Thursday, October 30, 2008

Radley Redux

The Empty Bottle gives the update on wee Radley, with some photos to prove it:


And the lowdown:

Thanks to everyone for donating to the Radley Relief Fund. We wanted to update you with his recovery. Radley drove over to Family Pet Animal Hospital on Wednesday, October 22. He was put under for three hours, during which time he had six teeth extracted and a massive cleaning. Radley had to spend the night at Family Pet. This was his first night away from the Bottle since he was a kitten. Radley was most upset about missing an incredible show from Asobi Seksu. To show his gratitude for all the help, he has decided to have a raffle for some tickets.

Each dollar you donate will buy you one raffle ticket. The deadline to enter the raffle is Tuesday, November 4 at noon. Here is what you can win:
1 lucky winner will win a pair of tickets to see Girl Talk on November 8 @ The Congress Theater.
2 lucky winners will win a pair of tickets to a show of their choice at the Empty Bottle (subject to availability).
Head over to PayPal and make a donation to to enter!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Well, I said I wouldn't have much to say this week, but somehow music and politics keep intersecting. Joe the Plumber's gonna make a country album. Way to stretch out your 15 minutes, Joe Sam!

Bjork on the credit crunch

Check it out: Bjork on Iceland's massive economic crisis (i.e., the US economic crisis times 10).

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Waco Brothers, Sally Timms & Robbie Fulks
Participate in A Big Brain Benefit for Diane Izzo
Sunday, November 9th

Diane Izzo, heard on the Pine Valley Cosmonaut's Executioner's Last Songs releases, was diagnosed with a brain tumour several months ago. She has no health insurance and very little money and is currently trying to cope with preparing for her operation and filling in a million forms for financial aid etc. Not everything is covered by New Mexico's Medicaid Program and she's also been trying to make music to get through this difficult time. Help us support Diane by coming along to the Benefit Show on November 9th, monies raised will be used to help her continue making music and paying medical bills.

The Waco Brothers, formed by Jon Langford of the Mekons, grew out of Langford's wish to play more country-influenced music as the Mekons concentrated more on a punk sound. Many of the members also participate in Langford's Pine Valley Cosmonauts project.Their latest album, Waco Express: Live & Kickin' at Schuba's Tavern is a concert recording which Ken Tucker, the pop music critic for NPR's Fresh Air and Editor-at-Large at Entertainment Weekly, described as "country as it should be written and played, with a long memory for roadhouse honky-tonks rather than TV-ready music videos."

Sally Timms is best known for her long involvement with the Mekons whom she joined in 1985. Prior to joining the Mekons she was in a band called the She Hees. She has released several other solo CDs, Someone's Rocking My Dreamboat in 1988, To the Land of Milk and Honey in 1995, and a country album, Cowboy Sally's Twilight Laments for Lost Buckaroos, for Bloodshot Records in 1998. Her latest solo recording "In the World of Him" was released in 2004.

Robbie Fulks is an American alternative country artist known for his disdain of mainstream modern country and the country music industry, as exemplified by his scorching rebuke of Nashville titled "Fuck This Town." His live performances feature improvised rearrangments of his original songs, off-the-cuff musical humor, and covers of songs by Michael Jackson and Cher, among others. As a songwriter Fulks is difficult to pigeonhole. Many of his compositions are silly, funny or spoof songs, while others are serious country songs.

A Big Brain Benefit for Diane Izzo
Sunday November 9, 2008 at 7:00PM
School of the Art Institute Ballroom
112 S. Michigan Ave – Chicago, IL
Califone, Waco Brothers w/ Sally Timms, Robbie Fulks, Vernon Tonges, and Beau O'Reilly and the Crooked Mouth String Band
Tickets: $20
Benefit Information: (773) 508-0666


Ok, I lied, I still haven't worked out the issues with recording my show. My voice breaks sound fine (which had me thinking all was well) but the music still isn't up to par, which is sort of the whole point (listening to me- less important). I will continue to investigate with my sub-par technology knowledge.

Not sure how much I'll have to say about music in this next week running up to the election. Hopefully starting November 5 I'll return to obsessively checking music websites instead of political ones, and have more insight on the scene. Or maybe this will become the Perfect Face for Radio- from Vancouver!

Friday, October 24, 2008

So 2004

Wired Magazine says I need to kill my blog.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Radley Relief

Apparently the Empty Bottle's housecat is ill. My guess it was due to the years of living in a unventilated smoke-filled environment- but maybe that's just me. Anyhoo, the EB is calling out for donations to help him cure what ails him.

Yes, sadly, old man Radley - EB housecat, ladies man - has been struggling with his health lately, and is in need of a variety of medical procedures. We've set up a paypal 'healthcare fund' for him, should any of you be interested in contributing towards his renewed vigor. Head over to PayPal and make a donation to

Monday, October 20, 2008

Of Montreal

Interesting piece on Of Montreal and Kevin Barnes.

Return of the Show

Finally, after several months of technical difficulties, I was able to successfully record and upload my radio show from last Monday night! Hear, hear. Hopefully this means new episodes will be appearing once again every other week.

I'll be in San Fran these next couple of days and thus, not blogging. Feel free to listen to the fresh sounds of the PFFR in the meantime.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Week at the Epiphany

After months of curiosity as to what this new "Epiphany" venue is, I finally got to experience it not one, not two, but three times in the past week for what proved to be three very different nights. The venue itself is great; the space is beautiful and makes for a very interesting backdrop to whatever music is playing (being a church and all), and the sound is very good even in light of the high ceilings- vocals in particular sounded wonderful throughout the various shows. I'd wondered going in what the pew situation would be, since it is still an active church. It appears that for bigger and more high-energy shows, all the pews are cleared off to the side to make room, while smaller and quieter shows keep them in place so we can pray to the altar of rock. If shows that used to be booked at Logan Square Auditorium start moving to the Epiphany instead, I would not complain.

Dan Deacon's Baltimore Round Robin- "Eyes Night" 10/10/08
Dan Deacon's Baltimore Round Robin- "Feet Night" 10/10/08
I've been talking up this Round Robin event for awhile now, because the concept is just so fascinating- 12 bands set up in a circle around the audience, each playing only 1 song at a time as they go through 3 rounds total. The reality of the two nights didn't quite live up to expectations; though it was still a fun and interesting experience to be a part of, there were some aspects that left a little to be desired.

"Eyes Night" featured chiller, folkier music while "Feet Night" focused on the crazy, spazzier side of the Baltimore music scene. It became apparent, however, that there isn't as much folk as there is spaz to fill up a 12-band round robin, so for every actual band that played on "Eyes" night, there was a performance art piece or a video set to music to fill the space. While interesting to a point (and still representative of what's going on in the B-More art scene, I'm sure), it definitely disrupted the flow of the show, and after the third or fourth neon-colored video, the novelty wore off a bit. I was also expecting the bands to go directly around in a circle; instead, the pattern around the circle was haphazard (though they followed the same pattern for each round, which the kids were pretty good at picking up on). It was kind of cool to wait for the next spotlight to light up over a band and watch the entire crowd move towards the next musician in sync; hwoever, while this mass movement was a calm, quiet stroll on "Eyes Night", it was a frenzied mow-down on "Feet Night" that left us scared we were standing in front of the next band. Did I mention that average age of the crowd decreased about 10 years from Eyes to Feet?

The only bands I was familiar with going into the weekend were Beach House, Dan Deacon and Videohippos, and I was hoping to discover something new considering the showcase approach. Unfortunately, even though I was impressed by some of the sounds I heard from the other lesser-known bands, I will never know how to look them up because we had no means of figuring out which band was which. Very few of the bands ever introduced themselves, and there were no signs or maps to explain who was set up where.

As a result, Beach House was the highlight of the weekend for me and left me hoping they'd make their next tour stop at the Ephiphany. Victoria LeGrand's voice sounded incredible in the church, and the setting was just so perfect for their somber organ sounds. If only I could have heard more than 4 songs . . . but alas, that is the point of the Round Robin.

Mirah 10/15/08
Last night I headed back to Ashland and Adams to catch Mirah in what turned out to be a solo show for her, after seeing her with a small backing band at Logan Square Auditorium 2 years ago. Though her sweetness and humor always carry her through a show and make her a treat to watch, I think the band helps her flesh out her songs a bit more in a live setting, giving them more power. Apparently earlier in the week she badly cut her pinky finger, requiring her to develop a playlist of pinky-free songs. I'm guessing the majority of C'Mon Miracle, then, requires some pinky, because after opening with my favorite Mirah song, "We're Both So Sorry," she didn't play much else from it. We were treated to a few new songs from her forthcoming album (due in March), a couple a capella sing-a-longs from her children's album about bugs, and some lesser-known Advisory Committee tracks (i.e., not "Cold Cold Water", which must use some serious pinky). I did really enjoy her rendition of "The Garden" to close out the set, where she just had the audience stomp and clap a rhythm for her to sing over- it was a good use of audience participation for a great song (and I'm generally anti-audience participation). Overall, the set seemed quite short considering the size of Mirah's catalog, which I will again attribute to the Great Pinky Disaster of 2008 (at one point in a song she stopped and said "ow! I guess that song has pinky in it!").

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Singing Cab Driver

Last night I took a cab home from Wicker Park to North Center only to be cosmically picked up by the SINGING CAB DRIVER. Imagine someone who looks like Rainn Wilson picking you up in a cab and letting you choose from 100 hilarious They Might Be Giants-esque original a capella songs. I had time for 2: one about gentrification on his street and one about cowboys, which I got after choosing from a spoken menu of options, including "Sex", "Love," "Social Influence" (see: gentrification), and "Other", which led to a second menu (see: cowboys). Apparently he's been doing this for 17 years to over 55,000 cab riders; originally the concept was to plug his band, Chameleon World, but now his band plugs him (singing the songs of the Singing Cab Driver). Gotta love a man with a concept.

Monday, October 13, 2008

M.I.A. and People

I've been linking to a lot lately, which I realize is strange for an indie music website. But I think it's so hilarious when the ultimate bastion of pop culture starts reporting on the indie rock. Not only that, now they're using Pitchfork Media as a source- in this case, to report that M.I.A. is pregnant. Two worlds converging!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Veggie Bus

Gaper's Block has more on the Dan Deacon-fest coming up this weekend, along with news that if you bring in veggie oil to help the crew power the veggie bus they are traveling in, you might get in free. Details here.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008


I have to say it's been a real struggle for me over the last month or so not to talk about politics or finance on this blog. I suppose politics can more easily be tied to music; finance, not so much. So if you're wondering why posting has been a little slower lately, it's because I'm having difficulty tearing myself away from following the election/downward spiral of the economy/that one.

Perhaps Dan Deacon can distract me this weekend with his 2 night, Baltimore-riffic Round Robin at the Epiphany . . .

Tuesday, October 07, 2008


Paste Magazine started a local Chicago music website and blog. As if we don't have enough of those already, right? Just kidding!

Monday, October 06, 2008

Work for Pitchfork!

Pitchfork has up a listing for a sales position in Chicago. I find it hilarious reading such formal job requirements and benefits on a music website, especially when it includes such perks as a "lucrative bonus". I'd be interested to know what a lucrative bonus in the indie music publishing world entails. Also what "accounts payable optimization" requires, and what sort of skills are necessary to provide it (though it may just be a fancy way of saying they need someone to put bills in a binder instead of in boxes).

Thursday, October 02, 2008