Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Decemberists Long/Short of it Tour 2007

Here are my pics from the Decemberists shows these past two days. I was all about to write a review when a phone call distracted me . . . so expect one later in the week instead.

Music critics and hot air

By now most everyone has read/heard about Sasha Frere-Jones' article in the New Yorker about music in the form of indie rock has gotten all white 'n stuff, lacking soul and rhythm. I'll admit I could hardly make it through the whole thing because it was so frustrating to read, and obviously informed by his own personal musical tastes. One could easily make the argument that indie rock has found rhythm in the past few years. Anyhoo, now Slate.com's Carl Wilson responds to the article by saying the indie rock issue is about class, not race. Frankly, I think everyone is thinking too hard. Controversy for controversy's sake?

Monday, October 29, 2007

Decemberists- the Long of It

Last night I caught the first night of the Decemberist's Long of It/Short of It tour, and tonight will be round two, The Short of It. Interesting how their fans have transitioned from hipsters to the XRT crowd. Even more interesting how the XRT crowd loooooves to make that "Woo" sound . . . a lot. Anyhoo, the show was great, and I'll post a full review once I can compare both nights later this week, hopefully with pictures.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Bandwidth @ the Hideout, November 5

RFC's got another night of Bandwidth coming up at the Hideout on November 5, featuring the Panda Band from Australia and Pale Young Gentlemen from Madison, WI. They must be a new band since I left Madison in 2004; I'd be intrigued to see what the town is putting out these days. I won't be able to make this one due to my radio show, but be sure to report back to me if you go.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Bon Iver

I'm currently in love with Bon Iver's For Emma, Forever Ago. I decided to check it out after hearing musician Justin Vernon was originally from Wisconsin, went to UW-Eau Claire (!) and recorded the album in a hunting lodge. It's hushed, lo-fi guitar folk, similar to early Iron and Wine but with more . . . I don't know, soul? Basically, it's gorgeous. It's self-released, so you can only buy it at his myspace page, but you can also stream it here.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

DJ/Rupture on Oink

DJ/Rupture has a very interesting post in the wake of the Oink crackdown.

Oink: Busted.


But seriously, though: what took so long?

Monday, October 22, 2007

Blog Hype

The latest buzz band of the moment is Black Kids, who have nothing more than a 4-song myspace demo to their name at the moment (called . . . wait for it . . . The Wizard of Ahhhhs). I downloaded the demo this weekend and must say . . . I don't get it. Apparently, neither does Pitchfork writer Jess Harvell.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Manos: Hands of Fate

In high school I was a huge fan of Mystery Science Theater 3000, to the point where many of my passwords to this day are related to the show (and no, don't try and guess what they are). So you can imagine my excitement when I read on Gapers Block today that the New Milennium Theater Company is currently running a production called Manos: Rock Opera of Fate. It runs through November 3, so get tickets quickly, or wait for Pod People: the Musical.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Take your kids to TMT day

Continuing on this theme of music and kids, today Tiny Mix Tapes is handing the reins over to its kids- children, siblings, cousins, etc. of the staff, from 9 months to 17 years. The Silver Daggers review is the best. The cutest thing ever. TMT rules.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

I've got these chores

The new Animal Collective album is good, though it hasn't grabbed me as immediately as Feels did- funny, since Strawberry Jam is supposedly their most "pop" and "accessible" album yet. But I am starting to feel like their music is increasingly made for the 4-8 year old set. There a song called "Chores", and of course Sung Tong's "Sweet Road" was (fittingly) used in a Crayola commercial and all. Unfortunately I don't have access to any kids to see how they might respond to some Panda Bear and Avey Tare, but I feel like it might be something like this.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Elevator Music

I was in New York the last couple of days, and this morning I walked into the elevator of my hotel to hear LCD Soundsystem's "Watch the Tapes" (somewhat loudly, at that). Is this the new Muzak? I had a deep urge to start dancing in the elevator, but there were other people in it who might not have appreciated it.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Reefer Duberland

I've been kind of stewing about this today, but I suppose I'll weigh in with my two cents.

As we'd all guessed, last night's "secret show" did involve Interpol, as well as Liars and Bradford Cox of Deerhunter. Indie royalty for sure. But instead of getting some great late night treat for the Chicago independent music community, we got a bunch of big indie stalwarts sitting around on the stage making shit up and looking bored while doing it. Maybe I was a little naive in hoping the Bottle had something really big and special planned that would be talked about for a long time to come, but at least the guys could have looked like they were having a little fun in the meantime. Listening to Angus Andrew and Bradford Cox make bird noises over the same bassline endlessly while Paul Banks cowered in the corner and Daniel Kessler looked like he's rather be in the Bahamas did not make for a compelling show. After realizing "this was it", I moved to the back, realizing over half the audience had cut out as well. Some guy at the water station asked me if I thought it was "unanimous that this was terrible." I headed out to the pool room only to find Carlos D standing around somewhat sheepishly. Guess he wasn't invited to the party.

Was this the Empty Bottle's idea of an amusing practical joke to play on its regulars, or were they surprised by how much it blew too? Did they think we were the type of people who would be happy to pay 10 bucks just to be in the presence of Angus and Paul, even if they had nothing interesting to offer? Maybe the people who saw them at the Aragon earlier that night would be into that sort of thing, but I'm pretty sure everyone who was actually there is beyond that sort of star-struck behavior.

Sort of makes me want to boycott the Empty Bottle for awhile. But I've got tickets to Sunset Rubdown coming up, and I don't want to boycott Spencer Krug. Maybe I just won't buy any beer. Take that!

Thursday, October 11, 2007


I almost didn't go to the Grizzly Bear show last night, which would have been a huge mistake. After having seen Grizzly Bear at the Empty Bottle, Subterranean, and Union Park, I must say Park West is definitely the venue for them. Their sound last night was amazing; you could hear every note of every instrument, and everything was so incredibly clear. Ed Droste's voice rang out gorgeously across the entire room, and "the Knife" almost brought tears to my eyes. Stunning.

Beach House was really good too, I hadn't really taken the time to get into them, but it might be worth picking up their last album. I've heard their sound described as "summery" though, which I didn't get at all. Maybe rainy-day summer?

Also spotted in the audience last night: Deerhunter singer Bradford Cox. Wonder what he was doing in town . . .

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Let's Stay Friends

I'm a big fan of Les Savy Fav (their actual music too, not just their ridiculous live show), and am so glad they have finally put out an album after so long, Let's Stay Friends. I don't think people often make a big deal about their lyrics, but how awesome are the lyrics to "Pots and Pans," the lead track:

There was a band called the Pots and Pans.
They mad this noise that people couldn't stand
and when they toured all across the land,
the people said, "No, no, no!"
But the drummer said, "Yes, yes, yes, this tour is a test."

Has your skin grown thick from bands that make you sick?
Has your skin grown thick from a thousand stinging pricks?
Have you been made dense standing upon the fence?
Have you been made dense from polish and pretense?

Well, this is where it stops.
This is where it ends.
Let's tear this whole place down and build it up again.
This band's a beating heart and it's nowhere near its end.

Besides the fact that they are obviously singing about themselves, I just love the idea of a band called "Pots and Pans." Brilliant. This song is almost as lyrically awesome as Go Forth's "Adopduction."

Monday, October 08, 2007


Hmmm, doing my show every other week lately seems to be affecting my skills . . . luckily if you didn't tune in tonight you won't have to hear my marble mouth as I didn't have time to record the show. Unfortunately this every other week theme is going to continue for the rest of the month as I'll be in New York next Monday and at the Decemberists show of the 29th (was that the "long of it" or the "short of it"? No matter, I'll be at it). Rocktober is just such a busy month, what can I say? Luckily my friend and fellow former WSUMer Ashley will be filling in for me on both of those days. Back again on the 23rd!

Sunday, October 07, 2007


My review of last Thursday's Beirut show is up now on Radio Free Chicago. I didn't take any pictures, but be sure to check out Kirstiecat's pics over on flickr.

Empty Bottle Special Guest Guessing

Alright, I've caved to the pressure, bought a ticket to the Empty Bottle's "secret show" on Thursday, and put some time into analyzing who it could possibly be. Assuming this "special guest" is a bigger band playing in town around that time, I've checked out the bands playing the Riv/Aragon/etc. on Wednesday/Thursday/Friday; my prediction is it's either Interpol or Spoon, two Empty Bottle-friendly bands that would definitely sell out the venue "in a matter of minutes" (Interpol even more so). Spoon does have a history of doing these sorts of special shows at smaller venues (though usually sponsored by Jack Daniels or Budweiser or something), but Interpol does play the Aragon at 7:30 Thursday night, so it might make sense that they head over to the Bottle afterwards for this "late night" show. Time will tell! Put in your bets now.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Two wrongs make a . . .

One of the members of Beirut was wearing this t-shirt yesterday, which upon further investigation is for sale at Ghostly Interational's website (???). The question is: does the combination of two of the worst t-shirts ever make for a really awesome t-shirt, or a supremely awful one? Discuss.

Suprise EB Guest

So my latest edition of the Empty Bottle Show List email tells me there's a show coming up on Oct. 11 with a special surprise guest. In fact, you may have to buy the tickets and show up without knowing who that guest is. Per the email:

Also, you'll find it curious that we've got a 'special surprise guest' playing here on Thursday, October 11th. We may or may not be disclosing the identity of said group, but we can tell you that the show would sell out in minutes if and when we announce them. You adventurous types may want to hedge your bets and buy a ticket now, assuring yourselves the opportunity to see some old friends play a late night set.

Hmmmm, old friends . . . how very cryptic.


There is much to say about last night's Beirut/Colleen show at the Portage Theater; I'll have a full review up hopefully this weekend. If you missed the show or just can't get enough Beirut, tonight's episode of Radio M on WBEZ at 9pm features an interview with Zach Condon, and next Friday's episode will replay last night's show over the airwaves.

I'd also like to point out the hilarity of watching a big, buff, bearded man throwing down Jameson straight from the bottle play progessively more and more emasculating instruments- an extremely tiny tuba, the French Horn, the bells, a clarinet, a flute, the smallest ukelele I've ever seen . . . just one member of the merry band of misfits that comprise Beirut. It's like the cast of Undeclared formed a band. I didn't bring my camera last night, but hopefully Kirstie from RFC got some good pictures, which I'll be sure to link to when she's got them up.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Upcoming Shows

This next week is chock-full of good shows. You can catch me at the following, with reviews expected to follow:

-Beirut w/ Colleen @ the Portage Theater, Thursday 4
-Fujiya and Miyagi w/ Dirty on Purpose @ the Empty Bottle, Friday 5
-Bandwidth @ the Kinetic Playground, Saturday 6
-Califone, Flosstradamus, the Poster Children, the Eternals, etc. @ the MCA, Sunday 7 (free!)
-Grizzly Bear w/ Beach House @ Park West, Wednesday 10

I've never been to the Portage Theater, so that should be a fun new experience . . .

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

1900s In-Store Performance

Local indie-poppers The 1900s are celebrating the release of their new album Cold and Kind with an in-store performance at the Wicker Park Reckless Records this Friday, October 5th at 6pm. Reckless in-stores are always a good time.

Monday, October 01, 2007


Did anyone go to the Deerhunter show on Saturday at the Empty Bottle? I'd thought about it, but thank goodness I never made it, because apparently singer Bradford Cox had the flu and, according to Pitchfork's Amy Phillips, "spent much of the performance crouched down at the front of the stage, coughing and sneezing and, at one point, even vomiting." I usually stand at the front of the stage at the Bottle and, as most of my friends know, would not have been able to handle watching that. Blech.


Radio Free Chicago's regular concert series is back this Saturday night at the Kinetic Playground featuing Rivulets, Margo May and Five Foot Nine. The RFC Staff will be DJing early on and in between sets; I'll update when I know what time you can hear my play my usual DJ fare.

Full info:

Saturday, October 6th, 2007 @ Kinetic Playground


Kinetic Playground - 1113 W. Lawrence, Chicago, IL
(Right off the Lawrence Red Line Stop)
*Free Parking Out Back
Doors 7:00 PM - Show 9:00 PM
21 & Over | Only $5