Monday, October 31, 2005

Check out the Halloween mixtape we put together on Tinymixtapes today.

In other online 'zine news, looks like P4k is throwing a New Year's party/10th anniversary party at the Viaduct Theater 12/30 and 12/31. It's pretty cheap ($20/$35) and the lineup ain't bad:

>> Friday, December 30
The Books

>> Saturday, December 31
Wolf Parade
Blood on the Wall
Jason Forrest

I don't normally see bands twice in the same few months, but I'd see Wolf Parade again in a second. Add this to the list of growing New Year's shows to choose from, and prepare to read about it every week in some self-referencing way in every P4k news story!

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Broken Social Scene w/ Feist

Broken Social Scene
Originally uploaded by Nicolemc99.
Friday night was spent at the Metro with Broken Social Scene and Feist. Feist's opening set was incredibly fun and energetic; Feist herself proved to be entertaining and bursting with personality, and many of her songs rocked a bit more than the studio recordings. She played much off of Let It Die, including "Mushaboom" and "Secret Heart," closing with my favorite song, the heartbreaking "Let It Die," bringing a whole new life to it.

The four musicians that make up Broken Social Scene's horn section came out for a brief introduction before the rest of the 10+ members made their way out to start things off with "Jimmy and the Photocall" and then "KC Accidental." The setlist mostly featured the most rocking tunes from You Forgot It In People and the new self-titled album. The ever-growing band featured two new members to the live lineup, a violinist and a new female vocalist. The violin added a nice touch, but the vocalist, a virtual Kirsten Dunst-look-a-like sporting a very odd Princess Leia-esque hairdo, proved to be incredibly bland and boring on stage, a strong contradiction to the rest of the bands' infectious energy. After having seen Emily Haines of Metric and Amy Millan of Stars sing "Anthems for a Seventeen Year Old Girl" at the Coachella and Intonation festivals, both bringing an incredibly energy and passion to the song, the new girl's rigid, blank presence on stage made for a huge disappointment. When Feist eventually made her way back on stage to sing "Almost Crimes" and "Shoreline 7/4," it was obvious who did and who didn't fit in. After the anthemic "Almost Crimes" brought the entire band out to sing along with every ounce of joy they had, I was sure the show was over- a better ending couldn't have been had. Unfortunately, the band dragged the show out about 20 more minutes with a sudden change toward the mellow- "Lovers Spit" and an ill-prepared cover of "You've Got a Friend" ended the show, and the encore featured a lot of silliness in the form of a down-tempo dance number, a made up country song, "I'm Still Your Fag," and some overdone Bush-bashing, before finally bringing back the energy with "It's All Gonna Break."

The best part about Broken Social Scene live is seeing 10+ musicians lined up across the stage, playing their hearts out and having a blast. The guitarists played like they've been practicing their guitar moves and kicks in front of the mirror since they were 9, and it really made for a fun environment. BSS's only real flaw of the night was not knowing when it was time to stop, but can you really fault them for that?
I went to the Decemberists show in Seattle on Friday. Overall, a solid performance, but oh, how I miss they days where they would play tiny coffeeshops so you couldn't help but get up close and personal with the accordian player. Now it seems like they have a million people on stage with them. I know it's supposed to be good for their rich sound and stuff, but I really think they're at their best at smaller and more intimate settings. And they didn't play the Turkish prostitute song. That makes me sad.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Broken Social Scene tonight w/ Feist at the Metro! BSS put on an amazing show at Coachella, which was followed up a year later by an inferior set at Intonation due to the awful sound. Hopefully it will be redeemed tonight when I finally see them at an indoor venue. I have high hopes for Feist's opening performance as well. Hope to have some pictures up, it's been awhile!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Looks like Beat Kitchen has the bands-as-other-bands action going on for Halloween this weekend too:

Friday, October 28th

Featuring... CATSPLASH (as Radiohead)
THE BON MOTS (as Elvis Costello)
EPICYCLE (as The Wings)
ALL CITY AFFAIRS (as David Bowie)
9pm, $8, 21 & Over
...featuring six of your favorite local bandsperforming as six or rock's most legendary artists!

Saturday, October 29th

Featuring...DEAD ELECTRIC (as AC/DC)
DOPPLER SHIFT (as Morphine)
THE WEBSTIRS (as The Fixx)
THE DELAFIELDS (as Talking Heads)
INCHWORM (as Neil Young)
Well, I think I'm just going to have to go to this show now, and if you're smart, you will too:

Thursday, November 17: The Plastic Constellations w/ the Driftless Pony Club @ Beat Kitchen

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

I mentioned earlier that a Neighborhoodies store is opening up on 1300 N. Milwaukee, and that they're having a grand opening party on Saturday at 8 pm at the store to celebrate. Apparently, that party will include free Goose Island beer! Check out the "morning announcement" video they shot about the opening, set fairly obviously to Sufjan Stevens' "Chicago."
Hot off the news wires:


New Pornographers Tour Suspended Due To Bassist's Exploding Appendix

Disaster struck the New Pornographers as they prepared to take the stage attheir sold-out show on Thursday October 20th at the Metro in Chicago. New Pornographers bassist and producer John Collins complained of pain in his abdomen, saying to drummer Kurt Dahle "I think it's my appendix or something". Collins perservered and played the show in various degrees of pain, but declined to party with the band after the show, instead retiring to his hotel room. Soon Collins could stand the pain no longer and called himself an ambulance. He was then rushed to hospital where an appendectomy was performed, including a laprascopic surgery that involves "three holes". Collins does not have extended medical insurance for the United States. The New Pornographers were in the final stages of wrapping up a sold-out North American tour in support of their new album "Twin Cinema". Also on the tour was Immaculate Machine and Destroyer. The final two shows of the tour, scheduled in Minneapolis and Madison, were postponed. John Collins has flown home from Chicago and is currently recovering in Vancouver, reportedly feeling "a bit sore", but otherwise on track for a full if costly recovery. The New Pornographers' next scheduled shows are Nov 1 & 3 in the UK. There is no immediate word on whether Collins will be able to make the trip.
I did a pretty thorough updating of the upcoming concerts page today, though to be honest, there aren't a whole lot of really notable new shows coming to the midwest. There's always a significant lull as the holidays approach that really picks up in the new year.
The Double Door's big Halloween bash is this Sunday, the 30th. See these bands dress up as old favorites:

Local H as Hall and Oates
Giant Step as the Kinks
Ness as the Smiths
The Last Vegas as Jane's Addiction
The 8th Grade as Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band
San Tropez as Fleetwood Mac
Blackbox as the Smashing Pumpkins
I think my entire office is out sick today! Too much partying from the into-the-night White Sox victory!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

From Punk Planet:

Hey there,

Last Thursday we received some distressing news--the kind of news that made our very bones ache when we heard it; the kind of news that felt so significant we simply couldn't function after it sank in.

With a few days time and the ability to process it, we decided it's news worth sharing: It was a letter from the president of the Independent Press Association, the not-for-profit organization that owns the company that distributes the majority of Punk Planet's copies, BigTop Newsstand Services. The letter acknowledged the truth of a rumor that had been running through indie publishing circles for months now: the distributor was having cash flow problems. Payments to publishers for magazines already distributed had been and would continue to be effected for an unknown amount of time. In case you don't operate a magazine, the money coming in from newsstand sales is vital to publishers' bottom line. For a magazine like Punk Planet, where our ad rates remain very low to cater to independent businesses, those distributor payments are even more critical.

This news leaves us in a tight spot: BigTop is the last distributor that specializes in distributing independent press magazines like Punk Planet. When we started 12 years ago, there were close to a half dozen such distributors; each one that has gone belly up dragged a few magazines with it. Because BigTop is owned by the IPA, an organization whose mission is to "amplify" the voice of the independent press, we don't expect that they will go out of business; but we also don't know when we will see the money we are owed.

What does this mean for the future of Punk Planet? The truth is we don't yet know. But we do know there are things you can do that will help us in both the short term and the long term.

1. Please consider subscribing (or resubscribing) and purchasing some merchandise from our webstore today. If you have a product, idea, or event to advertise, purchase an ad.

An immediate influx of cash will allow us to pay off back debts--to contributors, printers, web hosts, etc--and better enable us to weather any coming storm caused by nonpayment from our distributor. Our annual end-of year subscription sale is just starting now—get a whole year for only $18, or really help us out and buy a couple of them!

2. Please forward this information--or this whole email--on to your lists and friends, and specifically ask them to subscribe or buy merchandise from us. In addition to a two-year subscription for only $30, you can pick up any of our amazing books—Joe Meno's HAIRSTYLES OF THE DAMNED, Bee Lavender's LESSONS IN TAXIDERMY, Mark Anderson's ALL THE POWER, or Jay Ryan's brand-new 100 POSTERS 134 SQUIRRELS now available for pre-order! We've also got Punk Planet T-shirts, underpants, and the awesomely cool PPAP: Punk Planet Artists' Prints wearable art series

3. Consider donating to the Community Supported Journalism Fund. It's a small-fund donations program, made up almost exclusively of donations of less than $20, but it's already allowed us to bring you the amazing END OF RADIO cover story of PP69: four full articles on different aspects of radio creation and tons of teeny interviews with audio experts. It wouldn't have been possible without your support!

4. Please continue to support independent print media. The payment issues affecting us are not singular--there are others in the same predicament that need your support as well.

Thanks so much,

Dan Sinker

Monday, October 24, 2005

Hip-hop promotion, from today's New Republic:

GET RICH OR DIE TRYING: The rapper Cameron "Cam'ron" Giles, who was in Washington, D.C., over the weekend for Howard University's homecoming, was shot early Sunday morning while driving in his Lamborghini. According to today's Washington Post, he seems to be keeping things in perspective:

"I got shot three times and my album comes out Nov. 22," Giles said as he left Howard University Hospital yesterday afternoon with an entourage of friends, fellow rappers and bodyguards. "We love Howard."
Let's talk about how excellent the new Animal Collective album, Feels, is. I bought it at Reckless this weekend and fell in love with it pretty much instantly. The structure is very similar to 2004's Sung Tongs, with the most song-oriented guitar tracks early in the album and the more meandering songs in the second half. "Banshee Beat" is glorious. I can't get enough of this band.

Friday, October 21, 2005

I'm not sure what to think about this column today on Pitchfork. Is it a fascinating glimpse into the life of one of the writers, or is it too personal for a music website?
Finally saw the New Pornographers last night, and Liz is right, the panda t-shirt they had for sale was uber, uber-cute (and designed by Madison alumni Aesthetic Apparatus!).

Destroyer opened, and I wanted to check their set out to see if it would help me get more into them. Some people seem to really love Destroyer, and I haven't been able to get on board. I hoped a live set might show me what I was supposed to be missing. Sadly, that was not to be- I found Dan Bejar & Co. to be just as boring as I do on CD. Oh well.

The six members of the New Pornographers eventually made their way up on stage and each took their place, never again to move from their respective spots. For such a fun band, I was surprised they didn't move around a bit more on stage- it seemed a bit low energy, at least during their main set; things seemed to pick up a bit during their two encores. They started things off with "Twin Cinema" and "Use It" and proceeded to play a set sampling fairly equally from all three of their albums, with a slight emphasis on Twin Cinema. Hilariously, every few songs or so, Dan Bejar would make his way on stage to sing "Jackie Dressed in Cobras," and every time he'd come out progressively more tanked, with a new drink in his hand. By the time he made it out for the second encore to sing "Jackie," he could hardly stand or open his eyes, prompting jokes from Neko and Carl Newman about his drunken attempts backstage to pick up an English woman.

As I've already mentioned, the band played two encores, one they dubbed the "Electric Version super-set" with "Testament to Youth and Verse" and "Miss Teen Wordpower" and one the "Mass Romantic super-set" with "Jackie," "Body Says No" and, thankfully, "Letter From an Occupant" (I don't think I would have forgiven them if they hadn't played that, but it was such an obvious closer I wasn't too worried about it). Those last three songs were probably the best of the night, when the band seemed to be having the most fun on stage, Neko's voice was strongest, and Dan Bejar was totally trashed.

Final note: looks like the New Pornos are coming back to the Metro for New Years Eve- $60 a ticket (a steal! said head Porno Carl Newman). Hopefully there'll be a lot of great new year's shows to choose from this year!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

I am just really obsessed with this Wolf Parade album. I've been incredibly stressed out lately, and I've found it to be the perfect antidote, for some weird reason- it's not like it's soothing by any means. I also get really excited when I hear awesome transitions between songs on albums, and the transition from "Sons and Daughters of Hungry Ghosts" to "I'll Believe in Anything" is just great.
If you're hitting up the New Pornographers show tonight at the Metro, stop by the merch area, where Megan and I will be staffing the WLUW table before the show and during the first opener. Get some free WLUW and PFFR swag!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

On the Tinymixtapes online forum, we were having a discussion of Cat Power's live show. Here's what one writer had to say of her performance last week, in reponse to someone who said he's seen shows where she either played two songs and run off the stage crying, or played a full set with her back to the crowd:

She played a full (~80-90 min.) set, facing the crowd, trading off between guitar and piano, and even engaging in a little bit of banter. Example: when at one point she couldn't figure out what to play, she was bombarded with about a dozen requests, so she chuckled "Okay" and sang a couple lines from "Freebird". I don't know about antidepressents, but at one point she said, "Does anyone have some scotch, maybe, with no ice," and she was presented with a flask from which she drank quite frequently for the rest of the show. There was no encore, but, you know, everybody was pretty much glad she didn't cry and run off the stage.

Perhaps her stage fright is improving?
Hopefully tonight I'll go home to find a fully and successfully recorded show, ready to be posted for downloading.

Music website Stolen Mix Tape wrote a nice blurb about me in it's blog this week- I swear I didn't pay them too.
Flower Booking's 15th anniversary is this year, and they're putting on a big charity auction to go along with their week-long concert series in November, featuring bands like Ted Leo and reunions from the Smoking Popes and the Promise Ring. In addition to items like private balcony seats to the shows, they've got private biology tutoring from Andrew Kenny of the American Analog Set, bowling with Jimmy Eat World, a recording session with Ted Leo, and much more. See all 100+ items here on eBay.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Friday night I went to Schubas to see Wolf Parade. Unfortunately, I didn't bring my camera, so there aren't any shots to post to the photoblog (and they would have been great shots, too!). I must say, it was one of the best shows I've been to in awhile, one that fulfilled my need to be genuinely moved by a band, even if just for a brief moment. I've been really enjoying their new album, Apologies to the Queen Mary, but with all the buzz Wolf Parade's been getting lately, I didn't go in with too many expectations for their show for fear that I may be disappointed. Luckily for me, the band brought with them an amazing energy on stage that really excited me and the crowd.

Wolf Parade's songs are mostly split between two singers, guitarist Dan Boeckner and keyboardist Spencer Krug. Before going into the show, I didn't really notice a difference in vocals from song to song, but on Friday it became completely clear to me that all of my favorite songs were sung by Spencer. Dan had a great rough, smoky, Springsteen-esque rock voice, but Spencer's was weird and unique and beautiful- it was obvious he brought the more experimental force to the band, and his Frog Eyes influences were clear. In fact, I could hardly keep my eyes off of Spencer the entire night because everything about him was so fascinating- it was almost as if he was in a totally different band on stage. While the rest of the 4 band members (including a former member of Hot Hot Heat who took a break between songs to take a piss in the alleyway) rocked out like all good rock bands do, Spencer sat quietly in a corner behind his two keyboards, singing intensely with his eyes closed the entire show. He and his voice gave me chills. Their last song before the encore was the utterly amazing "I'll Believe in Anything," which seriously brought tears to my eyes. The song is one of my favorites of the year, and the band couldn't have done it more justice than they did. It's an anthem. My $12 were worth it for that song alone.

During their set, Wolf Parade debuted a brand new song (featuring Spencer on vocals) that absolutely blew me away. If that song is representative of the road WP is going down, I want to hear more.

The show wasn't perfect- a couple songs were nothing special, and they should have skipped out on the encore and just ended with "I'll Believe in Anything," since it was pretty obvious they'd run through all their good material during the main set. But I think you can forgive those sorts of things with a new band, so you know they have room to improve and grow. No one wants to see a band peak with one album and never live up to it again.

After the show, I went back and read the Pitchfork review of Apologies to the Queen Mary, and I must say it almost perfectly captures how I feel about the album. It's rare that I give a P4k review credit for more than wordy, self-referencing hooey, but this time I think they got it right.

Friday, October 14, 2005

I'm not sure if I can really get into Deerhoof's weird, cutesy music yet, but the cover of their new album, The Runners Four, is FABULOUS. I wish I could show the entire insert unfolded.
What do ya know, a Neighborhoodies store is opening up next door to me, at 1300 N. Milwaukee! It opens November 1, and some party is supposed to be happening on the 29th (Halloween-related, or just a coincidence?)

In other news, Calexico and Iron and Wine are coming to the Congress Theater on December 11! Huzzah! I've never been to that venue, does it suck?
I totally forgot about it, but my Royksopp/Annie concert review is up now on TMT.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Last night I dreamt that the Dismemberment Plan was doing a couple of reunion shows in December. What a wonderful dream! How sad I was to awake . . .

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Wilco will be headlining a benefit concert for hurricane relief that's happening on Tuesday, November 1 at Chicago's Auditorium Theatre.

Maybe it's time to start doing concerts for earthquake relief in Pakistan- from what I understand, the Red Cross has received too much money for Katrina!
Check out the hilarious new video for the New Pornographers' "Use It," starring David Cross. So excited to cross them off my list of bands to see next Thursday. Have I mentioned how fabulously awesome the new album is? Yes? Well I'll say it again, it's fabulously awesome.
And the iPod innovations continue.

Is there really a market for buying music videos online though?

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

. . . or not, because it appears I incorrectly set the recorder. Sigh . . . you'll just have to wait for next week's show, and hopefully I can get back into the proper Tuesday morning routine of show preparation.
I was so busy at work today, I didn't even have time to blog about the show or anything- but it will hopefully be posted tonight, tomorrow night at the latest.

Monday, October 10, 2005

On a non-music related blogging-at-work note, my company just moved into new offices and is in the process of putting up art around the floors. So far, the CEO's taste in art has proven to be extremely odd and somewhat creepy- a huge (HUGE) collage of eyeballs in the shape of an inkblot and a painting of a group of ventriloquist dummies sitting around a table. Pretty cutting-edge for an investment firm.
Looks like Cat Power will be touring next year with the full band, including her upcoming solo show at Park West. I think that solves my dilemma on whether or not to go to that solo show- I've heard she's more likely to melt down on stage by herself than when she's got a band behind her.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Now this is hip-hop I can get into. It's a collaboration between Danger Mouse and MF Doom that is centered around the Cartoon Network's Adult Swim- Sealab, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Harvey Birdman! I just heard a song on WOXY that included a bunch of killer Sealab quotes, and the song was very much in the vein of the opening theme to ATHF, which is great.

Speaking of WOXY, I think it's quickly becoming my favorite internet radio station. I've been testing a few out on days that I don't bring my iPod to work, and I think WOXY has been consistently better than KEXP in playing music I want to hear, both new stuff I haven't heard yet as well as songs I know and love.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

I have to get on the bandwagon and say that the new Wolf Parade album is pretty great. I've had a tendency lately to resist albums that get drooled all over, but Apologies to the Queen Mary is just a really quality indie rock album. It gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling all over when I listen to it- I'm listening to it right now at work, and I have to keep pausing to listen more closely. Me likey.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Oh good God, Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes are having a baby. I thought she was saving herself for marriage as the good Catholic girl she is?
I've gotten some new CDs lately. Here's what I think so far, although I've really only listened to each one casually once or so. Since most albums evolve for me well beyond first impressions (both good and bad), take it for what you will:

Broken Social Scene- Broken Social Scene: There are some really good songs, and some songs that I didn't really notice as the album played. The artwork is neat. The bonus EP seems a bit gratuitous. I'm a fan of off-key singing (also see: Prefuse 73- Now You're Leaving).

Franz Ferdinand- You Could Have It So Much Better: I actually downloaded this album because I knew I wouldn't buy it, but I was curious to hear it. From what I understood from reviews, it sounds much like the first album. I'd say that's correct. I'll have to listen more to see if the catchiness overrules the lack of originality.

Metric- Live It Out: More Broken Social Scene-related goodness. I'm liking it. There's one song on it where the beginning guitar riff sounds just like the Driftless Pony Club- very strange, because Metric sounds nothing like the Driftless Pony Club, and neither does the rest of the song- just that first 30 seconds. Very odd. I saw Metric live last year when I didn't know most of their music, and Emily Haines is unbelievably cute and entertaining, making it a good show to watch when you didn't know the songs.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

In more minor-celebrity Chicago news, Jen the Bachelorette goes to my new gym. Perhaps we'll take a class together!

Is it sad that my last minor-celebrity Chicago news was also Jen the Bachelorette? When will see John Cusack running around town?

Is this an indicator of my brilliance or of Pitchfork's predictability?

Monday, October 03, 2005

Here's a fun game you can play at work that we've started on my tinymixtapes forum. Place bets on what score you think Pitchfork will give the next big release, regardless of whether you yourself have heard the album or not. For example:

the new Broken Social Scene: 8.4
the new Animal Collective: 8.9

Someone on my forum accurately guessed the score for both Big Star and Liz Phair. BSS's new one comes out tomorrow, we'll see how I do!
I cannot believe how amazing the band in the new Harry Potter movie is: Phil Selway, Jonny Greenwood, Jarvis Cocker??!?!?!?! Those Griffindors will have the best school dance EVER. It's coming out in November or December I believe. I may be lining up outside the theater with my striped scarf.