Sunday, October 08, 2006

We've Moved!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Bandwidth Preview: DJ LA*Jesus

Finally, in our series of Bandwidth previews, we have a recent interview with the man with a plan himself, DJ LA*Jesus, whose increasing presence in the ever-growing live DJ/rock show arena, is due to his reputation as a true entertainer. With his saint-like skills behind the wheels of motion and his effervescent personality, DJ LA*Jesus is determined to get you on the floor and shake your body to salvation! How did this LA*Jesus phenomenon get started? It started Halloween '02: after resisting it for years, I'd decided to go as Jesus. I had avoided it for so long 'cause I thought it was too obvious -- I already bore a slight resemblance with the hair and beard. The "LA" was added after a dude at a party, whom I didn't know, referred to me as "LA Jesus" and it stuck. Well, folks reacted very well to it, and I had a ball, so I decided to wear the costume to some shows in the effort to get people excited and dancing. At a Flaming Lips show in May '03, one thing lead to another and I found myself dancing onstage with them. This lead to several subsequent onstage appearances and -BAH-BAM!!! it was a hit. The F'Lips even went on to include a small cameo from me in their Fearless Freaks documentary released last year. What's your philosophy when it comes to DJ'ing? It's my view that the folks on the dancefloor should be taken for a ride! They should be surprised and psyched to hear a song they love, and equally so when hearing a track they've never heard before. Good DJs know how to do that. I've always appreciated a DJ that challenges me when I'm on the dancefloor, so I try and throw things out there that may be risky -- I know that's what makes a good experience for me, and I can't be alone. Furthermore, I think it's very important to play what's true to yourself, to play what moves you. How does LA*Jesus plan to save the dancefloor? When DJ LA*J takes the stage you know it's time to really let go and lose yourself in the moment. I'm out to not only make you wanna shake what the Good Lord gave ya, I want to make you laugh, smile, feel alive. Up, Bustle and Out have a track I spin that says it all, "Dance your troubles away / every weekend you got bills to pay / BUT RIGHT NOW / Dance your troubles away..." After a recent performance, one individual commented on my myspace, "You made me see God" -- so there you go ;) If you could make a mix cd to give to God, what 3 songs would have to be on it? A mix for the big man... hmmm... "I Just Want To Celebrate" - Rare Earth "Just A Thought" - Gnarls Barkley "Kooler Than Jesus" - My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult (yeah, God's got a sense of humor, don't worry). I'm sure he does. So, what's up next for LA*Jesus? Working on remixes -- particularly a series called The Prophets of the Modern Age. The first of which, entitled "All We Have Is Now (She Moves She: 23)", places The Flaming Lips atop the beats from two different Four Tet tracks. This mix, amongst others, is available on my myspace. Also, folks can catch me live Oct 25 (w/ Flosstradamus & Mickey Avalon) at Darkroom and Oct 27 (w/Islands) at Metro. Who are you listening to at the moment? Aceyalone - "Lost Your Mind"... now the wonderous Party Shuffle has selected: "We Listen Every Day" - The Go! Team. Nice. Ah, yes, Party Shuffle, a miracle of modern science. Thanks for your time, DJ LA*J! For more miracles and to feel and breathe the dance gospel of DJ LA*Jesus, be sure to stick around after the live bands for his DJ set tonight at Bandwidth (around midnight?), sure to make a "believer" out of even the toughest music agnostic. Download: DJ*LA Jesus Mix - "Come in Out of the Corner" (MP3)

Tonight...

Already have plans to see Ladytron, Sunset Rubdown, The Long Winters, etc? No problem...our party goes 'til 4a.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Bandwidth Preview: Coltrane Motion

One of the first bands to hop on the Bandwidth bill was Coltrane Motion, and we are proud as hell to have them. You might be asking...who is Coltrane Motion? Shame on you. Coltrane Motion is "heartbreak you can dance to," as their press bio states. A delicious blend of "indie guitar fuzz with a mess of synths, samplers, and laptops tearing it all to pieces." RFC first caught up with the band last year and since that time these Ohio expats have continued touring and recording their asses off. This summer, they released a tour-only single, with two new tracks and a data side of the disc full of instrumentals, beats, and other goodies for people to remix, sample, etc. (They will be selling the remainder of this single at the Launch Party this Friday, and giving away the 2007 Datawaslost sampler) We can look foward to (finally) a full-length release from Coltrane Motion next Spring. After this show they will not be doing any shows till around Christmas, so don't miss out your chance to see these guys to tear it up on stage before they go back into hibernation to polish up the forthcoming full-length. -Brian J Download: Coltrane Motion - "Supersexy '67" (MP3)

Live Review: Nous Non Plus w/Hello Stranger @ Double Door 9/27/06

Keytar_1 Every few months, without fail, I thoroughly convince myself that this 80’s revival/trend/fad/ whatever it's labeled these days, is on its last breath. Not only have I been wrong every time, but I have grossly underestimated just how far people are willing to go. I comfort myself in the certainty that it will run its course eventually. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the 80’s too, but when the worst elements of a decade start to resurface it becomes just downright troubling. With this in mind, I entered the Double Door last Wednesday night. As I made my way into the main room, I glanced toward the stage to make sure I was not as late as a clock would have me believe. As I peered from the back of the room something returned my gaze from the stage and it was front and center. It was unmistakable what stared back at me, it was a key-tar. Yes, that hybrid mutt of an instrument, half keyboard, half guitar and unofficial spokesman for 80’s music. I panicked and immediately descended for safety into the depths of the lower bar. I figured I could wait this one out until the set came to an end. I am all for hearing new music and keeping an open mind but, it was too early in the night and I was far too sober to face a key-tar. I approached the bar, ordered a beer and quickly gulped some of it down to keep composed. I could still hear the music, muffled above me, penetrating my temporary place of refuge. “Hmmm” I thought, after a few minutes “it is actually a pretty catchy little number.” The bartender turned toward the only other patron below and said, “Man, that keyboardist is killer.” The patron agreed. I wondered if they even knew the sound they were hearing was coming from a key-tar. Regardless, I couldn’t help but agree with them on the matter. I decided it was my duty to go upstairs and get a closer look and I am glad I did. The band, Hello Stranger, does subscribe to that 80’s pop sound, much in the way “the Sounds” do it. Keyboard, or rather key-tar laden tracks filled with hook after enticing hook all played with a genuine vitality. All this was funneled through lead singer Juliette Commagere, who was dressed as if she just walked off the set of Pat Benatar’s “Love is a Battlefield” video, while combining Patti Smith grit with the sex appeal of a younger Debbie Harry. What can I say, I have always been a sucker for Debbie Harry. Sure they closed with "Thunderstruck," complete with a key-tar intro channeling Angus Young's classic guitar line...and sure this only cements the fact that this 80’s revival is alive and well with no apparent end in sight, but when it is done well and delivered in such effective packaging, who cares? At the very least this Los Angeles-based band allowed me to make peace with the key-tar for an evening, and that has to stand for something. Nounonplus2I had definitely missed the buzz about Hello Stranger because by the time Nous Non Plus took the stage the crowd was noticeably smaller. I can’t recall where I first heard about Nous Non Plus, but I admittedly knew very little. Early on it became apparent that the band was not to be taken very seriously. As the show progressed, this idea only became more evident, thus the music a bit more palpable and entertaining. At times the band could rock, much in the manner the soundtrack to European Vacation could rock. After listening to a song about Paris Hilton, whose title shares the very same name as said celebrity’s infamous sex tape, I had to wonder if there was anything remotely serious about the band. Perhaps they are more of a French version of Spinal Tap, only they are supposedly not actually French. Nonetheless, the band did seem to get pockets of the crowd dancing about, including openers Hello Stranger. I suppose the music might make some good background music at a party, but I wouldn’t give it much more credibility than that. Click here for the complete photoset (Words and photos by Rory O'Connor) Download: Hello Stranger - "Take It To The Maxx" (MP3)

Live Review: The 1900s @ Subterranean 9/30/06

1900s

Chicago’s very own 1900s are fantastic. They blend the best of melodic '60s pop with full rich harmonizing that makes your heart ache. Both the vocals of Edward Anderson and the two female vocalists, Caroline Donovan and Jeanine O’Toole make for songs that are like sugary sweet candy leaving sticky residues in your brain that you can’t possibly forget. The keyboard and violin always add a nice touch live as well and the new songs, which have become a more substantial part of their set, made me long for the release of an upcoming proper full length follow up to their debut ep Plume Delivery on Parasol records. My only regret is that they did not play my favorite song of theirs, “Patron Saint of Mediocre.” However, “Bring the Good Boys Home” and “A Coming Age” are always great treats.

Chicago is very lucky to have the 1900s here and one other thing I will say is that no matter how many times I see them live, I never tire of hearing these beautiful gems. Their set always seems to go too fast and end far too soon. I hope the 1900s have a really long career ahead of them with many more songs in store because it seems each new song of theirs I hear, I am just a little bit happier to call this city my home. Setlist: Bring the Good Boys Home Collex Not Wrong A Coming Age Wool Oh No Shoot to Kill Acutiplantar View the complete photoset here

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

All City Affairs added to Bandwidth bill

If you didn't catch Carlo's comment earlier, All City Affairs have graciously agreed to join the Bandwidth bill, after our little flake-out debacle earlier left us minus a band. Huge thanks to All City Affairs for coming on board, and huge thanks to Carlo for his crazy 11th-hour booking skills. Speaking of which, Carlo also somehow managed to whip up an interview with the band already, and his post follows below...

Bandwidth Preview: All City Affairs

When he's not spinning records as DJ Hugsen Kissus, or pounding away the funk beats in local 3-piece Baby Teeth, Peter Andreadis is working like a busy bee on his solo project All City Affairs. With the recent release of ACA's latest LP "Bees" on Lujo Records, All City Affairs is primed to bring it's vibrant infusion of rock, funk, reggae, jazz, and hip-hop sound to a wider audience with an upcoming tour and even a new album in the works. Peter took some time in his busy schedule to answer a few questions for RFC. How long have you been working on All City Affairs? Where did the name come from? All City Affairs has been around since about 2000. It started as a band under my real name and then became a band-band, and then became just me again with no band and called All City Affairs. I wanted to call it All City Affairs, because when I was playing with live musicians we were from all over Chicago. What are your plans for ACA? My plans with ACA are to finish the next record and play as much as I can in the fall. I'm working on booking for out of town dates. So, you perform primarily as a one man band, what can an audience expect from a live ACA show? An audience can expect me to be selling the songs in a very genuine way. When I am at home working on these tunes I can get lost in them. Really get carried away and all. Now that they are finished and I am performing them in front of people, I get the same feeling. It's my time alone up there and I'm just trying to give people the same experience of what I felt in my room at conception. What is the most difficult aspect to recording as ACA? I would say the most difficult thing about recording ACA is that there is no one there to edit but me. I have to be conscious of what is relevant and interesting and what is just musical vomit that I've decided to throw out that day? or week? After a few listens I can usually tell if a particular song will be compelling to audiences or whether it's only compelling to me, because I've created it. What inspires you as a songwriter? At the core of songwriting, the artists that inspire me are Paul McCartney, Elvis Costello, Sly Stone, David Bowie, Freddie Mercury, and Neil Young, etc. I can listen to any number of those artists' tunes and just break down and cry at how beautiful they are. As far as sounds are concerned and production, I would say Dr. Dre, the Neptunes, Timbaland, Squarepusher, Lee "Scratch" Perry, and Aphex Twin. I'm very interested in rhythmic patterns and what makes things progressive and moving underneath the melodic and harmonic structure of a song. If you don't have a moving rhythm, what do you have? You are in constant motion yourself, does that motivate your work on All City Affairs? Yes. A dominant influence on All City Affairs is my reluctance to relax. I don't like idle time. It makes me nervous. I'd rather strum out some chords on my guitar or tap out some rhythms and walk down the street and beat-box something. What's your favorite part of Chicago and the local music scene? Chicago feels like a small town. You can see the same people walking down the street everyday if you wanted to stay in the same neighborhood. If you move around a lot, like I do, you see new people. But sometimes I like to visit some old haunts and see old friends. I also like the fact that there are many, many talented musicians here and the bar is always set high. I like the pressure of knowing that there is a bit of competition. I work best under pressure, I always have. Finally, who are you listening to these days? I'm really into the new Baby Dayliner CD called Critics Pass Away. His name is Ethan and he is from NYC. Great pop tunes, with a dance floor appeal. I'm also listening to Donald Fagen's Morph The Cat, Broadcast's Tender Buttons, The Roots' Game Theory, and Ludacris' Release Therapy. Oh, and I checked out a copy of Company from the library, which was a Stephen Sondheim musical from 1970. Thanks for your time, Peter! You can "send yourself to work" on the dancefloor at The Kinetic Playground this Friday, when All City Affairs takes the stage as part of BANDWIDTH: A Launch Party Revolution. Download: All City Affairs - "Send Yourself To Work" - (MP3) Download: All City Affairs - "Man Of Modern Times" - (MP3)

Bandwidth Preview: Skybox

Tuesday night I sat down with newly deemed Bandwidth headliners Skybox for an interview and acoustic session live from their Edgewater apartment. Download the podcast here or simply hit play on the player below:
powered by ODEO Also, be sure to check out this infectious lead single from the band's self-released debut, Arco Isis:

Skybox - "Various Kitchen Utensils"(MP3)

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Live Review: Built to Spill @ Metro 9/16/06

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I’ve been a fan of Built to Spill for a very long time but I hadn’t expected to enjoy this show as much because I wasn’t as familiar with their recently released album, You in Reverse as I had hoped to be. I found myself really enjoying their set despite this fact, especially when they played their older songs. Yet, their newer material fit in well with the old, particularly “Goin’ Against Your Mind,” and “Liar.” There’s something to be said for Dough Martsh’s voice. It’s definitely not one you’d call classically trained or with exceptional range. Yet, it’s quality is it’s undeniable ability to be expressive and make everything feel right (even if he’s singing at the time about everything being wrong). Even while hearing the new songs, I felt like there was an emotional connection I was experiencing. This is the second time I’d seen Built to Spill and I think they’ve come even more into their own as a band. I also don’t remember them having visuals when they played the Metro in the past. It’s really the vocals that are touching and make the songs what they are vs. a real stage presence. The images that came across the screen were very imaginative and artistic and became an exceptional comliment to hearing the songs being played. At one point, a video of Calvin Johnson talking about the environment and politics took over the stage, with Martsch and the band playing instrumentals throughout it. Other highlights of the set included "Big Dipper" and perhaps their most brilliant song lyrically, "Untrustable." I would have loved it had they played my favorite song of theirs ("Twin Falls") or had they done their fifteen minute long cover of Neil Young’s "Cortez the Killer," but overall the night was really special and I couldn’t help feeling that There’s Nothing Wrong With Love.

Live Pics: Thunderbirds Are Now! @ Beat Kitchen 9/29/06

I caught an early show with Thunderbirds Are Now! Friday night and caught a few pics for the photoblog. The Beat Kitchen has become a pretty impressive venue- great sound and a very well-lit stage that makes it incredibly easy to take good pictures without flash! (Thax's crusade should be about better lighting, not flash cameras!) The only difficulty this time was getting the band to stand still long enough to snap a non-blurry photo- TAN! is about as high-energy as it gets. They played a lot of older favorites like "Eat This City" and "This World Is Made of Paper," as well as debuted some new tunes from their forthcoming album, Make History. A good time, as always.

New Releases Tuesday - 10/3

Another big name New Releases Tuesday...featuring new albums from the likes of Beck, The Decemberists, The Dears, Jet and The Killers. The New York Times did a nice job of profiling the heavy hitters yesterday, but there's still plenty more to check out: Ad Astra Per Aspera - Catapult (Calypso) Akron/Family - Meek Warrior (Young God) Air - Late Night Tales (Azuli) J.B. and Nicholas are the latest artists to contribute to this great compilation series created by Azuli Records. (think of it as a downtempo version of the DJ Kicks series) The French lounge masters feature a few obvious choices like Sebastien Tellier, Lee Hazlewood and Scott Walker, but they also drop a few surprises like tracks from The Band and Black Sabbath. Robyn Hitchcock & The Venus 3 - Ole! Tarantula (Yep Rock) In 30 years of recording with the Soft Boys and solo-wise, Robyn Hitchcock's enduring brand of madcap mayhem has raced between English punk, acoustic folk and sonically lush pop. But by teaming with Seattle pals Pete Buck (REM) and Scott McCaughey (The Minus 5), Hitchcock has made a return to garage rock not heard since 1989's Queen Elvis...Buck's indelible guitar instills a chiming luster to songs like "Underground Sun" and "Red Locust Frenzy," while McCaughey provides a random, finger-snapping piano to the delightful "Belltown Ramble," which finds Hitchcock serving as the clever hobnobbing tour guide of his favorite Emerald City neighborhood. As usual, a sharp cockney twang is Hitchcock's best instrument, carving up the scatty title song as aptly as his ode to San Francisco "(A Man's Gotta Know His Limitations) Briggs" or his salute to "NY Doll," late bassist Arthur Kane. --Scott Holter (via Amazon) Hold Steady - Boys and Girls in America (Vagrant) Craig Finn loves books and bars. It's not just that he pinched the title of he Hold Steady's third album from the ultimate manual for boozehounds, Jack Kerouac's "On the Road" ("Boys and Girls in America have such a sad time together"), but that every leery line of every song is crammed with the wayward poetry and passion of someone who is more familiar with the bottom of a whiskey glass than the sun. Thanks to his raucous Brooklyn band, his music--louder than its predecessors this time, with a few more ballads--also happens to make a great soundtrack for an all-night bender where broken-hearts and broken bottles become one. -Aidin Vaziri (via Amazon) Kooks - Inside In/Inside Out (Astralwerks) Sean Lennon - Friendly Fire (Capitol) Make Believe - Of Course (Flameshovel) Pernice Brothers - Live A Little (Ashmont) Subtle - For Hero For Fool (Astralwerks) Thunderbirds Are Now! - Make History (Frenchkiss) Various Artists - DFA Remixes: Chapter Two (Astralwerks)

Monday, October 02, 2006

(Doh!) Bandwidth Headliner Flakes Out

This is so ridiculous that I can't even get mad about it. Seriously, I should've been pissed, but all I could do was laugh when I heard the news. Barely a week before our big launch party at Kinetic Playground, came word that our headlining band, The Dirty Things, broke up and won't be able to play our gig. RFC's Chief Launch Party Coordinator, Brian J, got this message via a MySpace email message late Friday afternoon: hey brian, i hate doing this to you. things we're in utter turmoil on wednesday (if i seemed a bit strange) and we were hoping the show would lift our spirits but it didn't help. looks like we're calling it quits. i really would like to fullfill our obligations but we just can't. i can throw you some names of some bands if you like. i'm so sorry for the last minute notice but our lead singer is a bitch. i will be starting a new project and i hope to work with you again in the future. thanks so much for making it out to the show and i hope there's no hard feelings. let me know if there's anything i can do: 312-7xx-7xxx sincerely, josh Josh never did return messages from Brian or myself this weekend, so now we're scrambing to find a replacement band. "Work with you again in the future???" "No hard feelings???"Are you serious? We plastered your name all over our site, Future Perfect Radio, MySpace and any other form of media willing to list our event, and even printed up 1000 glossy flyers all with your name at the top of the bill. We did all that and you can't even return a phone call after leaving us high and dry? Wow Josh, we can't wait to promote your next band and work with you again in the future! Gossipy Update: In fairness to Josh, Brian J said that he did finally email him back this afternoon and suggested some other bands. Though, four days off, this hardly absolves the situation. Gossipy Update #2: Josh responds to my email from last Friday: ...i will attempt contacting the other guys and see if we can work something out but i will say it is unlikely. i feel terrible about this. in my defense, i want the band to carry on but the singer/guitarist does not. i'm gonna brainstorm about other possibilities...i am truely sorry for this situation.

Beck Listening Party Tonight

Damn, that was quick. After Guero and Guerolito last year, Beck is already back with a brand new full-length, The Information, out tomorrow. "Be the first on your block to hear it..." by going to the official listening party tonight at SmartBar: Monday October 2 Interscope Records Presents... BECK CD LISTENING PARTY FOR THE INFORMATION FREE! / 21 & over / Doors: 6:30pm / Show: 6:30pm Come to Smart Bar and be the first to hear Beck's new album The Information (due in stores on 10/3) and enter for your chance to win tickets to see Beck at UIC Pavilion

Also, it's "Beck Day" today on the Beeb's 6Music channel, where they'll be spinning tracks from the new album as well as featuring a plethora of classic Beck jams. John Peel heir apparent Steve Lamacq will also be sitting down for a chat over tea and crumpets with the man himself at around 12p local time.

Happy Rocktober!

It's back...that magical time of year known lovingly as "Rocktober." To celebrate, all this month Radio Free Chicago will be playing 20-minute Led Zeppelin, AC/DC and Van Halen rock-blocks every hour! OK...not really, however today does mark the debut of the Radio Free Chicago audio player (aka "The Local Band Listening Post"), powered by Future Perfect Radio. We'll have a direct link up on the new site next week, but for now you can preview the player directy on the Future Perfect Radio homepage.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Get On The List: Junior Boys @ Empty Bottle

The crack staff at Future Perfect Radio is throwing a pre-launch party this Saturday and they're giving away a pair of passes to see Junior Boys at The Bottle next Sunday (10/8). Apparently this intimate soiree is "super secret" and at an "undisclosed location," so you've got to email futureperfectradio(at)gmail.com to get the top secret password and coordinates. (Must be present to win tix)

RFC Interview: Say Hi To Your Mom

When I first got Say Hi To Your Mom’s latest album Impeccable Blahs back in early August, I listened to it a lot. Since then, I’ve listened to it even more. In the future? I plan to keep on listening to it. It’s just one of those albums that demand that sort of constant attention … Not to say that’s it's needy. In fact, it’s the opposite: It’s a giver. It provides new wave beats so good they can charm those who don’t even like new wave, pop hooks that can catch the most cynical ear, and lines so sharp that they could slice a man in two before he even knows he was being cut. Since I didn’t really know a damn thing about Say Hi To Your Mom, the cd was a complete -- and completely pleasant -- surprise. Still, I needed to know more… So, I checked in with band frontman Eric Elbogen to ask him a dozen or so questions he’s probably heard a hundred times before. But, in the end? I'd like to think we both learned something… (Or else I might be writing while drunk again.) Hi, Eric. How’s it going How long have you been doing this? I started Say Hi To Your Mom in 2002. Before that I had been playing in bands for ten years and had been writing songs for about fourteen years. Wow, that makes me feel old ... You were a solo artist for your first few albums. What made you decide to change to a full band? I didn’t. Jeff and Chris had been touring with me for a couple years and we got along and they were good players and when it was time to make the record they got involved. I’m very glad they did. I actually just played my last show with them though, because they’ve decided they don’t want to tour anymore. I’m about to move away from New York too, to the west coast somewhere, at least for a while. I’ve heard you say elsewhere that Impeccable Blahs is, for lack of a better term, a concept album where all the songs are based around vampires. First off, why vampires? Why not vampires? Do all of the songs have that theme? I can certainly hear it in These Fangs, Blah Blah Blah, and She Just So Happens To Date The Prince of Darkness, but not in tracks like Sad … But Endearingly So. The theme is there in all the songs, although it is a little more blatant in some. Sad is a song about vampires interviewing their potential prey. Were you testing yourself by sticking with one theme? Not so much testing myself as much as just making the writing process a little more interesting for myself. Okay. You’re probably tired of talking about who your influences are. So let me ask you instead, how have your influences changed over the course of recording four albums? I don’t know that they have changed because of making records. They change I guess because new, great records come out and when I hear them, it’s like they are giving me the finger, saying “Ha! Beat that, you wimp.” That happened with certain Spoon records, certain Radiohead records, certain Broken Social Scene records... What the name of your band from? It’s actually my legal name, Eric Elbogen is just a pseudonym. You just went on tour with Dirty on Purpose. How did that go? (Sorry, I missed you guys play in LA.) It was great. I love those guys. And they party harder than Say Hi ever has, so hanging out with them redefined the idea of being in a rock band for me. What’s next for you? Any new tour plans or recordings looming in your immediate future? The next tour starts in a couple of weeks. It ends in mid-November, at which point I’m gonna drive all my stuff to the west coast, set up my studio and make another record. The tour after that won’t happen until March, which will be a nice break for me because we will have toured on and off for half of 2006. Last question: Who are you listening to these days? Dirty on Purpose, The Silversun Pickups, Hot Chip, Spoon, Thom Yorke, Sunset Rubdown, Tokyo Police Club, Dr. Dog, Bjork, The Long Winters, and that new Yo La Tengo record, which I think is incredible. That’s it! Thanks for your time, Eric. Say Hi To Your Mom returns to Chicago on October 13th for a gig at Schubas with The Evangelicals.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Live Review: The Sadies @ Schubas 9/23/06

Sadies

Fear the Sadies. Anyone who attended Schubas on Saturday night was assaulted in a most malicious, unrelenting way. I've noticed sometimes that Schubas is advertised (somewhat jokingly?) as having “hardcore honky tonk nightly.” On most nights I would be prone to question this statement, especially considering just a few hours earlier on Saturday night David Bazan of Pedro the Lion took the stage (no disrespect, though), but with the Sadies on the bill there could be no dispute. The evening began tame enough with a movie entitled Tales of the Rat Fink. The film, a documentary about the life of hot rod & custom car designer Ed “Big Daddy” Roth, leans towards the psychedelic and surreal. It is largely a montage of photos mixed with some animation. John Goodman narrates, as the voice of Big Daddy himself, and The Sadies provided the soundtrack. I have to admit, I did not watch the move in its entirety; but if anything, the film may help some understand that the name Von Dutch is much more than just fashion fodder for obnoxious celebrities. First on the bill was Heavy Trash, which consisted of Matt Verta-Ray, Jon Spencer (yes, the Jon Spencer of Blues Explosion fame) and the Sadies serving as a back-up band. They formed a cohesive unit, as does any Sadies backed band/collaboration, and ripped through every track on the Heavy Trash self-titled album with style. Jon Spencer is a very engaging performer who has the presence of a televangelist combined with the moves of a 70’s-era Elvis (sans the bloated, on-too-many-meds look). I seriously mean that as a compliment …after a slew of indie rock shows lately, he may be the most electrifying front man I have seen in months. The performance could have easily been a headlining set on most nights in most venues. This set flowed seamlessly into the Sadies later set, really making this seem more of a two set show than two different bands. After a break, The Sadies were back on stage. Much is made about The Sadies in their varying backing roles, most notably for Neko Case on the extraordinary live album The Tigers Have Spoken. The fact is the Sadies are exceptional in any package, including when they take the stage on their own. While the Sadies may not be the most mobile performers, it quickly becomes apparent that this music can stand on its own. The music does not warrant any dog and pony show, as gimmicks are simply not needed here. They blazed through tracks spanning their entire catalog, with no shortage of their trademark barn burnin’, surf style, western-inspired instrumentals. As to be expected from a Sadies show, they were joined throughout the night by a plethora of guests, including Jon Langford and Sally Timms. The ease they display in morphing into the ideal backing band for whoever steps on stage is something to behold. The evening closed, as it started, with Jon Spencer fronting the band for the last few numbers. The evening was at its most electric with this combination, peaking as Jon Spencer jumped into the crowd to finish the set. As the night came to a close I was left to consider two questions: Are the Sadies the best live act going? And how is this Canadian band able to play Americana, better than most American bands? -Words and photos by Rory O'Connor...click here for the complete photoset

For the suburban faithful out there, The Sadies are playing again tonight at Fitzgerald's in Berwyn.

Indie Rock - Hollywood Style

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Get on the List: Langhorne Slim @ Empty Bottle

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Everyone's favorite porkpie hat wearing, fresh-faced grifter bluesman, Langhorne Slim is playing The Empty Bottle this Saturday and RFC wants to get you on the list. Here's what Chief Honky Tonk correspondent Rory O'Connor has to say about Mr. Slim: Langhorne Slim was born in the 80’s and hails from Pennsylvania but his music sounds like it came right out of the dust bowl era and has roots in that urgent, desperate part of the south where Woody Guthrie once roamed and a Hank Williams once howled. Like these artists Langhorne Slim appears to have a knack for crossing boundaries and bridging gaps. While his album plays like pure Folk and Country, it feels assembled in an atmosphere of rock. RFC will get your name on the list (plus a guest) if you can answer this country rock trivia courtesty of Rory: Give us the name of that seminal Byrds album, that had Roger McGuinn trading in his jangling 12-string for a banjo. It is often cited as the very first country rock album (a dubious tag indeed!) Send your responses to: radiofreechicago(at)gmail.com. If there are multiple responses, we'll pick the 5th correct entry. An additonal winner chosen at random will also receive a Langhorne Slim signed poster. Good luck! (remember, you must be 21+ to visit The Empty Bottle)

Live Review: The Wire Festival 9/20/06

Jandek’s appearance was rare…so rare in fact that when it had been announced last year that he might appear one of the days at the Wire Festival, many people bought tickets for every night of the event just hoping to catch him. Jandek played guitar with his back turned for a substantial portion of the time when he wasn’t singing and at times the vocals were very sparse and tangential. In one sense, it was a matter of free association and yet at times the words seemed more calculated. It felt like a Jim Jarmusch film; intelligent but also dreamy. It was difficult to distinguish at some times whether you were hearing music or an avant garde poetry session. We were all journeying on an unpopulated highway and we could somehow all relate a bit to the terrain of the road. Jandek sang, “Don’t know the reason I feel this way” at one point and “The hours go by but it takes a long time” at another. His audience was willing to wait for him. The songs were lengthy and sometimes circular with repetitive bass lines and intense build-ups but ultimately they made you feel they were composed after an entire night of no sleep and decaf coffee. For a brief moment, one of the bass lines hit some warmer tones that actually reminded me a bit of the feel of Tim Buckley’s Blue Afternoon and I had to wonder what kind of music he might write after seeing Jandek play if was still alive today. After all, he was so inspired at one point by the poet Lorca. The combination of poetry and music definitely left us all with images and thoughts that haven’t been as emphasized by other musicians who end up letting the music get in the way of their words. I have the utmost respect for Rhys Chatham, who has worked with everyone from Phillip Glass to Steve Reich and from Brian Eno to Glenn Branca. Yet, to be honest, I found myself being very disappointed in his set. The reason for this is mainly because he was performing as part of his heavy metal band, which featured himself on guitar with another guitarist and a drummer to create some minimalist metal that I unfortunately couldn’t relate to at all or connect with emotionally. The few times Rhys Chatham approached the microphone, he spoke with a gentle soft spoken demeanor that didn’t quite match the assaulting chords he strummed. It’s clear Rhys Chatham is an incredibly talented musician who has added a substantial amount of history to mysic with his contributions as a composer. I just hope next time he leaves the metal bit at home. Jana Hunter from Texas came out and sang bluesy songs accompanied by her guitar. She sang with a much deeper voice than I expected and she seemed so pure to me in a way with such minimal guitar effects and just a small fender amp. The Empty Bottle felt much more intimate somehow with her on stage. Tim Hecker from Vancouver, Canada plays electronic music that felt very tidal with Brian Eno-esque tones from his ambient era. To describe it, the music swarmed around the audience warmly but there was a presence lurking there amidst all of this that wasn’t as bright as it could have been. The full effect was dark at times but interesting with the unfortunate downfall that Hecker wasn’t very engaging to watch as he mainly just stood on a dark stage and pressed buttons on his PowerBook. It was definitely more of a set to close your eyes to and concentrate on listening and feeling.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Will WOXY rise from the dead...again??

Live Review: Wire Festival 9/22/06

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The Wire teamed up with Chicago’s Empty Bottle to bring us Adventures in Modern Music, a 5-day festival showcasing an experimental and diverse lineup of musicians and bands from all over the world. On this night alone, local musicians gathered with those from Oregon, France, and Brazil for an incredible night that would not have been possible if not for The Wire. (The Wire is a great UK-based magazine for experimental and outer limits independent music. It's a bit expensive, but is worth the cost as it comes with a nice CD sampler of the bands it covers.)

Spires that in the Sunset Rise I agree with the way that the Spires describe themselves: ...the music is a repellant and magnetizing swarm of harps, guitars, cello, drums, harmonium, banjo, mbira, spike fiddle, bells, and vocals. Although technically a four piece, they perfromed as a three piece, though their sound was still quite rich and full. I shouldn’t be too surprised music like this is coming out of Chicago. We do have a significant art scene here and this is definitely music created for and by artists with such emotional eccentricity that you feel literally like you’re being haunted by the sounds. The cello was especially beautiful and there were times when the vocals were like half angelic pained cries. At one point, the chilling sound of a scraping pen writing along the edge of an instrument caused shivers to creep up one’s spine. This small orchestra might be speaking for the actual Earth at times. It definitely serves as a rebuttal for all those who think nothing original is being created anymore. These aren’t anything close to pop songs but are nonetheless rewarding if embraced by the eccentric in all of us. Yellow Swans Hailing from Portland, Oregon, Yellow Swans is a two piece experimental band who seemed like they were going to put on a deafening set of noise until they submerged themselves into a more melodic form focusing on a less assaulting repetition between the guitar, pedal effects, and noise generator. Hear their songs by visiting them on myspace Colleen Colleen is actually Cécile Schott, a French artist who plays beautifully lush instrumentals by looping guitar, cello, and clarinet then fills the remaining air with the sound of wind chimes. She was just lovely while the music inspired a touching sort of emotion in me ala Clint Mansell’s soundtrack work on Requiem for a Dream, only not as dark. It’s very magical both in the live setting and on her two fantastic full length albums: Everyone Alive Wants Answers and The Golden Morning Breaks. Tetine I didn’t quite know what to expect from Brazil’s Tetine (pictured above). Eliete Mejorado came out clad in a bright golden metallic one piece bodysuit complete with a horse’s tail attached to her. Bruno Verner’s dress was much more modest in contrast but he was just as passionate while singing. They both sang and the songs were very keyboard dependent as well. They were captivating, raunchy, and created very danceable music which, even though the lyrics weren’t sung in English, was pretty easy to guess at subject matter wise. If you like CSS, check out Tetine. More coverage of the festival to come...check out the complete photoset here

New Releases Tuesday - 9/26

Adem - Love and Other Planets (Domino) Akron/Family - Meek Warrior (Young God) Botch - Unifying Themes Redux (Hydra Head) The Changes - Today Is Tonight (Drama Club)Changesalbum After two EPs, Chicago indie darlings The Changes finally hit the big time with their debut full-length, a jangly pop affair perfect for autumnal listening. The official album release party is at Double Door next month (more on that later), though you can check them out today at the Virgin Megastore. Download: The Changes - "When I Wake" (MP3) Solomon Burke - Nashville (Shout) Four Tet - Remixes (Domino) Emily Haines - Knives Don't Have Your Back (Last Gang) Emilyhaines Indie heartthrob and favorite front woman of hip guys and girls everywhere, Emily Haines (of Metric and Broken Social Scene), is stepping out of band format and is set to release her first solo album, Knives Don’t Have Your Back. You may hear faint traces of her other bands in this work, but this collection of songs listens more like a chapter from Emily’s personal diary, which makes sense as the album’s content is borne of four years spent living in four different cities while on tour with Metric. With stark piano melodies, and haunting vocals Emily proves her stock as one of the leading ladies in rock today. -Filter Download: Emily Haines - "Doctor Blind" (MP3) The Lemonheads - The Lemonheads (Vagrant)Lemonheads After a solo release in 2003, Evan Dando returns with the first Lemonheads record in a decade. Of course The Lemonheads where pretty much just Dando anyway, though it appears this record should rock quite a bit more than the Jon Brion-produced solo effort. Backing up Dando this time around are ex-Descendants Bill Stevenson (drums) and Karl Alvarez (bass). Download: The Lemonheads - "No Backbone" (MP3) Scissor Sisters - Ta-Dah (Universal) Sparklehorse - Dreamt For Light Years In The Belly Of A Mountain (Astralwerks) Teddy Bears - Soft Machine (Big Beat) Wolf Eyes - Human Animal (Sub Pop)