I got an email earlier today stating that the Chicago's Promoter Ordinance, which was tabled last May after an outcry from opponents who said that its passing would result in certain disaster for Chicago's music scene, was going to be pushed "for a second attempt...through legislation" by the Chicago City Council.
That email, on the behalf of the 4themusic organization, was based upon initial reports from the Sun-Times.
However, Jim DeRogatis, who broke the news initially, is now reporting that that Ald. Gene Schulter, who was allegedly behind the second push, is denying that the measure is moving forward.
Robert Rawls, communications director for license committee chairman, told DeRog via email that "The Promoters Ordinance is not on the agenda for the March 11th meeting of the Committee on License and Consumer Protection. At this point, [Alderman Schulter]...does not know when this issue will be brought before the committee for a public hearing."
We'll have to wait and see about that public hearing business, as the city likes to pass legislation behind closed doors--a practice utterly anti-democratic (small d or otherwise).
To read the email in full, and catch up on your Ordinance backstory, go here and here, respectively.
Friday, February 27, 2009
(Chicago Journalism Town Hall - "Snarking is cheap, but investigative reporting is expensive")
Anyone with even the most modest of journalistic aspirations should watch the entire Chicago Journalism Town Hall, uploaded by the town hall's YouTube Page. The panel touches on most of the touchstone issues surrounding journalism in the 21st Century, including whether or not newspapers have/even need the resources to do in-depth reporting, and if Google can truly help websites. I've embedded those two videos at the top, and bottom, of the post. Watch the rest of the discussion over here.
(Chicago Journalism Town Hall - "Google's the answer. No-Google is dumb.)"
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Let's all contact our Congress-people, yes?
The bill that will help the Chicago Independent Radio Project secure a broadcast frequency has been reintroduced in the House of Representatives. This time around, it’s H.B. 1147, still called the Local Community Radio Act.
Let's all contact our Congress-people, yes?
In addition to releasing a new DVD exclusively to independent record stores, Chicago-based eclectics Wilco have been teasing listeners with the prospect of a new record for quite some time. Those who are looking forward to 2007's Sky Blue Sky follow-up can have their anticipation further heightened. By way of a newsletter (later picked up by New Musical Express), the band said that they were "major progress on the upcoming soon-to-be-titled LP," hunkering down in their famous loft with producer/engineer Jim Scott, and that they've got a "calendar for release in June" in mind. The band/NME advises listeners to pay close attention to the band's website in the coming weeks for new album news.
Of course, no new album would be complete without a tour to support it, and Wilco have announced a handful of new dates for the Spring.
Tour Dates (via):
Burlington, VT Higher Ground (March 26)
Northampton, MA Calvin Theatre (27)
Beacon, NY Beacon Hight Auditorium
Milwaukee, WI Pabst Theater (April 14, 15)
Bloomington, IN IU Auditorum (16)
Athens, OH (17)
Knoxville, TN Tennessee Theatre (18)
Athens, GA Classic Center (20)
Ahseville, NC Thomas Wolfe Auditorium (21)
Birmingam, AL Sloss Furnaces (22)
Oxford, MS Lyric Oxford (23)
New Orleans, LA Jazz & Heritage Festival (25)
Manchester, TN Bonnaroo (June 11-14)
Detroit Lakes, MN 10,000 Lakes Festival (July 22-25)
Wilco MySpace Page
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Download: Elvis Perkins in Dearland - "Shampoo"
April 02 Paris, FR La Maroquinerie
April 03 Amsterdam, NL Paradiso
April 04 Brussels BE AB Club
April 06 London UK ICA
April 07 Madrid ES Sala Sol
April 23 Northampton Iron Horse Music Hall
April 24 Providence Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel
April 25 Burlington VT Higher Ground
April 27 Il Motore Montreal QC
April 29 Toronto ONT Horseshoe Tavern
April 30 Chicago IL Schubas Tavern
May 01 Madison WI Memorial Union Terrace
May 02 Minneapolis MN 400 Bar
May 03 Davenport IA The Redstone Room
May 05 Lawrence KS Jackpot Music Hall
May 06 Omaha NE The Waiting Room
May 08 Denver CO Hi-Dive
May 09 Boulder CO B Side Lounge
May 11 Austin TX The Parish
May 12 Dallas TX Pontiac Garage at HOB
May 13 Houston TX Walters on Washington
May 14 Hattiesburg, MS Thirsty Hippo
May 15 Birmingham AL Bottletree
May 19 Arlington VA IOTA Club & Cafe
May 20 Brooklyn NY Bell House
June 11-14 Manchester TN 2009 Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival
* w/ Tim Eriksen Shape-Note Extravaganza
Elvis Perkins in Dearland MySpace Page
Elvis prepares to head out into the real world like a good boy would by scheduling a series of dates in the late Spring months. Perkins and his Nashville Skyline-era Dylan-isms (the end result being that he's a thinking man's Jack Johnson. Hold your tongue.) will be settling into Schuba's Tavern on April 30th.
Say what you want about Jim DeRogatis' musical tastes, but homeboy has got it absolutely covered when it comes to bringing us the deets surrounding the Ticketmaster/Live Nation merger/end of independent music as we know it. Yesterday, he live blogged the Senate hearing, and you can read his recap of it here. For my money, this is the key passage of why the Ticketmaster/Live Nation is bad news for music fans:
Read the rest here
Washington, D.C. concert promoter Seth Hurwitz, co-owner of the legendary 9:30 Club, added, "How much control is too much? You can't blame Live Nation at this point [for wanting more] any more than you can blame a shark for eating people."
The hearing ended with Chairman Herb Kohl (D-Wisc.) noting that the committee has urged the Justice Department "to examine [the merger] closely" before granting its approval. Beltway observers say this ruling will be the first significant test of the Obama administration's stance on antitrust issues."
Read the rest here
Posted by Jon at 7:55 AM
Of all the albums from last year that could've been on MFR's "Top Albums We'd Like To Hear Audio Commentaries For," Kanye West's 808s and Heartbreak is at the absolute top. After all, to have an entire album of sadness, woe, and regret from one of the cockiest bastards in the business (face the facts, that's why we love him) is fascinating--especially given the heartbreaking circumstances of the album's creation.
Luckily, we've got VH1's "Storytellers", a program that I didn't even know was in existence still, covering that beat for us. Kanye's one of the artists playing the show, and his segment will air on Saturday. In the meantime, Stereogum has got video of Kanye performing Graduation's Daft Punk-sampling "Stronger". Watch it at the top of the post.
Here's 'Ye's setlist:
"Say You Will"
"Touch the Sky"
Kanye West MySpace Page
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
The release date of this has been put in jeopardy, but the album cover is just too amazing NOT to share. Lose Your Illusion, Too may be out in June of this year--we'll have to wait and see.
Mannequin Men MySpace Page
One of the most underreported aspects of the demise of Touch and Go's distribution center is how that change of direction will affect local label Flameshovel Records, which has signed the likes of The Narrator, Mannequin Men, and Bound Stems. Thankfully, local NPR outlet WBEZ has got this angle covered. Go here to listen to WBEZ's interview with the Flameshovel head James Kenler. In it, he talks about how exactly the Touch and Go closing affects him directly. A reader comment put it thusly:
Losing a partner in Touch & Go is a horrible blow to labels like Flameshovel. Knowing James, the creative being that he is, he’ll find a way to trudge through these times until he can again find his footing. It’s rare to see a label that actually cares about the artist anymore. It’s rare to see a label that works their hardest to finance a record that they believe in on merit alone and not bottom-line results.
Additionally, check out the Reader's post on the matter here.
Download: The Chap - "Carlos Walter Wendy Stanley"
Download: The Chap - "Proper Rock"
03.12 Lexington, KY @ The University of Kentucky
03.13 Ann Arbor, MI @ The Blind Pig w/ Nomo
03.14 Hamtramck, MI @ Throwbridge House of Coffee
03.15 Chicago, IL @ Schubas w/ Nomo
03.17 Forth Worth, TX @ Lola's Sixth w/ Deastro
03.18 Austin, TX SXSW @ Club 1808 (8:30pm)
03.18 Austin, TX SXSW @ Mohawk (12am)
03.21 Austin, TX SXSW @ Urban Outfitters (2pm)
03.24 Atlanta, GA @ Eyedrum
03.26 Poughkeepsie, NY @ Matthew's Mug (Vassar College)
03.27 New York, NY @ Le Poisson Rouge
03.28 New York, NY @ Cake Shop w/ Deastro
Touring behind their Pitchfork acclaimed 2008 release Mega Breakfast.
The Chap MySpace Page
Monday, February 23, 2009
(Lupe Fiasco - "Go Go Gadget Flow/Dumb it Down" - Live at University of San Francisco)
Videos come courtesy of Lupe-END, and they were spotted at Midwest Broadcast. It's footage of Wasalu performing a few of his Cool tracks at the University of San Francisco. To watch more, head here.
Lupe Fiasco MySpace Page
Monday, February 23rd @ SCHUBAS
Doors @ 8:30 PM
The Deep Vibration
This is the last of Brighton, MA's free, month-long residence at Schuba's, so if you're going to check out this Chicago-based quartet, now's your chance to do it.
Brighton MA MySpace Page
Download: King Khan and the Shrines - "Welfare Bread"
Download: King Khan and the Shrines - "No Regrets"
03-06 St. Augustine, FL - Harvest of Hope Festival
03-07 Miami, FL - The Vagabond
03-08 Orlando, FL - Wills Pub
03-10 Atlanta, GA - Masquerade
03-12 Asheville, NC - Orange Peel
03-13 Nashville, TN - Exit In
03-14 Memphis, TN - Hi-Tone Café
03-15 New Orleans, LA - One Eyed Jacks
03-16 Dallas, TX - Palladium Loft
03-17 San Antonio, TX - The Warhol
03-20 Austin, TX - Emo's (Vice Records SXSW Showcase)
04-29 Washington, DC - 9:30 Club
04-30 Philadelphia, PA - First Unitarian Church
05-01 Brooklyn, NY - Music Hall of Williamsburg
05-02 Hoboken, NJ - Maxwell's
05-03 New York, NY - Santo's Party House
05-07 Boston, MA - Paradise
05-08 Ottowa, Ontario - Babylon
05-09 Montreal, Quebec - La Sala Rossa
05-12 Toronto, Ontario - Phoenix Theatre
05-13 Detroit, MI - Magic Stick
05-14 Columbus, OH - Wexner Center
05-15 Chicago, IL - Bottom Lounge
05-16 Minneapolis, MN - Triple Rock
05-19 Calgary, Alberta - The Warehouse
05-20 Edmonton, Alberta - The Starlite Room
05-22 Vancouver, British Columbia - Commodore Ballroom
05-23 Quincy, WA - Sasquatch Festival
05-25 Portland, OR - Dante's
05-28 San Francisco, CA - Great American Music Hall
05-29 Los Angeles, CA - Echo
05-30 Los Angeles, CA - Echo
The James Brown-cum-garage-rock revivalists King Khan and The Shrines are set to tour behind the American release of their live album What Is?. To read an interview I did with Khan for Chicago Innerview, go here.
King Khan and the Shrines MySpace Page
Opening for the eclectic hip-hop appropriating songwriter are a couple of acts with a high dose of quirk themselves. First is songwriter Benjy Ferree, who, like Fite, manages a style which is an amalgam of many different styles. Expect to hear small dollops of blues, metal, glam, and any other theatrical rock touchstone that Ferree can get his hands on. Additionally, go early for Eyesearsnose. Like fellow local odd-poppers Bird Names, the band gets tons of mileage out of taking the template laid down by the Beach Boys, and putting it through the fever dream blender of psychedelia.
Check out all of the band's MySpace pages:
Tim Fite MySpace Page
Benjy Ferree MySpace Page
Eyeearsnose MySpace Page
Friday, February 20, 2009
As a tribute to not-quite dearly departed Chicago indie stalwart Touch and Go, Pitchfork TV posted video of one of its essential artists performing in their most exciting capacity--live. To watch cathartic chaos personified, head over here to watch The Jesus Lizard perform "Destroy Before Read" and "Puss". Or watch the video at the top of the post. Either way, just sit down and watch. It's utterly essential that you do so.
The Jesus Lizard MySpace Page
Download: Red Red Meat - "Gauze"
For those of you who don't know, Red Red Meat were a blues-influenced (with just the right dash of shoegaze) group from these here parts. They released five records in their time together, including three with the famous Sub Pop label, who you may know for, say, putting a little record called Bleach. After the band broke up in 1999, some members of it went on to form Califone, while others took their place behind the board, producing bands like Modest Mouse and Walking Bicycles.
But it seems as if someone wants to look back (hopefully not in anger). One of those three Red Red Meat records, Bunny Gets Paid, will be re-released by Sub Pop in March, in a deluxe re-issue that includes a remastering job by Brian Deck, a 7-song 2nd disc of alternate, demo and single versions of album tracks, along with the usual b-sides and covers. That drops on March 24th. You can get yourself into a nostalgic mood by listening to slow, contemplative "Gauze" at the top of the post.
Additionally, peep the footage of the band performing "Braindead" live at the Bottle, along with some Chicago luminaries speaking well of the band.
Red Red Meat Re-issue info
Download: Mogwai - "The Sun Smells Too Loud"
04/20 Houston, TX- Numbers
04/21 New Orleans, LA- Republic
04/22 Birmingham, AL- Workplay Theatre
04/23 Asheville, NC- Orange Peel
04/24 Carrboro, NC- Cats Cradle
04/25 Philadelphia, PA- Trocadero
04/27 Brooklyn, NY- Music Hall Of Williamsburg
04/28 Brooklyn, NY- Music Hall Of Williamsburg
04/29 Brooklyn, NY- Music Hall Of Williamsburg
05/01 Boston, MA- Wilbur Theatre
05/02 Northampton, MA- Pearl Street
05/03 Montreal, QUE- Metropolis
05/04 Toronto, ON- Phoenix
05/05 Buffalo, NY- Tralf Music Hall
05/06 Pontiac, MI- Crofoot Ballroom
05/08 Chicago, IL - Congress Theatre
05/09 Milwaukee, WI - Turner Hall
05/10 Minneapolis, MN- First Avenue
05/11 Omaha, NE- The Slowdown
05/12 Denver, CO- Bluebird Theatre
05/13 Salt Lake City, UT- In The Venue
05/15 San Diego, Ca- Belly Up Tavern
05/16 Los Angeles, CA- Orpheum Theatre
The Scottish crescendo-rock sextet are still touring in support of last year's The Hawk Is Howling, an album that saw the band get back in touch with its aggressive side after the relatively subdued Mr. Beast. Ticket and support info to be announced soon.
Mogwai MySpace Page
Cross-published on MFR
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Via Time Out Chicago:
As it has been reported, operators of the Morse Theatre and its investors have been feuding over the future of the months-old Rogers Park venue...McGhee [Andy, Venue Manager confirmed the shuttering of the theater.
To read McGhee's full statement, go here. Bummer. My fiancee and I went to the Morse for their free inauguration, and we both greatly enjoyed the experience.
The Morse's next show is WFMT's "Live from the Morse" which will be held on Sunday, March 1st @ 11:00am. Tickets are $10.
Download: Twilight Revival - "If Only"
Download: Twilight Revival - "Dark as Sin"
In listening to Revival, the new album from Chicago-based indie-Americana act Twilight Revival, music fans can be struck by the combination of two stylings from very regions. Namely, lo-fi indie-rock from the North, and good, ole-fash'un Southern rock from...let's say, around Louisiana, or thereabouts. The first few tracks of the band's latest, Parlor, delivers solid, mid-tempo rock that combines both of these delightful, if seemingly incongruous, sounds. When the band slows down, they can lapse into cliche--exactly how many songs about sad, wonderful girls who are drowning their sorrows do we need ("Taquito")?--but moments such as these are brief. Mostly, the band is at its best when it delivers Mason-Dixon melodicism in a low fidelity package. "If Only" is Pavement's "Summer Babe," as written by My Morning Jacket. Check it out at the top of the post.
Twilight Revival MySpace Page
Although audio commentary for movies on DVD is a commonplace feature—albeit one that perhaps doesn’t take advantage of the opportunities provided therein—listeners are far, far less likely to find such explanatory jab sessions on full-length albums. The dearth of album audio commentaries just may have to with the fact that actually allowing listeners to hear the music for themselves would be much more productive. However, with the re-release of Paul’s Boutique, the landmark album from the Beastie Boys which redefined the sonic and creative capabilities of sampling, that may change. The re-release comes with an audio commentary on the album, allowing the group to explain the proper context of their aural masterpiece. Or, you know, shoot the shit and crack jokes. Either way, it’s there. But the re-issue got MFR thinking: What other albums—classic or otherwise—would benefit from the commentary treatment. We brainstormed a list, and now present it to you, with some thoughts of our own, plus MP3s and big-ass album covers. Because everyone loves the big-ass albums covers. So now, to quote one of my favorites of last year, “away we go!”
1. My Bloody Valentine – Loveless – Yeah, so it’s a soul-crushingly obvious choice, but c’mon, you gotta let me have this one.
Download: My Bloody Valentine - "Only Shallow"
2. Public Enemy – Fear of a Black Planet
Along with Paul’s Boutique, Public Enemy’s sophomore album It Takes A Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back re-contextualized the hip-hop landscape by demonstrating unique and wholly original ways to extrapolate previously recorded sounds into something jaw-droppingly new. But here’s a dirty little secret of sorts: Fear of a Black Planet, the group's follow-up is just as essential, and perhaps even better. Since Nation has already had its spot in the “Don’t Look Back” live concert reexamination sun, then maybe it’s time for Chuck D and company to drop a little science about who the DJ in “Incident at 66.6 FM” is…and the exact nature of the controversy which ultimately resulted in one of hip-hop’s best media condemnation records, “Welcome to the Terrordome.” I’d be all ears for an audio commentary.
Download: Public Enemy - "Power to the People"
Bonus MP3: Pharoah Monch – “Welcome To The Terrordome” – Download: Pharoah Monch – “Welcome To The Terrordome”
And now I’m officially kicking myself for not included Monch’s Desire on this list. He’s a guy with a thing or two to say about, oh, label woes.
3. Radiohead – Kid A –
If OK Computer represents humanism’s last reactionary rebellion against the cold, dehumanizing nature of technology, then Kid A is society completely giving into—for better, possibly worse—its digital impulses. Moments of auditory compassion help alleviate the tension, but otherwise, Kid A is as bleak an elegy for humanity as you can get. Like its predecessor, it perfectly encapsulates the angst felt at the end of the 20th century, as well anticipates accurately those felt at the 21st. I’m guessing Thom Yorke and company would have a lot to say about the making of this album.
Download: Radiohead - "Idioteque"
4. To Kill A Petty Bourgeoisie – The Patron
Speaking of dehumanization, corporations, and detached ambient soundscapes, Minneapolis’ own melodic white-noise duo To Kill A Petty Bourgeoisie debuted in 2007 with an ambitious, if also ambiguous, concept album titled The Patron. The story, supposedly, deals with two corporations falling in love. But that’s a detail that’s best gleamed from press releases and albums reviews—the record’s obtuse lyrics are compellingly obfuscating. Hopefully, the right kind of audio commentary—one that helps elucidate the possibilities of interpretation, rather than explain it all in rote, Clarissa-style fashion—would bring listeners over to this overlooked gem.
Download: To Kill A Petty Bourgeoisie - "Lovers & Liars"
5. Alla – Es Tiempo.
Basically, the album creation story for Es Tiempo is Chinese Democracy minus douchenizzle-y lead signers, spiraling, out-of-control spending budget, reclusive figureheads, rotating members, constantly revolving producers, label confusion, sporadic changes in release date, etc. The similarities that remain are this: a dude works a really long time on a labor love, and it’s eventually released. The key difference is that for Alla--whose Es Tiempo combined elements of indie-tronica, kraut-rock, and psychedelia with classic Latin song stylings like samba--the dude worked as a manager at a Whole Foods while living with his folks in order to finance his album. The record ultimately cost $40,000, and took seven years to make. Hearing about the process would make for fascinating commentary. As far as that other guy goes…well, we’ll probably hear from him sooner or later.
Download: Alla - "Es Tiempo"
To read the rest, head here.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Record labels, like any other business, aren't immune from the floundering economy. And, based on many reports from the likes of Time Out and Pitchfork, it seemed as if local indie stalwarts Touch & Go Records had fallen victim to the poor business climate as well. The good news is that the reports of Touch & Go's death have been greatly exaggerated. The label will still continue. However, within that bit information, lies the bad news: Touch and Go will only continue as a label, with Touch & Go Distribution ceasing operation. Amongst the labels being distributed by T&G are bigger labels like Kill Rock Stars and Merge, along with smaller ones like Chicago-based Flameshovel.
Here's the press release from Corey Rusk, head of T&G (via):
It is with great sadness that we are reporting some major changes here at Touch and Go Records. Many of you may not be aware, but for nearly 2 decades, Touch and Go has provided manufacturing and distribution services for a select yet diverse group of other important independent record labels. Titles from these other labels populate the shelves of our warehouse alongside the titles on our own two labels, Touch and Go Records, and Quarterstick Records.
“Unfortunately, as much as we love all of these labels, the current state of the economy has reached the point where we can no longer afford to continue this lesser known, yet important part of Touch and Go’s operations. Over the years, these labels have become part of our family, and it pains us to see them go. We wish them all the very best and we will be doing everything we can to help make the transition as easy as possible.
“Touch and Go will be returning to its roots and focusing solely on being an independent record label. We’ll be busy for a few months working closely with the departing labels and scaling our company to an appropriate smaller size after their departure. It is the end of a grand chapter in Touch and Go’s history, but we also know that good things can come from new beginnings.”
Download: Casiotone for the Painfully Alone - ""Optimist vs. The Silent Alarm (When The Saints Go Marching In)"
Though he's known primarily for making intimate synth-pop that operates barely above a whisper, Chicago-based Casiotone for the Painfully Alone sounds like he's ready to get out of the bedroom setting that dominated his previous work and move on to bigger things. "Optimist...", the first single from his upcoming new album of original material, Vs. Children, delves into natural piano sounds, and even a little bit of old fashioned ragtime. Listen to it at the top of the post.
Casiotone for the Painfully Alone MySpace Page
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
"3 more beats, and then [Jay-z] is done" - Kanye West, on The Blueprint 3. Awesome. This is 'Ye on MTV's "Wake Up Show", hosted by Sway.
Via Midwest Broadcast
Kayne West Myspace Page
Monday, February 16, 2009
1. The Thermals - "Now We Can See"
Download: The Thermals - "Now We Can See"
Eschewing the more direct biblical/political angst of their previous efforts, the punk trio opt for a more satirical lyrical approach ("now that our vision is strong...we don't need to admit we were wrong") in addition to a more harmonic, mid-tempo musical one. A steady effort whose hooks quickly ingratiate themselves with the listener.
2. Camera Obscura - "My Maudlin Career"
Download: Camera Obscura - "My Maudlin Career"
"This maudlin career has come to an end/I don't want to be sad again." Maybe it doesn't make a difference at this point, but a tribute to the Ronettes/Crazy McGoo's wall-of-sound filtered through sing-songy blog-pop, and executed with a modicum of guitar fuzz might be the thing to turn that frown upside down.
3. Bishop Allen - "Dimmer"
Download: Bishop Allen - "Dimmer"
A pleasant, amiable exercise in mid-paced indie-pop from one of its many New York-based millennial purveyors. Fine enough, but nothing truly revelatory.
4. Bishop Allen - "The Ancient Commonsense of Things"
Download: Bishop Allen - "The Ancient Commonsense of Things"
Hey, what a difference a song makes. By quickening the tempo, diversifying instrumentation, and by varying melodic sensibilities, the Brooklyn-based trio create something to write home about (not that you'd spend your time writing to your parents about bands you like, but you get what I'm saying).
5. Heartless Bastards - "The Mountain"
Download: Heartless Bastards - "The Mountain"
The riff is nice and stompy in the best Neil Young/Dinosaur Jr., and the pedal-steel guitar adds great, open-ended sonic texture which evokes the titular landform. But over the course of 5 minutes, "The Mountain" gets awfully repetitive. Couldn't they've thrown in a bridge (figurative or otherwise)?
6. Black Dice - "Glazin"
Download: Black Dice - "Glazin"
Sure, it's not the thrash-y noise of the electronic experimentalists early records, but we have Fuck Buttons for that now. On to more melodic (if not necessarily better) things for the Brooklyn-based duo.
7. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - "Everything with You"
Download: The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - "Everything with You"
Most of the notices for TPOBPAT invoke the precocious folk-flavored inklings of twee-pop when describing everyone's new favorite buzz band. But fans of the psychedelic Strawberry Wine-era of MBV will find much to admire here as well. Either way, "Everything with You" is as sweet as one could possibly imagine.
8. Laura Gibson - "Spirited"
Download: Laura Gibson - "Spirited"
No disrespect to the artist, but this music sounds like it comes from a winner of an America's Next Joanna Newsom contest--which, incidentally, I would totally fucking watch. (stops and waits for song to finish). Country-esque instrumentation helps add a degree of variety, but not enough for this to be called original.
9. The Black Lips - "Short Fuse"
Download: The Black Lips - "Short Fuse"
Like a Brianjones Town Massacre for Buddy Holly, the Atlanta quartet's brand of appealing throwback invokes many different musical eras at once while still retaining an element of the inexplicably new.
10. Marissa Nadler - "River of Dirt"
Download: Marissa Nadler - "River of Dirt"
The ethereal vocals and hint of a country twang suggest a shoegazed-out Neko Case, without the psychedelic or vocal transcendence. Still, there's plenty here worth admiring, including the agreeably wandering pace.
Cross-published on MFR.
Friday, February 13, 2009
Download: Coupleskate - "Laws of Physics"
I just did a write-up of Don't Fear The Horses for Chicago Decider. Spoiler alert: it's really good. Imagine a countrypolitian version of The Breeders, and you get a good idea of what this band is capable of. You won't get a sense of that from watching/listening to "Laws of Physics," which is one of the more punk-flavored songs on the record, but those swelling, romantic strings that pop up are definitely a sonic foreshadow. The best song on Horses is "Foreign Exchange," which is delightfully poppy in a Stereolab kind of way--lounge-y, for sure, but without the outre French influences. Great stuff all the same.
Coupleskate MySpace Page
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Download: Rhymefest - "Exodus 5.1"
As with all things Chicago hip-hop, this hot new Rhymefest track comes courtesy of Fake Shore Drive, which was recently chronicled in the Reader. The song is called "Exodus 5.1" and its taken from the upcoming mixtapes FSD Presents: The Chicagorilla Ape Tape Vol. 1, which is Fake Shore's first tape, and The Manual, which is one of many laid down by Fest. Check it out at the top. (via, spotted at).
Rhymefest MySpace Page
Download: Company of Thieves - "Oscar Wilde"
Though "Oscar Wilde," the lead-off single from Chicago group Company of Thieves' almost-here (in the sense of celebrating the album in the hometown) record Ordinary Thieves, starts off with a Rolling Stones-esque mid-tempo strut, the band gracefully segues into harmony-laden power-pop, with melodies that shimmer effortlessly. The band will celebrate the release of Thieves next Thursday at the Double Door, and are currently in the midst of a national tour. For a chance to win tix, check out Chicagoist.
Check out the band performing on "Last Call with Carson Daly"
Company of Thieves MySpace Page
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
The efforts of Chicago's best Joan Crawford apologists have not gone unnoticed. Quoted directly from the Press Release:
The Joans are proud to announce that they are the recipients of the Chicago Free Press PRESSIE Award for Best GLBT Band. The award, chosen by the readers, represents the best in the Chicagoland community for 2008. The award ceremony will be at Sidetrack, in Chicago, on March 25th, 2009.
“We are thrilled and ever so grateful to the Chicago Free Press and its readers for choosing The Joans for this wonderful award and will do our best to live up to the honor” says vocalist Davy Joans
To read more about the Pressies, go here.
The Joans MySpace Page
Prog-poppers Maps & Atlases have been hinting at posting new demos since announcing their first full-length, and, so far, the band has been doing a pretty good job of keeping the new music coming. First, they announced "Banished Be Cavelier" and now, yesterday, they've announced a new demo, "Israeli Caves."
To be honest, "Caves" sounds like Don Cab covering Vampire Weekend. There's a sense of afropop creeping into the band's sound--only time will tell if the Chicago-based quartet will start doffing ascots and arguing about the proper mechanics of English grammar. Until then, check out the pleasantly melodious "Israeli Caves" over at the band's MySpace Page.
Maps & Atlases MySpace Page
Old news, to be sure, but worth reporting all the same (Via):
In an effort to boost excitement for Record Store Day (April 18), Wilco is making its new Nonesuch concert DVD, "Ashes of American Flags," available early, and exclusively, to indie retail for the occasion, Billboard has learned.
The film -- recorded in Tulsa, Okla.; New Orleans; Mobile, Ala.; Nashville; and Washington, D.C., during the band's 2008 tour -- will go on sale to all retailers two weeks later. It will serve as a teaser for Wilco's next studio album, expected this summer.
The DVD is to set anticipation for Wilco's upcoming full-length, which the band is recording. To read more about Jeff Tweedy's thoughts about the importance of Record Store Day, an annual event aimed at getting consumers to shop at independent record stores by offering them exclusive deals, go here.
Wilco MySpace Page
Monday, February 9, 2009
Download: Mazes - "I Have Laid In the Darkness"
In many interviews, Edward Andersonof the 1900s stated that he had a solo record in mind. Except that by the time that he got around to recording the album, the project had turned into a full-scale offshoot. Along with 1900s band member Caroline Donavon and comrade Charles D’Autremont, the solo outfit turned into a trio, while keeping the original name for the project: Mazes. Those looking for something radically different than the Hundo's blend of twee-and-orch-pop may be disappointed, but those eager to hear a group of musicians continue their sweet winning streak can look no further.
"I Have Laid in the Darkness" pretty much keeps the qualities of past 1900s efforts--beautiful harmonization, easy-going vocals, and an incredibly strong sense of melody--and filters it into a prism of post-Nico Velvet Underground. Check it out at the top of the post. Mazes' debut album will be released in March.
Mazes MySpace Page
Download: Walter Meego - "Girls" (Don Diablo Remix)
Walter Meego's 2008 debut Voyager had a lot of pop-techno charms, not the least of which were Heineken beer approved Forever and disco anthem "Girls". It's the latter that gets the remix from techno deity Don Diablo, and it's pretty much as remix-y as you might expect. Diablo uses the hook of "Girls" as a jumping off point for some rad rave electronica. Listen to it at the top of the post.
Walter Meego MySpace Page
Don Diablo Website
Friday, February 6, 2009
Download: Thao with the Get Down Stay Down - "Beat (Health, Life, and Fire)"
Download: Thao with the Get Down Stay Down - "Bag of Hammers"
26 - San Francisco, CA @ Swedish American Music Hll - Noise Pop
27 - Davis, CA @ The Coffee House - w/ Sister Suvi, Samantha Crain
17 - Washington, DC @ Black Cat - w/ Sister Suvi, Samantha Crain
18 - Durham, NC @ Duke Coffee House - w/ Sister Suvi, Samantha Crain
19 - Mt Pleasant, SC @ Village Tavern - w/ Sister Suvi, Samantha Crain
20 - Atlanta, GA @ EARL - w/ Sister Suvi, Samantha Crain
21 - Tallahassee, FL @ Club Downunder - Florida State - w/ Sister Suvi, Samantha Crain
23 - Austin, TX @ The Parish - w/ Sister Suvi, Samantha Crain
24 - Ft Worth, TX @ Lola's - w/ Sister Suvi, Samantha Crain
25 - Lubbock, TX @ The Foundation - w/ Sister Suvi, Samantha Crain
26 - Santa Fe, NM @ The Sub - College of Santa Fe - w/ Sister Suvi, Samantha Crain
28 - San Diego, CA @ The Loft - UCSD - w/ Sister Suvi, Samantha Crain
29 - Los Angeles, CA @ The Hotel Cafe - w/ Sister Suvi, Samantha Crain
30 - San Francisco, CA @ Independent - w/ Sister Suvi, Samantha Crain
1 - Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios - w/ Sister Suvi, Samantha Crain
2 - Seattle, WA @ Chop Suey - w/ Sister Suvi, Samantha Crain
4 - Boise, ID @ Neurolux - w/ Sister Suvi, Samantha Crain
5 - Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court - w/ Sister Suvi, Samantha Crain
6 - Denver, CO @ Hi-Dive - w/ Sister Suvi, Samantha Crain
9 - Chicago, IL @ Empty Bottle - w/ Sister Suvi, Samantha Crain
10 - Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Tavern - w/ Sister Suvi, Samantha Crain
12 - Northampton, MA @ Iron Horse - w/ Sister Suvi
14 - New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom - w/ Sister Suvi, Samantha Crain
15 - Philadelphia, PA @ First Unitarian Church - w/ Sister Suvi, Samantha Crain
16 - Norfolk, VA @ The Boot - w/ Sister Suvi, Samantha Crain
Thao With The Get Down Stay Down MySpace Page
Download: Verbal Kent feat. Ill Bill and Wordsworth - "Remove The Gag"
From the Chicago rapper's upcoming Brand New Rap album, which features him collaborating with Kaz One, and, in the process, promising a return to "real tag-team rap". Spotted at Nah Right. Dig the creepy church organ sample.
Verbal Kent MySpace Page
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Download: The Hold Steady - "Chips Ahoy!"
A Positive Rage may sound like an oxymoron, but when that phrase is spoken in the context of The Hold Steady's live show, it surely will refer to the incredible, joyous experience that is the band in concert. Come April 7th, listeners will be able to take a documentation of The Hold Steady's live show home with them. A Positive Rage is the title of the band's first live album, and with it's a double-disc affair.
In addition to the live record, which was recorded at Chicago's Metro on their 2007 Halloween show (oh yes), Rage will also include a DVD documentary. The 57-minute doc details the band's tour during 2006, when Boys and Girls in America was blowing up. Furthermore, the band will include five new tracks on the set: “Ask Her For Adderall,” “Cheyenne Sunrise,” “Two Handed Handshake,” and the previously unreleased tracks “Spectres” and “40 Bucks.”
Read more info about the live album here.
The Hold Steady MySpace Page
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Throbbing Gristle, John Vanderslice to Play Two Separate, Vastly Different Shows in Month's Time @ Epiphany
(Throbbing Gristle - "Discipline" via)
Though English proto-industrial legends Throbbing Gristle and laidback San Franciscan singer-songwriter/electronic dabbler John Vanderslice have absolutely NOTHING in common musically (actually, both have loyal, devoted fanbases), come April both acts will playing the same venue--albeit at different times and dates.
First off, Gristle will be embarking on their first tour in 28 years. The group will play two sets--one consisting of songs from the soundtrack to Derek Jarman’s 1980 film In The Shadow Of The Sun; the other on Gristle's older body of work.
Here are the dates:
4/16/09 Masonic Hall, Brooklyn, New York
4/19/09 Coachella, Indio, CA
4/21/09 UCLA, Los Angeles, CA**
4/23/09 Grand Regency, San Francisco, CA
4/25/09 Epiphany Episcopal Church Chicago, IL
Download: John Vanderslice - "White Dove"
Download: John Vanderslice - "The Kingdom"
Download: John Vanderslice - "Trance Manual"
Next up is John Vanderslice. He's coming out with a new record, the follow-up to 2007's Emerald City. Whether or not the new album, titled Romanian Names, is about 9/11 (as his last two albums were) remains to be seen. But come May 19th, we'll know for sure, as that is when the record hits stores. Here are the tour dates (w/Mountain Goats):
3/18 - Asheville NC @ The Grey Eagle
3/19 - Durham NC @ The Duke Coffeehouse
3/20 - Norfolk VA @ The Attacus Theatre
3/21 - Washington DC @ Sixth and I Synagogue
3/24 - Northampton MA @ Pearl Street
3/25 - Somerville MA @ The Somerville Theatre
3/27 - New York NY @ The Society for Ethical Culture
3/29 - Gambier OH @ Kenyon College
3/30 - Oberlin OH @ Oberlin College
4/01 - Chicago IL @ Epiphany
4/02 - Champaign IL @ Courtyard Café at University of Illinois
4/03 - Iowa City IA @ The Mill - Mission Creek Music Festival
4/04 - Richmond IN @ Earlham College
4/06 - Bloomington IN @ Buskirk-Chumley Theater
Oh, another thing that Vanderslice and Gristle have in common: Both acts announced their respective dates today. But the similarities are sure to end there.
John Vanderslice MySpace Page
Throbbing Gristle Website
Download: Casiotone For The Painfully Alone - "Old Panda Days"
Chicago-based bedroom synth-pop artist Casiotone For The Painfully Alone has announced the details of his new new album, an effort that's the follow-up to his 2006 effort Etiquette. Vs. Children is due out on April 7th on Tomcat records. Peep the tracklisting here:
1. Casiotone for the Painfully Alone vs. Children
2. Tom Justice, The Choir Boy Robber, Apprehended at Ace Hardware in Libertyville, IL
3. Optimist vs. The Silent Alarm (When The Saints Go Marching In)
4. Natural Light
5. Traveling Salesman's Young Wife Home Alone on Christmas in Montpelier, VT
6. Man O' War
7. Northfield, MN
9. Harsh The Herald Angels Sing
10. You Were Alone
11. White Jetta
The reason that "new" is written twice is because, in addition to Vs. Children, which is entirely new material, he's got a singles and rarities collection titled Advance Base Battery Life. That record is coming out on March 10th. The tracklisting is below:
1. Old Panda Days (w/ Nick Krgovich)
2. Lesley Gore on the T.A.M.I. Show (version)
3. White Corolla
4. White on White
5. Holly Hobby
6. Lonesome New Mexican Nights
7. The Only Way To Cry
8. It's A Crime
10. Hot Boyz (w/ Dear Nora)
11. Born in the U.S.A. (w/ Concern)
12. Streets of Philadelphia (w/ Concern)
14. Sunday St
15. Voice of the Hospital
You can listen to "Old Panda Days" at the top of the post. While you're up there, notice that the track 7 from Vs. Children has a title that should raise an eyebrow or two from alums of a certain small, midwestern college town. Namely, it's titled "Northfield, MN," named after the town of Cows, Colleges (St. Olaf, my alma matter, and Carleton, home of Tapes N Tapes and Paul Wellstone...dammit), and Contentment.
So do you think? Did CFTPA get his heart broken for an Ole or a Carl? Or maybe he traveled 400 miles and change just to get some of Basil's incredible gyro pizza, then wrote a song about it? And what's this business about Choir Boys and Ace Hardware in Libertville? Perhaps he resisted temptation to have "Napervillian" in a song? At any rate, check it all out at the top of the post.
CFTPA MySpace Page
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
1. Black Lips - "Short Fuse"
Download: Black Lips - "Short Fuse"
When not escaping the authorities of developing countries, this Atlanta quarter, self-described as "flower punk," manages to create compelling bits retro-rock throwing back to the days of one Charles Hardin Holley. “Short Fuse” is no exception, though it’s doubtful that Buddy wrote anything this explosive, and hints of psychedelia further cement that impression.
2. Suburban Kids with Biblical Names - "1999"
Download: Suburban Kids with Biblical Names - "1999"
Speaking as a suburban kid with a biblical name, I feel like I can officially say that this song sucks. But feel free to disagree, Malachai.
3. Animal Collective - "My Girls"
Download: Animal Collective - "My Girls"
The multi-layered harmonies of the brothers Wilson get a widescreen, technicolor synth update via one of music's most adventurously experimental--while remaining transcendentally melodious. Let’s hope Animal Collective have room for at least a keyboard in their minimalist utopia. We'd all be at a loss if they truly ditched the material things--or even non-material things, like social status.
4. The Whitest Boy Alive - "Islands"
Download: The Whitest Boy Alive - "Islands"
Again with the inadvertently autobiographical band names! Whether or not Erlend Øye has the most translucent pigment amongst the world's living is one thing, but "Islands" has just the right amount of bass, synths and clean guitar tones to suggest a hybrid minimalism between krautrock, funk, and reggae. Less is more, once again.
5. Heartless Bastards - "The Mountain"
Download: Heartless Bastards - "The Mountain"
The feelings remain the same as last time, so I will summarize: Though HB are ostensibly a blues-revival band, they sound more like a slowed down Dinosaur Jr. (think "Sludgefest"). The pedal-steel guitar helps add poignant texture, and the song early on settles into a mid-tempo groove that eventually ingratiates itself with the listener.
6. Peter, Bjorn and John - "Lay it Down" (The Golden Filter Remix)
Download: Peter Bjorn & John - "Lay It Down" (The Golden Filter Remix)
The slinky, sensual late 80s new-wave/disco groove masks a considerable amount of hostility in the refrain (but as you'll no doubt discover, the hostility is warranted). Another minimalist dance track and, like WBA, it's one that rewards the patience of listeners by slowly adding layer after engaging layer of pretty solid dance music.
7. Marissa Nadler - "River of Dirt"
Download: Marissa Nadler - "River of Dirt"
An alt-country chanteuse from Massachusetts, Nadler creates comes off like a dreamier, more shoegaze-influenced Neko Case. In terms of songcraft, Nadler can't help but pale in comparison to the likes of "Deep Red Bells" or "Star Witness," but "River of Dirt" makes a good case that Nadler will establish her own voice soon.
8. Bon Iver - "Blood Bank"
Download: Bon Iver - "Blood Bank"
For the second time, the thoughts remain the same: "Blood Bank" shows that Bon Iver's post-folk debut was no fluke, and this new batch of material showcases a warmer side of the group.
9. Handsome Furs - "I'm Confused"
Download: Handsome Furs - "I'm Confused"
One of the many offshoots of Wolf Parade, the duo consisting of Dan Boeckner and Alexei Perry, this new song from Handsome Furs' upcoming second record is a good replication of early 80s new wave. Granted, it's that and nothing more, but a propulsive beat and a strong melody become insistent and inescapable, if derivative.
10. Dirty Projectors and David Byrne - "Knotty Pine"
While this collaboration isn't as mind-warping as one would hope, the Dirty Projectors come together with one of their influences to put together a song that sounds a lot like Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Figure the meta-implications of that one on your own.
Monday, February 2, 2009
Download: Alla - "Love Lockdown" (via)
Download: Kanye West - "Love Lockdown"
Download: Alla - "Tu Vida
Download: Alla - "Sigue Tu Corazon"
Chicago psych-pop trio Alla, who last year put out one of the most tremendously underrated albums with Es Tiempo, released a cover of Kanye West's "Love Lockdown," a track that might appear on their upcoming covers album, Digs. For comparison sake, I've put up both the original and the Alla version. What do you think? Additionally, I've added the title track of Alla's last record, for your enjoyment.
Buy Es Tiempo here.
Alla MySpace Page