Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Carrie Brownstein of Sleater Kinney opines on her NPR blog about Roman Polanski and the stupidly bratty fight between members of Wavves and Black Lips in a post called "Loving the Art But Not the Artist". Gotta love her.
I love it when Pitchfork references themselves in their reviews.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Bird and Antlers

I was going to try to come up with a few words about the special Andrew Bird show on Monday at the Modern Wing, but this person said it much better than I could. Basically, a great night of cocktails, snacks, modern art and architecture, and a rare opportunity to see Andrew Bird solo, ultimately my favorite Bird incarnation.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Bird is the word

Well, how about that. I actually won tickets to WXRT's private Andrew Bird show at the Modern Wing of the Art Institute. Free cocktails, art and Bird next Monday, September 21 from 6-9pm. Thank you, convoluted VIP Lounge! Hopefully we can take pictures.

Speaking of Bird sightings, he was hanging at Jay Ryan's booth for a bit on Saturday afternoon's Renegade Craft Fair. Sporting a beard now, and it's working for him.


Filter's coming back! Let the Craigslist missed connections resume!

Friday, September 11, 2009


I cannot stop listening to the new Sunset Rubdown album. I liked, but didn't love, Random Spirit Lover, and the last show of theirs I saw at the Empty Bottle was disappointing for a variety of reasons, especially after their amazing Schubas debut. I didn't want to set myself up with huge expectations for the new album as a reuslt. Thankfully, Dragonslayer has me completely reenergized on this band and looking forward to seeing them at on October 19 at the Logan Square Auditorium. The songs have a sense of urgency that builds throughout the album, culminating with the excellent and addictive "You Go on Ahead (Trumpet Trumpet II)". Some of the froufiness that I enjoyed but which may have turned others off to the band in the past has been tamed a bit, and the topics have transitioned from weird fairy tales involving horses and leopards to themes that are ambiguous but relatable (Spencer seems particularly obsessed with aging here for some reason). Definitely one of my favorite albums of the year.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

More special Andrew Bird shows!

Gapers Block alerted me to this special VIP Andrew Bird show at the Modern Wing of the Art Institute, hosted by Jon Langford, happening September 21. One catch though: you have to win through WXRT's extremely convoluted VIP lounge.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Hideout Block Party

The Hideout- keeping in times with the recession; or: going old school.

If you receive this e-mail, then you are a friend of the Hideout. You probably already know that our annual Hideout Block Party / Homecoming Dance is coming up on September 12. For the last 12 years the Block Party has grown every year. Last years amazing party that was our most eclectic and international festival ever. The Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun Times, and Time Out Chicago, all said that the Hideout Block Party was the best concert of the fall. Chicago Magazine called it “Perennially the Best Music Festival in Chicago.”
It was a HUGE success.

But is bigger always better? Since last September a lot has changed. So this year we decided to keep the Block Party as intimate, and easy to attend as it was in the beginning. As always we have taken people’s suggestions very seriously. We decided to return to a one day, one stage festival. We also cut the price in half to $10. We also decided that instead of creating an event that is literally all over the musical map, this year we would celebrate with a singular focus. As we did with Touch and Go 25, this year we will honor, and celebrate Bloodshot Records 15th Anniversary.

This means the heroic return of our old friends Alejandro Escovedo, Jon Langford, and Bobby Bare Jr. The Blacks and Moonshine Willy will reunite and all the other members of the great Bloodshot Crew. If you love Bloodshot Records, you have probably seen your favorite band at the Hideout. In fact The Hideout and Bloodshot are like Peanut Butter & Jelly, Salt & Pepper, Beer & Whiskey, Duck & Cover, Touch & Go, Jon & Sally… The combination of the Bloodshot Crew and the Hideout Gang creates a spirit of insurgent celebration. A council fire, a road rally, a homecoming, a title game.

Simultaneously, The Hideout Block Party has raised over $200,000 for various local charities over the last 12 years. Organizations participating this year will include: Rock for Kids, and 826 Chicago. What better way to celebrate the last days of summer, than by joyously dancing in the streets, and helping others too!

Thanks for all of your support, all of these years. We hope to see you at the Bloodshot 15.
Bloodshot 15 Anniversary Party
Saturday, September 12
Alejandro Escovedo
The Waco Brothers with Rico Bell
Bobby Bare Jr.
Deadstring Brothers
The Blacks (reunited!)
Scotland Yard Gospel Choir
Scott H. Biram
Moonshine Willy (reunited after 10 years! One show only!)

$10 donation to benefit Rock for Kids and 826 Chicago

reserve your spot at www.bloodshotrecords.com

Doors at noon All Ages
Outside on Wabansia Street!

Featuring an art show curated by Yard Dog Gallery and a
Kids area provided by Rock For Kids
Sponsored by Rolling Rock and WXRT

www.hideoutchicago.com & www.bloodshotrecords.com/15

All My Friends Are Funeral Singers

I bought tickets to this Califone show at the Museum of Contemporary Art thinking it was just a regular concert in a unique space. How wrong was I; apparently Tim Rutili wrote and directed a movie called All My Friends are Funeral Singers, and their new album out October 6 is the soundtrack. The show at the MCA will feature the bank playing a live soundtrack along to the movie. Details, including a film trailer and title track, are here at Stereogum.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Dead Man's Bones

I was so excited I was able to buy tickets to the Dead Man's Bones (i.e., Ryan Gosling, Zach Shields & a random children's choir) show at Schubas on 10/21 that I accidentally bought an extra ticket for the 10pm show (damn you, Schubas ticketing system where I always accidentally buy one ticket instead of two because I didn't hit "update"). So if anyone is looking . . .

Still, looking forward to that early show- the kids will probably have more energy then! (As will I . . .)

Also, their myspace page is uber-creepy.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

David Byrne is coming to my office!

Ok, it's not the real David Byrne, it's some guy named David Byrne from our Swiss office. But I'm still enjoying hearing the chatter about it and pretending. Maybe he leads a double life as a Swiss client service representative . . .

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Ramona Falls

Brent Knopf, keyboardist for Menomena, has a new solo project called Ramona Falls that has a debut album, Intuit, coming out this week. It's streaming in full now! So far, the album sounds great. If that's not enough, Ramona Falls is touring this fall, with a stop at the Chopin Theatre on September 11 and Menomena drummer Danny Seim tagging along to support with some bass action. I will be there.

Musical Docs

One of the more interesting press releases I've seen in awhile:

N.E.D. (an acronym for No Evidence of Disease) is a rock band with a purpose: composed entirely of six musically talented gynecologic cancer surgeons hailing from all four corners of the U.S. The doctors are full time, practicing surgeons, researchers, and professors who moonlight as musicians in hopes that their music can improve the quality of life of patients and anyone potentially touched by women's cancers.

New York-based Motema Music spearheaded the production and recording of their album which will be released on September 8th to coincide with the first annual Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month. Producer Mario McNulty (David Bowie, Linkin Park, Ziggy Marley) worked closely with the band to create these first-class recordings. The music and lyrics are original, written by members of the band who worked together primarily through video conference.

Sonically, N.E.D.’s EP blends a wide range of folk, arena, and indie rock, and demonstrates pure female vocals likened to Mary Travers of Peter, Paul and Mary and Christine McVie. Lyrically, the music brings a fresh and sympathetic approach to issues of life and death faced by cancer victims and their families. Net proceeds from the sale of the CD will be donated to the N.E.D. Cancer Foundation in association with the Gynecologic Cancer Foundation (GCF) to support public education about gynecologic cancers and to fund promising research projects and programs.

And check out the badass picture of the band! Where do they find the time?

Friday, August 14, 2009


Good news for the hipster male who has put on a few pounds lately- hipster potbellies are in! Ladies, continue to keep it in check, as always.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Schubas #2

Looks like the owners of Schubas, brothers Mike and Chris Schuba, are opening a new mid-size venue called Lincoln Hall this fall. The new club will be at 2424 N. Lincoln (formerly Three Penny Cinema), a decidedly un-indie neighborhood. It will definitely be interesting to see what kind of acts they bring in, and what effect its opening will have on the neighborhood. While the article does point out there are a lot of similarly sized venues already (Double Door, Logan Square Auditorium), it's undeniable that most of the bands that start at Schubas eventually outgrow it, so it should be easy for them to keep booking the same bands at the larger venue. What that means for other venues is another story, though really, Double Door and Logan Square Auditorium aren't exactly ideal spaces for sound anyway. Seeing as Schubas is my favorite venue in the city, this should be a good thing for the city's music scene.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Reefer Duberland Part II?

Very cryptic after-party announcement on the part of the Metro. Some special show is playing on Sunday, August 9 at midnight, and three symbols are apparently the clue to who. Pitchfork has the details on the supposed supergroup. Tickets go on sale Thursday, August 6 at 10am.

I remember the last time some sort of cryptic show was announced that ended up being a supergroup of sorts. I won't fall for that again!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


So, I tried to get tickets to Andrew Bird's surprise show at Schubas happening next Friday in advance of his Lollapalooza set. Unfortunately, tickets sold out . . . in under one minute. Damn you, Bird!

That's ok, though. I saw him at the Hideout, I guess it's time for other fans to get a chance.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Pitchfork Redux

I can't deny that my engagement in the Pitchfork Music Festival has evolved over the past five incarnations of the festival. Where as back in 2005 I found myself running all over the park to catch every band and stand as close as possible, with each passing year I find myself wanting to spend more time lounging on a blanket between stages and checking out the craft and poster fair. (I never understood who would bypass all the great music for crafts five years ago; now I see). I used to race to the park each morning to get there in time for the first band at noon; now I saunter in around 3 or 4pm.

That's not to say the festival doesn't have anything to offer me anymore. There's a lot to love about lounging around to great music, running into everyone you know and eating tasty festival food. But the youthful exuberance that kept me standing on my feet for 10 hours is long gone, and more and more it seems the bands that play at Pitchfork just played Schubas or the Metro a few months prior, where I could actually see them (the product of living in a major music destination, I realize).

Or maybe part of it is that bands don't make their festival appearances special, at least relative to their usual performances. The Flaming Lips don't count; sure, launching balloons and confetti and running over the crowd in a hamster ball set them apart from the rest of the performances, but considering I saw that hamster ball routine debut five years ago at Coachella, it's clearly not a special performance made for us Pitchfork goers; it's just what they do. Remember when Go! Team brought all the kids from the park's pool up on stage to dance, a small slice of local African-American children shaking it in front of a sea of white hipsters? Now that's a unique and memorable performance you can't get at the Metro. Go big, or go home, I say.

And I always have my perennial complaint that Pithfork fails to bring female artists. Sure, there were Vivian Girls and Kim of Matt and Kim, both relegated to the B stage, and Kathy Foster of the Thermals rocked it out as always. Maybe they thought an all-male band called "Women" was a good enough substitute. But how about some more acts where women are front and center? St. Vincent? Camera Obscura? Bat for Lashes? All three of these artists got "Best New Music" accolades this year, but none were to be seen on the stage.

I realize a lot of people have the same complaint when it comes to hip hop or electronic music conspicuously missing at the festival. Which is why I say, bring back the DJ tent!

Still, I had a good time this past weekend and enjoyed a lot of music. I wished it would have been just five degrees warmer, but the cooler weather did make for a more comfortable viewing experience. I biked to the festival for the first time; never have I gotten to Union Park so quickly, or escaped so easily.

Most of my highlights were on Sunday. The Walkmen tore it up; The Thermals played the most random covers; M83 sounded amazing and was one of the few bands to get people dancing; Grizzly Bear was as adorable as ever, celebrating Chris Bear's birthday with his family in tow (though I'm still not totally sold on the new album). I left the Flaming Lips early after Wayne kept wasting time snarkily talking about how he got to pick from the top 25 "Write the Night" songs, which apparently were the same ones they always play live anyway (per Coyne), stopping by the B stage to catch some incredibly fun African calypso from The Very Best (and the only Michael Jackson tribute of the weekend, apparently requested of them by the Pitchfork folk).

Still, with all my complaints, it's hard to go wrong with a weekend of music, food and fun for the cheapest festival price around.

Monday, July 20, 2009

I still need to throw in my two cents about this weekend's Pitchfork Festival along with everyone else . . . so expect something tomorrow, as today just got past me between working and recovering from the weekend ;)

Beastie Boys

People.com, my apparent music source of late, reports that Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys was diagnosed with cancer. Though they expect a full recovery, they are canceling their upcoming tour- which includes a stop at this year's Lollapalooza.

UPDATE: Yeah Yeah Yeahs to replace them- that was quick!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Rock and Roll McDonalds

Are you as displeased as the rest of us that the Sears Tower will be renamed "Willis Tower"? What if it was the Wesley Willis Tower? The Chicago Reader Decider blog does a compare and contrast of the two Willises.

And there's a website.

Monday, July 13, 2009

We all saw it coming. The Jackson Three.



Tonight at Millenium Park's Pritzker Pavillion, in tandem with the park's 5th anniversary the City is putting on a tribute to Shel Silverstein. There will be related music by Will Oldham, Bobby Bare Sr. and Bobby Bare Jr., Jon Langford and Sally Timms, and more. There will also be performances and readings from Shel's books.

Monday, July 06, 2009


A popular WLUW DJ, Barb Wire (a.k.a. Barbara Unruh), passed away last week from cancer at 49. The Tribune has a nice article about her.

The Boy Who Cried Freebird

Gaper's Block points to this Tribune article about the history of jerks shouting "Freebird" at shows, and it's origins in Chicago.

Thursday, July 02, 2009


Not that I've listened to any music Travis Morrison has made since the Dismemberment Plan broke up, but Pitchfork points out that his website indicates he is retiring from music, relaxing in Brooklyn and inviting people to add him on Facebook, which I promptly have done (we'll see if he actually accepts). When did he move to Brooklyn?

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Music Mags

Tough times in the music publishing industry- Vibe Magazine is closing down "immediately". Blender also folded last year, and the Source recently emerged from bankruptcy.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Lolla Aftershows

Lollapalooza has announced its after party schedule, with shows from bands like the Decemberists, TV on the Radio, Fleet Foxes and more around town at area venues, mostly the HoB, Metro and Double Door. See here for the full schedule.


New York newspapers continue to chronicle the many ways in which Brooklyn hipsters and poor college grads deal with the recession. While some are forced to accept less trust fund money from their parents and scale down Williamsburg condo purchases from $900K to $500K, others just pitch tents in their friends' backyards for $100/month. "We have parents that could give us money to get an apartment . . . but it's nice to be independent" one says in true anti-trustafarian style. We'll see how long that lasts once the five people already living in a two-bed one bath apartment have to share that bathroom with the three squatters, much less attempt to bring home the ladies.

More insight into these fellows comes here.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Dirty Projectors

I just got the new Dirty Projectors album, Bitte Orca, this weekend and am still trying to figure out what I think of it as some people are freaking out about its awesomeness. I'll get a good chance tonight as they play a free show at Millennium Park with the Sea and Cake, where I'll be found in my best picnic garb. Pitchfork made it sound like Dave Longstreth has finally succeeded by reining in his weirdness, though on first listen I'm not finding the sound to be much different from Rise Above. Time will tell.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Wicker Park Fest Update

The other day I mentioned the lineup for Wicker Park Fest, happening July 25 and 26. Sadly, Silver Wrapper has an update that Jamie Lidell will not be playing at the fest per se, but as part of a special Wicker Park Fest afterparty at the Congress on the 25th- which costs $20. Which is not nearly as cool as the idea of seeing Jamie at a little stage on Damen Avenue for a $5 suggested donation. Way to get my hopes up, Silver Wrapper, only to have them come crashing down. Really, the Congress?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Girls Rock

Jessica Hopper, music critic for the Chicago Reader, Tribune and countless other publications, is putting out her first book, The Girls' Guide to Rocking, which gives young girls a complete "how-to" for getting into music, from starting a band to recording an album and setting up shows. It features quotes from Debbie Harry and the Go-Gos, and is being promoted through online videos starring members of Flosstradamus, Broken Social Scene and Girl Talk. Very cool! Makes me wish I had a resource like this when I was young. The Daily Swarm provides some excerpts from the book.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Pitchfork points to this hilarious interview with someone from a band named "Psychedelic Horse****", where in expletive-filled rants he dumps all over all the bands in the currently hot "lo-fi" scene (Wavves, Times New Viking, No Age, etc.) that he's ostensibly a part of. In line with Monday's post, one of the commenters calls him out as a trustafarian. Hilarious! And probably an apt reference for the singers of both of these bands too. Yikes, people.

I still can't wrap my head around what is so enjoyable about these bands. Granted, I've written off the genre completely after hearing and seeing Times New Viking, but pretty much any review that compares a band to TNV kills any chance of me wanting to listen to that record. If Wavves actually makes it to Pitchfork, I guess I'll have another opportunity to try it out, but I'm not keeping my expectations high.

Monday, June 08, 2009


The Atlantic asks how the recession has impacted people making "nothing at all":

And then the recession came for hipsters . . .

Answer: Dwindling trust funds.

EDIT: on the heels of the above link comes a snarky posting from my favorite Wall Street tabloid blog, Dealbreaker, linking to a New York Times article on the same topic.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Very sad news. I saw Jeff Hanson open for the Decemberists at a tiny coffee shop in Madison back in 2003 when they were both on Kill Rock Stars. He had an incredibly unique voice that was initially shocking but ultimately beautiful. :(

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Have you forgotten your mother and your friends? Long lost DJ Lazer will be fated to see MGMT this summer at the All Points West Festival at Liberty State Park. This is my decision. Now let's have some fun.

Marissa Nadler

One of my favorite songs of the moment: Ghosts & Lovers, by Marissa Nadler. Hear it on her myspace page.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Wicker Park Fest

Wicker Park Fest is back this summer July 25 and 26, and features another great lineup, including Jamie Lidell and the Junior Boys. How Chicago manages to get great lineups year after year for dozens of street festivals each summer is a mystery to me, but it's certainly part of what makes this city great.

Bands (schedule still TBD):
Jamie Lidell LATE NIGHT
The New Deal
Junior Boys
Tortured Soul LATE NIGHT
Big Sam's Funky Nation
Heavyweight Dub Champion
Mickey Factz
Company of Thieves
Van Ghost
Backyard Tire Fire
Two Fresh
The Wonderful World of Bald Eagle
Autobody featuring Felix Moreno of Future Rock
B.S. Brass Band

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Do Division Fest, Menomena @ Empty Bottle

It was a good weekend for music in Wicker Park/Ukranian Village. I only caught the last song from Portland, OR's Viva Voce; per a friend who saw them both at the fest and at the Empty Bottle the night before, they played exclusively music from their latest album, and not only were the set lists virtually identical both nights, but the jokes and between-song banter were too. Whoops. Handsome Furs also treated us to a set of exclusively tracks from their latest album, Face Control. Dan and Alexi sported new hairstyles since the last time I saw them, with Dan trading in his punk-mullet for a more boyish short on the sides, spiky on top look, and Alexi bleaching her dark hair blond (she can certainly pull off both). Their set was short but sweet (barely over 30 minutes); the married couple has great chemistry with each other and serious intensity on stage, though I was bummed we didn't get even one track off of Plague Park.

I skipped seeing Menomena at the fest on Sunday in favor of checking out their Empty Bottle show last night; I figured that since they're now more of a Metro band, it was a good chance to get to see them in the intimate setting of their early years. I was not disappointed; in addition to reminding me that "Strongest Man in the World" is unfailingly amazing, the guys were clearing having a blast. It was keyboardist Brent Knopf's 32nd birthday, and Justin requested that audience members give him 32 spankings after we all sang him happy birthday. His girlfriend also baked him a cake, and he blew out the candles on stage. Good times. Rumor has it that after a year and a half of doing their own thing they are back in creative mode and working on a new album; they did debut one new song featuring Brent on vocals that I thought sounded great. In an ongoing theme for the weekend, the majority of the set came from 2007's Friend and Foe; I was a little surprised they didn't mix it up a bit more as they aren't touring on a new album. Still, I won't complain, as I'll take whatever I can get from one of my favorite bands.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Wow, can't wait to see this band at Pitchfork, if they ever make it there.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Iron and Wine 5/13/09

I feel like Iron and Wine fans fall into two categories: those that prefer his earlier solo work, and those who prefer him more fleshed out with a full band. I definitely fall into the former; something about the quiet, hushed folk is just much more up my alley. Last year's Shepherd Dog just really didn't do it for me; I ultimately found it kinda boring, and it left me missing the intimacy of his early work. So after only seeing him with a full band at Pitchfork and on tour with Calexico, I was thrilled to see that Sam Beam was doing a solo tour, with fans voting on the set list. Here was my chance to hear songs from Creek Drank the Cradle, and in the intimacy of Schubas no less.

Having seen Iron and Wine at venues as large as Union Park and Congress Theater, I guess I didn't realize how incredibly personable Sam Beam truly is; I always assumed he was a shy, awkward one. Dressed in his best professor wear (collared shirt, vest and righteous beard), Sam was talkative, funny and easygoing, and it truly felt like "an evening with Sam Beam." My goal for the night was to hear "Lion's Mane" or "Faded from the Winter", and Sam treated me to the first, which was, without a doubt, the highlight of the night for me. As Sam put it, "Chicago really likes that green album", and many of the songs came from Endless Numbered Days. The only thing I could have done without was the audience sing-a-long during "Such Great Heights." There is nothing worse than hearing an audience singing louder than the performer.

Fan-voted setlist below. Head to playedlastnight.com for an mp3 copy of the evening's performance.

01. Intro
02. Each Coming Night
03. Cinders and Smoke
04. Flightless Bird, American Mouth
05. Lion's Mane
06. No Moon
07. Peng
08. Passing Afternoon
09. Free Until They Cut Me Down
10. Two Hungry Blackbirds
11. Sunset Soon Forgotten
12. Bird Stealing Bread
13. History of Lovers
14. Fever Dream
15. Stolen Houses
16. Mouth of the River
17. The Trapeze Swinger
18. Such Great Heights (Postal Service)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Sorry for the lack of blogging over the past few days- I was on vacation in Boston and then came back in time to get a stomach flu! But I did see Iron and Wine at Schubas and Animal Collective at the House of Blues in Boston during that time, so once I'm feeling better I'll have full reports of each.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Jarvis Cocker, with the help of his kids, has a hilarious take on the latest singles.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Radio Show Hiatus

Over the past few summers I've taken a break from the radio show to enjoy the sunshine on Monday evenings and recharge. This year, I've realized I need more than a summer to recharge; after 8+ years in college/community radio, it's become clear that I don't have the time I used to have to dedicate to a quality 2-hour show each week (part of this crazy thing called "getting older"). With the upcoming move downtown and management changes (all for the better, of course), it seemed like a good time to step back from the show for a bit. I plan on staying involved through the occasional subbing opportunity, but will take an indefinite break from the regular schedule. Still, I look forward to seeing how WLUW can grow and flourish in its new environment, and will hopefully return when I can make time to commit to the station again.

That said, I will continue on blogging, and I have some new, exciting music-related activities on the docket that I will report on as they come to fruition (oooh, suspense!). Thanks for listening!

Friday, May 08, 2009

That's a Dealbreaker Ladies

Two albums I've been enjoying of late come from a couple of emerging female artists: Bat for Lashes Two Suns and Marissa Nadler's Little Hells. Both have a darker edge that I'm loving, with Bat for Lashes offering a bigger, more theatrical sound to counter Marissa's subtler, folkier tunes. With St. Vincent's recent critical acclaim for Actor, 2009 is shaping up to be a good year for female musicians.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Best of thoughts. . . already!

It was just brought to my attention that come next year, 2010, we will officially be entering the next decade. Which means, not only will we be contending with "best albums of the year" lists this December, but also "best albums of the decade" lists. My head hurts just thinking about it! Tinymixtapes will be putting together one of its own, and apparently I need to start thinking now about what I'd include on it. What a terrifying prospect, especially considering how much my musical tastes have changed since 2000, and how little time I'll really spend with 2009's music. Yikes!

Monday, May 04, 2009

Dodos on TV

Indie-rock-in-commercials-watch: Just heard the Dodos' "Fools" on an ad for . . . Miller Chill. How quickly they rise.

Speaking of the Dodos, they had a show scheduled at Subterranean for July 25, but subsequently canceled for undetermined reasons. Sad.

Friday, May 01, 2009


Man, it's already Friday and I just realized I haven't blogged since Monday! Time is flying.

Amidst my busy week I was able to fit in a trip to the Arie Crown Theater to see Flight of the Conchords. Gapers Block reviews it here. Highlights for me: the show beginning with Jemaine and Bret coming out in cardboard robot heads singing my favorite season 2 song, "Too Many Dicks"; telling a catcaller in the audience he was "high on bong"; being joined by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra (a.k.a., a guy on a cello).

Surprisingly no "Business Time", though.

Meanwhile, the Trib didn't seem too enthused. I think they're thinking about it a little too much.

Not a huge fan of the Arie Crown though. Strange how McCormick Place is really not that accessible by public transportation (just one bus from downtown), for such a huge destination. And it felt like watching a show in the stadium version of a theater, as opposed to a real theater like the Chicago Theatre or Civic Opera House.

Monday, April 27, 2009


Pitchfork reported today about how U of Minnesota students rioted after Talib Kweli couldn't make their spring concert at the last minute due to flight problems. These pictures of the incident are amazing. So much for the Minnesota Nice. (Though it's hard to take something called "The Dinkytown Riots" seriously).


Man, I can't tell you how long I've been waiting for this to happen.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

TMT Compilation

After a good two years or so of planning, Tinymixtapes has finally put out a charity compilation featuring original recordings from 11 TMT favorites. All proceeds go to the International Rescue Committee's work in Darfur. It's limited edition, so get your copy soon!


Tiny Mix Tapes Vol. 1: Darfur
01. Jim O’Rourke - "Seven Stars"
02. Balroynigress - "Dress the Ship in Black"
03. WHY? - "Eskimo Snow (sock hop version)"
04. Frog Eyes - "Bushels (acoustic version)"
05. Burning Star Core - "Incurable Beauty of the Master’s Demise"
06. Xiu Xiu - "Farther On (Traditional)"
07. Mount Eerie - "Calf In Pasture"
08. Wooden Wand - "No Stranger"
09. The Flying Luttenbachers with Henry Kaiser - "Trapped in Ice"
10. nmperign - "Remote Sensing"
11. Dan Deacon - "I Have So Much to Donald"

Update: Pitchfork gives the comp some love.

Taste of Randolph

The lineup for the Taste of Randolph, this year the weekend of June 19-21, is slowly making its presence known. First up: Dr. Dog headlining on Friday, The Hold Steady headlining on Sunday.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


There's a new Chicago street fest coming our way this summer called "Metronome", to be held on Milwaukee at Armitage and Western (because not enough blocks in Wicker Park/Bucktown have a street festival in the summer! Not that I'm complaining!). From June 6-7, there will be two stages representing four genres: Punk, Rock, Folk and Electronic, each with a relevant sponsor (MP Shows, Empty Bottle, Chicago Bluegrass and Blues, and the Congress Theater, respectively). So far the Rock and Punk stage have lineups, with the Rock stage proving to be decently impressive:

8:30pm John Vanderslice
7:00pm Here We Go Magic
5:30pm Apostle of Hustle
4:00pm Kid Congo Powers
2:30pm Turbo Fruits
1:00pm Rock Plaza Central

The Metronome Celebration will benefit the Logan Square Neighborhood Coalition, which will distribute proceeds across all parts of the community through the Greater Goethe Neighborhood Association, the Logan Square Chamber of Commerce, Friends of Goethe School, Chase Elementary and a Sustainable Project Award that will help to provide a more sustainable life for area residents.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

What's irritating Nicole today

Apparently Sigur Ros' "Hoppipola" is now the feel-good, uplifting trailer theme du jour. After getting thoroughly sick of what used to be my favorite track off Takk . . . from the ubiquitousness of the Slumdog Millionaire trailer over the last 6-8 months, Disney's new Earth Day movie, "Earth", also features the song wet to video of wildlife and nature running free. I can only imagine how many times I'll be seeing it between now and next Wednesday.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

69 Love Songs . . . Illustrated

How fun- a group of comic artists are putting a blog together where each day they'll have an illustration/comic/short story/etc. based on one of the Magnetic Fields' 69 Love Songs. Right now they're about 2 songs in.

And if you want to get in on the action, there are still some songs left for the taking.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Belated Junior Boys Review

The other week I was able to catch the Junior Boys at the Metro just before their latest album, Begone Dull Care, was released last week. I was looking forward to hearing the new stuff live (and am still looking forward to hearing on record if Amazon will ever get it to me, though apparently I should stop buying from them because their computer systems hate gays or something; if only Insound didn't require a $50 purchase to get free shipping!).

Anyhoo, as expected, what I heard did not disappoint, because frankly Jeremy Greenspan could sing virtually anything in his smooth, breathy voice and it would sound great. They opened with "Hazel", clearly the most single-worthy of the new stuff, and debuted probably 6-7 new tracks overall, some of which were immediately enjoyable and others that I'm looking forward to spending more time with. The energy level on stage wasn't as high as it was in the crowd however, where in front of me a 6'5" man I've seen at several dance-oriented shows bounced around the room with such joy and vigor you almost got over the fact that you were stuck behind a 6'5" man at a concert.

Opening for the Junior Boys was the hilarious Max Tundra. I'd read about him and assumed he was some sort of down-tempo electronic artist for some reason, but I was completely off base as he was this crazy little twee electro-popper that bounced around the stage with his arms flailing whenever he had the chance. He told us he was selling kosher soup with his merchandise after the show (not a joke) and wrapped up his set with some sort of electronic version of "So Long, Farewell" from the Sound of Music. Based on his (albeit very entertaining) show, I got the impression his music was a bit of a novelty and couldn't imagine what it would sound like on record, something that runs counter to all the glowing reviews he's received over time. Apparently under all that sunny twee glow there is subject matter about stealing his best friend's girlfriend, then subsequently breaking up with said girlfriend. Intriguing.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009


A deep take on Neko Case's Middle Cyclone, an album which Amazon.com is currently holding hostage from me.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Fein Tunes

Today I discovered this awesome project by Senator Russ Feingold, endearingly called "Fein Tunes". He's asking his constituents to give him suggestions for new music to listen to as he travels around the state. His first new favorite band: Bon Iver. So much Wisconsin love I can hardly contain myself.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Out of the Loop

Man, I've missed out on a lot of great new releases over the past month as I've been out of town. Time to remedy that with a big online order:

Handsome Furs- Face Control
Neko Case- Middle Cyclone
Dan Deacon- Bromst
Marisa Nadler- Little Hells

Also looking to check out:
Bonnie Prince Billy- Beware
The Thermals- Now We Can See
Royksopp- Junior
Swan Lake- Enemy Mine

. . . but I didn't want to spend that much money at one time! Time to get fully into 2009 and see what my new favorite albums will turn out to be.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Monday, March 30, 2009

P4k and the Flaming Lips

So I'm back from my vacation and hope I still have readers left after 3 weeks away!

Clearly the big news since I was gone is the Pitchfork line up, the vote-your-own-set-list set up for Friday, and the Flaming Lips headline slot. As various outlets have reported, the Lips were initially supposed to join in on the fan-voted set list fun, but almost immediately backed out, forcing Pitchfork to issue a correction. This earned the major ire of the Sun Times' Jim DeRogatis, who was thrilled about the fan-voted set list in the hopes that it would force the Lips to revisit older material and revitalize a stage show that has become a bit stale.

I guess have to agree with him. I'm probably one of the only people that greeted the Flaming Lips news with an "eh". I saw the Flaming Lips at Coachella in 2004, and while sure, the stage show is funny, in 45 minutes they played a whopping 3 songs, all from Yoshimi (and only after spending 10 minutes delaying the show so Wayne could get his giant bubble inflated). Festival shows don't really give the Lips enough time to do both the schtick and play actual music at the same time. And the schtick hasn't changed a whole lot in the 5 years since; their stage show has really become this pre-packaged, ultimately hollow thing that's not really about the music anymore but about how weird and silly they can be. I agree with Jim that festivals like Pitchfork are the time to do something really interesting and special, and when a stage full of animal costumes and a giant human hamster ball are no longer special, it might be time to revisit the formula.

Thursday, March 05, 2009


Hello faithful readers,

In order to escape the daily depression that is our economy, I'm heading out tomorrow on a much-needed vacation to Southeast Asia. As a result, expect blog posting to be virtually non-existent for the next couple weeks (unless I discover some incredible Cambodian indie rock band that the world just needs to know about ASAP) (unlikely). Hopefully I'll return to amazing weather, a Dow back at post-2000 levels, politcal unity and a plethora of jobs for all! Or at least some good shows in April, and a decent Pitchfork lineup. Cheers!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Spinal Tap Tour! (Sort of)

According to the Sun Times, Spinal Tap "members" Christopher Guest, Michael McKean and Harry Shearer will be hitting the road for a six-week tour starting in April, with a stop at the Chicago Theatre on May 30. Sadly, they will be going on tour as themselves, rather than as their alter egos- i.e., no wigs, outfits or minature Stonehenges. They'll also be playing songs from A Mighty Wind. Oh, and it will be acoustic. As McKean says at the end of the article, 'the partners are “trying to figure out a way to do [Spinal Tap’s bass opus] ‘Big Bottom’ on three acoustic guitars” and said some incarnation of “Stonehenge” “is possible.”'

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Bird Video

The video for Andrew Bird's first single, Fitz and the Dizzyspells, which was filmed during his surprise shows at the Hideout with marching band divas Mucca Pazza, is now available on his website. Check it out!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


This article in Wired about the rise of the Netbook is incredibly fascinating- not necessarily music-related, per se, but definitely has implications for how we listen to music on our computers.

Rock for Food

Obviously if you are a reader of this blog you, like me, love music. Perhaps you, like me, also have a deep love for fine dining and Top Chef. Maybe, unlike me, you have a lot of spare cash sitting around, which ostensibly could be donated to teaching low-income children to rock. Well then, this news is for you! Rock for Kids is auctioning off an excellent dinner experience for you and five of your friends on ebay. See details below.

Win a Top Chef Experience!

The Top Chef Finale is finally here! Who will be season 5's Top Chef? Will it be Hosea? Stefan? Carla? If you are as excited as we are to find out, shout Hoodie Hoo!

After the final dish has been prepared, and the winner has been announced, Rock For Kids knows you will still be hungry for more! That's why we're offering you the chance to move beyond watching Top Chef, and allowing you to experience a Top Chef contestant in action!

Top Chef Season Five contestant Chef Radhika Desai, in conjunction with Between Boutique Café and Lounge where she is a Chef, is offering a truly unique experience to one lucky Rock For Kids supporter!

Radhika will prepare a private dinner for 6 in the winner's home. This package includes wine pairings donated by Between Boutique Café and Lounge's wine distributor who is also a sommelier and will explain the pairings.

Following the dinner, Rad will give the party a dessert cooking lesson, and they can eat the dessert afterwards! She will also leave aprons for all of the guests.

100% of the proceeds go to Rock For Kids, and the winning bid is tax deductible.

Want a more affordable way to "check out a Top Chef in action", sans large tax-deductible donation? Check out Dine with Dale at Relax Lounge every Thursday, where season 3's runner-up is cooking a weekly $25 3-course meal until his new restaurant, Town and Country, opens later this year. I'll be there next week!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Book recommendation

If you're looking for a light, humorous read about the music industry, I recommend checking out Dan Kennedy's Rock On: An Office Power Ballad . Rock On provides an inside look into working for a major label in the midst of the industry's downward spiral. His overgeneralization of what it means to work in a 9-5 corporate environment gets a little old, but the insight he provides into the general patheticness of major label management is hilarious, and timely.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Iron and Wine News

Iron and Wine fans, take note: Sam Beam's putting out a double album of rare unreleased/out of print tracks called Around the Well, and he will be going on a 5 city, 10-date "intimate" tour in support. This is great news for those of us that loved his early solo work but have been less enthused by the more produced, full-band sound of late (i.e., me). Chicagoans will have two shows to choose from: the Lakeshore Theater on May 12 and Schubas May 13. The Schubas show will undoubtedly sell out quickly, so get your tickets when they go on sale tomorrow, February 20, at noon.

But wait, there's more! Beginning March 6 fans can go to the Iron and Wine website and vote on what songs he'll play at each show.

UPDATE: Tickets sold out in minutes, and the website seemed to have trouble handling the traffic. I'll be there though!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

WLUW news

With new WLUW management finally in place, changes are starting to happen at the station (none of which involves programming or volunteers, as I'd always expected). WLUW will be moving into a new and improved downtown studio space this summer at Pearson and Wabash, at Loyola's downtown campus. The tower will remain at the Rogers Park campus, however, so there will be no change to the broadcast area.

Also, check out the website to see what songs are playing now, which can be followed on Twitter (though why anyone would want to be updated with every song playing on WLUW at a time, I'm not sure). A brand-new website will also be put into place in the near future, something that has been on the agenda for quite a long time.

Meanwhile, WLUW turns 30 this year! Except a musical celebration in the next few months.

Friday, February 13, 2009

New-ish Beirut

Very cool under-the-radar Beirut news, courtesy of Gapers Block: Apparently Zach Condon composed the soundtrack for a Mexican film that ultimately was not used. A local Chicago record label, Obey Your Brain, is putting the score out on vinyl, along with a few other unreleased Zach Tracks. You can hear March of the Zapotec next Tuesday, February 17 at a listening party at Sonotheque. Performances by Golden Birthday Magical, Beautiful (ft. Mucca Pazza members) to follow.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Selling clothes is evil, except when its not

So within the span of a week, Pitchfork is up in arms about Liz Phair partnering up with Banana Republic as she further eschews an indie aesthetic she hasn't held herself to for 15 years, while Kim Gordon shilling for Urban Outfitters is virtually excused because Sonic Youth is "now on Matador". Nevermind how Urban Outfitters co-opts indie culture while the ultra-conservative CEO funds his right-wing ideologies (see: political contributions to Rick Santorum). Not to mention the number of times I've heard Cut Copy, TV on the Radio, Junior Boys and countless other Pitchfork favorites blaring in Banana Republic stores. Down with corporate suits, up with ironic PETA shirts!

I get it, Pitchfork thinks Sonic Youth is still making good music and Liz Phair isn't, but you can't pick and choose your sell-out stories, which in these days' indie-mainstream culture should be rendered irrelevant anyway.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Bling blong

CNN takes a look at how in this economy, hip-hop stars may be wearing less "bling". They also use the term "jewels". They ultimately determine that "it's unlikely that bling will go away completely." Thanks, CNN.

Thursday, February 05, 2009


Once again, a big thank you to People.com for keeping me up with the latest indie news- surprisingly not about indie rock couples for once!- that a pregnant M.I.A. will be "rapping" at the Grammy's on her due date. I wasn't aware that she was a "rapper", or that her music could even really be called "hip-hop", but cheers for trying, People.com.

Apparently there will be also be a long-awaited(?) Blink-182 reunion post Travis Barker's plane crash. Tune in Sunday!

Bruce on Evilmaster

Last year I mentioned the news that Ticketmaster bought TicketsNow, a "secondary market" ticket broker (i.e., glorified scalper), and was directing traffic for sold out tickets from the Ticketmaster website over to TicketsNow. The amount of conflicts of interest in this set up are too numerous to count. Apparently Bruce Springsteen just realized this as his upcoming tour went on sale and is working with a NJ congressman to investigate. Ticketmaster agreed to stop directing Springsteen fans over to TicketsNow- for his show, at least.

From Gapers Block.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Secretary of the Arts Pt. 2

Last week I posted about a petition being sent around from Quincy Jones to get a Secretary of the Arts in place. NPR has a small piece on what this would entail, with point-counterpoint.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Les Savy Fav

I caught Les Savy Fav this weekend at the Epiphany Church, which as this Radio Free Chicago review points out, Tim Harrington fully embraced. Between the priest collar and the constant church and prayer references, Tim desecrated all that is holy with his constantly gyrating nude belly. As we made our way out of the venue, I saw him race through the crowd only to stop at the door, where I got to shake his hand as he invited me to come back next Sunday at 10.

Flight of the Conchords!

Flight of the Conchords* are coming to the Arie Crown Theater (2301 S. Lakeshore) on April 28. A variety of presales are going on this week, starting this morning at 10am; the official public onsale is Saturday at 10am. I've already secured my seats thanks to the presale; get yours quickly before Saturday at 10:05 as last time they came to Chicago it sold out in minutes! I'm also intrigued by this "Arie Crown Theater"- learn more about the venue here.

*I don't think I really realized "Conchords" was cleverly misspelled until Blogger's new spellcheck feature just told me it was supposed to be spelled "Concords". Call me slow.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Man, Pitchfork is having some ridiculous technical difficulties this week.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Dan the Man

As mentioned previously, Dan Deacon continues to step it up with each subsequent live show, most recently performing in Brooklyn with a full band. Now he's taking that full band on the road, with a stop at the Metro on May 7. This I gotta see.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Burlington Fun

Radio Free Chicago is hosting a DJ night and a record release party this Wednesday. Check it out.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Secretary of the Arts

From the inbox today:

Dear Artist:
Quincy Jones has started a petition to ask President-Elect Obama to appoint a Secretary of the Arts. While many other countries have had Ministers of Art or Culture for centuries, The United States has never created such a position. We in the arts need this and the country needs the arts--now more than ever. Please take a moment to sign this important petition and then pass it on to your friends and colleagues.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Andrew Bird Month continues as ABCNews gets on board the Bird bus with an interview with Andrew Bird called- yes- "Bird Is the Word".

Monday, January 19, 2009

Return to the Air

After an extended holiday hiatus, I'm back on the radio starting tonight. I've temporarily given up on trying to record the show for podcasting purposes due to rampant technological difficulties, so if you want to listen and aren't typically in a car on Monday nights, I suggest listening online at wluw.org.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Another one bites the dust

Sad, LA's Indie 103 is shutting down and going online, probably to be replaced by hispanic or religious programming.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Will Oldham

Bonnie "Prince" Billy is one of those artists I've been wanting to see forever, yet every time he comes to Chicago (not often), I have a conflict. So it goes again, as he comes to the Vic on March 14th in support of his new album, and I will be out of town. Fate does not want me to see this man, for some reason.

In the meantime, I'll just read this New Yorker profile on him and cry into my hot chocolate.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Songs in the Key of Blago

Whoa- this is awesome. The Red-Eye had a songwriting contest inspired by Rod Blagojevich's claim that he likes to jog because it "keeps love in your heart". They picked their six favorite original songs out of 36 entries, with the top songs posted on the website and the winning entry set to a video montage of Blago running. The winner, "Bla-Go", by the Keith Harrison Band, is a pretty clear standout over the other five if you ask me, though John Garvey's "Blah Blah Blah" also has its moments.

You can see the Keith Harrison Band play the winning song on WGN tomorrow, January 14, during the WGN midday news.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


I guess there's a new website that broadcasts live music from clubs and concert venues called Awdio. Smart Bar and Sonotheque shows are available live on the site if you're ever at home and in need of some hot beats.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Jeffrey Lewis

So last year I saw this guy Jeffrey Lewis open up for Super Furry Animals and Times New Viking. Only caught a couple minutes, but he did this pretty funny singing + comics routine. Turns out he, like Andrew Bird, has a Measure for Measure blog on the New York Times website. Find out what his 2008 was like in comic form through his most recent posting. Awwww- cheer up Jeffrey, at least you played with some pretty awesome bands all year long!

Monday, January 05, 2009

More Andrew Bird

The Andrew Bird promo push continues with this great article in the New York Times Magazine that looks back at his career and the expectations for him going forward. I got my pre-order for Noble Beast in this morning (along with my pre-order for Animal Collective's new one, which apparently if it had been released a couple weeks earlier would have topped everyone's best of 2008 lists. C'mon guys, it's only five days into the year!).