Thursday, June 30, 2005

I've been dying to see this movie since it debuted at Sundance several months ago, and it's finally screening at the Landmark here in Chicago. I shall see it this weekend!

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

While watching Young and the Restless at work (don't ask), I just saw an M&M commercial featuring the Iron and Wine cover of "Such Great Heights." My knee-jerk indie snob reaction was trumped by the fact that the ad is incredibly cute.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

I got my Clap Your Hands Say Yeah album in the mail today. It's interesting that the buzz band of 2005 is an unsigned band who self-produced and released their first album- it got sent to me directly from a band member with my address handwritten on it. I wonder if they've been doing that for the hundreds of CDs they must have sold the day their Pitchfork review was published. It is pretty cool that a band with no label and no promotion of any kind can somehow blow up the way they have, with David Bowie show appearances.

Looks like they'll be going on tour with the National this fall, another band I've been really into this year.
Liz's love for Supreme Court Justice Souter may increase even more with this post on amillionmonkey's blog.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Last night I saw Norfolk & Western at the Tractor Tavern in Seattle--which was a great mellow show, I would highly recommend seeing them if you get the chance. The most pleasant surprise of the evening was a set from Inara George, this chick has got a cool sweet voice. Keeping w/ the tone of the night, it was on the mellow side, but definitely interesting and upbeat enough to keep me on the edge of my seat. That's no small feat considering I have a massive head cold and it was an hour past my bedtime. Her album as at the top of my list on CDs to buy.
While updating the concert page for Madison shows, I noticed that many of the shows that had been booked at Luther's Blues were suddenly being moved to the Annex and High Noon Saloon. Lo and behold, I did some research and Luther's Blues closed on June 16. That's too bad, it was a good venue with great sound.
The Intonation schedule is up now on the website. Sunday is clearly the better of the two days, I'll probably use early Saturday afternoon to check out the vendors and record fair and everything before AC Newman starts at 2:45.
I saw Andrew Bird this weekend at a jam-packed Cafe Montmartre in Madison, WI, making it the fourth time I've seen him play. After Intonation in a couple weeks, I'll have seen him five times, thus tying him for band/musician I've seen the most with *cough*Dave Matthews Band *cough*. Keep that on the DL- I was a young top-40 listener once upon a time.

There would be pictures on the photoblog to share, had I not left my camera somewhere. This time he left the drummer at home, doing his usual solo show where every song sounded completely different from the last three times I'd heard him play it (reminding me exactly why I love seeing him live). Sigh . . .. Though I still think he is at his best solo, I'd love to see him do a special show in Chicago with a full band, just to see how it would sound.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Friday, June 24, 2005

The press lately has seemed obsessed with writing about mix tapes and playlists, probably due to the iPod. This means lots of articles mention tinymixtapes' Automatic Mix Tape Generator. Like this one, in Wired.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Now that some time will be freeing up for me in just under two weeks (if you know of anyone hiring, please let me know :) ), I'll be picking up a few random shifts here and there at WLUW, starting with Tuesday, July 5 from 4-6pm CST. I'll probably post another archived show before then, but prepare for some brand new PFFR shows this summer!
Spice Girls reunion at Live 8 in London?
The joint review of MIA/LCD Soundsystem that Matty G and I did is up now on tinymixtapes.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

This just in:

Lady Sovereign @ Sonotheque, Friday July 8
Check out the full-page ad Billy Corgan took out in today's Tribune.
Tori's Birdman Update

The Birdman you saw in Venus is Bobby Birdman- he's a lap-pop musician from LA-by-way-of-Portland. I don't have any of his stuff, though I have a couple of mp3s- I think you might like it. You can learn more about him here and check out some of his stuff for free here.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Ha! I haven't read all the way through it yet, but when I get home, I'll be sure to check and see.

Meanwhile, Annie is playing at Sonotheque next Thursday, June 30th, and the 'Fork put up the cutest interview with her this week.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

I have an inquiry for your sluething skills, Nicole. On your coffee table is a Venus magazine, and as I was perusing it, I noticed a one-pager on a singer/songwriter named (some normal man's name) Birdman. And NO, it wasn't Andrew Bird. Am I on crack? What's the first name? You know how I feel about the word birdman. A quick google merely revealed more Radio Birdman stuff, which obviously wasn't what I was looking for. Also, would you recommend this Birdman fellow?

Friday, June 17, 2005

I saw Sleater-Kinney last night at the Riviera. Sleater-Kinney are my new heroes. I hate to talk about them being an all-female group because it isn't really relevant, but I feel like most all-women bands are either billed as ultra-cute novelties (The All-Girl Summer Fun Band) or ultra-feminist grrrrrl groups (Le Tigre). Sleater-Kinney are just a really good rock band, that just happens to be made up of three women.

S-K put on a pretty great rock show. Janet Weiss is a stellar drummer, and Carrie Brownstein seemed to be having the most fun on stage with her crazy guitar solos and flailing leg kicks. Corin Tucker was cute, if not a bit timid on stage- her voice is so big and wailing that it doesn't seem like it's actually coming from her mouth. Their set list was completely predictable, but exactly what I'd been hoping for all the same- kicking off with "The Fox," the first song from the new album The Woods, then running through virtually the entire album, sprinkling in a few songs from 2003's One Beat as well. I don't usually find myself looking forward to long guitar solos, either, but I couldn't wait to see the 11-minute solo in "Let's Call It Love" take place on stage, and Carrie definitely ran with it. Finally, after wrapping up with "Entertain," the new album's single, they came back out for the expected retrospective of older material, most of which I'm not familiar with since I only have One Beat and The Woods.

Continuing in my streak of recommending rock albums, I've put up The Woods in the recommended section. It's without a doubt one of the best albums of the year so far. If last year was my year to explore weird folk and electronic, this has so far been my year to rediscover real rock.
Here's an article from NPR where Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth) talks about his book Mix Tape: The Art of Cassette Culture. Check out the TMT link at the top right!

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Here's a hot scoop I just got off of the djbv blog: After their sets at Lollapalooza July 23, the Walkmen and Ambulance LTD are doing a special show at Schubas. Now check out how their billing it at (click on the links they provide for that date).

This could be cool if 1) I'm not too tired from Lollapalooza and 2) I could actually get a ticket. Why is that cool if I could just go watch them at Lollapalooza that day (other than the small venue aspect)? Well, the daily schedules are out, and as usual, things conflict: the Walkmen play during the Pixies (?!?!?!) and Ambulance LTD plays during Trail of Dead. Someday I'll go to a festival where the schedule is built specifically to cater to my musical needs.
Wired Magazine's NextFest comes to Chicago next weekend, and as sort of a preview of what's to come, they've asked Jeff Tweedy of Wilco to curate a night of music next Wednesday, the 22nd at the Vic Theatre, which will also showcase a few of the innovations that will appear at the festival. So Jeff has chosen Joanna Newsom to headline, with Handsome Family opening. Joanna Newsom at the Vic???? I'm curious as to how many people will go simply because Jeff Tweedy is curating, knowing nothing about what she sounds like- we all know her voice takes some getting used to. Or maybe the indie snob in me is just coming out because I don't want my girl Joanna to get popular :) .

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

The new Arcade Fire, according to the peeps:

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
Sigur Ros tourdates, anyone?

09.06.05 - Atlanta, GA - Atlanta Symphony Hall
09.07.05 - Durham, NC - Carolina Theater
09.09.05 - Philadelphia, PA - Tower Theater
09.11.05 - North Bethesda, MD - Music Centre of Strathmore
09.12.05 - New York City, NY - Beacon Theater
09.13.05 - New York City, NY - Beacon Theater
09.15.05 - Boston, MA - Opera House
09.16.05 - Montreal, Quebec - Théâtre Maisonneeuve
09.18.05 - Ottawa, Ontario - TBA
09.19.05 - Toronto, Ontario - Massey Hall
09.20.05 - Ann Arbor, MI - Michigan Theater
09.21.05 - Chicago, IL - Chicago Theater
09.23.05 - Madison, WI - Orpheum Theater
09.24.05 - Minneapolis, MN - State Theater
09.27.05 - Vancouver, BC - Orpheum
09.28.05 - Seattle, WA - Paramount Theater
09.29.05 - Portland, OR - Roseland Theater
10.01.05 - Oakland, CA - Paramount Theater
10.03.05 - San Diego, CA - Copley Symphony Hall
10.05.05 - Los Angeles, CA - Hollywood Bowl
10.06.05 - Las Vegas, NV - The Joint

Monday, June 13, 2005

Just added to the Intonation lineup- Thunderbirds Are Now! (the exclamation point is part of the band's name, not just an expression of my excitement. Though I am very excited about this). It's funny that they are playing with Les Savy Fav, since that's who they are most compared to.
Saw David Cross and Death From Above 1979 DJ at Sonotheque Friday night (a club that definitely lives up to it's reputation of "the club for people who don't like clubs"). They played a mostly rock-inspired set with a fair amount of indieness- Les Savy Fav, Built to Spill, etc mixed in with random 80s bands like Rush and 90s alternative like Belly's "Feed the Trees" (a throwback to my middle school days watching Alternative Nation late at night at my friend's house because she had MTV and I didn't). Since there's no "backstage" to be had, David Cross & Co. had to bear the crowd to do things like go to the bathroom and get a drink, so when David Cross walked past us, I made sure to tell him he was "totally core" (response: awkward laugh) and ask him what his set was going to entail ("probably lots of indie rock, but it will be very eclectic").

Then in minor-celebrity (very minor) news, I saw Jen from the Bachelorette while eating lunch at the Northside Bar and Grill Sunday afternoon. I appeared to be the only person in the bar who noticed who she was.

Friday, June 10, 2005

The Chicago Reader's website has finally gotten itself out of the dark ages and made its feature content available online. This means when I complain about Chicago Antisocial, everyone can see it for themselves (though I currently have no problem with this week's column). For some reason, though, they decided to put up pdf files of each article instead of just posting it via html, which is sort of annoying.
Here's an article I put together by the tinymixtapes about our "musical heroes." Well, it's more a series of blurbs than an actual article. Mine is significantly less deep and insightful than everyone else's, but I just wasn't in a deep and insightful mood when I wrote it!

I need ideas for another group effort- we're trying to do them monthly. Last month was a group mix tape- what else could we all write about or debate?

Thursday, June 09, 2005

While the Russian Futurists were busy being detained at the border, customs let this guy get in.

This just in:


Double Door wishes to thank all of our friends and neighbors for their support. We were very pleased we were able to reach an agreement with our landlord Brian Strauss which will allow us to continue to bring the best in live music to Chicago through 2014. Brian Strauss has shown his commitment to proving a home for Double Door for many years to come. Everyone who came to the court hearing, wrote letters, or signed a petition has our gratitude. We are overwhelmed by the outpouring of love for the club, and hope Chicago music lovers will continue to support the many great cultural outlets of our city.

Seriously. The Katie Holmes/Tom Cruise relationship is moving towards Michael Jackson levels of freakishness.

In other news (brought to my attention by Liz!), the Nike Run Hit Wonder series is coming back this summer! And unlike last summer, I'll be signing up before it sells out. Chicago details are still forthcoming, but here's some general info:

Nike Run Hit Wonder
2005 Tour
NYC July 20
PDX July 24
CHI Sept 13
LA Sept 24


It's a race. It's a party. It's your chance to lace up with 60,000 runners across the nation. Nike Run Hit Wonder is back... and with fantastic performances by bands like Joan Jett and The Blackhearts, The Donnas, and Fountains of Wayne, this year's tour will rock harder than ever. Enjoy live music before the start, along the course and at the post-race celebration. Plus, you'll receive a special edition Nike Dri-FIT t-shirt for Race Day and a finisher's medal after you cross the line. But sign up soon; last year's event sold out in all four cities! Learn more and register at


Whether you're looking to give your best performance or simply want to get in shape this summer, crank up the volume with a little group energy. We've got Nike Run Hit Wonder training runs several days per week in each city on the tour: No matter what your level, join us for free coaching, refreshments and more. Select dates will even include special workouts and/or musical entertainment! Check out our website for exact times and locations. And while you're there, use our Run Hit Mix Master to create your own tune--and send it along to inspire a friend. Get details at

Here's what I'm wondering though- are they kind of moving away from the one-hit-wonder band theme this time- I seem to remember Joan Jett having more than one hit. If only I could have been a part of the Devo/Flock of Seagulls lineup of last summer. Now there are some great one-hit wonders.
I find this both hilarious and warranted. Tom Cruise is just plain creepy.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005


Dan Snaith3
Originally uploaded by Nicolemc99.

I was heartbroken when I found out the Russian Futurists were stuck at the Canadian border and wouldn't be making it to the Empty Bottle last night- what had been my Lineup of the Year was now just another good electronic show. Don't get me wrong, I was excited for both Caribou and the Junior Boys, but there's just something about a killer three-band lineup that I hadn't seen since last year's Mouse on Mars/Ratatat/Junior Boys show at the Logan Square Auditorium. After waiting 45 minutes in the dank, poorly ventilated, and non-air-conditioned Bottle, the Junior Boys took the stage and played mostly from their lovely debut album, Last Exit. Jeremy Greenspan played guitar, sang in his oh-so-smooth voice, and sort of bounced around awkwardly on stage, while keyboardist/electronics guru Matt Didemus just stared up at the ceiling and smoked his cigarette disaffectedly, refusing to take off his hooded sweatshirt even though the temperature had to be 90+ degrees. The best songs were the most danceable, like "Bellona" and "Birthday," and even with the insufferable heat, I found the ability to dance just a little bit.

Caribou's set made me incredibly glad I've gotten into the habit of wearing earplugs to shows (a habit that began after I started getting a weird clicking in my left ear, which has since stopped, thank God). Dan Snaith, the man behind Caribou/Manitoba, traded between acoustic guitar, keyboards, recorder, and some drums that he tore apart like a maniac. Holy crap. Every time he and 2nd drummer Peter Mitton kicked off a song together, I jumped out of my skin. Needless to say, it was a great show. I had no idea Caribou's music involved so much use of the recorder. And the encore of "Every Time She Turns Around It's Her Birthday" was exactly how I would have chosen to end the show as well. I'm glad we were on the same page here.

A full review will be up here and on tinymixtapes soon!

This is cool- looks like the next version of ITunes will be able to podcast!
My Books review is up now on Tinymixtapes.

I'll post a blurb and the pics from Caribou tonight. One word to reflect Caribou's live show: DRUMS.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Sigh . . . I guess you can add the Russian Futurists to the list of bands-I've-been-trying-to-see-for-awhile-but-something-always-comes-up.
There is so much that I find depressing about this study, I don't even know where to start. Though it's somewhat timely, considering all the Freaks and Geeks I've been watching lately.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Here's a neat contest being run by Thomas Bartlett of send him a playlist of your favorite summer music, he'll pick the best ones and hand out some prizes. The only catch: all the songs must be available for free online, whether on the band or label's website or on free mp3 sites like better propaganda and epitonic.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Architecture in Helsinki

Architecture in Helsinki3
Originally uploaded by Nicolemc99.

Architecture in Helsinki could rival Mates of State for Cutest Band Ever. The Australian eight-piece flooded the small Schubas stage with their myriad of instruments, including two keyboards, two trombones, a tuba, a trumpet, a flute, clarinet, recorder, and various noisemakers/shakers (including a severed hand multi-instrumentalist Gus Franklin kept waving around) in addition to the traditional drums/bass/guitar, and every member played at least three of the aforementioned instruments. Their set consisted almost entirely of songs from their new album, In Case We Die, with the exception of the single "Owls Go" from their debut album Fingers Crossed. That was fine with me, since In Case We Die is a better album overall (and "Owls Go" is the best song on Fingers Crossed). They all danced around and acted generally oddly for their hour on stage, and it was just so adorable I thought I was going to drown in their cuteness. I mean, one of them is named Gus, for goodness sake. In between songs they told silly jokes in their Australian accents- funny how everything is funnier in an accent. Show closer "Do the Whirlwind" was the highlight, as they sort of "jammed" it out, as much as indie-pop bands can jam, that is (i.e. a four minute song instead of two minutes!).

For more examples of this band's cuteness, see their website.

Some big-time press attention for Tinymixtapes, from Saturday's UK Guardian:

Tiny Mix Tapes

Nick Hornby identified the particularly male obsession with making tapes for every occasion in High Fidelity. Since then, thanks to CD burning and the iPod, playlists have become a global obsession. If you're running out of inspiration, this charming website will help, as it excellently combines both the joy of making and receiving a DIY compilation in one list-heavy blast. People type in their requests for a mix tape from the needy to the bizarre and the site's users type back their selections (incorrect). Everything is covered from moods ("soundtrack to an awkward silence") to more specific needs ("songs that have titles implying baldness... to insult, not to reassure"). The songlists are all strangely spot-on and often unexpectedly leftfield. Only requests for "songs to get over THE girl" are banned.

Friday, June 03, 2005

The Taste of Randolph's lineup is finally up- Saturday, the 18th's lineup includes My Morning Jacket and the French Kicks. Not as good as past years with Ted Leo/Brendan Benson or Spoon/Calexico, though My Morning Jacket has got to rock pretty hard. It's a great location with good food from Randolph's restaurant row, so maybe if the weather is nice I'll check it out.

Meanwhile, now that I've seen Built to Spill and will be seeing Sleater-Kinney in a couple weeks, I think all that's left on my bands-I've-been-trying-to-see-for-years-unsuccessfully list is the New Pornographers . . . oh wait! They're coming to the Metro Thursday, October 20 with Destroyer! Good God could they make me wait any longer! That should be a shortly after the release of their third album.
Could the Double Door really be replaced by a Banana Republic?

Thursday, June 02, 2005

I have an extra Architecture in Helsinki ticket for this Saturday at Schubas, if anyone is interested!
Megan and I will be staffing the WLUW table next Saturday at the Drinking and Writing Festival being held at the Hop Leaf in Andersonville (an extremely cool bar, I've been told). The festival starts at 2pm, we'll be there from 2-4:30pm plugging the station and giving away swag. There will be homebrewed beer tastings, books on sale, writing discussions with notable literary types, music, a writing competition, and lots more. Tickets are $15, but then you have total access to the beer, which will be plentiful and tasty.

I'll remind everyone again next week, but considering I get emails from people making drinking plans for Friday night first thing Monday morning, it's always good to bring things up in advance.
Completely unsubstantiated music news: Pollstar has the Hold Steady playing during the Intonation Festival, but it isn't up on the Intonation website yet. This would be a welcome addition, as I'm not going to make it to their show at the Empty Bottle tonight.
The David Cross/DFA1979 DJ set is finally up on Sonotheque's website. Looks like it's a benefit for Dax Pierson, a member of hip-hop/electronic group Subtle who was paralyzed in a car accident while on tour last winter. $10, doors open at 9.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Courtesy of Salon music critic Thomas Bartlett, check out Chuck Klosterman's attempt to define the musical genres you were never quite sure how to define in the May issue of Spin magazine. I still dare someone to tell me what the hell IDM sounds like.

Bartlett also points us to Joe Pernice's vision of Indie Rock Cribs, with an accompanying pilot video and everything. This would go well in a proposal next to my idea for the Indie Rock Bachelorette.