Friday, January 30, 2009

Video: Flosstradamus - "Big Bills"

Directed by Kevin Mcalester (the dude from Home Alone?), this is the video for Flosstradamus' first wholly original song, "Big Bills". Contrary to what you might think, this track skews surprisingly close to disco and synth-pop, as opposed to hip-hop. Speaking of Synth-pop, the duo put this one together with vocalist Caroline Polachek using the actual Postal Service, which is apt because this song sounds a lot like the band The Postal Service. Watch the vid at the top of the post.

Flosstradamus MySpace Page

Thursday, January 29, 2009

New Maps and Atlases - "Banished Be Cavelier"


Boy, Maps and Atlases weren't kidding when they said that they'd post a demo soon were they? While the group is working on its first full-length record, they've posted a :30 second clip of a song called "Banished Be Cavalier". If you want to go the full monty, then you can sign up for their street team here. Otherwise, check out the :30 clip at the top of the post.

Maps and Atlases MySpace Page

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Video: Andrew Bird - "Fitz and Dizzyspells" (Live on "Late Show With David Letterman")

Watching this clip of Andrew Bird performing "Fitz and Dizzyspells," of his brand spanking new Noble Beast record is pretty remarkable, and not because of the enthusiastic accolades that both David Letterman and Paul Shaffer shower Bird with. It's remarkable because Bird unleashes a fury of violin plucks while bobbing his head to and fro like a white Stevie Wonder. Not only that, but he's backed up by MPLS musicians Martin Dosh--he of the tremendously underrated Wolves and Wishes--and Jeremy Ylvisaker. But NOT ONLY THAT (capitalization courtesy of John Hodgman), there are horn amps from Chicago in the background. Not too shabby, any way you look at it.

Watch Andrew Bird's performance of "Fitz and Dizzyspells" at the top of the post.

Andrew Bird MySpace Page

Video: Vince P - "I Believe in Vince P."

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tours: Death Cab for Cutie

Download: Death Cab for Cutie - "Bend to Squares"
Download: Death Cab for Cutie - "Prove My Hypothesis"
Download: Ra Ra Riot - "Dying is Fine"

Taken directly from the DCfC MySpace Page

Saturday, March 7th @ Miami, FL - Langerado Music Festival
Tuesday, April 7th @ Upper Darby, PA/Philadelphia, PA - Tower Theatre
Wednesday, April 8th @ Washington, DC - DAR Constitution Hall
Thursday, April 9th @ Davidson, NC - John Belk Arena
Friday, April 10th @ Louisville, KY - The Louisville Palace
Saturday, April 11th @ Memphis, TN - Orpheum Theatre
Sunday, April 12th @ Tulsa, OK - The Brady Theater
Monday, April 13th @ Omaha, NE - Holland Center
Wednesday, April 15th @ St. Paul, MN - Roy Wilkins Auditorium
Friday, April 17th @ Chicago, IL - Aragon Ballroom
Saturday, April 18th @ East Lansing, MI - Breslin Events Center
Sunday, April 19th @ Waukesha, WI - Van Male Fieldhouse
Friday, April 24th @ Spokane, WA - McCarthey Athletic Center
Saturday, April 25th @ Boise, ID - The Morrison Center
Monday, April 27th @ Sacramento, CA - Memorial Auditorium
Wednesday, April 29th @ San Diego, CA - RIMAC Arena
Friday, May 1st @ Austin, TX - Austin Music Hall
Saturday, May 2nd @ New Orleans, LA - Contemporary Arts Center
Monday, May 4th @ Nashville, TN - Ryman Auditorium
Tuesday, May 5th @ Birmingham, AL - BJCC Concert Hall
Wednesday, May 6th @ Atlanta, GA - Fox Theatre

More specific ticket information can be gathered here. Supporting Death Cab will be blog-pop band Ra Ra Riot.

Death Cab for Cutie MySpace Page

Monday, January 26, 2009

Maps and Atlases announce first full-length album

Taken directly from the newly established Maps and Atlases blog

We have been extremely busy the last few months working on what is going to be our first full length record. The songs are still pretty raw but we couldn't be more excited about them! The record is going to be pretty different from the EP's but we hope everyone will give it a chance.

The band says that they'll be doing demos for another month or so, and that they'll also be playing this Spring's South by Southwest conference.

Maps and Atlases MySpace Page

Flyer: Yo! Electro @ Sonotheque

Video: Kidz In The Hall - "Birdwalk Re-versed"


Video: Fall Out Boy at the Inauguration

Inauguration Part 1 from clandestine on Vimeo.

Video uploaded on Friends or Enemies of Chicago pop-punk superstars Fall Out Boy at President Barack Obama's historic inauguration.

Friday, January 23, 2009

New 1990s - "The Box"

<Download: 1990s - "The Box

I have absolutely no idea when the 1990s talk putting things back into "The Box," but I love to think that it's totally, horribly morbid. I mean, come on, "I'd like to put you back in the box?" "I just want to get back in that box with you?" He's completely talking about a grave? Right? There's no possible other way that this could be interpreted! Seriously though, with the box/socks rhyme scheme and the midtempo glam groove, this plays like the unrealized synthesis between T. Rex and Dr. Seuss. I'm still figuring out whether or not that's good or bad.

At any rate, "The Box," the new song from Glasgow rockers the 1990s, is from its forthcoming album, Kicks, which is set for a release date of March 24, 2009.

Show Announcement: Chicago Thrash Ensemble

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Looptopia To Be Split Into Five Separate, But Equally Annoying Parties

After two attempts to mirror the success of all-night bacchanalias in Paris, the dusk-to-dawn celebration in the Loop known as Looptopia is will reportedly be no more, at least in its current incarnation. The Chicago Sun-Times broke the news that the fest will be broken up into five different parties, with each one taking place on the third Thursday of every month, starting from May and ending in September.

So hey, you now have five different chances to happen upon your favorite, unexpectedly closed Loop attraction.

Ty Tabing, executive director of the Chicago Loop Alliance, who announced the ""Third Thursdays: Best of Looptopia" program, told the Sun-Times that "each event will look different. We're creating fresh programming that captures the essence of the Loop as an emerging, creative destination."

Yeah, good luck with that. That said, will we ever forget Mucca Pazza's 2007 set? Probably not.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

New (Old) Star - "First Grade Still

Local dream-pop trio Star put up a new song on their MySpace page called "First Grade Still. It's new to listeners, but the band states that it's one of the first songs they had written together. "First Grade Still" is an apt title because the track basically sounds like Slowdive as arranged for a grade school chorus. It's quite haunting. Check it out at the band's MySpace page.

Star MySpace Page

Apteka Hilariously Butchers Dishwalla

In the midst of recording their new album, local fuzz rockers Apteka took the time to hilariously butcher a mid-90s classic only to those who grew up in the mid-90s (uh, that would be me). Check out a video of Apteka "covering" Dishwalla's "Counting Blue Cars."

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Top Ten Songs on Reviewed in 50 Words or Less (1/01/09--1/15/09)

I opted out of doing a Top Ten earlier this month because it mostly consisted of best-ofs from the various blogs--and I felt like I opined plenty about those tracks throughout 2008. So I waited til the chart was completely new. But to compensate you for the wait, I've added a couple of songs for review. Enjoy!

1) Bon Iver - "Blood Bank"

Download: Bon Iver - "Blood Bank"

Moving on the ghostly etherality of his debut LP, Bon Iver nonetheless continues to write post-folk serves as an ideal soundtrack for earthly reflection. But lest emotions resembling confidence come into fold, haunting harmonies emerge to supplant transcendent doubt in the mind of the listener. My generation’s Neil Young? Vernon’s yet to prove us otherwise.

Grade: A-

2) The Decemberists - "The Rake Song"

Download: The Decemberists - "The Rake Song"

Distorted guitar tones and a narrative concerning familial murder suggest Nirvana by way of Titus Andronicus (no, not that one, the other). With “The Rake Song,” The Decemberists ditch the operatic orchestrations of The Crane Wife for a dirtier, grimier sound; a darkly satisfactory take on The Decemberists’ stock in trade.

Grade: B

3) Dirty Projectors and David Byrne - "Knotty Pine"

Download: Dirty Projectors and David Byrne - "Knotty Pine"

The former Talking Heads frontman, along with his one of his many auditory progenies, create a song that sounds like Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. There’s a development that’s mind-meltingly bizarre, in a meta kind of way. If Byrne is doing CYHSY, and CYHSY is doing Byrne, is Byrne still doing Byrne? Help me out here.

Grade: B-

4) Elvis Perkins in Dreamland - "Shampoo"

Download: Elvis Perkins in Dreamland - "Shampoo"

There’s a little bit of reggae’s relaxed, unbothered shuffle, except that it’s by way of Bob Dylan and the spaghetti western, which allows for sadness pangs (indeed, how else to feel if your blood was the color of black). Elvis Perkins is basically a thinking man’s Jack Johnson, but the hook eventually ingratiates itself on the listener. Also, nice harmonica work.

Grade: C+

5) The Antlers - "Bear"

Download: The Antlers - "Bear"

Essentially, what starts off as any annoyingly conventional Euro-pop lounge ballad begins to nonetheless charm us all once the shambolic guitar-romanticism stumbles its way in from the bathroom (uh, musically speaking of course); one that improves upon multiple listens.

Grade: B-

6) Handsome Furs - "I'm Confused"

Download: Handsome Furs - "I'm Confused"

Pete Townshend's debut solo work (circa Empty Glass) is filtered through the modern-day indie-rock of Wolf Parade? I, too, am confused. But I can't argue with a catch noveau-wave chorus and a modestly insistent beat, can I?

Grade: B

7) Peter, Bjorn and John - "Nothing to Worry About"

Download: Peter, Bjorn and John - "Nothing to Worry About"

In spite of being known for uber-melodious Swedish pop, PB&J continue to take fascinating detours away from the sound that made them popular. In combining M.I.A's worldly hip-hop and hormonal funk of Prince, the trio stumble upon something bizarre, but maybe, just maybe, kind of awesome.

Grade: B+

8) Heartless Bastards - "The Mountain"

Download: Heartless Bastards - "The Mountain"

Like an alt-country Dinosaur Jr. (think "Sludgefest"), the Dayton, Ohio-based trio's "The Mountain" is a solid, somber ballad accentuated with pedal-steel guitar, which helps give the rock-steady songwriting a bit of a sad, canyon-sized grace. The unimaginative song-structure becomes repetitive, but an expansionist opening provides enough variety for a satisfactory listen.

Grade: B

9) Vetiver - "Everyday"

Download: Vetiver - "Everyday"

Sunny, warm and McCartney-esque, but, nonetheless, screamingly bland. Where's Devandra when you need him to weird it up a bit?

Grade: C

10) Au Revoir Simone - "Here is The News" (ELO Cover)

Download: Au Revoir Simone - "Here is The News" (ELO Cover)

One of the many, many MP3s released as part of Buffetlibre's latest covers project, Au Revoir Simone give ELO's early 80s ballad a modern-day dance sheen, but still retain its melancholic new-wave essence.

Grade: B

11) The Black Lips - "Starting Over"

Download: The Black Lips - "Starting Over"

Anthemic, sighing pub-rock and folk-rock's jingle-jangle mourning prove to listeners that they'd be pretty good drinking buddies, as Atlanta's anarchic garage-rockers continue to develop new, more mature methods of songwriting.

Grade: B+

12) Antony and the Johnsons - "Another World"

Download: Antony and the Johnsons - "Another World"

One of the more subdued tracks from Antony's latest album (which, after the glorious soulful warmth of his previous effort, is a bit of a grower, but of similarly excellent quality), "Another World" puts a profoundly austere focus on his voice and piano for another excellent treatise on hoping to face death not alone.

Grade: A-

Thursday, January 15, 2009

New Music: Office - "Nobody Knows You" (Plus: The band gives away album for free)

Download: Office - "Nobody Knows You"

There are two types of album delays, and neither one is good. First, there's the times when both band and label delay an album's release because they are trying to polish a turd. The second is arguably worse: when a band's album is delayed because of label troubles, which means that a group's work is drowning in label bureaucracy. The latter is how you get lost classics like Slowdive's Pygmalion, for example. The newest effort by local power-pop band OFFICE, titled simply Mecca, doesn't quite fit the lost classic label, but there are a handful of gems, one of them being the irresistible "Nobody Knows You". It's a great example of the band's blend of new-wave, power-pop, and multi-layered harmonies. Listen to it at the top of the post.

Download Mecca here

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

New Music: Anni Rossi - "Ecology"

Download: Anni Rossi - "Ecology"
Download: Anni Rossi - "Wheelpusher"

When last we heard from Chicago via Minneapolis via Los Angeles, she was being a "Wheelpusher" and issuing her debut EP, Afton. The 22-year-old's first recorded output was a minimalist affair, featuring Rossi's idiosyncratic vocals, a fair amount of woodwinds, amongst other orchestral touches (which makes sense, what with Rossi being into the classical sauce from a young age), and her instrument the viola as the primary focus of most of the songs.

There seems to be a nature theme going on in Anni Rossi's music, whether it's the opening line in "Wheelpuser" about wanting to be a beekeeper in the Himalayas (the benefits are great?), or the title of her new song, "Ecology."

This track is from her debut full-length, which is coming this March. It's titled Rockwell, and it features ten tracks, some of which are re-dos from Afton. In contrast to the original's keyboard and woodwinds minimalism, this new version takes the former and runs with it, almost creating a woodsy synth-pop track in the process. I smell a remix (Buffetlibre?). Check out "Ecology" at the top of the post.

Anni Rossi MySpace Page

And watch this video for "Wheelpusher" (the MP3 of which is also at the top of the post)

Friday, January 9, 2009

Aleks And The Drummer Cover Blondie for Buffetlibre

Download: Aleks and the Drummer - "Fade Away and Radiate"

One of our favorite nouveau-wave groups, Aleks and the Drummer was one of a handful of groups chosen to cover several new-wave and 80s classics from the likes of Michael Jackson, The Rock Steady Crew, and, relevant to us, Blondie. The duo did a rendition of Blondie's "Fade Away and Radiate." About the song, the group said this:

Why have you chosen this journey back in time in particular?
Probably more of a tribute. I do realize that Blondie is a band, but I love Debbie Harry, and if I were in a room with her, I probably would have to consciously try not to stare. I hate to be immediately superficial, but she's the most beautiful woman ever.

Listen to the song at the top of the post.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Monday, January 5, 2009

Tonight: Animal Collective Listening Party @ Sonotheque

Taken directly from the Domino Records website:

Animal Collective’s 9th full length album, Merriweather Post Pavilion, will be released early on deluxe 2xLP 180 gram gatefold vinyl with full album download (WAV or MP3) January 6th, 2009 in North America. The CD & digital release date will remain January 20th (Jan. 12 UK/Europe). To coincide with the early vinyl release we are throwing a series of release/listening parties across the country in conjunction with Terrorbird Media, record stores, and college radio stations. The release parties will take place at record stores or venues the week of the vinyl release and will feature pre-orders, Animal Collective listening party exclusive goodies including giant posters and download cards, ticket giveaways and grand prize giveaways of ‘The Domino Years’ prize packs

Tonight's listening party in Chicago is at Sonotheque

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Tours: Netherfriends

The modern psych-pop--think of the band as being the middle ground between Bird Names and Animal Collective--group are having a short jaunt, beginning today. Check out the group's work here, or watch live footage of "Tac Tac", shot live in Detroit, performed below:

("Tac Tac")

Netherfriends MySpace Page

Friday, January 2, 2009

Tonight: Bury Me At Makeout Creek (Final Show)

Tonight: Kid, You'll Move Mountains CD Release Party @ Metro

If you print out the flyer below, and present it before 9 p.m., you'll get into the show for free, which is as good as way as any to kick off a new year. To read more about Kid, You'll Move Mountains, check out my interview with sibling rhythm section Nate and Andrew Lanthrum (formerly of Troubled Hubble) over at Decider Chicago.