Friday, August 29, 2008

Tonight: Afrika Bambaataa at Smart Bar

10 PM
Smart Bar
3730 N. Clark
$10 before 11 PM with text-message special

Afrika Bambaataa Web Site
Wikipedia Page

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Vince P - "Rookie of the Year"

Download: Vince P - "Rookie of the Year"

Vince P is a rapper from these very parts and, like The Cool Kids, or Kidz In The Hall before him, his music has a decidedly old-school vibe (check out the Young MC flow of the rap in "Rookie of the Year"). But instead of creating minimalist hip-hop with trunk-rattling bass, or flaunting Ivy-League credentials, Vince P seems to make music for a very, very simple reason: He wants to have a good time. Also, he wants the people around him to have a good time. The track "Rookie of the Year" is a testament to that mentality, as he spends most of the song trying to get "a couple more dances/a couple more drinks." Will Vince P be successful? Listen to the track, produced by Diplo, who gives "Rookie" more of a modern-day extended dance-jam feel at the end, at the top of the post.

Vince P MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

Video: Rage Against The Machine - "Bombtrack" and "Guerilla Radio" (Live at the Democratic National Convention Protest Concert)

(Rage Against The Machine - "Guerilla Radio" - Live in Denver)

(Rage Against The Machine - "Bombtrack" - Live in Denver)

I had just finished listening to NPR's coverage (because, while CNN and Fox News are good for a larf, you have to be serious every now and again), when I was inadvertently reminded that, yes, Rage Against The Machine would rage against the Democratic National Convention in the Mile High City. And, since this is the internet, video of that performance has turned up on YouTube. God bless, ye merry internet. If you can stand a little bit of buzz coming into your stereo speakers, then I'd undoubtedly recommend watching "Guerilla Radio", as it contains the band's military-style entrance and salute to the audience. Who, of course, eat it up. Next up for the band will be raging against the machine-in-chief in St. Paul. After all, Rage is nothing if not fair and balanced.

Watch performances of "Guerilla Radio" and "Bombtrack" at the top of the post.

See more Rage in Denver clips here.

(Jonathan Graef)

This post was cross-published on Minneapolis Fucking Rocks

Video: Common - "Announcement"

Spotted at Fake Shore

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Video: Aleks and The Drummer - "I Want To Melt His Eyes" (Live at Version Fest)

I'm toying with an idea for a post called "The Best Albums of The Year (And Why I'm A Dumbass For Not Having Written About Them)". At the top of the list will be May A Lightning Bolt Caress You by local Chicago-based duo Aleks and The Drummer. Simply put, one of the best things I've heard all year. The whole enterprise sounds like Ray of Light-era Madonna covering Eastern European folk-music using exclusively electronic instrumentation. I found this video, which is a couple of months old, of the twosome performing You standout "I Want To Melt His Eyes" at Version Fest. Watch it at the top of the post. You'll read a review of this record in the next few days, hopefully.

Aleks and the Drummer MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

The Hold Steady "Stay Positive" On "Late Night With Conan O'Brien"

Stopping by the veritably self-deprecating (who's red-headed friend to night owl viewers everywhere) late night host's show this past Monday, the perennially-described "America's Best Bar Band" took time off from startin' some shit with Radiohead to play the title track from their fourth album, Stay Positive. I'm not sure about the array of handclaps The Hold Steady start off the song with, but by the time that Youth of Today get name-dropped, and the wordless harmonies in the chorus come around, even the most strident skeptic cannot resist singing along. "We gotta stay positive": a message sorely needed in 2008.

Or, you know, just watch some people rocking the fuck out at the top of the post.

The Hold Steady MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

Video: Kanye West - "Good Morning"

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Strange New Lovers Post New Songs For A Limited Time Only

Hot off the heels of their break-up and last show ever, Chicago's romp-stomp indie-rock quartet Strange Young Lovers have posted two of their last recordings: "She's Not Right" and "Shake". The band explained in a MySpace bulletin post that their last action as a band is to "up the rest of the songs we recorded at the beginning of the year. The songs 'This Is The Way' and 'We Don't Need No' will come down to make room for them, so hurry and download them while you can."

Duly noted. "She's Not Right" is an acoustic number that's not unlike folk music circa the 1960s, albeit with a little more of post-punk miserabilism. The narrative itself, however, dates back to blues ("woman-gone-done-me-wrong"!). Wonder if we'll hear her side of the story?

In contrast, "Shake" is a more rambunctious, punk-influenced song that sounds not unlike the MC5, but with the verses breathing a little more with chiming guitar chords and riff revolving around a half-step interval.

Listen to both songs at the group's MySpace Page.

(Jonathan Graef)

Kuma's Corner Owner In Sun-Times

Via the Sun-Times:

The Chicago heart is more than skin deep.

Until a month or so ago, you had to have tattoos and piercings to work at Kuma's Corner, 2900 W. Belmont. The 50-seat restaurant and bar has become so popular for its monster hamburgers that owner Mike Cain is relaxing his code.

A bar-size chalkboard hangs along the west wall. Cain and managing partner Alex Posso post the recipient of a Friday night special on the board. After 6 p.m. on the last Friday of every month, the bar staff donate all of their tips and salary to a community charity. Cain doubles that amount.

Donations have gone to the Chicago Abused Women Coalition, the Paul Green School of Rock and a fund to pay medical expenses for injured Roller Derby star Tequila Mockingbird. Earlier this year, Kuma's Corner raised $8,700 to help pay bills for Mat Arluck, guitarist of the hardcore band Sweet Cobra, who is going through his second battle with cancer.

Read the rest here.

Flosstradamus Releases New Mixtape

Spotted over at Mad Descent:

Hey all you Mad Decent followers. Curt from Flosstradamus here. Just giving you the low down on this podcast. The boy Diplo asked us to do a Dancemania pod cast...we had to choose from a nice handful of songs. Also the original approach for this mix tape was "ghetto house" also know as juke, ghetto tech, jit, among others. So we tried to merge a few of our favorite (I'm sure you have a handful too) Dancemania "Ghetto House" tunes with some new & exclusive Ghetto House tunes of today. I hope you like the lil mix we whipped up.

Here's the tracklist of the mixtape:

Intro - Reese & Santonio - Rock to the beat (With our famous friends drop)
Parris Mitchell - Bitches & Money
Jammin Gerald - Energy
Paul Johnson - Booty Call
- 101 Rx
- Wouldn't You Like to be a Hoe?
Dj Funk - f___k ya
Wax Master Maurice - Crazy Tunes
Paul Johnson - Feel my M.F. Bass
Dj Milton - Hit It Rx
Gant-Man - Juke Dat Girl From Tha Back
Crookers - Push It (Gant-Man Juke Remix)
- Get Down Lil Mama
DJ Puncho - Get Down Low
Dj Deon - My Baby Mamma
DJ Puncho - Kswiss
- Fuck Me on the Floor
DJ Chip - ifyaseeem
DJ Thadz - In Da House
- GrabaHo
* Shake it to the ground (Acapella)*
DJ Clent - Bounce (Juke Anthem)
- Bounce N' Break Yo Back
- Where the Ratz?
Count - Ghetto Bitches (Sinden Remix)
Totally Michael - Casual Satisfaction (Flosstradamus leak early copy edit/remix)
Kill Frenzy - Just Breathe (Juke Remix)

Download it here.

Flosstradamus MySpace Page

Monday, August 25, 2008

Band To Know: Disappears

Download: Disappears - "Old Friend"

Like Lou Reed fronting My Bloody Valentine, Chicago's Disappears craft reverb-heavy rock that leans heavily toward the distorted wall of sound of Kevin Shields' newly reformed group, while retaining Reed's lyrically incisive wit. Dissapears have been releasing a steady stream of virtual singles via their blog (not unlike Bradford Cox, for whom Dissapears will open when Deerhunter rolls into town). Listen to "Old Friend" at the top of the post.

Disappears MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

New Sybris - "Critically in Love"

Sybris on iLike - Get Sidebar

If you can get past through about a minute-and-a-half of admittedly pretty amusing banter (what else are you gonna do at Westfest?), you'll get to hear a new song debuted by Sybris, one not on their solid latest release Into The Trees. The track is tentatively titled "Critically in Love", and it's surprisingly ferocious, particularly during the scream-heavy chorus. Maybe the band has moved on from Sonic Youth to death metal and the Pixies?

Watch the video at the top of the post.

Sybris Myspace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Reminder: Bang! Bang! EP Release Party

August, 23 2008
@ The Empty Bottle
Bang! Bang!
Walking Bicycles
Strange Young Lovers
1035 N Western Ave,
Chicago, Illinois
$8 / 21+ / 10:00

Sadly, this will be the Strange Young Lovers last show.

Today: Glenwood Arts Festival

Saturday 23rd
Morse Stage
1:00 Jimmy Bennington
2:00 Mr. G & the Mystery Band
3:00 Room 11
4:00 Ifficial Reggae
5:00 Saps
6:00 Black Diamond Heavies

North Stage
2:00 Good Name Band
3:00 Paul Green School of Rock student showcase
4:00 Ramova
5:00 Polkaholics
6:00 Roundeye
7:00 New Duncan Imperials

South Stage
Noon West African drum ensemble
4:00 Donna Herula
5:00 Dime Store String Band
6:00 Pat Hall
7:00 Eric McCabe

Sunday 24th
Morse Stage
1:00 Harlan Flo
2:00 Sarah & the Tall Boys
3:00 Revision
4:00 BMR4
5:00 J-San & the Analogue Sons
6:00 Paul Cebar Tomorrow Sound

North Stage
2:00 Chicago Samba
3:00 Robert Irving III Trio
4:00 Princes of Futa
5:00 Lamajamal
6:00 Henhouse Prowlers

South Stage
1:30 Kokyo Taiko
3:00 West African drum ensemble
5:00 Les Zonards
6:00 Cory Atkinson
7:00 Good Name Band

Today: Chicago Reggae Festival

Going on right now over at Union Park.

12 PM: Jah Roots
1:30 PM: The Itals
3 PM: Dub Dis
3:45 PM: Queen Omega
5 PM: Kofi
6:30 PM: Anthony B
8:30 PM: Bunny Wailer

Friday, August 22, 2008

New Tom Schraeder & His Ego - "Needle Will Bite"

Download: Tom Schraeder - "Needle Will Bite"

If brevity is the soul of wit, then Tom Schraeder's got to be the savviest motherfucker around. The first track from his upcoming Lying Through Dinner clocks in at a minute-and-a-half, but manages to accomplish quite a lot in that time. Guided By Voices had short songs. Why shouldn't Tom and His Ego get right with the hit-it-and-quit-it spirit? Inspired by comparisons of himself to Ryan Adams (which, uh, I haven't really helped to rebut), Schraeder wrote this alt-country ode to frustration—"somethin's gotta give/or the needle will bite"—and it just happens to stand up to some of Ryan Adams' best. Listen to it at the top of the post.

Details about the Tom Schraeder CD release show here.

Tom Schraeder & His Ego MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

Music Box Massacre IV Line-Up

Sweet. Spotted at the Massacre MySpace Page

Video: David Vandervelde Covers Okkervil River

Spotted at Stereogum. This is a unique project, with the Austin-based quintet Okkervil River inviting other people to cover songs from their upcoming album The Stand Ins. In other words, they get people to stand in for them. Yes, I went there. Watch the video at the top to erase all of the bad puns from your mind.

Okkervil River MySpace Page
David Vandervelde MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

New The Cool Kids - "Delivery Man"

Download: The Cool Kids - "Delivery Man"

Jiminy Christmas, how many tracks can the Cool Kids release? On the heels of the NBA nostalgia of "Pennies" comes "Delivery Man", a track revolving around what sounds like an accordian sample. Pretty dope. The song comes from a business collaboration with Mountain Dew. Read about it here. And remember to throw your "hands in the air/even if your arms don't work".

Spotted at Fake Shore.

The Cool Kids MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Dials To Appear On Local Anesthetic This Sunday

Taken directly from the band MySpace Blog:

"We had a great time visiting w/ Richard Milne on WXRT's Local Anesthetic program -- tune in and catch some tracks off the new record (and some TALK! :0) -- it airs this Sunday, Aug. 24th at 7:00 P.M".

I, for one, will be tuning in. The Dials also put on a taut, hopelessly energetic live show, and that should definitely come across on the radio. Plus, I've yet to hear any material from Amoeba Amore yet. I know, I suck. Once I get to a record store, it will all be good in the hood.

Read about Local Anesthetic, a program on WXRT, here.

The Dials MySpace Page

Video: Chicago Afrobeat Project - "Live at the Zoo Bar"

Chicago AfroBeat Project

Spotted at the band's MySpace Page, from their April 12th, 2008, gig at the Zoo Bar in Lincoln, Nebraska. Chicago Afrobeat Project is going to play tomorrow at Wild Hare.

Chicago Afrobeat Project MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Video: Lupe Fiasco - "Dumb It Down" (Live at the Park West)


Download: Lupe Fiasco - "The Birds and The Bees" (via)

Fake Shore Drive has got the scoop on a couple of live videos of Lupe Fiasco performing live at the Park West crowd, to what he describes as a "PG Crowd". If anyone needs to hear the anti-anti-intellectual (double negatives in the muthafucking hizz-ouz) message of "Dumb it Down", it's probably a PG crowd. Still, from the looks of it, Lupe killed it.

Even more interesting is a interview that Andrew from Fake Shore did regarding the leaks of Lupe's old material (the posting of which got Fake Shore linked to Pitchfork). Lupe is cool with it. Watch that interview here.

Lupe Fiasco MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

Tours: Thao with the Get Down Stay Down

(Thao and the Get Down Stay Down - "Swimming Pools")

YouTube Link

Even though the name is Thao with the Get Down Stay Down, the backup band will be doing both the former and the latter when Thao Nguyen, formidable as a performer on her own terms, plays several solo shows in the fall as part of the Hotel Cafe Tour. One of those stops is in MPLS. But before all that occurs, she's got a few one-off festival dates with the Get Down Stay Down. See the rest of the tour dates below:

August 2008
23 - Tallahassee, FL @ Florida State University
30 - Seattle, WA @ Ex Hall Stage - Bumbershoot
September 2008
6 - Portland, OR @ Holocene - Music Fest NW KRS Showcase w/ The Shaky Hands, Panther, Horse Feathers
17 - Ames, IA @ Maintenance Shop
19 - Champaign, IL @ Krannery Art Museum
20 - Madison, WI @ Majestic Theater
22 - Upland, IN @ Taylor University
25 - New Haven, CT @ Yale @ Ezra Stiles Master's House - solo
26 - Bronxille, NY @ Blue Room @ Sarah Lawrence College
27 - Bennington, VT @ Bennington College Student Center
October 2008
27 - Chapel Hill, NC @ Cat's Cradle - Hotel Cafe Tour - solo
28 - Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club - Hotel Cafe Tour - solo
29 - Philadelphia, PA @ World Cafe Live - Hotel Cafe Tour- solo
30 - New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom - Hotel Cafe Tour- solo
31 - Boston, MA @ Paradise Rock Club - Hotel Cafe Tour- solo
November 2008
1 - Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg - Hotel Cafe Tour- solo
3 - Cincinnati, OH @ Bogarts - Hotel Cafe Tour- solo
5 - Chicago, IL @ Park West - Hotel Cafe Tour- solo
6 - Minneapolis, MN @ The Varsity - Hotel Cafe Tour- solo
7 - Madison, WI @ High Noon Saloon - Hotel Cafe Tour- solo
8 - St Louis, MO @ Blueberry Hill - Hotel Cafe Tour- solo
9 - Lawrence, KS @ Liberty Hall - Hotel Cafe Tour- solo
11 - Denver, CO @ Bluebird Theater - Hotel Cafe Tour- solo
12 - Salt Lake City, UT @ Avalon Theater - Hotel Cafe Tour- solo
13 - Boise, ID @ Knitting Factory - Hotel Cafe Tour- solo
14 - Portland, OR @ Doug Fir - Hotel Cafe Tour- solo
15 - Seattle, WA @ Chop Suey - Hotel Cafe Tour- solo
17 - San Francisco, CA @ Great American Music Hall - Hotel Cafe Tour- solo
18 - Los Angeles, CA @ Henry Fonda Theater - Hotel Cafe Tour- solo


Download: Thao and the Get Down Stay Down - "Bag of Hammers"

Thao MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

This post was cross-published on Minneapolis Fucking Rocks.

Video: Kidz In The Hall on Freestyle 101

Spotted at Nah Right.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Maps and Atlases Announce Tour Dates

Download: Maps and Atlases - "Every Place is a House"

In addition to their two record release shows at Schuba's to celebrate a new EP titled You and Me and The Mountain (the cover of which provides the image for this post) Maps and Atlases have announced a whole slew of dates in the US and abroad, where they will support Foals. Dates are below:

Sept 6th – Schubas – Early Show - Chicago, IL
Sept 6th – Schubas – Late Show - Chicago, IL w/ Birthmark

Sept 8th – Howell Opera House – Lansing, MI
Sept 9th – Grog Shop – Cleveland Heights, OH
Sept 10th – The Mercury Lounge – New York, NY
Sept 11th – Great Scott - Boston, MA
Sept 12th – Southpaw – Park Slope, NY
Sept 14th – Black Cat – Washington DC also w/ Rahim
Sept 15th – Ottobar – Baltimore, MD
Sept 16th – The Basement – Columbus, OH
Sept 17th – Jake’s – Bloomington, IN

Maps & Atlases European Tour
Sept 27th – Civic Center – Aylesbury, UK *w/ Foals
Sept 28th – University – Cardiff, UK *w/ Foals
Sept 29th – UEA – Norwich, UK *w/ Foals
Sept 30th – Rock City – Nottingham, UK *w/ Foals
Oct 1st – Brudnell Social Club – Leeds, UK **
Oct 2nd – University – Hull, UK *w/ Foals
Oct 3rd – Academy – Liverpool, UK *w/ Foals
Oct 4th – Music Hall - Aberdeen, UK *w/ Foals
Oct 5th – TBA UK **
Oct 6th – The Shakespeare – Sheffield, UK **
Oct 7th – Carling Academy –New Castle, UK *w/ Foals
Oct 8th – Captains Rest – Glasgow, UK **
Oct 9th – TBA UK **
Oct 10th – TBA UK **
Oct 11th – Cavern Club – Exeter, UK **
Oct 12th – Engine Room – Brighton, UK **
Oct 13th – The Regal –Oxford, UK **
Oct 14th – Bardens Boudouir – London, UK **
Oct 15th – Rokhal - Esch-sur-Alzette, Luxemborg **
Oct 16th – TBA - Belgium *headline w/ TBA
Oct 17th – Le Showcase – Paris, France **
** M&A Headlining Shows

Maps and Atlases MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

Monday, August 18, 2008

Tonight: Brilliant Pebbles at the Hideout

Taken directly from the Brilliant Pebbles MySpace Page:

Monday 18 August
8 PM, $5
1354 W.

Art School Band
Brilliant Pebbles

On August 12 our bassist's first novel came out on Random House. His name is James Kennedy, the book is called "The Order of Odd-Fish," and they are both a great deal of fun, though of course in different ways. This show is a dual release party for "Odd-Fish" and "boring boring boring boring boring boring boring," Zach Plague's hybrid typo/graphic novel on Featherproof Books.

Here is the order of events:
- Zach Plague will read from "boring"
- James will read from "Odd-Fish"
- Bella, an improv troupe from the Playground Theater, will present five-minute improvisations based on excerpts randomly chosen from the books
- Brilliant Pebbles will play (I'm guessing 9:30 PM or so)
- Art School Band (formerly "Punk Band"), a somewhat ad hoc group that will doubtless include a couple Hideout employees, will play its first (and allegedly last) set

Jonathan Messinger, head honcho of Featherproof, will host.

If you want to learn more about "The Order of Odd-Fish," you may consult this lovely recent feature from Time Out Chicago

New Catfish Haven - "Set in Stone"

Download: Catfish Haven - "Set in Stone"

Beginning with a rapid series of funky seventh chords not unlike the Mighty Purple One's "Kiss" (also: dig that cover album), the new song from punk-soul trio Catfish Haven's first single from their upcoming Devastator album, (set for release this fall), "Set in Stone" finds the group more upbeat and confident than last time we heard them on 2006's Tell Me. Which makes sense, of course, seeing as Tell Me was inspired by a nasty break-up. Even the uptempo numbers, like "Crazy For Leaving", had great pangs of regret. "Set in Stone" sounds a little bit more like a band wanting to get on with their lives and, perhaps more importantly, get on the dance floor. The beat clips along at a steady, disco-influenced pace, but Catfish avoid any "Celebration"-style dance-floor schmatz. Well, for the most part. The sax line is a bit much, but there's a carefree atmosphere here that's irresistible, and the backup vocals are appropriately soulful. Also, lots of funk. Lots and lots of funk. Can't go wrong with that, and it's also nice to see formerly sad sacks get their groove back.

Devastator is out October 7th.

Catfish Haven MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

David Vandervelde - "I Will Be Fine" and "Someone Like You"

Download: David Vandervelde - "I Will Be Fine"
Download: David Vandervelde - "Someone Like You" (via Stereogum)

Note: Most of this post originally appeared on MFR

Over at the forums on music blog aggregator (a site we may or may not mention), at least twice every 30 days, there's been a discussion of what are 2008's most overlooked records, inspired by Pitchfork's post-festival attempt to do the same.

My contenders for this year include Dosh's Wolves and Wishes (mp3); Head of Femur's Great Plains (mp3; and, agreeing with the 'fork, Ponytail's Ice Cream Spiritual (mp3).

In addition to this year's records, I thought about last years. One of those albums was David Vandervelde's The Moonstation House Band (mp3; mp3). It's an album that clearly wears its glam-rock influences on its sleeve. The most obvious reference points are David Bowie's Ziggy-period work and T. Rex. While the sound may not be original, the amount of craft that went into the songs (particularly on "Nothin' No", where fuzzed-out, multi-tracked guitars and sitars made for an irresistibly easy going track) was more than apparent. Moonstation was a taut, ten-track set that earned solid reviews for the most part, but seemed to be forgotten come best-year time.

His second album, Waiting For The Sunrise, could be another candidate for overlooked record. "I Will Be Fine" , the first single from Waiting for the Sunrise, is a similarly-minded song that, while emulating soft-rock more than glam (which is a mistake, I think), contains enough glorious harmonization that would make Fleet Foxes fans wonder if they've gotten on the wrong ship. However, unlike Foxes' mammoth popularity, Vandervelde is nowhere to be found on music blog aggregators.

I don't think there's a conspiracy of any kind. Just that people have gotten caught up with hype surrounding other acts; happens all the time. But, if you find yourself just waking up with the sun, you can do no better than to have "I Will Be Fine" as your background music. Additionally, Stereogum posted another track from Sunrise titled "Someone Like You". As a song, there's a little bit of a easy-going reggae feel here, with the offbeat guitar strokes and B3-organ helping to cement that impression. However, the acoustic guitars and vocal melodies (especially the wordless ones that come toward the end of the song) have Big Star written all over it. All in all, another solid track.

Waiting For The Sunrise is out now.

David Vandervelde MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

Video: Hollywood Holt - "Hollywood"

Speaking of The Cool Kids, I saw this video over on their MySpace Blog (you've also may have seen it over at Yeezy's blog as well). It's by a duo called Hollywood Holt who, like The Cool Kids, have a sound devoted to minimalist, bass-heavy old-school revivalism. Also, they're hot as hell. Check out the vid at the top of the post.

Hollywood Holt MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

New The Cool Kids - "Pennies"

Download: The Cool Kids - "Pennies" (via Fake Shore Drive) (alt link)

Note: This Post Was Cross-Published on Minneapolis Fucking Rocks

Fans of The Cool Kids have been used to hearing new material consistently trickle from the Chicago-based hip-hop twosome, usually on the band's MySpace Page. It sometimes can take a little while to have those songs released in a more traditional format, like an album or even an EP. An awesomely stupid mixtape notwithstanding, The Cool Kids have yet to release a proper debut album.

That will all change with When Fish Ride Bicycles. No word on a release date, but the first single, "Pennies", has been leaked online. If you're looking to find a song that defines The Cool Kids aesthetic, this is it. With an defiantly old-school vibe, and a trunk-rattlin' bass line, the slow, minimalist "Pennies" is just the kind of thing to get people to stop hating on hipster rap.

When Fish Ride Bicycles is out...

The Cool Kids MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

Friday, August 15, 2008

Tours: The Dodos

08-14 Saint Malo, France - Route du Rock Festival
08-15 Hasselt, Belgium - Pukkelpop
08-16 Stafford, England - V Festival
08-17 Chelmsford, England - V Festival
08-29 Groningen, Netherlands - Noorderzon
08-30 Utrecht, Netherlands - De Beschaving
08-31 Stradbally, Ireland - Electric Picnic Festival
09-01 Belfast, Northern Ireland - Black Box !
09-02 Dundee, Scotland - Doghouse
09-03 Glasgow, Scotland - King Tuts
09-04 Newcastle, England - The Cluny
09-05 York, England - The Duchess
09-06 Leeds, England - Faversham
09-07 Manchester, England - Roadhouse
09-08 Sheffield, England - Fusion
09-10 Birmingham, England - Bar Academy
09-11 Bath, England - Moles
09-12 Brighton, England - Coalition
09-13 Oxford, England - Academy 2
09-14 Nottingham, England - Bodega
09-15 Bristol, England - Thekla
09-16 London, England - ULU
09-21 San Francisco, CA - Treasure Island Festival
09-28 Baltimore, MD - Sonar #
09-29 New York, NY - Spiegeltent #
10-02 Boston, MA - Museum of Fine Arts #
10-03 Hanover, NH - Fuel #
10-04 Montreal, Quebec - La Sala Rossa (Pop Montréal) #
10-06 Toronto, Ontario - Horseshoe Tavern #
10-07 Detroit, MI - Magic Stick
10-08 Chicago, IL - Bottom Lounge #
10-09 Bloomington, IN - Rhino's
10-10 Richmond, IN - Earlham College #
10-11 Columbus, OH - Milo #
10-17 Carlisle, PA - Dickinson College
11-08 Los Angeles, CA - Echoplex
11-12 Tourcoing, France - Le Grand Mix *
11-13 Belfort, France - Poudriere
11-14 Paris, France - Point Ephemere *
11-15 Le Havre, France - Cabaret Electric *
11-17 Frankfurt, Germany - Nachtleben *
11-18 Hamburg, Germany - Headcrash *
11-19 Aarhus, Denmark - Voxhall *
11-20 Copenhagen, Denmark - Loppen *
11-21 Berlin, Germany - Knaack *
11-22 Prague, Czech Republic - Akropolis *
11-23 Munich, Germany - 59-1 *
11-24 Vienna, Austria - Chelsea *
11-25 Padova, Italy - Stalker *
11-26 Milan, Italy - Casa 139 *
11-27 Bern, Switzerland - ISC
11-28 Lausanne, Switzerland - Le Romandie
11-29 Cologne, Germany - Luxor
11-30 Groningen, Netherlands - Vera
12-02 Amsterdam, Netherlands - Melkweg
12-03 Brussels, Belgium - Belle Vue
12-29-01-01 Tasmania and Victoria, Australia - Falls Festival

(The Dodos - "Fools")

The Dodos MySpace Page

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Tours: Man Man


08-27 Portland, OR - Hawthorne Theatre
08-28 Vancouver, British Columbia - Richard's on Richards
08-29 Victoria, British Columbia - Lucky Bar (Rifflandia Fest)
08-30 Seattle, WA - Bumbershoot Festival
09-19 Los Angeles, CA - Echoplex
09-20 San Diego, CA - Street Scene
09-25 Athens, GA - 40 Watt Club
09-27 Austin, TX - Austin City Limits Festival
10-10 New York, NY - Webster Hall
10-11 Northampton, MA - Pearl Street Ballroom
10-12 Danbury, CT - Heirloom Arts Theatre
10-14 Cleveland Heights, OH - Grog Shop
10-15 Pontiac, MI - The Crofoot
10-16 Urbana, IL - Canopy Club
10-17 Milwaukee, WI - Turner Hall Ballroom
10-18 Chicago, IL - Bottom Lounge
10-19 Iowa City, IA - The Picador
10-20 St. Louis, MO - The Bluebird
10-22 Nashville, TN - Mercy Lounge
10-23 Hattiesburg, MS - Thirsty Hippo
10-24 New Orleans, LA - Voodoo Music Experience
10-25 Tallahassee, FL - Club Downunder (Florida State University)
10-26 Orlando, FL - The Social
10-27 Jacksonville, FL - Jack Rabbits
10-28 Columbia, SC - Headliners
10-29 Charlotte, NC - Visulite Theatre
10-30 Richmond, VA - The National

via P4K

Kanye West To Bring Fatburger To Chicago

From Chicago Business:

The first Chicago-area Fatburger is slated to open next month in southwest suburban Orland Park.

The 2,353-square-foot, 74-seat restaurant will be at 15110 S. La Grange Road.

Hip-hop artist Kanye West's KW Foods LLC, which has rights to develop 10 Fatburgers in the Chicago area, plans to open another one in January at 95th and Western Avenue in the Beverly neighborhood, according to a spokeswoman for Santa Monica, Calif.-based burger chain Fatburger Corp

Never having been to a Fatburger before, I was pretty curious about this. Also, for a hilarious write-up of this news/spoof of Mr. West, head over to the AV Club.

Kanye West MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

Walter Meego's Heineken Commercial

YouTube Link

Now, I realize this commercial is old hat, but I recently conducted an interview with Walter Meego's Justin Sconza for Chicago Innerview in which he admitted to me that he has not actually seen this commercial. Needless to say, I thought that was very interesting. So I'd thought I'd dig it up.

For a more recent Meego development, check out this remix of Voyager stand-out track "Keyhole".

Download: Walter Meego - "Keyhole" (Le Castle Vania Remix)

Walter Meego MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Tonight: Reckless Records Reggae at The Burlington

Directly taken from the Reckless Records MySpace Bulletin

we would like to invite you out to the BURLINGTON this TONIGHT (8/13) for the Reckless Records
REGGAE NIGHT. Dub, Rocksteady, Ska, Dancehall, Roots, and more. Reckless Sound System selecters Supreme Court, Kief Sweat, & Lieutenant Ritchey bring it from 10pm to 2am ALL REGGAE ALL NIGHT. not to be missed.


3425 W Fullerton Ave
(between Bernard St & Kimball Ave)

WEDNESDAY 8/13 10pm-2am


The 1900s Announce New 7-Inch, Northwest Dates

The 1900s might be in the midst of recording their follow-up to the stellar Cold & Kind, but for those jonesin' for a little bit of orch-pop goodness (and who isn't?) can rest easily. The band has announced a new 7" on its MySpace blog. The single, which can be bought over at Parasol Records, contains two songs: "Everybody's Got A Collection", which is very Belle and Sebastian-esque, and "Age Of Metals", which the band describes as a "dark psych folk gem".

In other news, The 1900s are going on a brief Northwest tour, the dates of which are here:

8/31 Victoria, BC - Rifflandia Fest @ Lucky Bar w/ Tim Finn
9/1 Vancouver, BC - Stanley Park Singing Exhibition @ Malkin Bowl w/ New
Pornographers, Stevie Jackson, Visqueen
9/2 Seattle, WA @ Sunset
9/3 Portland, OR @ Berbatis

The 1900s MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Video: Kanye West - "Champion"

KANYE WEST official "CHAMPION" video.. Directed by NEON from nabil elderkin on Vimeo.


Kanye West MySpace Page

New Rhymefest Video - "Stolen"

Throughout Man in the Mirror, Rhymefest's unique Michael Jackson tribute album, the Chicago rapper keeps insisting that El Che, his ravenously anticipated sophomore album, is coming. Alas, there's still no word about an official release date for El Che, but activity surrounding the Chicago rapper has greatly increased (though it may have been at the result of some heinous circumstances). First, Rhymefest officially dropped two new tracks, "In Between" and "Forces of Nature". Next is a video for track "Stolen", which you can see at the top of the post. It's a poignant blend of animation and live-action concerning the lost of innocence during genocide.

Rhymefest MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

Monday, August 11, 2008

Record Release Party: Bang! Bang! EP and Box Set Release Show

August, 23 2008
@ The Empty Bottle
Bang! Bang!
Walking Bicycles
Strange Young Lovers
1035 N Western Ave,
Chicago, Illinois
$8 / 21+ / 10:00

Ultra Sonic Edukators Announce January Residency at Schuba's

2008 Chicago Music Playlist

Download: Bound Stems - "Happens To Us Otherwise"
Download: Verbal Kent - "Brand New Style"
Download: Unicycle Loves You - "Highway Robbery"
Download: Sunday Runners - "The Ballad of El Goodo"
Download: Big Star - "The Ballad of El Goodo"
Download: Rhymefest - "Ain't Heard it From Me" (feat. Wale)
Download: Alla - "Es Tiempo"
Download: Alltruisms - "Dry Spell"
Download: Bird Names - "Masters of Enjoyment"
Download: Sybris - "Burnout Babies"
Download: The Dials - "Flex Time"
Download: The Ms - "Big Sound"

Hey Gang -

I just wanted to take a few moments of your time to point you to a playlist of some of my favorite lesser-known artists from Chicago. I've also done a Compare-and-contrast Late Greats style thing with "The Ballad of El Goodo", including both Big Star's original and Chicago power-pop group Sunday Runner's cover. I hope you listen and enjoy. I'll very much still be doing MFR, so hakuna matata, music fans young and old. You'll now just have two blogs to read :) (I'm such a doofus).

Listen to songs at the top of the post.

Contact info:

(Jonathan Graef)

Video: The Current Interviews Kid Sister, Flosstradamus

Video Link

Check out more videos of DJ duo Flosstradamus performing at this year's Lollapalooza on their MySpace blog.

(Jonathan Graef)

Video: Mittens on Strings - "The Flaming Pig"

The Flaming Pig

The psychedelic folk-rockers have also posted a plethora of new material on their MySpace Page from their forthcoming release Let's Go To Baba's. No word on a record release show, but once there is, we'll let you know.

Mittens on Strings MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Tours: Tegan And Sara

(Tegan and Sara - "The Con")
YouTube Link

For a band whose latest release was titled The Con, folk-pop overlords of all-things adorable Tegan and Sara insist on giving their fans ample opportunity to see them in concert. After a going on a jaunt earlier this summer, and some one-off festival/solo dates, the sisters Quin will be hitting the road again. While the road may be fucking hard, it may be fucking to-ugh (nor should there be any question that it's rough, rough stuff), Tegan and Sara are no B-R-itches, my friends. Indeed, this may be the only road the know. And that's why they can't get enough.

Here are the dates:

08-10 Vancouver, British Columbia - Under the Volcano
09-04 New York, NY - Housing Works Bookstore Cafe (Tegan Quin solo)
09-20 San Diego, CA - Street Scene Festival
09-21 San Francisco, CA - Treasure Island Music Festival
09-28 Austin, TX - Austin City Limits Festival
09-30 Atlanta, GA - Tabernacle *
10-02 Baltimore, MD - Rams Head Live *
10-03 Philadelphia, PA - Electric Factory *
10-04 Worcester, MA - The Palladium *
10-05 New York, NY - Terminal 5 *
10-06 New York, NY - Terminal 5 *
10-09 Chicago, IL - Riviera Theater *
10-11 Minneapolis, MN - State Theater *
10-13 Denver, CO - Paramount Theater *
10-16 Los Angeles, CA - Henry Fonda Theater *
10-17 Los Angeles, CA - Henry Fonda Theater *
10-18 Los Angeles, CA - Henry Fonda Theater *
10-19 Los Angeles, CA - Henry Fonda Theater *

* with City and Colour, Girl in a Coma (MP3 via)

via Pitchfork
Technorati Profile

Tegan and Sara MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

Friday, August 8, 2008

Video: Sybris - "Gin Divides Us" (Live on Fearless TV)

(video link)

Tonight: Oxford Collapse at The Abbey Pub

Download: Oxford Collapse - "Please Visit Your National Parks"
Download: Oxford Collapse - "Lady Lawyers"
Download: Oxford Collapse - "The Birthday Wars"
(Via Oxford Collapse Audio Page)
Download: We Are Scientists - "Nobody Move"

Like many other Brooklyn-based bands early this decade, Oxford Collapse started out as a group influenced by the post-punk likes of Joy Division, Wire and Gang of Four (you know, the usual suspects). However, as the band toured, and gained more in popularity (which resulted into signing to Sub Pop), Oxford's sound has evolved into something more akin to classic indie-rock of the Eighties and Nineties. On releases like Remember The Night Parties, and the brand-new Bits, Oxford Collapse combined a lacerating, self-effacing wit with music that essentially serves as comfort food for those party-goers who're acting a little bit younger than what their age dictates.

But, lest you think that Oxford Collapse is music for brahs, the band throw in some emotional ambivalence. "You're so sweet/thanks for asking/we're doing fine/with our steady, slow decline" is the band's idea of a sing-along anthem. As listeners may ascertain from the title, Bits consists mainly of short, melodic blasts of hummable indie-rock, driven by pummeling drums, treble-y guitars, and thick basslines (check out "The Birthday Wars" as a strong example of what Bits is about). But Bits is at its most interesting when the band stretches out, such as the Fugazi-invoking "Men & Their Ideas". While Bits may whet listeners appetite for Oxford Collapse, the live show should provide a whole feast. We Are Scientists headline.

Show Details:

We Are Scientists
Oxford Collapse
Abbey Pub
$15, 18+
Doors at 8, Show at 9

We Are Scientists MySpace Page
Oxford Collapse MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

Atmosphere, Lupe Fiasco Sign Up To "Take Labor Day Back"

Do you celebrate Labor Day? Of course you do, even if you don't necessarily know of its origins. So what better way to celebrate your day off than to see other people working in order to celebrate your right to a day off now and again? If you don't already have plans on Sept. 1st, then head on to Harriott Island Regional Park to watch local hip-hop heroes Atmosphere, Chicago-rapper Lupe Fiasco, Billy Bragg, Tom Tom Morello, Steve Earle, and Allison Moorer take back Labor Day. From whom, exactly, I'm not sure, but the fact that the concert is taking place at the foot of the Republican National Convention should provide a big enough hint.

As for the details of the concert itself, we'll leave that to the good folks at Rhymesayers to fill you in on the rest of the details:

The Take Back Labor Day Festival, sponsored by SEIU, will include a concert, a You Tube station, a children's area, and a large audience-participation art project. Joining the performers will be SEIU leaders Andy Stern and Anna Burger and other special guests.

The festival will both celebrate workers' achievements and promote a New Vision for the 21st Century that includes:

-Affordable, quality healthcare for everyone;
-Wages that can support families;
-Freedom to join unions without intimidation;
-Retirement security.

Tickets for the event, which will take place on Sept. 1 from noon to 7 p.m, can be bought through Ticketmaster or Fifth Element. That's right, a pro-union concert is being sponsored by Ticketmaster. As Bart Simpson would say, the ironing is delicious.

"Take Back Labor Day" is on Sept. 1st.

(Jonathan Graef)

This post originally appeared on Minneapolis Fucking Rocks

New Rhymefest - "Bring It Back" and "Real Nigga Quotes"

Download: Rhymefest - "Real Nigga Quotes"
Download: Rhymefest - "Bring it Back" (both via Fake Shore Drive

Two new tracks from Chicago-based rapper's Rhymefest's long-in-the-making El Che have come to light, in rather sordid fashion. Fake Shore has all the details, but here's a summary: dude stole Rhymefest iPod, and, because of his supposed lack of prolific output(where was he for this?), he's going to release a track every week until he gets some answers, or at least a single/video. Yikes. Read the manifesto-of-sorts here.

Despite the not-so-cool way these tracks were obtained, the tracks themselves are absolutely stellar. "Bring It Back" coasts on by on a breezy beat produced by DJ Jazzy Jeff. The song itself is a reflective look at a time when hip-hop was supposedly more substantial. The vibe of the track itself is not unlike Jazzy Jeff's "Summertime", or a vintage Tribe Called Quest jam. Oddly enough, the waxing nostalgic is not unlike fellow Chicago rapper Lupe Fiasco's "Hip-Hop Saved My Life". The second track, however, is furious. "Real Nigga Quotes" is, simply put, a track that confirms that Public Enemy's legacy is still alive and well. Using famous quotes from throughout history (everyone from Malcolm X to Dave Chappelle), 'Fest spits some serious truth about today's political landscape, even casting Barack Obama in a harsh light. (Does this mean 'Fest still supports him?"). If these tracks are any indication of what El Che is like, then this record is the Nevermind to Blue Collar's Bleach. That's saying something.

Listen to the two songs at the top of the post. Thanks again to Fake Shore Drive.

Rhymefest MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

This post was originally published on Minneapolis Fucking Rocks

Head of Femur - Great Plains

Download: Head of Femur - "Jetway Junior"
Download: Head of Femur - "Isn't It A Shame?"

Note: This Post Contains Previously Published Content

Orch-pop, for those who may not know (though the people who do not will dwindle each time another superb record from Chicago’s scene emerges), is a sub-genre of indie music in which the group in question makes eminently tuneful pop music with orchestral embellishments such as violins, woodwinds, or even brass, in addition to the good ole’ fashioned guitar, bass, and drums (and, maybe, keyboards). Of all the acts in Chicago's very own orch-pop scene (including terrific acts like The 1900s and Scotland Yard Gospel Choir), Head of Femur have not only been around the longest amount of time, but have the largest amount of recorded output. Their third LP, Great Plains, was released earlier this year. If there’s any justice in this musical universe, then you’d can expect Great Plains to show up on many people’s lists of 2008 albums which have been unjustly overlooked, at least by blogosphere standards. (Pitchfork rewarded Great Plains with a solid 7.3).

Consisting of one of the year’s most flawlessly executed sequence of songs, Great Plains is an album whose brand of baroque orch-pop flourishes to perfection. The group makes effortlessly melodic music that is simultaneously contemporary and timeless. While there are many orch-pop touchstones, listeners should be able to piece together a nerd-pop influence here (the quirky-catchy Pavement/They Might Be Giants amalgam of “Where’s The Fire?”), a Beach Boys influence there (check out the sighing, wistful harmonies of album opener “Whirlaway”), and the sunny, kaleidoscopic pop of such classic influences as the contemplative balladry The Beatles (“By The Red Fire”) and modern ones like the boyishly effervescent pop of Apples In Stereo (“Jetway Junior”).

It would be natural to assume that, because of the shock-and-awe name-bombing campaign I’ve inadvertently waged in the previous paragraph, Head of Femur are mere sonic impressionists and that listening to Great Plains is just an ostentatious game of spot-the-influence. (Is now a bad time to mention that the singer Matt Focht sounds a whole hell of a lot like Elliot Smith?). But while its first two proper songs (after the Beach-Boys lilt of “Whirlaway”) ultimately distract the listener with unnecessary anxiety and business, once the steady guitar-and-snare-driven strut of “Jetway Junior” arrives, Great Plains begins an utterly remarkable stretch of fantastic songs, each one arriving with a greater sense of relaxed confidence than the next. “Jetway Junior”, “Where’s The Fire?”, album closer “Isn’t It A Shame?”, and “Covered Wagons”, which is the album’s centerpiece (and a more subdued version of Arcade Fire’s “Intervention)— are prime examples of what happens when a veteran, or even just an established, group of songwriters, or musicians, grow comfortable, but not complacent, with one another: They focus on, and complement, each other’s strengths and, as a result, are able to churn out one great piece of work after the next. After a bit of an awkward stumble, Head of Femur stridently regain their footing and deliver one of the year’s best records. Great Plains is simply…well, you’ve gotten the picture.

Read a longer version of this review over at Stereo Subversion

Head of Femur MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

Video: Local H, Live on "Carson Daly", (6/11/08)

Local H, performing "24 Hour Breakup Session" from their most recent album, 12 Angry Months.

(Jonathan Graef)

Video: The 1900s - "Georgia"


via MySpace

Video: Sybris - "Oh Man!"