Thursday, January 31, 2008

CHIRP at the Abbey

I generally do not endorse anything Valentine's Day-related, but I suppose in the name of CHIRP I shall post this flyer.

In the meantime, the CHIRP website is slowly being constructed and is taking online donations. Check it out.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Hard Sell

Here's a good interview with Cut Chemist from Radio Free Chicago that gives us some more insight into what we can expect from him and DJ Shadow on Friday, plus a little background into how he got his bit part as the chemistry teacher in Juno.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Question of the day

Should I go see Travis Morrison at Subterranean on March 9? It has been five (!) years now since the Dismemberment Plan broke up, and I do still have a picture of Travis and I on my bulletin board (and my website) from his last show at the Metro that summer. I may owe it to him to see how he's been doing (other than singing in his church choir and doing computer programming for the Washington Post). But I have not bothered to listen to any of his solo output that is so often panned, leaving my Travis Morrison/Dismemberment Plan memories totally untainted as they went out at the highest of highs. Tough call.

Still regretting not flying out to DC last spring for the DPlan reunion show.

Neko on ATHF

Did anyone else see Neko Case and Kelly Hogan's appearance on last night's episode of the Aqua Teen Hunger Force? I used to watch ATHF religiously in college, but haven't seen it much at all over the past few years. I finally made a point last night to catch it to see what crazy cartoon antics Neko and Kelly were up to. Apparently during that time off the show stopped being funny and became the Carl Show? Where did Shake, Frylock and Meatwad go, and why does Carl keep trying to sell or rent their house? I need to find some college kids to explain this to me. Between staying out of the Dan Deacon most pit and totally not getting what's on Adult Swim these days, this weekend provided proof I'm getting old.

Dan Deacon's Ultimate Reality @ Lakeshore Theater, 1/25/08

Dan Deacon's Ultimate Reality
Originally uploaded by Nicolemc99

I wasn't really in the mood for the crazy free-for-all that Saturday night's Girl Talk/Dan Deacon shows must have been (will have to wait for RFC's Kirstiecat to report back), but when I found out Dan Deacon was taking his Ultimate Reality DVD on the road with a live solo set the night before at the Lakeshore Theater, I was very intrigued. What would this DVD entail, exactly? How would a Dan Deacon show work in a theater with seats? Would he still manage to perform his trademark set on the floor instead of the stage?

After Jason Ajemian made the kids antsy and chatty with a somewhat out-of-place opening performance involving doing strange things to an upright bass (like whack the strings with a mallet), a couple of drum sets were set up in front of a large screen. The lights went down, recorded music by Dan came on over the loudspeakers, and some old-school Arnold Schwarzenegger footage from Conan the Barbarian kicked things off. In fact, the entire DVD was a psychedelic homage to all things Arnold, with footage from Predator, Terminator, Junior, Twins, Kindergarten Cop, etc. etc. etc., all colored in neon and mashed together by Jimmy Roche into one ridiculous and hilarious assault of the senses (a pregnant Arnold is funny on its own; a pregnant Arnold in slow motion is downright hysterical). After a few minutes drummers Kevin O'Meare of Video Hippos and Jeremy Hyman of Ponytail, two fellow Baltimore bands, provided some intense synchronized drumming. The audience seemed virtually paralyzed throughout the entire performance until one audience member finally ran up to the stage to try to dance, instigating a mass rush from the audience to the stage. Comically, this happened just in time for the DVD to end, which I appreciated as a bunch of moshing hipsters would have been a little distracting.

Now that the seal had been broken, however, the 20 minutes before Dan began his solo set involved watching kids jump over seats trying to squeeze into the 15 feet of open space between the stage and the front row. Which is exactly where Dan Deacon decided to set up. Later telling us this was his first performance in a seated theater, he proved that regardless of the venue, never shall his table rest on a stage. As usual, this meant only people right up front could see him, but he threw us a bone by having a video camera pointing down at him from the stage so everyone who chose to remain in the seats (see: me) could check out the action and see his "trippy green skull" glow. Having seen him twice already (though always outdoors sans light show), a Dan Deacon show certainly has a specific formula which changes minorly depending on the venue:

1) Begin stretching with crowd to random song (Run DMC in this case, previously "Under the Sea")
2) Provide inane story that involves audience participation, including staring at a stranger, kneeling down and pointing in various directions
3) Turn story into some strange countdown that is spoken using various emotions as the numbers go down, possibly involving Ethan Hawke's career
4) Play some music, jump/jiggle up and down, kids go crazy, lose cell phones and cameras on floor
5) Commence dance contest
6) Have audience do the gauntlet around the room
7) Sing "Silence Like the Wind Overtakes Me" with the audience

Overall Dan provided us with a good time as usual, though I'm definitely too old to get down and dirty with the crazy moshpits and gauntlets these days. But I sure did appreciate that seat.

Most of my pictures are of are the video screen or the ridiculous crowd. Check it out.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Friday, January 25, 2008

Ultimate Reality

Tonight's show with Dan Deacon at the Lakeshore Theater should be a trip. From the Empty Bottle website, here's what we can expect:

"a special screening of the DAN DEACON & JIMMY JOE ROCHE video piece Ultimate Reality at the Lakeshore Theater. The work "combines an intense musical composition for electronics and drums with a psychedelic montage of ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER films that is projected at a monumental scale." The screening will feature live musical accompaniment by DEACON and ROCHE, playing alongside members of PONYTAIL and VIDEO HIPPOS. This is not to be missed!"

Sweet, Arnold films set to spazzy electro. Supposedly Dan is doing a solo set after the performance, so we'll see how that works in a theater of seats. I'll be sure to actually charge my camera batteries beforehand to try to take some pictures.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Music Critics

Interesting article in Time Out Chicago about the pros and cons of online music criticism with comments from RFC's Kirstiecat and folks from Gaper's Block, Schubas and more.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Montrose Sink Hole

Next to my el stop this morning!

More Sprout and the Bean

I played the aforementioned cover of Joanna Newsom's "Sprout and the Bean" on my show last night, and an alert listener directed me to this cover by the Moscow Coup Attempt. Interesting that it's done with another pixie-ish female voice, only slightly creepier.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Such Great Heights

I was in Crate and Barrel this weekend when the Postal Service's "Such Great Heights" came on the in-store speakers. Then I overhead a woman next to me tell her friend, "Oh, this is the fast version of this song that I heard on Grey's Anatomy. You know, that Iron and Wine song from Garden State." I probably should have corrected her.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Bon Iver @ Schubas

I stopped by Schubas yesterday just in time to see Bon Iver and left just as Illinois started playing (wasn't really sure what they were going for exactly . . .) which was fine with me as Bon Iver was the only part of the lineup I was interested in seeing. Luckily for me they made sure that their set alone was worth the cost of the whole night. Justin Vernon brought along a drummer and guitarist to fill out the sound a bit (the guitarist wearing a Stevens Point shirt, doing Wisconsin proud), and it made a great impact on the way the songs came off live. Running through virtually the entirety of Bon Iver's debut album, For Emma, Forever Ago, Justin's unique falsetto rang out loud and clear over the sold out Schubas crowd, and the three-part harmonies throughout made the most powerful parts of each song that much stronger. "Skinny Love" especially made my stomach turn in its awesome beauty, and Justin put together some nice audience participation during "Wolves" by having us sing the refrain with him. With the distortion and reverb dialed up a notch, it felt like being in the north woods cabin Justin recorded the album in.

Justin also proved to have a great stage presence- funny and self-deprecating, he did a great of job of engaging the audience, even though he and his band mates were all sitting down. This was my only complaint of the show, as I was in the back and couldn't really see anything as a result; luckily, Bon Iver will be returning to Chicago in April and I will make sure to be in the front row next time.

I didn't get any pictures, but Pitchfork has a few up from their show in the Twin Cities the night before. It looked pretty much the same (though the guitarist sported an Eau Claire shirt instead of Stevens Point. Still, showing the Wisconsin love.)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

CYHSY *Hearts* the Ladies

I'd sort of forgotten about Clap Your Hands Say Yeah over the last couple years, but I have to give a big "tip of the hat" to the band for this news that they are playing a Planned Parenthood benefit. Maybe I should check out that second album after all. Way to bring together my two passions, music and women's rights!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Late on Low

I was late to picking up the latest Low album, Drums and Guns, but am thankfully catching up on it now and cannot stop listening to "Violent Past," the album's closing track. It's mesmerizing. Check out this live Daytrotter session from back in July featuring four songs from the album, including "Violent Past." I'm still now sure how Daytrotter gets all these amazing bands to stop by their studios in Rock Island, IL all the time, but I won't complain.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


The first show of 2008 went well if not a bit rustily (?) and is now available via podcast. Here's to a year of fewer subs and technical difficulties.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Sprout and the Bean

I got this cover of Joanna Newsom's "Sprout and the Bean" by San Francisco band Sholi in my inbox this weekend, and it's an interesting take on the song. It's coming out on a 7" single, Hejrat, on Holocene in February.

Sunday, January 13, 2008


Indie-music-in-commercials-watch #128: Heard Matthew Dear's "Don and Sherri" on a . . . Hummer commercial. Say it ain't so!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Return of PFFR

I'm sure Monday nights on the air have just not been the same for the past few weeks, so I'm sure everyone is happy to know the spring schedule kicks off this weekend and I'll be back on the air next Monday the 14th. Hooray! Time to see what 2008 has to offer.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Weird Air

Whenever I feel like my indie musical tastes are becoming too mainstream or the uber-experimentally minded tinymixtapes writers denounce my favorite bands for being too "obvious", it's good to hang out with my non-music minded friends to get things back in perspective. I went to dinner with a friend the other day at a sushi restaurant and Air's Talkie Walkie was playing in the background. Air is pretty ubiquitous these days, right? Who hasn't seen the Virgin Suicides, Lost in Translation or those irritating Starburst and car commercials? "What is this weirdo music?" my friend said. Always nice to get a reality check; popularity is relative. Kind of like the time a co-worker who was really into jam music saw a show at the Vic and was so excited about how "small" the venue was- I guess when you follow Phish around gaint amphitheatres for a year, a venue of 1100 does seem tiny in comparison.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Beach House

I got an advanced copy of the upcoming Beach House album, Devotion, and I'm really digging it. I didn't really get into Beach House when their first album came out in 2006, but this album is really hitting the spot right now, especially their unexpected cover of Built to Spill's "Some Things Last a Long Time," one of my favorite BTS songs. They add a pretty haunting touch to it which works really well (sadly it's not on Hype Machine yet or I'd add a link). The band is coming to Schubas with the Papercuts on March 26. Devotion comes out on February 26.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Screenprinting Fun

This past Saturday I took a screenprinting workshop over at Spudnik Press. Considering how many screenprinted concert posters litter my walls, I figured it might be cool to learn how the process works. We got to make a super basic, one-color print based on an image we brought in, so I made one using the little flying monster from Menomena's I Am the Fun Blame Monster album cover. One of my fellow students took pictures of the workshop and posted them on flickr- check 'em out here- you can see my print on the drying racks in some of the pics. I loved it so much I'm planning on taking a 5-week course at the Lillstreet Art Center, where I'll probably continue to ape images from my favorite album covers.

Friday, January 04, 2008


Tonight you'll find me at Schubas for the Pixies/Guided by Voices tributes, featuring Bobby Bare Jr. and members of the Silver Jews and Clem Snide. Fun! I haven't been to a show in a month or so, but luckily the schedule is ramping back up again with Schubas' Tomorrow Never Knows festival, Dan Deacon and Jimmy Roche's Ultimate Reality @ the Lakeshore Theater the 25th, and DJ Shadow/Cut Chemist at Park West on the 1st (which I realized I must go to after finally seeing Scratch last weekend).

Thursday, January 03, 2008


I was watching an episode of Sex and the City the other day (for the hundredth time), and happened to catch a glance during the credits that Torquil Campbell, singer of Stars, had a small role in the episode as Joel, the "token straight guy" at a party Carrie attends. (Alanis Morissette is also in randomly this episode. Canadian musicians unite!). IMDB confirms that he's had a rash of small roles in tv and movies over the years, mostly Canadian, and nothing since 2002. Also, he's apparently a dual American/British citizen and both his parents are actors. Learn something new every day.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

In Rainbows- the CD Version

Thom Yorke tells the BBC why not putting out a CD version would be "stark raving mad."


Just in time for 2008, I've added a new "widget" from to the blog that displays the bands that have been playing most on my itunes each week. It even includes what's been playing on my iPod when I plug it into my computer- crazy! Technology is a wonderful thing. Although I can't remember listening to Beulah or the Like Young this week . . . must have left iTunes on when I wasn't around or something. So take it for what it's worth.