Tuesday, October 31, 2006

My iPod died a few weeks ago (RIP). It started skipping songs, clicking and whirring inside the case, and finally sad-Macked on me. According to the Apple IT guy, there's nothing that can be done. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to The Perfect Face for Radio New iPod Fund.

Lesson learned- always pay the $60 a year to extend the warranty, because when it comes down to it, as cool and indispensable as iPod has become for me, it's sort of a crappy product. $300-$400, and it can't even make it two years? Probably because Apple keeps whipping out new versions to stay uber-trendy, without making sure they work that well. If anyone has any suggestions for how to revive my iPod (the ones Apple doesn't want you to know about!) before I get a new one in a few weeks, I'm all ears. So far I've been told to drop it on the floor (started working for about 5 minutes, then died again) and put it in the freezer (haven't tried that one yet). If nothing else works, at least I now get to upgrade from the 40 gig black and white screen to the 80 gig color w/ video and photo! And then spend another month uploading my music collection to the new iPod, because my computer's hard drive is too small for me to keep my entire music collection on it :( Oh well, at least it forces me to take a good look at my music collection and weed out the stuff I haven't listened to in years.
I'm listening to the Books' Thought for Food for the first time in awhile. Every time I listen to it, I remember playing a track from it on the radio show back when I hosted it with DJ Lazer, and him saying "this sounds like the music that plays during King's Quest when your character goes into town." So true, and I think that every time I listen to it now.
Another far more hilarious story about the former TMT writer-slash-stadium bomb hoaxer from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. This one comes with fantastic quotes.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Islands @ Metro

Originally uploaded by Nicolemc99.
I caught Islands this past Friday at an early, all-ages show at the Metro. Having seen the Unicorns a few years before, I was curious to see how Nick Diamond's latest incarnation of quirky indie-pop would compare on stage. Nick seems to have matured since his days wearing the pink suits and tearing up the small stage hiding behind his thick long hair- I barely recognized him with a normal haircut and a buffed-out bod showcased by the white wifebeater he sported. Joined by six or so bandmembers on stage (all dressed in white), he showed amazing restraint while still energizing the crowd with songs from their debut album, Return to the Sea. My favorite part of the show was the hyper violin-playing displayed by the two violinists, who were a pleasure to watch. Subtitle and Blueprint came out for a rousing rendition of "Where There's a Whale, There's a Whalebone," my favorite song on the album. While the bizarre, crazy antics of the Unicorns seem to have gone by the wayside in favor of a more mature stage show, Islands still put on a good time for all.

Friday, October 27, 2006

I'll be checking out an early show of Islands tonight at the Metro. We'll see how they stack up to the Unicorns, who I saw several years ago and liked very much live.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

By now most everyone has seen the Outback Steakhouse commercial that Kevin Barnes of Of Montreal wrote that "Let's Go Outback Tonight" song for. Today I saw another commercial featuring a Kevin Barnes song . . . for NASDAQ. Seriously, car commercials have always been sort of hip, but what does it mean when companies like GEICO and NASDAQ start co-opting my musical tastes? Or are my musical tastes just maturing at the same rate I am? (I was, after all, willingly watching CNBC).

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Indie music in commercials watch, courtesy of Dr. D: Tapes 'N Tapes' "Jakov's Suite" in a Nissan commercial! How do I get a job picking music for car commercials?
My Viva Voce review is up now on Radio Free Chicago.
Gob's scooter from Arrested Development is being auctioned over at eBay! Quick, someone loan me $7500 so I can bid for it.
I got my tickets for the early Joanna Newsom show on November 8 at Logan Square Auditorium, and considering they are a whopping $20, this had better be a great show! Not that I'm too worried, considering 1) Joanna Newsom rules, 2) she's going to be bringing along an orchestra of some sort to back her up 3) Her new album, which is only 5 epic songs, is supposed to be fantastic. I heart Joanna!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Looks like Morrissey is doing one lone show in the US this fall, and it's here in Chicago.

Morrissey w/ Kristeen Young
Tuesday, November 21st @ 7:30pm @ the Aragon Ballroom
Tickets on sale Saturday, October 28 at Noon
So word on the street is that the stadium bomb hoaxer was once a tinymixtapes writer! Only the best over at TMT.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Califone @ the Empty Bottle

Originally uploaded by Nicolemc99.
I caught Califone in their first Chicago show for quite some time last night at the Empty Bottle. They played an incredibly tight set featuring songs mostly from their latest (and amazing) album, Roots and Crowns, but threw in some classic favorites like "Michigan Girls" along the way. And I always get such a kick out of the weird toys Ben Massarella brings along to "play". Their set was so long that by 1:45, when they were really starting to jam out (to the delight of the wanna-be hippies next to me), I had to go home, satisfied that they had played everything I'd wanted to hear. Peter and the Wolf opened with an extremely bizarre set that started with one guy playing quirky love songs on acoustic guitar before a group of friends joined him on stage to do things like shake a skeleton, whack a plastic pumpkin or a water bottle with a drumstick, or actually play a real instrument. Meanwhile, Angela Desveaux's middle set sort of bored me to tears with her run-of-the-mill country-folk songs that I've heard done a million times before.

I also caught Viva Voce and Silversun Pickups at the EB the night before; I didn't take pictures, but fellow RFC writer Kirstiecat did, so I'll post my thoughts on that show this week on RFC along with her pics. But I did want to say two things quick about Viva Voce's lead singer/guitarist Anita Robinson (wife of drummer/guitarist/keyboardist Kevin Robinson): 1) She's an awesome guitar player, and 2) she's dead sexy.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Here's an interesting article from the Washington Post of all places: Why I Gave Up on Hip Hop.

In other news, you'll find me tonight at the Silversun Pickups/Viva Voce show at the Empty Bottle. I think I'll take a rest from the photo-taking for a night to just enjoy myself, but tomorrow's Califone show should find it's way onto the blog in picture form by the end of the weekend.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Onion's AV Club has an interview this week with the Hold Steady. I'm still undecided about whether or not to see them next Thursday (though who knows, it may be sold out by now).

Meanwhile, the new Califone album is wonderful. I only recently learned that singer Tim Rutilli moved to California! Sad, but I'll still call them local. Can't wait for their show at the Empty Bottle this Saturday!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

This TMT story today is fascinating and frightening- ASCAP sued an Oregon restaurant after an ASCAP member in the audience heard a local band play a couple of covers and the restaurant hadn't paid ASCAP for the rights to cover the songs. Seriously?

Monday, October 16, 2006

Beirut review- 10/12/06 @ Empty Bottle

A Hawk and a Handsaw
Originally uploaded by Nicolemc99.
It’s been awhile since I’ve been presented with performances as unique and bizarre as those I saw during this night of worldly tunes. Everything about this show defied my expectations, mostly for the better (save for the weirdly mainstream crowd that constantly yelled stupid things at the bands all night).

One-man band Animal Hospital kicked off with a self-described “economical” set of three fairly long songs. Featuring endless drum and guitar loops with the occasional vocal, Kevin Micka’s music was certainly imaginative and interesting, if not especially remarkable. Still, his style was a good fit for, and a great introduction to, the eccentric stylings of the remaining two bands.

A Hawk and a Handsaw is the work of former Neutral Milk Hotel drummer Jeremy Barnes and violinist Heather Trost. I found myself fascinated in watching the thickly-mustachioed musician, who looked like something out of a sepia-colored photo from the 1800s, set up his most unconventional drum kit around his chair; each cymbal, tambourine and drum piece looked like something out of a kindergarten band class. The kicker was when he strapped a drum stick and some bells to his thigh positioned precisely to hit a cowbell when he tapped his foot, and then put on a hat of bells with another drum stick attached, positioned to hit a cymbal that stood to his left. And with that, Jeremy pulled on his accordion and coordinated a striking display of dexterity as he played the drums and tambourines with his feet, the cowbell with his thigh, the accordion with his hands and the cymbal and bells with his head. I couldn’t help but smile every time he flicked his head to the side and then shook it- I don’t think it ever got old. Meanwhile, with Heather on the violin, the two filled the venue with some very pleasant and traditional-sounding instrumentals. After taking a break from the bombast to sing an intense and haunting cover of an old anti-war song, the band wrapped up their performance with Heather jumping into the audience and Jeremy standing at the edge of the stage looking down on her while they serenaded each other back and forth with their respective instruments. Very cute.

Finally, it was time for the eastern waltzes of Beirut. Even though I knew Beirut was primarily the work of 20-year old, I guess I’d forgotten in my old age what 20 actually looks like; I was a little taken aback by how young singer Zach Condon looks, especially since he has such an “old” voice. Not only that, but the nature of the music had me picturing a very shy, introverted loner, not the boisterous kid who took the stage with his trumpet held high over his head as he belted his songs out over the crowd and swiped mouthfuls of Jack Daniels when he thought no one was looking. Adding to the youthfulness on stage, Zach brought along six friends to participate in his backing band, all looking to be barely out of their teens as well. Aside from a few instances of sloppy between-song banter, however, their youth proved to be an asset to the live show as their exuberance breathed new and exciting life into the more mature and sophisticated old-world sounds. Parading onto the stage from the back of the room playing a variety of brass instruments and drums, the band took their places amongst a deluge of instruments and proceeded to spend the next hour having the time of their lives. Peppering a few (really good) new songs amongst the majority of Gulag Orkestar, Zach alternated between blaring his trumpet and singing while his band mates bounced around between ukuleles, violins, keyboards, clarinets, saxophones, accordions, recorders, and pretty much every other instrument you can think of. As the weeknight 2am bar time approached and the sound guy urged the band to wrap up, the young’ns of Beirut defied orders and leaped into the audience to squeeze out two more utterly triumphant fist-pumpers (if you can pump your fist to an accordion), while the audience enthusiastically cheered and danced around them.
CNN on CBGB's last show.

Sunday, October 15, 2006


Originally uploaded by Nicolemc99.
I'm running a bit late on the review of the show since I've had a busy weekend and I'm writing a full-length piece for Tinymixtapes, but I got the pictures up and wanted to share them. The ones where Zach & Co. jumped into the audience are the best. Full review hopefully up tomorrow!

Friday, October 13, 2006

The Beirut show last night at the Empty Bottle was entertaining, bizarre, and oddly fascinating for many reasons. Pictures and a full-length review coming this weekend.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

My goodness, the new Hold Steady album I bought on Insound came with a whole comic book illustrating the song lyrics. I'm a big Hold Steady fan, so hopefully this album will stand up to the last one. I won't let Pitchfork's excessive Hold Steady coverage lately (I mean really, both a live review, tour news and concert photos in one week?) taint my listening experience.

*UPDATE: After listening to the album for 10 seconds, my comments are that 1) Craig Finn actually sings, and 2) it sounds a lot like Bruce Springsteen.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

It looks like the Double Door's big Halloween bash (local bands "dress up" as famous bands, with Local H headlining every year) has expanded to two days, Friday and Saturday the 27th and 28th. I think I'd be most interested to see May or May Not as Daft Punk.
I discovered this section of CNN.com and it sort of makes me sad. Please, take the "How indie are you?" quiz, then cry.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Junior Boys pictures are up!

Even though I was at the Empty Bottle on a Sunday night and the two opening bands just enhanced my desire to go to bed, the Junior Boys definitely did not disappoint. Having seen them twice before as an opener, the opportunity to headline seemed to give the Boys added confidence and to show off singer Jeremy Greenspan's wit and personality. Oh, the irony of a band that makes such sublimely sexy music being fronted by a man so supremely un-sexy. But oh, his smooth voice was just as hot in person as it is on record. With a live drummer in tow this time around, the boys played exactly the set list I would have chosen, featuring a large chunk of their latest, So This Is Goodbye and throwing in the best of their debut, Last Exit ("Teach Me How to Fight," "Under the Sun" and a fantastic rendering of "Birthday," my fav of the night). They alternated between the uptempo dance-inducers like "The Equalizer" and the calmer, more soothing tracks like "So This Is Goodbye." In between songs (and when technical difficulties ensued), Jeremy regaled the audience with funny tour stories, like having to constantly hear "that guy" yell out "Canada" at every show, and how their big plans for a multimedia light show failed and left them with nothing but a neon sign that said "Junior Boys." Overall, a quality show.
Ok, I had to work late last night and didn't have time to upload Junior Boys pics yet. Expect them either this morning (took the morning off!) or tonight.

Monday, October 09, 2006

I made my triumphant return to the Empty Bottle last night after over a year away with a great show by the Junior Boys. Pictures and details will be up tonight. The Empty Bottle and I will be seeing a lot more of each other in the next couple weeks to make up for the lost time, including Beirut this Thursday, the Silversun Pickups/Viva Voce next Friday and Califone next Saturday.

I also picked up the new Califone and Decemberists albums this weekend, more thoughts on those after I listen to them more.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Bandwidth Pics

DJ LA Jesus
Originally uploaded by Nicolemc99.
The pictures I took from last Friday's RFC launch party are up now on the photoblog. The event itself was a great success, with All City Affairs, Coltrane Motion and Skybox playing to good-sized crowds and DJ LA Jesus playing a great set of music in the funniest DJ get up I've ever seen. Check 'em out!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Expect lots of great pictures next week from tonight's launch party and the Junior Boys show at the Empty Bottle on Sunday night. I'll also be checking out Beirut at the Empty Bottle next Thursday, so there'll be a full review and more photos from that show to look forward to as well.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Nothing's finalized, but if you're lucky, I may do a quickie DJ set between bands tomorrow at the RFC Launch Party. Come early! I'll take requests! (though they will have to be from the, like, 10 CDs I bring with me, haha)

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Fellow WLUW DJ Eric Lab Rat is on the hunt to make a hilarious compilation. See what he has to say below, and if you're interested in helping out, email him at ericlabratt(at)hotmail(dot)com.

I'm putting together a compilation of noise, experimental, and punk covers of Chicago's favorite undercover weirdo, R. Kelly (perhaps the only Chicagoan ever to release a multiplatinum gospel album and a golden shower video in the same year)

My goal is to release
Ain't Nothin Wrong With a Little Bump and Grindcore
as a website and DVD-R some time in early 2007

I've started to get some tracks in, but I'm still looking for more bands, as well as artists and eventually, people to make videos . Most of the bands are from Chicago, but I'm open to submissions from anyone, anywhere.

By that same token, while the compilation will have a focus on punk, hardcore, experimental and noise music, it is not limited to those genres. Anything from bubblegum to folk to doo-wop to trance will be considered. The point of this album is not to make a bunch of novelty songs but to create a fittingly weird tribute to a very odd, pop-character.

Hit me up if you're interested.

P.S. Everybody wants to do Trapped in the Closet. It's taken. Sorry.
Don't forget that Radio Free Chicago's launch party is happening this Friday at the Kinetic Playground. Headliners Skybox are getting a lot of buzz, including a big endorsement from my favorite celeb gossip blogger, Perez Hilton. Random, who knew he plugged indie bands when not ripping on Nicole Ritchie's skeletal girl-body? Check out Skybox's myspace page for some scarily catchy tunes. Should be a good show!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Lot's of local music happenin' on this morning's show- great stuff from Chin Up Chin Up, Califone, May or May Not, the Changes, the Lonesome Organist, possibly more? Podcast will be posted tonight as usual.

Also, whoever stole my headphone adapter from my mailbox at the station- not cool dude, not cool.