic - Friends & Total Strangers, which seems to have a much folkier vibe than their previous work.

Wednesday, June 25th: Music. Defined. presents Ghostpal, Ariada and No Shoes at Empty Bottle (9pm, 21+, $5)

We ran a preview a few days ago, but in case you missed it, we still haven't changed our minds. You should spend your Wednesday night checking out Ghostpal, Ariada and No Shoes at The Bottle. Our friends over at Music. Defined. have put together this awesome bill featuring two dynamic, electrifying NYC bands alongside one of Chicago's finest indie/soul groups. For their parts, Ghostpal brings a sort of Sondre Lerche meets Of Montreal swoon and No Shoes gets a little bit psychedelic and a lotta bit algebraic. Not convinced? Check out the full preview here (streaming tunes included!) and then grab yourself that five-bone ticket.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Show preview: Ghostpal, Ariada and No Shoes at The Empty Bottle, 6/25

By Gene Wagendorf III

Our friends over at the excellent blog Music. Defined. have put together an awesome gig at The Bottle that will mark the first Chicago appearance by Brooklyn psych-soul outfit Ghostpal. Featuring former members of The Hysterics, Ghostpal blend influences like The Beatles, Sly Stone and Brian Wilson for a sound that's akin to Sondre Lerche singing songs written by Rufus Wainwright while backed by Of Montreal. That's a mish-mash of sounds I just threw at you, but the end result is anything but sloppy. Ghostpal's recently released record This Was Ghostpal is a devilishly seductive listen; a professionally executed, ridiculously infectious album that'll settle effortlessly into your personal playlist of favorites.

Also making the trip from New York is "post-apocalyptic pop" band No Shoes, who sound like a sandwich of Mines, MGMT, Animal Collective and Paper Mice. Another jumble, another fascinating result. Those sounds are all at work their cover of Basal Gang's "Sean The Paul," which starts off in a romp of Dionysian mischief with a twinkling hook, then grows these sort of nervey, math rock appendages that yank the song through a staccato jam. If that sounds like it'll be cool to see live, that's because it will, especially for only 5 fucking dollars.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Quinn Tsan, Jones and Female Basic at The Hideout, 6/12

By Gene Wagendorf III 

Female Basic
Female Basic opened up Thursday evening at The Hideout, kicking things off with a set of throwback tunes and oldies covers reworked as harmony-heavy uke ballads. The trio, Rachel Landrum, Bekah Miller and Anna Phalen, shared and swapped vocal duties, making for a playfully dynamic performance. The mood was set with a cover of Nancy Sinatra's "Bang Bang," a rendition as cool and mysterious as a late night breeze. Female Basic glided on a mixture of guitar, banjo, ukulele and stunning vocal work, giving the show a pleasantly nostalgic flavor. That isn't to call Female Basic a nostalgia act, because they're not. The personalities of the three singers came off as clearly different- individuals with a remarkable chemistry/magic whose electricity gives these traditional tunes a fresh sound. No, the word for that isn't nostalgic, it's classic. Sprinkled throughout their aesthetically on-point and plain fuckin' fun string of originals were covers of "classics" like "Jolene," "Leader of the Pack" and a particularly exceptional romp through Diane Renay's "Navy Blue" that ought to be the new anthem of the Coney Island Mermaid Day Parade. They wrapped it up with a charmingly awesome cover of "The Sign" that, as happens with the Ace of Base version, was stuck in my head for the rest of the night.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Go To There: June 9 - 16

By Gene Wagendorf III 

Monday, June 9th: Circuit des Yeux, The Humminbird and Pillars & Tongues at Joseph Bond Chapel (7pm, All Ages, FREE) 

WHPK 88.5 FM is bringing three of the city's finest experimental acts down to U of C's gorgeous Bond Chapel for a free show that ought to be like nothing else you've seen before. The evening will serve as the kick-off to Circuit des Yeux's upcoming summer tour, and this date will feature Haley Fohr performing solo. Those who made it to Reckless on Record Store Day know how chilling/awe-inspiring she can be on her own, and the chapel setting makes this a can't miss gig. The Humminbird and Pillars & Tongues are on the bill as well, and both acts use of atmosphere and space should be perfect for this unusual location. For a taste of what to expect, check out our reviews of CDY's excellent Overdue, The Humminbird's dreamy Beyond the Orchard, and P&T's delightful 2013 release End Dances.

Tuesday, June 10th: Toupee, Lil Tits and Haki at Township (8pm, 21+, $5)

I normally rag on MP Shows, but you've got to give credit where credit's due, and they've put together an awesome show for Tuesday night that's packed with face-melting, ear-bulldozing, female-fronted Chicago rock. The ultra-versatile Haki kicks things off with their blend of alternative, punk, jazz and metal. It's a weird combination that shouldn't work, but it does (Proof: Haki's April release, Positive). Next up are bombastic "witch punks" Lil Tits, whose sludgy, dirty, catchy jams are pure audio adrenaline- the kind of music you can't help but bash around to. Bystanders beware. Ending of the night duties fall on Toupee, whose driving, droning metal/post-punk hybrid is a hypnotic maelstrom of awesome. If that sounds like silly hyperbole, head on down to Township Tuesday night and stand in front of the speaker during their set. Fuck you.

Wednesday, June 11th:  Rivals of the Peacemaker and Luke Henry & Rabbitfoot at The Whistler (9pm, 21+, FREE)

A couple of Americana/folk acts getting together for a free show where you can get a $2 beer or a fancy-ass cocktail? Yeah, this is what you should be doing with your life. Luke Henry & Rabbitfoot's sweet, psych-tinted folk is meditative and alluring and just might get you stoned while keeping your piss clean. Rivals of the Peacemaker are a little more polished, a little more country, a little sweeter and sure to be just as relaxing. The band's self-titled debut sounds like a northerner's romanticized idea of The South, complete with perfectly country choruses like I shoulda quit you last June/I shoulda quit you/But I can't resist you/Oh darlin', you bring my love down. Those lines get angelic treatment from singer Alexandra Watson before a big ol' guitar solo kicks in. The song is called "Day After The Rapture," and I bet if you ask real nice like they'll maybe play it for you.

Thursday, June 12th: Vaya at Quenchers Saloon (9pm, 21+, $5)

Bright, bubbling melodies and serpentine percussion, crunchy riffs and fluttering vocals; the songs of Logan Square's Vaya are a unique and addicting blend of indie pop and math rock that astounds more and more with each listen. They're so good that you can fall into them effortlessly, get lost in the groove until zig! something unexpected shoots one way and then zag! you're pulled another. It's tangled and dizzying but it all makes perfect sense. What makes zero sense is missing this show, so I guess I'll see you there.

Friday, June 13th: Goat, Holy Wave and Outer Minds at Thalia Hall (8pm, 17+, $12)

The 13th of June will go down in history as one of the most loaded nights for live music in the history of Earth. Silver Apples and Wreckmeister Harmonies are playing an outdoor show at Bohemian National Cemetery. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah are playing Taste of Randolph. Local punk trouble-makers Rabble Rabble have their FREE w/RSVP record release show at The Bottle.

Those are all great ways to spend a Friday night, but for my money it doesn't get better than Sweden's mysterious and incredible Goat headlining new Pilsen venue Thalia Hall. The group's 2013 debut, World Music, is a perfect fusion of Sabbath riffs, psychedelic meltdowns, Afro-beat percussion, magical chanting and disco-leaning dance tunes. The group's first Chicago performance was one of the single greatest shows I've ever seen, and no matter what's going on that night, I can't justify missing their return. Playing with them again are excellent Austin psyche rockers Holy Wave, and local '60s-tinged garage outfit Outer Minds. You can't go wrong with any of these shows, but seeing Goat live should be on every music fan's bucket list. You'll have plenty of time to hang out in a cemetery after you're dead.

Saturday, June 14th:  Richard Album & The Singles and Red Sea at Wally World (9pm, All Ages, $5)

RIYL Ben Folds, Elvis Costello and/or Buddy Holly, Richard Album swings by Logan Square DIY space Wally World on Saturday night for a set that's sure to be a boogie-friendly good time. For an idea of what to expect, check out his track "Logan Square" recorded at Public House in, you guessed it, Logan Square. Also on the bill are Atlanta's Red Sea, who've got a little bit of an Of Montreal thing going on, but with an extra dash of shoegazeiness.

Sunday, June 15th: Columba Fasciata and The Hecks at Connie's Plank House (9pm, All Ages, $5)

The dark, dreamy side-project of Toupee members Whitney Allen and Nick Hagen, Columba Fasciata's recent tape Enemy Eater is ripe with cool, staggered beats, crystalline melodies and curious tape loops. It's the kind of stuff that sounds great on tape, but absolutely other-worldly live. And while we're on the subject of extraterrestrials, experimental rock duo The Hecks are making an appearance at Connie's as well. You may remember The Hecks from such blog posts as this one about their debut 7-inch, Trust and Order,  this one about the time we booked them to play a charity show, or this one about the first time we saw them, opening for Black Dice at Bottom Lounge. Yeah, we like them a lot, and you should too.