Tuesday, November 30, 2004

GBV's Robert Pollard

Monday, November 29, 2004

New Releases Tuesday (11/30)

Local Label Releases: Bonnie "Prince" Billy - No More Workhorse Blues(5") (Drag City) Joanna Newsom - The Sprout and the Bean(5") (Drag City) Other Essentials: MF Doom - Mm...Food (Rhymesayers) Tindersticks - Working for the Man: The Island Years (Universal)

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

A tradition almost as essential as turkey...

Yes, of course Thanksgiving means turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, etc, etc…but another Thanksgiving tradition you can’t forget is the annual playing of Arlo Guthrie’s “Alice’s Restaurant” on the local rock/classic rock station. As a kid, I never really understood way it was always played, or what the song was really about…but nonetheless I always enjoyed the novelty of hearing an 18 minute, mostly spoken word song on the radio. Plus, after hearing it year after year, it became sort of a comforting tradition forever associated with the smell of a baking turkey in the oven. That being said, it’s actually been years since I’ve heard the song on Thanksgiving and I had pretty much forgotten about the song and its annual Turkey Day broadcast until I heard Lin Brehmer talk about it on XRT this morning. Growing up, I had always heard “Alice’s Restaurant” on the local rock station in Peoria and just figured it was some sort of quirky, local tradition at the station. However, XRT has also been playing the song for years on Thanksgiving…and apparently pretty much every other rock and classic rock station in the country plays it every year?!? Well, I’ll be damned! Hearing Brehmer talk about the song and explaining the meaning behind it also made me realize that I had absolutely NO idea what Guthrie was singing about…or for that matter, why it was played annually on Thanksgiving. So, as a public service this Thanksgiving holiday, here is the official story behind Arlo Guthrie’s “Alice’s Restaurant...” Arlo Guthrie’s most famous work is "Alice's Restaurant", a story song that lasts 18 minutes and 20 seconds. The song, a bitingly satirical protest against the Vietnam War draft, recounts a true Thanksgiving adventure that began at Alice's Restaurant, where "you can get anything you want (excepting Alice)". Alice, in this case, was restaurant owner Alice Brock, who lived in a former church in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. The song describes how Guthrie was hauled into court for littering some of Alice's garbage after discovering that the dump was closed for Thanksgiving, and because of the resulting criminal record he was eventually rejected as unfit for military service when he was called up for the draft. The characters in the story, including both Alice and "officer Obie", who arrested him, became famous in their own right as a result of the song. "Alice's Restaurant" is regularly played on some radio stations every Thanksgiving. (courtesy of the Science Daily encyclopedia) Guthrie’s “Alice’s Restaurant” will be heard locally on WXRT-FM (93.1) this Thanksgiving morning at 11:00 AM. If you’re out of town, scan the dial for a local rock station, and chances are you’ll hear it sometime before noon. Happy listening and happy thanksgiving…

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Local Hip Hop acts join forces to fight hunger

This Wednesday night (11/23), local group All Natural headlines a night of hip hop at Metro to benefit those less fortunate who fight hunger everyday. Dubbed "Hip Hop For Hunger," the night also features fellow Chicago underground artists Juice, Mass Hysteria, Pacifics, Dynamic Vibrations and numerous other MCs, collectives and DJs. Live art will be provided by Jose Garibaldi, Mike Bianco, Corey Barba and Tim Seely. Cans of non-perishable food items will be collected at the door and for those who bring in two cans of food, admission is only $10. The Hip Hop for Hunger benefit takes place Wednesday night at Metro, 3730 North Clark. Doors open at 11p, show is at 11:30p. Admission is $15 at the door, or $10 with food. 18+only.

Monday, November 22, 2004

New Releases Tuesday (11/23)

No big shocker here...pretty much zilch for new local or indie releases this week of Thanksgiving. However, Tuesday does mark the release of the long-awaited and heavily litigated Nirvana box-set. With three CDs and one DVD of rarities, demos and live recordings, it sounds like the collection will be worth the wait for its hardcore fans. Price tag of about $60 seems a bit steep, but I don't think fans will be disappointed. As far as the rest of the record buying public goes, sounds like a great week to dive into the bargain bins and pick up some classic vinyl...

Friday, November 19, 2004

Chicago premiere of "Moog" this weekend

This weekend, the Gene Siskel Film Center presents the Chicago premiere of Moog, a documentary about Robert Moog, the inventor of the Moog synthesizer. Moog could arguably be called the inventor of electronic music as well, as his invention paved the way for the sonic experimentation of Dark Side of the Moon, the robotic melodies of Kraftwerk and the space- age lounge of Air...and that's just a fraction of the music that his synthesizers made possible. However, Moog isn't just a cult-like figure to techno-music geeks, his influence is everywhere in modern music and it's not an exaggeration to say that he truly changed the way music is played and heard. According to its promotional website, the documentary "explores Moog's collaborations with musicians over the years, and his ideas about creativity, design, interactivity and spirituality." The film also features appearances by Keith Emerson (of Emerson Lake and Palmer), Walter Sear, Gershon Kinsgley (of "Popcorn" fame), Jean-Jacques Perrey & Luke Vibert (aka Wagon Christ), Rick Wakeman (aka keyboard wanker for Yes), DJ Spooky, Herb Deutsch, Bernie Worrell, Pamelia Kurstin, Tino Corp. with Charlie Clouser, Money Mark (of Beastie Boys fame), Mix Master Mike (of Beastie Boys fame) and more. The soundtrack ain't half-bad either...A majority of the aforementioned artists are featured in addition to the likes of Tortoise, Stereolab, Meat Beat Manifesto and Moog Cookbook. The Moog documentary runs tonight, Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday at the Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State. For complete show times, visit www.siskelfilmcenter.org.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

New Record Store debuts in Hyde Park

Now this is the type of story I love reporting on... Friday, November 19th marks the grand opening of a brand-new independent record store on the south side. Located at 1377 east 53 st (near U of C), Hyde Park Records will open its doors to vinyl-hungry patrons tomorrow afternoon and will celebrate the occasion tomorrow night (7-10p) with a grand opening party featuring "food, drinks and stuff." Meaty Ogre from Galapagos4 will be providing the soundtrack for the opening night festivities and will be playing a heavy dose of obscure soul 45s most of the night. Hyde Park Records is the brainchild of local music junkie Derek Erdman, who says the store is "the a culmination of 20+ years of combined music collecting." One word of caution though, Erdman warns that "stuff on the first day will blow your mind." For more information, visit www.hydeparkrecords.com or call the store at 773-288-6588.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

DJ Spooky brings a new Rebirth to the MCA

Musician, producer and performance artist DJ Spooky (aka That Subliminal Kid) will be presenting his multi-media re-interpretation of the controversial 1915 film, Birth of a Nation, this weekend at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Tracing the roots of America’s quick-cut, media-saturated popular culture, Spooky will be "remixing" the film, fragmenting and melding it with new footage on three screens while providing his own musical score to accompany the presentation. Here's how DJ Spooky describes the film and his video installation project on his website... Griffith's film (Birth of a Nation) has been a historical object of fascination for me for a long while - it's been one of the defining images of America in the 20th century. As we enter the 21st Century it sometimes helps to know like the philosopher Santayana said so long ago, that "those who do not understand the past are doomed to repeat it." "Birth of a Nation" focuses on how America needed to create a fiction of African American culture in tune with the fabrication of "whiteness" that undergirded American thought throughout most of the last several centuries: it floats out in the world of cinema as an enduring albeit totally racist - epic tale of an America that, in essence, never existed. The Ku Klux Klan still uses this film as a recruiting device and it's considered to be an American "cinema classic" despite the racist content. By remixing the film along the lines of dj culture, I hoped to create a counter-narrative, one where the story implodes on itself, one where new stories arise out the ashes of that explosion. WLUW morning DJ Matt Malooly recently caught up with DJ Spooky to discuss more about the project and his philosophies as a performance artist: Matt - ...I was wondering about that idea of gathering artists in one physical space, cuz I know you’ve compared the work of curating, I think, to ‘living life like a mixtape’? DJ Spooky- Yeah exactly m- And also talking about how a mentality of collage of remix or the web has become this sort of basic psychological framework for a lot of kids today, or these generations growing up the 80s and 90s and now. And I was wondering how does that play into your organization of festivals? d- Yeah, I mean basically anytime you have all these kind of multiple frames of performance going on, you know, you just look at the context and you can see all sorts of people hanging – that’s the mixtape mentality, you know? It’s always just saying, everybody check this out and let’s see the flow. I really think that the mixtape… the history has yet to be written. I know Thurston Moore from Sonic Youth is doing a book on the history of mixtapes... m- It seems to a lot of people around the world that the U.S. is becoming stuck in this provincial rut, while at the same time the rest of the world is becoming even more cosmopolitan, even more migratory. Yet the U.S. has one of the highest rates of internet use and of a kind of sampling or mash-up media culture. So how important is that sense of organic interactions, of physical presence, of migration through space, or meetings, in that regard? d- Wow, this is a complex question. You know, is this gonna be up for a normal radio program? "Excuse me, home listeners, this is getting theoretical." (laughter) Yeah basically I just really think the U.S. is in a strange loop at the moment; but yeah, like you’re saying, people are listening and checking out all sorts of stuff – that’s not the problem. The problem is, I think, the mental sense of not really exploring other cultures. m- Yeah that’s what I’m talking about d- It’s like hearing the news and wanting to change the channel and going to, like, a sports or Presidential announcement. And I’m mainly concerned with issues of a lot of what the U.S. is drifting towards, a sense of disconnect with the rest of the world, you know? So for me when I do music, when I curate events, it’s always a kind of bridge-building process... For the complete interview, tune into Matt's morning show this Thursday at 8:30 on WLUW-FM (88.7)

DJ Spooky's Rebirth of a Nation will be shown this Thursday (11/18) through Sunday (11/21) at 7:30 PM at the Museum of Contemporary Art, 22 East Chicago Ave. Tickets are $18 for MCA members and $22 for the general public. For more information, visit www.djspooky.com or www.mcachicago.org.

Monday, November 15, 2004

New Releases Tuesday (11/16)

As I noted last week, the release schedule is really slowing down. However, I did find a couple of locally-released new singles on the Southern Records website: Vast Aire - "Pegasus/Red Pill" (12") (Chocolate Industries) Brand new 12" vinyl release from the former Cannibal Ox MC. Tracks originally found on the "Harlem hustler's" debut solo album, Look Mom...No Hands. Make Believe - "The Pink" (7") (Flameshovel Records) "Strange things can happen after your skull is nearly cracked open. Chicago's weirdest wunderkinds follow their debut EP w/ two NEW songs only available on this PINK wax." Yes that's right, pink vinyl! According to the Flameshovel website, this one's limited to only 1,000 copies.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Underground Hip-hop summit tonight at Sonotheque

OK, so it's not really an underground hip-hop summit...but the leaders of two of the hottest underground hip-hop labels out right now will be manning the decks tonight at one of Chicago's hottest clubs. Peanut Butter Wolf, head of Stones Throw Records and El-P, leader of the amazing Definitive Jux label will both be playing DJ sets tonight at Sonotheque. There is going to be some serious beats dropped at this performance, another amazing line-up put together by Sonotheque and Biz 3 publicity. Besides putting out hot records from the likes of Madlib, Charizma and the Lootpack, Peanut Butter Wolf is also well known around the world for his stellar remixes and skilled work behind the turntables. El-P is arguably one of the best hip-hop producers at work today and he ain't too shaby behind the mic either. Oh yeah, he's also the head of Definitive Jux records, home to RJD2, Aesop Rock, Cannibal Ox and Mr. Lif. Trust me, if you have any interest whatsoever in hip-hop and electronic music, you do not want to miss this show. Doors open 8, show is at 9. Admission is $7, 21+ only. Sonotheque is located at 1444 W. Chicago Ave.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

"You're not getting away this time..." American Music Club w/Eitzel (front)

Alt-rock nostalgia rocks Chicago this weekend

This weekend, three legendary alt-rock bands from the late 80's and 90's are back in town for one last harrah... Luna - Thursday and Friday at Abbey Pub Dean Wareham has decided to put his post-Galaxy 500 project to rest, but he's taking the band out for one last tour. Besides playing all of the classic hits from the Luna anthology, they'll also be playing plenty of tracks from their recently released swan song, Rendezvous. If you can't make the shows this week at the Abbey, or are still craving more Wareham-tastic melodies after their Chicago stop, you can follow the Luna farewell tour next week to Madison on the 15th, Champaign on the 16th and Cincinnati on the 18th, where they'll be playing the historic Southgate House. For a complete list of dates, check out the official Luna website at www.fuzzywuzzy.com American Music Club - Friday and Saturday at Schuba's Mark Eitzel is back together with the American Music Club and the band is out supporting their first record in 10 years, Love Songs for Patriots. It’s also been 10 years since they’ve last toured as a band, so fans are really salivating about this tour. Will Johnson of Centro-Matic opens. Pixies - Saturday thru Wednesday at Aragon Yes, it finally happened...the Pixies are back together and are playing 5 nights in a row at the Aragon! Yes, that's right...5 nights at the Aragon!! It was originally planned as a 3-night event, but after tickets sold out almost instantly, they added a 4th...and then a 5th. Good news for procrastinating Pixies fans, though, tickets are still available for the final show on Wed (11/18). A different opening band plays each night, but most notable is the Tuesday night show. The Coctails are reuniting for a one-off performance as the opening act on Tuesday night. It will be their first performance since the close of Lounge Ax in 2000 and only their second live performance since 1995. Fans who randomly choose to buy tickets for the Tuesday show definitely got the luck of the draw on this one.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Who listens to this crap??

Windy 100 Now Blows Even More!

The word on the street last week was that WNND-FM (100.3), formerly "Windy 100," would be dropping its "hits of the 80's and 90's" format in favor of a brand new format, complete with new call letters and imaging. Granted I wasn't holding my breath for WNND-FM to reinvent itself as something revolutionary that would change my perception of commercial radio, but there was a small chance that it could change into something mildly interesting (it couldn't really get any worse). Perhaps it would change into an all hip-hop station like New York's Hot 97? Chicago has two stations that play hip-hop and R&B (WGCI and Power 92), but there aren't any stations that just play hip-hop. Perhaps it would change to a younger skewing or more alternative version of 'XRT? In San Diego, this type of format has been wildly successful. Combining the mellow adult rock stylings of 'XRT with hard rockin' alterna-staples like Nirvana, The Beasties and NIN for the kids, San Diego's KBZT-FM 94.9 has actually already beaten its rival (Clear Channel's 91X) in the ratings after barely two years of existence. Also, last year in Los Angeles, a new commercial station calling itself "Indie 103" debuted in Los Angeles as an alternative to the more mainstream "alternative" station KROQ. (the station that Q-101 was originally modeled after) Indie 103 is a commercial station that actually sounds alternative...their current playlist boasts The Libertines, The Streets, Tegan & Sara, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Stills, The Faint, The Walkmen, Morrissey, The Cure, etc, etc. While Indie 103 hasn't toppled "world famous" KROQ in the ratings, they are still around a year later and holding strong. Maybe WNND-FM could change into something like this? Not quite... Last Thursday, WNND transformed into WILV-FM, "The New 100.3, Love FM," a lite rock station that plays nothing but love songs. According to the story by the Sun-Times' Robert Feder, core artists heard on the station include the likes of Phil Collins, Anita Baker, Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, Earth Wind & Fire and, of course, Barry White. But wait, there's more...I found a sample playlist of the station on the internet, other featured artists so far include Linda Rondstadt, Barbara Streisand, Taylor Dayne, Michael McDonald and Klymaxx. Are you kidding me? A station that plays nothing but cheesy love songs?? Apparently WNND's previous format of watered-down adult contemporary music just wasn't lame enough?? Does Phil Collins really put people in the mood? Does anyone in 2004 really want to listen to Klymaxx? Again, I wasn't expecting much from the station, but somehow they've managed to make the commercial radio dial in Chicago even worse. Here's a great discussion topic...what's the worst radio station and/or music to come out of Chicago? Click on "comments" on the right or drop an email to rfceditor(at)hotmail.com

Monday, November 08, 2004

New Releases Tuesday (11/9)

As we get closer to the Holiday season, the release schedule is starting to slow down a bit overall. However, Tuesday marks a couple of new releases with deep Chicago roots. Neko Case - The Tigers Have Spoken (Anti) Former Bloodshot star and Chicago resident moves up to the big leagues with a new release on Anti records, home to such heavyweights as Tom Waits, Nick Cave and the last release from Elliott Smith. Coctails - Popcorn Box (Carrot Top) 3-CD box set from the former Chicago indie-pop superstars. Released by local label Carrot Top Records, the set features "material from their entire oeuvre including many studio songs that never found a place on an album."

Friday, November 05, 2004

Immediate Action Returns...

Friday night at Sonotheque, Hefty Records is hosting another Immediate Action Night. Headlining this event will be Italy's Retina.IT, who will be bringing his minimal electronica/tech-funk/dance sound to the Sonotheque dance floor. The rest of the night will feature all local acts...Joshua Esustis of Telefon Tel Aviv and head Hefty honcho Slicker (aka John Hughes III) will open the night with live DJ sets. Then, lcoal slowcore favorites L'Altra will perform live. Doors open 8, show is at 9. Admission is $10, 21+ only. Sonotheque is located at 1444 W. Chicago Ave.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

The Abstract Science presents underground sounds from the 'D'

Tonight at Sonotheque, WLUW's Abstract Science presents the Detroit Underground Tour featuring DJs Kero, Derek Michael and special guest Quantazelle. Detroit Underground is an independent record label that "represents a heady hybrid of Berlin-inspired, gangster glitch and down-home midwest techno." Actually hailing from Windsor, Ontario (just across the river from the 'D'), tour headliners Kero and Derek Michael are also the proprietors of the Detroit Underground label. "Special guest" Quantazelle is a local DJ who is coming off her first full-length release on her new label subVariant. Tonight's show is a part of Abstract Science's Funk the Mental series, which occurs every first Wednesday of the month at Sonotheque. "Resident Selectors" are Chris Widman and Don Solo. Widman and Abstract Science can be heard every Thursday night from 10p to 2a on WLUW-FM (88.7)

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Vote early, Vote often!

Rock the Vote...Get Half Off!

After you vote today, don't forget to save your receipt.... Three local venues are offering half price admission tonight to those who perform their patriotic duty today at the polls. Just bring in valid proof that you voted, (I don't think just an "I Voted" sticker will count) and you'll get half price admission at The Empty Bottle, The Bottom Lounge and the Logan Square Auditorium. For more information, visit www.voter-reward.com.

Monday, November 01, 2004

New Releases Tuesday (11/2)

Local Label Releases: Plush- Underfed (Drag City) Bonnie 'Prince' Billy - Sprout and the Bean (single) (Drag City) Christina Carter - Living Contact (Kranky) Autistic Daughters - Jealousy and Diamond (Kranky) Various Artists - Kompilation (Kranky) Other Essentials: Various Artists - DFA Compilation #2 (DFA) Chicks on Speed - 99 Cents & Remixes (Chicks On Speed) Grandaddy - Below the Radio (Ultra)