Thursday, May 24, 2007


So, for the first time since I've started this blog, I'm going on an extended vacation! We'll see how I can handle being away from my computer for that long, it is unprecedented . . . so for the next two weeks, I'll be galavanting around Asia and thus, probably not blogging and definitely not updating the website. Hopefully all you millions of readers will still be here upon my return on June 9, waiting with bated breath. I look forward to returning to 1,000 emails, 3,000 spam emails and catching up on reviews for all the albums that came out while I was gone.

Back soon!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


How on earth did all three Reckless locations sell out of the new National album in less than two days? Answer me that!
An interesting interview with Andrew Bird on Pitchfork, but why on earth does the interviewer keep ripping on Chicago? It's like he's trying to get him to say, "you're right, Chicago is so unhip compared to New York and LA, I'm moving right now." No love for Chi-Town.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Hill the Pill

Oh my gosh, this is too hilarious. Hillary Clinton is having a vote on her website to pick her campaign's theme song. My vote is clearly for Jesus Jones' "Right Here, Right Now."

And some seemingly too serious discussion on Salon's music blog.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Upcoming shows

All about this show:

The Besnard Lakes w/ Handsome Furs @ Schubas, July 23 & 24
-Love my Wolf Parade side projects

Also interested in this show:

Eff Cancer Benefit w/ Superchunk, the Mountain Goats and the Ponys @ Metro, June 20
-Superchunk's first live show in . . . how long? they're playing for a Superchunk superfan with cancer

Amused by this show:

Deep Blue Something @ the Abbey Pub, July 21
-"And I said what about / Breakfast at Tiffany's" . . . hello 1994!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Makes our living fun

Now why couldn't THIS have been one of the albums at Pitchfork's Don't Look Back night? That would be . . . pretty f&$#ing amazing.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Lawndale Fashion Club

I wrote an essay for Tinymixtapes about what a huge loser I used to be and how terrible my musical tastes were. Read it here.

Ok, I'm still a big loser, but I'm pretty sure my musical tastes have improved since then.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Pitchfork Contest

Looks like Pitchfork is running a contest for free tickets, cash and more to those who send in the best reviews, poster designs and photos of either last year's festival or bands in this year's lineup.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Tapes 'n Tapes w/ Ladyhawk @ the Abbey Pub, 5/12/07

Tapes 'n Tapes
Originally uploaded by Nicolemc99.
I saw Tapes n' Tapes last year at Schubas, where they were fresh off the release of their excellent album The Loon and on their first national tour. At the time they still seemed to be figuring out how to put on a good show; though they were good, there still seemed to be something missing. I was interested to see if another year of experience had made them more seasoned live musicians.

Opening for Tapes 'n Tapes was Ladyhawk, a southern-tinged rock band from Vancouver. The band had come highly recommended by a fellow Tinymixtapes writer, so I was intrigued to see what they would bring to the musical table. Let me say, I was incredibly impressed. Singer Duffy Driediger's vocals were huge and full of emotion, and the band's longer jams were incredibly intense. Bassist Sean Hawryluk kept whipping his hair all over the place, and even Duffy couldn't help but laugh along with the audience when Sean started doing some back-up "Oohs" with his hair totally covering his face, Cousin It style. My Morning Jacket is an obvious comparison, but Ladyhawk certainly shouldn't be written off as a copycat by any means. I'm definitely getting their album.

Meanwhile, Tapes 'n Tapes' set certainly delivered on my hopes for a more confident and memorable live show; this time around, they seemed to really "rock out" their songs to a level not found on their recorded material, and singer Josh Grier proved himself to be an affable frontman after all. In addition to previewing some new material that showed serious potential, they brought a new passion to tracks from The Loon that I didn't feel last time I saw them, especially during the chorus of my favorite song, "10 Gallon Ascots," which pretty much demands hugeness (and Josh screamed it out appropriately). Meanwhile, "Omaha" showcased keyboardist Matt Kretzman's tuba skills and was probably my favorite song of the night. Since it was the early show, the band skipped an encore, which was fine by me, since I generally dislike encores, and they had pretty much played out all their best material anyway.

My camera battery died halfway through Tapes n' Tapes' performance, so my pics are limited, but are up for perusal.

Andrew Bird Contest

From my Andrew Bird email newsletter:

It’s time for a contest! I am giving away 3 pairs o concert tickets for the best submission in the haiku contest – Paraphrase an Andrew Bird song into a haiku. That is, a three line verse stanza consisting of mainly natural imagery (and little to no comment on those images) and with syllable counts of 5/7/5! Be sure to indicate which song your haiku is paraphrasing (in the subject line). Due date May 21 – three winners will win a pair of tickets to an upcoming show (their choice, from May 22 onwards).
Email your submission - one per person please - to –


Sunday, May 13, 2007

Concert Review: Peter, Bjorn and John w/ Fujiya & Miyagi

I was a latecomer to the Peter Bjorn and John bandwagon; all the buzz they were getting somewhat turned me off, and I wasn't sure I really needed to hear yet another Swedish pop band. But when they booked a show at the Empty Bottle, I figured it was time to finally check them out; with all the attention they've been getting lately (and considering the amount of airplay "Young Folks" has been getting on on commercial radio and Verizon commercials), I knew that by this time next year they'd be headlining the Metro or even the Riviera, and I didn't want to regret missing them at the Bottle down the road.

Fujiya and Miyagi, meanwhile, has been a pretty constant presence on my headphones; their brand of funky, danceable kraut-rock is a welcome addition to my dance music collection, and I was thrilled that they were opening for PB&J. The three unassuming Brits came out a bit timidly on opener "Ankle Injuries," but seemed to gain confidence and stage presence as the show went on and the band got into the groove. Singer David Best rarely cracked a smile as his breathy vocals drifted over the crowd, but he did show off his smooth dance moves (I especially enjoyed his hip-shaking during the lyrics "Thigh bone's connected to the hip bone"). Speaking of their single "Collarbone," it was definitely the highlight of their set and drew the most enthusiasm from the crowd. Not surprising, because it's a killer song and definitely their best.

Having picked up Writer's Block only a few weeks before the show, I found myself enjoying the music, but not blown away by any means. Luckily, PB&J's live show definitely made me return to the recorded material with renewed interest. The Swedish threesome definitely brought some serious energy and passion to the stage, especially singer/guitarist Peter Moren; his exuberance and presence were a pleasure to watch. The band mixed in some older songs amongst the best tracks of Writer's Block; they also put a new spin on a few songs, including a folkier, slower version of "Amsterdam" that was interesting to hear. Meanwhile, early show opener Au Revoir Simone's Heather D'Angelo took the place of Victoria Bergsman during "Young Folks" and hammed it up with Peter during their musical call and response.

Occasionally things bordered on cutesy, such as the fact that certain items on stage were labeled ("Peter Bjorn and John Bass Amp", "Peter Bjorn and John Bass Drum") or when Peter introduced "Paris 2004" as a true story of a perfect holiday weekend he had, and suddenly lyrics like "I'm all about her / She's all about me / We're all about each other" became a little overkill. But overall, PB&J rocked a lot harder than I would have expected them too, especially during songs like "Object of My Affection" and the excellent show closer, "Up Against the Wall," which led Peter to jump on top of an amp and finish the show from there. Ideally the show would have ended on that high note, but the band came out for an unremarkable (and surprisingly slow) encore that included "Poor Cow", one of my least favorite songs from Writer's Block. Still, I thought they put on a great show overall and was very glad I decided to go.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Indie on the cheap

To please don't say "indie cred".

Peter, Bjorn and John w/ Fujiya & Miyagi @ Empty Bottle, 5/8/07

Peter, Bjorn and John
Originally uploaded by Nicolemc99.
My pics from PB&J on Tuesday night are up on flickr. Review forthcoming. Please note the (almost excessive) cuteness of the "Peter Bjorn and John Bass Drum", the "Peter Bjorn and John Bass Amp", and the "Peter Bjorn and John Guitar Amp."

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Am I the only one more excited to see Fujiya and Miyagi tonight than Peter Bjorn and John?

Get Innocuous

LCD Soundsystem put on a great show as usual, and it would have been even better had I not had some serious personal space issues to deal with throughout the show. How did I end up next to the extremely large sweaty men and moshing frat boys? They totally distracted me and ruined my enjoyment of the awesome "North American Scum." At least I was eventually able to carve out some space for myself just in time to dance it out during my favorite song of the night, "Yeah." For a review from someone who was not physically accosted by people who couldn't contain their body movements, Just head over to DJBV to get his take on it.

I will add that I was surprised how much more rock than dance the new music came off live; this is by no means a slight, but I realized it was more conducive to the the old head nod during songs like "All My Friends" and "Us. v Them" than the more immediately danceable and beat-driven "Yeah" and "Tribulations." That's James Murphy, bringing two worlds together.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Indie music in commercials watch: Just heard Devotchka's "How It Ends" on a . . . Gerber baby food commercial? The intro played as they show a bunch of women giving birth- I don't know if I can listen to that song the same way again.

Junior Boys w/ San Serac @ the Empty Bottle, 5/3/07

Junior Boys
Originally uploaded by Nicolemc99.
Pics are up from last Thursday's Junior Boys show.

Friday, May 04, 2007

High Come Down

Last night the Junior Boys were, as usual, wonderful. My usual rule for concert-going is that I won't see a band live again until they've put out a new album because it usually means seeing the exact same show twice, but the Junior Boys are one of my exceptions to that rule; I could happily see them play the exact same set over and over and still not get enough (Menomena is another one of my exceptions). They always put on a slick live show, and it's fun seeing an electronic band still able to jam out a bit with the guitar and drums, something that's really showcased during live favorite "Under the Sun". They played the best songs from both albums (see set list below), and "In the Morning" was especially transcendent. After mentioning this was the last night of their tour and thanking everyone he needed to thank, as well as apologizing for having worn the same dirty outfit for the last month straight, an unexpectedly cleanly shaven Jeremy Greenspan announced that they would be returning to Chicago to play the Pitchfork Music Festival (!). After having seen them three times now at the Bottle, I'm not sure I can handle seeing them anywhere else (I can say the exact same thing for Menomena), but they're a welcome addition nonetheless (though still underscoring my complaint that the lineup is mostly bands that have just toured through Chicago).

I did take a few pics, if they turned out ok in the dark cave that is the Empty Bottle I'll post them this weekend.

Set list:
Count Souvenirs
The Equalizer
Teach Me How to Fight
Like a Child
So This Is Goodbye
In the Morning
Double Shadow
More Than Real

Under the Sun

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Too young

It's "sexy-time" tonight with the Junior Boys at the Empty Bottle. It's been awhile since I've posted anything to the photoblog, so I'll probably take some pics tonight, even though they'll probably look just like the ones I took the last time I saw the Boys at the Bottle. I'm ok with that though.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

I shall reclaim my indie credibility with this picture of Jandek.

I am not at all embarrassed to say that last night, for the first time ever, I called in and voted on American Idol, because Blake put on the awesomest performance in the history of the show.

I've explained my reasons for watching American Idol in the past (including: a way to discuss music with my coworkers), and I couldn't pass up on Bon Jovi night, especially considering how un-rock the six remaining contestants are (fun fact: Bon Jovi was my first concert experience; I was 10 years old, I went with my friend and her mom and I had no idea who they were). After Jon Bon Jovi expressed some concern over how Blake was going to be treating "You Give Love a Bad Name", Blake's beatbox-ing version turned out to be so incredibly hot, I was magnetically compelled to my phone after the show to call and vote for him. I'd link to it on Youtube, but I don't want to totally lose my indie credibility here. Maybe I'll post about Dan Deacon again later to regain it, but for now, you can count me in as a member of the American Idol-loving mainstream. Just be glad I only voted once!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

I realize I said there wasn't anyone at Pitchfork that I was like, "I can't WAIT to see them!", but I've changed my tune; I'm totally pumped to see Dan Deacon (though I get the impression he'd be even more fun to see in a small room instead of a big park), some dude with a masters degree in composition that has chosen a life making "weirdo music". Dude's supposed to be crazy, and his new album, Spiderman of the Rings, is simultaneously incredibly annoying and incredibly awesome. See: "Wooody Woodpecker" as evidence.

I'm also supremely excited by this addition to the summer concert roster: Mirah w/ Laura Viers @ Logan Square Auditorium, July 17. Ok, I could care less about Laura Veirs, but I LOVE Mirah and have been wondering what on earth she's been up to since I saw her last in a hippie co-op in Madison three years ago, just days before I moved to Chicago. I hope this means she's making new material! This makes that week in July officially music-crazy, between P4k, Mirah and the free Decemberists show on the 18th.