Wednesday, June 27, 2007


So tomorrow morning I'm leaving for a long weekend trip to Portland, OR, home of the uber-granola, hipsters and . . . mass quantities of strip clubs, according to tinymixtapes. Who knew the hippies so loved their adult entertainment? If I run into Stephen Malkmus, Janet Weiss, Menomena, or various members of the Shins during my time there (perhaps at one of Portland's many fine dancing establishments?), I'll be sure to let you all know.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Birthday Bash

If you're looking for something to do this weekend, Chicago's DJ Tankboy is throwing himself a big two-day birthday bash this weekend at the Note. Crazily enough, there's another local music blogger and DJ who also has a birthday this weekend . . . but she has neither the drive nor the connections to put something as elaborate as this together :) .

Monday, June 25, 2007

Musical Theft

Some more musicians get their gear stolen out of their van, this time while one of the band members is sleeping in the van with the equipment. Seriously, gear thieves must be stealthiest, most ingenious thieves ever.

Friday, June 22, 2007


Over at Gapers Block, people are discussing how much is too much to pay for a concert. I generally wouldn't want to pay over $30 (though most of my tickets these days are about $12), but there are special occasions that might warrant $50-$60 (usually involving Radiohead). But those special occasions are pretty far and few these days.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Onion Updates

In a non-music related noted, I've actually been proposing this idea for years.

And another article about metal fans.

Heavy Metal Addiction

My friend Katie passed on this ridiculous story about a Swedish man who will be getting disability payments for his "addiction to heavy metal". Seriously. I wish I could skip work to go to a concert and call it a disease; those Swedes are so lucky. Or so insane, you tell me.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Man Man!!!!!!!

I dare say this Wicker Park Fest Saturday lineup is the best street festival lineup I've seen in a long time:

Saturday, July 28th:
The Thermals
Man Man
Catfish Haven
Fancy Trash

And just down my street! I'm soooooooooooooo excited for Man Man; even though I find them to be a bit of a novelty on record, they are supposed to kill live. And I was going to buy tickets to see the awesome Thermals again at Subterranean on the 27th, but now I guess I don't have to.
According to Gaper's Block, McSweeney's has run into the same trouble Punk Planet did over a distributor bankruptcy. They're holding an e-bay auction to raise money; if I had $600+, I'd totally get the "Miranda July apologizes for you" letter , and if I had $1,600+, I'd really get the "John Hodgman gives you a tour of the Daily Show." I love John Hodgman. It doesn't get better than watching him on the Daily Show talking about hobos.

Monday, June 18, 2007

RIP Punk Planet

Sad news from Punk Planet:

Dear Friends,

As much as it breaks our hearts to write these words, the final issue of Punk Planet is in the post, possibly heading toward you right now. Over the last 80 issues and 13 years, we've covered every aspect of the financially independent, emotionally autonomous, free culture we refer to as "the underground." In that time we've sounded many alarms from our editorial offices: about threats of co-optation, big-media emulation, and unseen corporate sponsorship. We've also done everything in our power to create a support network for independent media, experiment with revenue streams, and correct the distribution issues that have increasingly plagued independent magazines. But now we've come to the impossible decision to stop printing, having sounded all the alarms and reenvisioned all the systems we can. Benefit shows are no longer enough to make up for bad distribution deals, disappearing advertisers, and a decreasing audience of subscribers.

As to the latter two points, we could blame the Internet. It makes editorial content—and bands—easy to find, for free. (We're sure our fellow indie labels, those still standing, can attest to the difficulties created in the last few years). We can blame educational and media systems that value magazines focused on consumerism over engaged dissent. And we can blame the popular but mistaken belief that punk died several years ago.

But it is also true that great things end, and the best things end far too quickly.

As to bad distribution deals, we must acknowledge that the financial hit we took in October of 2005, when our news stand distributor announced that it was in dire straits, was worse than we originally thought. As the dust began to clear from their January bankruptcy announcement, we began to realize that the magazine was left insignificantly worse shape, distribution-wise, than they let on.

Add to that the stagnation that the independent record world is suffering under and the effect that has had on our ad sales, not to mention the loss of independent bookstores with a vested interest in selling our publication, and it all adds up to a desperate situation. This has been made far worse by the exhaustion felt from a year and a half of fighting our own distributor. It was a situation that didn'thave an exit strategy other then, well, exiting.

The books line will continue to publish, and the website will continue to be a social networking site for independently minded folk; Dan will be staying with both, but Anne will be moving on, only blogging occasionally at while she pursues other interests. All further inquiries about the magazine should be addressed to

Thank you for your direct support of Punk Planet--your subscriptions have helped to keep us going for 13 years. Most of you still have issues remaining in your subscription. We're lining up some amazing independent magazines to take over your subscriptions and will be in touch about those shortly. Those of you that would prefer to receive back issues instead, let us know which numbers and we will happily
get in touch.

There probably isn't much else to say that we haven't already said in PP80—in articles about new activist projects, SXSW, the demise of the IPA, and transgender media, and in interviews with the G7 Welcoming Committee, Andre Schiffrin, and The Steinways. Read it,enjoy it, and find in it enough inspiration to last until we come back in some other form, at some other time, renewed and ready to make another outstanding mark on the world.

Thank you very much,

Dan Sinker

New Blog

Driftless Pony Club singer Craig is not only a musician, but a filmmaker. He's funny too. See his brand of humor on his new video blog, and laugh with me.

Friday, June 15, 2007

What is this "Download Festival?"

I'm so confused by this festival, which has had hardly any press. Apparently it's some UK import that's playing in four US cities this summer, including "Chicago" (a.k.a., Alpine Valley) on September 2. The artist links don't work yet, but apparently The Shins, Band of Horses, Wolf Parade, Brand New and Honey Cut (?) are confirmed for the Chicago date. According to the site,

"Download 2007 provides fans an unprecedented opportunity to get up close and personal with their favorite artists. Connectivity between the fans and Download Festival 2007 artists begins with unique moderated artist master class workshops where select Download talent share insight and knowledge about what it takes to become an accomplished artist in an intimate experiential setting that is focused on musical instruments and the song creation process. Bands also extend to the fans a rare look into their lives on the road during free form Q & A sessions. Fans also get a chance to leave with a special souvenir after autograph signings, where fans can select their favorite piece of memorabilia to be signed. The interaction continues with intimate meet and greets throughout the day where fans can take a picture with the bands and have a keepsake of the festival and where digital photos are taken with an event photographer and then posted to an online festival gallery. Text messaging and rich media communications, along with backstage mobile updates, keep fans connected with featured artists throughout the Download 2007 events."

Tickets go on sale on June 23- maybe a larger lineup will be available by then?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Indification of America

Today I was shopping at the Limited, where I heard Patrick Wolf, LCD Soundsystem, the Blow and Modest Mouse on the in-store music, in that order. At this point, I might have expected that in H&M, but not at a store I go to for work clothes. So strange.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

New CDs

Since being back, I've picked up the following albums:

The National- Boxer
Frog Eyes- Tears of the Valedictorian
Hot Chip's DJ Kicks
Matthew Dear- Asa Breed
Battles- Mirrored
Handsome Furs- Plague Park

Some initial thoughts:
-The National album is excellent. It's like all the best mellow songs from Alligator. "Fake Empire" sort of makes me teary.

-Shocking no one I'm sure, I'm really digging the Handsome Furs album. What? Nicole likes a Wolf Parade side-project? Who expected that? Weirdly, a lot of reviews I've read have called the album "minimal," which I don't really think is the best descriptor. It's not super rockin' like WP and they use a drum machine, but Dan Boeckner and his fiance still make a pretty significant amount of noise. And it's reminding me that I do actually like his voice almost as much as Spencer Krug's.

-I'm still not totally sold on this Battles album that everyone is raving about. "Atlas" is pretty sweet, totally intense and actually sort of frightening (in a good way?), but I haven't really connected with anything else. I realize calling a robotic album like this "cold" is a bit of a cheap shot (a term I've often heard used against M83, which I don't agree with), but that's how it's coming across to me at the moment.

-Hot Chip's DJ Kicks: Another fine addition to the DJ Kicks series, though I'm not sure any will be as awesome as Erlend Oye's. I'm really loving the New Order "Bizarre Love Triangle" remix that blends nicely into a rap song (!) by someone named "Young Leek."

Haven't spent enough time with Frog Eyes or Matthew Dear to comment on them yet, but so far, so good.


Well, it looks like the Lollapalooza schedule is out, and Daft Punk are playing on Friday night, along with LCD Soundsystem, the Rapture and M.I.A. to round out the dance bands of the day. The cost of a one-day pass: $80. Hmmmmm . . .

Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Hong Kong Indie Scene

Part of my vacation was spent in Hong Kong, where conveniently, I picked up a copy of HK Magazine (their version of the Reader) to find a cover story on Hong Kong's indie scene. Apparently it has a very small, burgeoning scene and a dearth of small venues for them to play at, but they managed to profile a few local bands. For anyone else curious about what's found in an "indie scene" outside of the US, UK and Canada, feel free to check these out with me. Some of their names seem amusingly lost in translation (genre descriptions taken from the article).

The Primary Shapes- Electronic pop
The Yours- Disco-punk
Ya Sei Mei- Party hip-hop
My Little Airport- Minimalist indie pop
Monogel- Groovy funk-rock
Salty Soggy Sour- a Hong Kong indie supergroup (!!!)
Atomic Bubbles- Garage rock


Saturday, June 09, 2007

Back to reality!

Just returned and am listening to indie rock for the first time in two weeks, as I didn't bring my ipod along . . . more tomorrow when I'm less on the verge of sleepless delirium . . .