Thursday, March 31, 2005

RFC Interview: Azita

After an appearance at WHPK's Pix n' Sounds fest in February, and a recent opening slot for Sam Prekop at the Bottle earlier this month, local artist Azita (aka AZ) gets the spotlight all to herself this Saturday as she'll be a headlining a completely solo (just her and a piano) performance at HotHouse. RFC recently caught with this former Scissor Girl to find out more... Radio Free Chicago: It seems like your name has been popping up on the concert calendar quite a bit in the past month or have your recent performances gone? Azita: Saturday will be my second Chicago show since September...But the first one went well! RFC: Despite your recent appearances, I haven't read anything about a new album coming out anytime soon...are you playing live to test out some new material or did you simply just want to get out and perform? AZ: I'm always working on new material and I have no way of knowing when we book a show, 4 months in advance of the date, what I'll be doing for the show. RFC: What can we expect from this Saturday's show at the Hothouse? AZ: It's a rare occasion for me to get to play on an acoustic grand. I've had a few shows in New York on a real piano and I believe it changes the atmosphere pretty drastically. Also the audience will be seated and hopefully quieter than at a rock venue. RFC: What else is going on in the life of Azita? (future shows/tours? new album? side projects? etc.) AZ: I'm working on an album. Pretty single-mindedly SPEED ROUND RFC: What are you listening to right now? AZ: Some birds and an airplane engine. RFC: What is your favorite Chicago hang-out (and/or venue)? AZ: Picante RFC: Analog or digital? AZ: Depends on how much you have to spend. RFC: What is your favorite beverage? AZ: Cucumber RFC: Who would win in a fight...Scissor Sisters or Scissor Girls? AZ: Shit.... Saturday's show starts at 9pm, French-Canadian singer/songwriter/cellist Jorane opens. The HotHouse is located downtown, at 31 East Balbo. Must be 21+

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

buddY presents the International Noise Cartel

Tonight in Liquor Park, buddY gallery presents the International Noise Cartel [not be confused with the (Int'l) Noise Conspiracy]. Who/what is this International Noise Cartel, you ask? Well, according to local noise maven Rotten Milk, tonight's show will feature: Justice Yeldham and his ribbon device artists formerly known as DJ Smallcock A man (from Australia), a belt full of pedals, a piece of glass, lubricant, a face. If the looks don't kill, the audio will. Dave Phillips His latest CD on Groundfault was a source of much confusion for many. The audio and visuals for this evening will either clarify or confuse said ideas further. Sara Glaxia (from Mexico)First she said she wanted a gallon each of three different colors of paint and a mop. Then she said she could do the same with just soda. and then she said, ok, just music for you! Your results may vary. I Love Presets over-the-top A/V madness from Chicago Tonight's show begins at 9pm. All ages are welcome, suggested donation is $7. The event is BYOB. buddY is located upstairs at 1542 N. Milwaukee.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

New Releases Tuesday (3/29)

Beck – Guero (Geffen) Kind of like how before every new Radiohead album, everyone hopes it will be The Bends Pt. 2…for years everyone has been looking for Beck to make another album like Odelay. Teaming up again with The Dust Brothers, it seems that Beck has finally appeased the masses and released another sample-heavy, beat-friendly, 2 turntables-and-a-microphone style record in Guero. Now that he’s made his much-heralded “return to form,” he’s getting slammed by rock critics for making a “familiar” record that’s “too-safe.” Damned if you do, damned if you don’t, eh Beck? I say "bollocks" to it all...ignore all of the "return to form" hype and don't let rock critics hinder your perception of the record. Beck is a great artist, and if you're a fan of his work, I'm guessing you're going to dig Guero. Beck will probably never be able to top the critical and commercial success of Odelay, but that's fine by me...records like Sea Change and Mutations were equally as brilliant in their own right and I hope he's got a few more records like those left in his system. In the meanwhile, I'm going to crank up the bass on the new record and do the "hot dog dance" all the way down to Houston. Yeeeeeee-haaaa! Ocean Colour Scene - A Hyperactive Workout for the Flying Squad (Sanctuary) These Brits are relatively huge in their homeland, but virtually unknown in these parts. They’ve put out some amazing singles, (like “Hundred Mile City” from the opening credits of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels) but overall their output has been a bit inconsistent…so buyer beware. Stereophonics - Language. Sex. Violence. Other? (V2) Another UK favorite that doesn’t get much love stateside…While not complete unknowns here like Ocean Colour Scene, it seems like the few people that have heard of them here can’t stand them. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a poster of Kelly Jones on my wall, but I’ve always liked Stereophonics and am looking forward to hearing the new record. Morrissey "Live At Earls Court" (Attack/Sanctuary) Companion CD to the live DVD also released today. Duran Duran "Greatest" (Capitol/EMI) Milking the reunion of the Taylors with yet another greatest hits comp. How many different copies of "Hungry Like the Wolf" do you really need???

CD Release Parties tonight

As I mentioned last week, the new Beck album drops today and aliveOne will be hosting a CD release party to celebrate the release of Mr. Hansen's latest opus. Festivities begin at 9pm, and all pints (including the tasty Bell's Amber) are only $2.50. aliveOne is located at 2683 N. Halsted, just north of Guitar Center. Also tonight...Reckless is hosting another one of their famous Ping-Pong Parties at Schuba's. In addition to previewing the new Beck, they'll also be spinning new releases from Nick Cave, Out Hud and The Decmberists. And, yes...there will be plenty of exciting ping-pong action. The event starts around 10pm. Ping-pong and admisson into Schuba's is free, however bottles of Schlitz will put you back about $3.50. Schuba's is located at 3159 N. Southport, at the corner of Belmont and Southport.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Dial 'M' for Moz

Tonight at the Loewes Theatres on Michigan Ave., you can check out the world premiere of Morrissey's new live DVD, Who Put the 'M' in Manchester. Available in stores tomorrow, the DVD Features footage from his May 2004 show in Manchester and features such tracks as "Irish Blood, English Heart," "First Of The Gang To Die," "Let Me Kiss You," "Every Day Is Like Sunday" and "There is a Light That Never Goes Out." The screening starts at 8:30p and admission is $10. While it probably makes more sense to wait a day and pay about 5 bucks more for a DVD that you get to keep and watch as much as you like, hardcore Moz enthusiasts will probably also want to experience their idol on the big screen, (in hi-definition!) complete with Dolby 5.1 Surround sound. However, the real clincher for fans will probably be the "theatre exclusive" bonus track that will be shown tonight. sez: "Get there early to catch a never-before-seen performance of The Smiths' classic "How Soon Is Now" ONLY in theatres and not available on the DVD or anywhere else. Experience the first time Morrissey performed the song on the 2004 tour at the Reading Festival in the UK" Loewes is located at 600 N. Michigan, for more info call 312-255-9340. Or, pre-order the DVD by clicking here.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Movin' on up...

Gramaphone is moving!

This weekend is your last chance to squeeze your arse through the narrow aisles of the original Gramaphone Records. After 36(!) years in the same location, the store is packing up and heading north up the street to a new, more spacious location just across from the Century Mall, at 2843 North Clark. The old store will be closing on Saturday (3/26) and the Gramaphone staff will have the new shop up and running for all your record needs next Wednesday. If you're not familiar with Gramaphone, it is the place to go in the Chicago to find dance, techno, trance, drum n' bass, etc., you name it, they've got it. They also boast a hefty collection of club-friendly hip-hop and R+B records as well as essential DJ supplies like record bags, slipmats, needles and cartridges. I always was really annoyed by the cramped space of the original location (especially on the weekends when every serious and wanna-be DJ flocked to the store in masses), so some additional elbow room will be much appreciated. I'd also appreciate it if they could slash their prices a bit...but I'm guessing that's probably not going to happen anytime soon.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Who the fuck you lookin' at?!?

Concert Preview: Graham Coxon

Retired (or "fired" depending on who you believe) Blur guitarist Graham Coxon is playing a solo show Friday night at Double Door. However, you can check out a sneak preview today on Coxon was just in Seattle last night and he stopped by the KEXP studios earlier in the day for a quick live set. To get a taste of what his Double Door performance might sound like, check out the archived audio of Cheryl Waters' show dated 3/23/05. Random question/poll... So Chicago, what are your thoughts on Blur vs. Graham Coxon? No, it's not as heated as Blur vs. Oasis...but what do you think is better? Blur with Coxon or without? Also, should Coxon be famous or infamous for his solo albums? Discuss! (click on the "comments" tab below)

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Calling all Yo La Tengo fans...

Late word into the RFC offices today is that aliveOne will be hosting a Yo La Tengo cd-release party tonight (3/23) in celebration of their new 3-disc collection, Prisoners of Love:A Smattering of Scintillating Senescent Songs 1985-2003. Party starts at 9pm, High Life's are $2.50...word on the street is that there also might be some free swag available from the good folks at Matador. (don't quote me on that, sometimes those bastards on the street lie!) Speaking of cd-release parties...mark your calendars, because aliveOne will also be hosting a party next Tuesday (3/29) in celebration of the new Beck full-length, Guero...the long-awaited return of the "funk-soul brotha" version of Beck, complete with production from Odelay masterminds, The Dust Brothers. More on this party and the new Beck record next week... aliveOne is located at 2683 N. Halsted

Version '05 Perversion tonight at Sonotheque

DJs from Lumpen magazine will be invading Sonotheque tonight for "an evening of regeneration and some serious dance party action." However, the night isn’t all about dancing and debauchery. Proceeds from the door will go to help fund Version ’05, a hybrid form of festival, conference, arts fair and on-line project. “Driven by an irrepressible urgency for intervention in the roaring bullshit carnival that has become reality,” the event will investigate, debilitate, and agitate contemporary US culture through a diverse program featuring an experimental art expo, artistic disturbances, networked urban events, screenings, interactive software applications, performances, workshops, parties and street action. The madness takes place next month, starting on April 22nd. But, first, the Lumpen crew needs to raise funding for the, in exchange for a nominal suggested donation, they’ll be providing a line-up of dance-tastic DJs tonight at Sonotheque, including: DJ Charlie and the Americas with Ken the Explorer Coco Le Roq DJ Logan Bay DJ Rotten Milk and the All American VJ Team And, as an added bonus for your philanthropic support tonight, Lumpen will be handing out free copies of their latest publishing project, War News; a tabloid newspaper containing a series of posters “that will make your mother cry.” Party starts at 9pm, suggested donation is $5-$10. Must be 21+ to enter. Sonotheque is located at 1444 W. Chicago Ave.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

New Releases Tuesday (3/22)

Local and related: Mahjongg - RaYDONcoNG 2005 (Cold Crush) Out Hud - Let Us Never Speak of It Again (Kranky) Alasdair Roberts - No Earthly Man (Drag City) Cocorosie - La Maison de Mon Reve (Touch & Go) Pacifics - Sunday's Chicken (All Natural) Other Notables: Prefuse 73 - Surrounded by Silence (Warp) M.I.A. - Arular (XL) Fog - 10th Avenue Freakout (Lex) Bloc Party - Silent Alarm (Vice) Decemberitsts - Picaresque (Kill Rock Stars) Louis XIV - s/t (Atlantic) Perceptionsists - Black Dialogue (Def Jux) Queens of the Stone Age - Lullabies to Paralyze (Interscope) Solvent - Think Like Us (Ghostly International) Reissues/Collections/Greatest Hits: Brian Eno - Apollo: Atmosphere for Soundtracks (Astralwerks) Human League - The Very Best Of...(Caroline) Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - B-sides and Rarities (Mute) Yo La Tengo - Prisoners of Love: A Smattering of Scintillating Senescent Songs 1985-2003 (Matador)

Monday, March 21, 2005

Fog rolls into the Bottle tonight

Whenever you see a listing for a "free" show, usually the first thing that comes to mind is, "oh, these bands must suck." And, unfortunately, unless there is some major sponsor bankrolling the event, this is usually the case. However, leave to the Empty Bottle to break this misconception. While the Bottle's "free Monday" series is generally pretty solid, tonight's show is especially noteworthy. Headlining the night is multi-instrumentalist Andrew Broder, better known as Fog, who is celebrating the release of his new LP on Lex Recordings, 10th Avenue Freakout. Broder, who has also released albums for Ninja Tune, specializes in instrumental hip-hop, but according to the blurb on the Empty Bottle calendar, his sound has also "evolved into an abstracted perversion of a variety of genre elements, a freewheeling grab of all things interesting." If his last full-length, Ether Teeth, is any indication, this should be a great show and you'll be hearing much more about this young Minnesotan in the near future. But wait...that's not all! For the low-low price of $0, the Bottle is also throwing in a performance by fellow Minneapolis-based electronic artist, Cepia. Huntley Miller, the man behind Cepia (and the laptop) "fuses all the most affecting elements of pop, rock, and jazz composition –- polyrhythms, countermelodies, calculated structures, and melodic hooks into a cohesive electronic whole," according to his label, Ghostly International. Overall, this is a great show that I would recommend anyday...but the fact that it's free makes it a no-brainer. Go check it out, enjoy a couple of dollar beers and you'll have yourself a great night of music and booze for less than 5 bucks. The Empty Bottle is located at 1035 N. Western, show starts at always, must be 21+

Friday, March 18, 2005

The Swans: Currently looking for Busy Bee

What happened to the Pioneers of Hip-Hop??

Last time I looked, tonight's (3/18) show at Metro was called the "Pioneers of Hip-Hop" tour, featuring a great line-up of old skool icons. Here was the originally advertised bill: KRS-One Kool Moe Dee Melle Me Busy Bee Kool Herc Grandmaster Caz Temple of Hip-Hop Museum Mass Hysteria Longshot DJ Cooperpot Sape La Rock Rude One However, last night in the RFC mailbox, the weekly Metro news e-mail arrived and it listed a line-up and show name that was completely different!?! Reverse and EV Productions present Return of the Boom Bap with: KRS One Brand Nubian Masta Ace with Wordsmith Mass Hysteria Longshot Diverse and DJ's Copperpot, Sapien and Rude One, hosted by Profound. What happened to Melle Mel, Busy Bee, Kool Herc and the whole "Pioneers of Hip-Hop" theme? What the hell is The Boom Bap? Unfortunately, despite the siginificantly smaller bill, tickets are still a whopping 25 bucks at the door. Ouch! Nothing against the legendary KRS-One, but that's damn steep for a show at Metro...especially for a bill that's been chopped in half. We'll keep you posted if word comes in about why the "Pioneers" show got canceled. In the meantime, I'd recommend checking out the Fela Kuti DVD release party tonight at Sonotheque instead.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Poor Man's Guide to SXSW

Chances are, if you're reading this, you didn't make it down to Austin this year for the annual 5-day orgy of live music that is the South By Southwest music conference. However, that doesn't mean you have to miss out on all the fun. Rather than dropping mad chedda' on airfare, admission and booze, you can have your own SXSW experience right here in Chicago for little more than $10. Step 1: Add Texas Flavor The first step to your local SXSW experience is to re-create the atmosphere of the event. The massive crowd of music industry execs, fans, SXSW volunteers, band members and roadies is going to pretty hard to re-create...and there doesn't appear to be a Texas-sized heat wave coming to the city anytime soon to mimic the moderate Austin climate. However, you can add a little Austin flavor to your local festivities. SXSW is a great excuse to go on a 5-day drinking bender and Austin has almost as many bars as let's start with the booze first. Go to Binny's and pick up a case or two of Lone Star, the official beer of Texas...and a local favorite in Austin and at SXSW. Downing a few of those, and you'll be feeling the Texas spirit in no time! (Actually, if you are ever in Austin, I'd recommend local favorites Shiner Bock and Fat Tire, but unfortunately you won't find those in Chicago) As much as Austin loves to drink, Austin also loves to eat...a lot. And, like everywhere else in Texas, the plate of the day is always BBQ. So go to your local grocery store and get yourself a heapin' helpin of beef or pork. Then marinade it, cook it and smother it in Stubb's BBQ sauce (available at Jewell). Stubb's is a landmark restaurant in Austin that is famous not only for their amazing sauce, but also for their big outdoor music venue adjacent to the restaurant. Stubb's is a must stop for food on any Austin trip, and not a bad place to see a show, either! Step 2: Add Austin Style Now that you've got the flava, you're going to need to sport the SXSW look as well. Essential to the look is the gratuitous cowboy hat. Yes, nothing says "I'm in a band playing SXSW" more than the ironically-worn cowboy hat. And, it goes great with just about any motif ...rocker, hipster, rapper, emo, punk, etc... so it's an easy and cheap way to look your Austin best. For added affect, grab some dirty jeans and a smelly t-shirt from the hamper and don't bathe for the rest of the weekend...this will give you both the look and smell of a SXSW patron who has just spent the last 5 days traveling in a van to play a gig. Step 3: Crank up the Music Ah yes, I almost forgot...the whole point of this excursion to Austin is check out copious amounts of music. Thanks to the widespread availability of broadband connections, you can now experience a lot of this music madness from the comforts of your own home or office. First, you can check out live coverage of the event via two of the best internet radio stations in the country, and Today (3/17) on WOXY, (aka 97X...BAM!...The Future of Rock and Roll) you can hear an entire day of performances. Here's the scheduled line-up: THE CRIBS (1-1:20pm) NICOLAI DUNGER (1:35-1:55pm) GIANT DRAG (2:10-2:35pm) FEIST (2:50-3:15pm) EARLIMART (3:30-3:55pm) THE NATIONAL (4:10-4:35pm) THE FRAMES (4:50-5:15pm) On KCRW, "Morning Becomes Eclectic" host Nic Harcourt will be broadcasting his show live from the studios of KUT-FM in Austin on Thursday and Friday (11a-2p Chicago time). During Friday's show, "pop-based and soul-inspired" band World Leader Pretend is scheduled to perform, but the show also promises "more guests to be announced." While they're not providing live coverage, another great internet radio station is providing a re-cap of SXSW festivities on Saturday. Tune-in to Seattle's on Saturday (3/12) for the Audioasis program (8-11p Chicago time), where John Richards and Co. will be highlighting this year's SXSW performers from the Pacific Northwest. Finally, if all those streaming broadcasts aren't enough, you can check out the event's very own web stream at Click on the "SXSW Player" to hear a continual stream of artists featured at the event. The site also features hoards of MP3 downloads, band bios, pictures and more. With about 1200 acts scheduled every year, scrolling through everything on the site should keep you busy for a while. ....Yeah, I know, listening on-line on your little PC speakers isn't even close to experiencing a live show in a great venue; and I have to admit, the Lone Star and Stubb's always taste better when you're in Austin. But, unless you want to shell out a few hundred bucks for a last minute flight, this is as close as you're going to get experiencing SXSW 2005. Besides, how can you resist an excuse to consume tons of BBQ and beer in front of your PC while wearing a cowboy hat?? Sounds like a good weekend to me!

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

New Releases Tuesday (3/15)

Daft Punk - Human After All (Virgin) What, they're not really robots?? I suppose now you're going to tell me that the Gorillaz aren't really cartoon characters... The Soundtrack of Our Lives - Origins, Vol. 1 (Universal) More retro-rock from the land of Ikea. Daedelus - Exquisite Corpse (Mush) Eccentric IDM with a hip-hop twist...features MF Doom, Prefuse 73, Mike Ladd and TTC. Al Green - Everything's O.K. (Blue Note) Take me to river, the Reverend is back again!

Monday, March 14, 2005

RFC Interview: Magas

Chicago via Ann Arbor noise/experimental/electro musician James Marlon Magas, these days known simply as Magas, returns to the live stage this week with a headlining gig Wednesday night (3/16) at the Bottom Lounge. It's been a while since we've heard from Magas, so RFC recently caught up with him to get the latest info. Radio Free Chicago: The word on the street is that you're working on a new album...What can you tell us? Magas: Yeah, the new album is coming along nicely. It's been slow-going, because I've been changing my sound a bit, making it a little heavier. I've acquired some new gear to help me accomplish this goal, and it's taken a while for the machines and I to get to know each become one. Now that we have fused as a heavy rocking unit, the songs are coming along, slowly but surely. People can expect some heavy ARP action and showers of hi-hats. I'm not sure what label it will be on, as Ersatz Audio is on hiatus right now, but I don't really care to put the cart before the horse--first I'll write the songs, and then we'll see about all that. I'm trying to satisfy myself, first and foremost. RFC: This is your first live Chicago performance since last June...are you ready to rock? M: Does the pope shit in the woods?!? Of course I'm ready to rock! RFC: What can we expect from the opening acts for the show? M: Smash TV, from Berlin, play weird techno/electro type stuff. Their sound is very emblematic of the Bpitch Control sound. One of the guys did a lot of production for Ellen Allien's 'Berlinette' album. This is their first time in Chicago. Far Rad, from Chicago, lay down some poppy synth jams--they have a fondness for analogue gear, and an emphasis on live action--there's always somebody singing or playing. Kero, from Detroit, plays nice Motor City techno, very sleek and minimal. He played here back in 2001, with T. Raumschmiere, and has done stuff on Shitkatapult and Bpitch Control. RFC: You're scheduled to play some shows in Europe in May...How did you hook that up? Do you have a large following over there? M: Yes, I'll be returning to Europe in May, and I'm very excited about it. I first played at this big festival in Spain, called Festival In Benicassim, in 2003, and then I did a three-week tour last year. The tour is self-booked by me and a DJ from Brussels, Belgium, named Stel-R, who will be touring with me. The last time, I did it all by myself, which was a great experience, but I'm looking forward to having a travelling partner this time around. Reception is pretty good, for the most part. It's weird, last time I was there, I played in a train station in Brussels, for 850 wild-ass Belgians, and then the next night, I played at a squat in the Hague, for 50 people. Both gigs were a blast! Each night, I never really knew what to expect, but it was a lot of fun. I don't really know how large my following is there, or here, really. It can vary wildly from city to city, and country to country. RFC: I really miss your old record store (Weekend Records)... M: Thanks, so do we! It was never through lack of enjoyment or enthusiasm that we stopped doing it, we were simply undercapitalized. We learned that it takes more than a couple thousand dollars to start a record store, but I guess we made it work pretty well with such limited means. If I had the proper financing, I'd do it again, in a heartbeat. RFC: ...where should everyone go now to get hot electronic German and Detroit 12"s? M: Well, Gramaphone has been a Chicago dance music institution for over 35 years, so they've got lots of classic stuff. And then there's Wax Addict over on Ashland, apparently they've been getting some good stuff in. Reckless is good for older stuff, obscure classics and so forth, and you won't pay e-bay prices for it. Mail order is always a good option, as well. There's so many places...Forced Exposure, Bent Crayon, Hardwax, Clone, and you can listen to stuff on Nuloop, to see if it's any good or not. RFC: Speaking of which, you're keeping the spirit of the store alive by promoting shows under the Weekend name...Any "Weekend Presents" shows on tap? (or any personal recommendations for shows coming up?) M: We don't really have anything going right now, promotion-wise. We have to really love something in order to go through all the work of promoting a show, because it really takes a lot of time and energy. As far as shows coming up, I'm very excited to see The Tyrades, who I've just discovered, and they've become one of my favorite bands in Chicago. I'm also very excited to see the Boredoms. I'm sure there's lots of other stuff, but I'm too lazy to investigate all the posters, weeklies and so forth. I don't really go out very much, these days. RFC: Anything else cooking up at the Magas laboratories? M: Yeah, I did a remix for Montreal's Les Georges Leningrad, which will be coming out Troubleman Unlimited, any day now. I also did a remix for this guy RA-X, in the Netherlands, for his label Angelmaker. I was also asked to make a track for To Live and Shave In L.A., for their new album, so that'll be interesting to see what they add, or don't add to it. RFC: Any last words of wisdom for the RFC readers? M: If they've found their way to your website, then they're probably doing okay without my help. No need to preach to the choir! --------------------------------- More facts about Magas... Analog or digital? Analogue! Favorite Chicago Drinking Establishment: Home Currently Listening to: Bathory's 'Under the Sign of the Black Mark' Favorite "Darren" on Bewitched (Dick York or Dick Sargent):The only character I remember is the witch. I can't remember Dick! If you had a pet robot, what would you name it? Dead Check out for the latest info on the many moods of James Marlon Magas

Friday, March 11, 2005

Daft Punk is playing at their house

LCD Soundsystem Listening Party (3/12)

This Saturday, Your Formula Life presents an LCD Soundsystem listening party at Tini Martini. Usually these events fall before the album is out, but hey, better late than never! As an added bonus, there will also be "free goodie giveaways" courtesy of DFA Records. The record release party takes place from 9-10p, followed by sets from local DJs Billy Dalessandro (ForceInc/Kompute) , Dave Siska (WNUR) and element.8 (Nefarius) from Detroit. Your Formula Life is a joint bi-monthly event from local electronic music promoters Meiotic and Koncept. No cover to get in, but the event is "stricly 21+" Tiny Martini is located at 2169 N. Milwaukee. Also check out Dave Siska on "Clinically Inclined," heard every Friday night from 9:30p-12:30a on WNUR-FM 89.3

Thursday, March 10, 2005

RFC Interview: Resplendent

Last month, former Number One Cup and Fire Show member Michael Lenzi performed his first and last solo show ever as Resplendent. RFC recently caught up with Lenzi to talk about the end of Resplendent and his swan song, Am I Free?/I Am Free. Radio Free Chicago: So you recently played your one and only solo show as did it go? Michael Lenzi: The show was really good from a performance perspective. Although I just started to get comfortable and it was over. I have to admit that knowing it was the first and only show for that group made me not enjoy it as much. It felt done already. That is unfortunate. I thought the group itself sounded full and correct. RFC: What made you decide to hang up making music as Resplendent? (and why did you only play live once?) ML: I have struggled with my feelings about being any entity other than myself for quite a while. Resplendent as a thing is connected to the Fire Show and that is connected to Number One Cup. At this point it is all played out for me. I am tired of the name, the game that goes along with it and the message of the music. I have never wanted to make music that seemed like it was whiney. I have had the uncomfortable realization that many people feel that way about it. Or they feel that I am just trying to be arty or abstract for the whim of it. I have read that my lyrics are stream of consciousness or some shit. That is bullshit from my perspective. I didn't set to limit myself to a method when I wrote lyrics. The only method I have is to say what I feel and think. Sometimes that meant not being obvious because where my thoughts are going is not obvious to me when I am in the moment--in that space and time. It comes clear later. Maybe others write lyrics to fill in the song. I don't. I write words and really pour over them for a good while before I commit them to the song. Then I even go back 3 or 4 times and gut them and start over. So it is just an insult to hear that people think I am just saying whatever. I also know that if you don't go into the listening process ready to accord respect to the artist, it usually is a self-fulfilling thing. You end up not really respecting it very much. So in that light I guess that is where people are coming from when they say that. So, to answer your question, I am ready to move on. Move on from all my frustrations about perception. RFC: Stepping back a bit, let's talk about the new's a bit more straight-forward (standard verse/chorus/verse guitar, drums+vocals) than the past three EPs you released. What inspired the shift in musical direction? ML: What inspired it was people and time. I was set to do another sample sequence collage style set of songs then I started working with my friend Derek See who plays guitar. His input moved me it in that direction. To address something that you mentioned that is inaccurate, all my songs are verse chorus verse. I don't know any other way really. So having guitar in there just led you to that realization. I don't make music to confuse people with complexity. I make the music that I can. The sample based stuff is me playing my Akai MPC samplers and writing songs that way. I am a shitty guitar player so the samples become my guitar and band in a surrogate way. I am very comfortable with that. The byproduct of that is that I seem like I am being avant or something because the backdrops or music accompanying the lyrics is a little more alien. It sounds normal enough to me. But I guess I enter into the realm of electronic music and then I am judged against Squarepusher or some shit. I have no more in common with Squarepusher than I do with Hoobastank. RFC: I really like how you've released it as a double CD of "Side A" and "Side B." Is this merely an aesthetic attempt to recreate the feeling of an old LP record, or is each side a unique set of songs with a connecting theme? ML: The record is two parts: Am I free? & I Am Free. The first set of songs deals with the first sentiment and the second set with the second sentiment. I wanted to divide the listening experience because I hear it that way. You can't divide a CD into sides as you know. So I enforced that way of initially presenting the music. When it gets dumped on a computer then so be it. It is altogether then. I wish records were shorter now. I lose interest when a record is over 40 minutes. I rarely listen to music for background purposes. I listen to hear songs and stories and beautiful sounds. I don't think it should be a labor to get through a set of songs. So I went further with it and basically said listen to it 20 minutes at a clip. RFC: Speaking of which...Overall, your releases have always had great minimalist packaging. Much like you're music, the accompaning artwork has always been refreshingly start and you work on the art and packaging yourself or is it done by someone else? ML: I do it all myself. For me it was a mix of economics and aesthetic. It costs money to make something that looks good. I didn't want to print and pay for a bunch of CDs then be stuck with them when they didn't sell. I also did not want the releases to be about much more than the music. I realize now that I have a foolish approach. When you don't know something, all you have is the visuals to judge it on. The packaging made it very hard to sell in stores and the minimalism made it all but invisible. So I shot myself in the foot twice. Then people probably looked at it and thought that I was too cheap to pay for a nice package. I think it backfired for me. I was really trying to do something totally simple and honest. I don't think it worked out for me on that level. As a music maker I am very happy with the releases and feel that I did what I felt regardless of the consequences. That is very important to me. RFC: Is the new record available in stores in the area? How about your back catalog? ML: Everything is available on my website or on the Perishable Records website. Anyone can email me for purchasing details: resplendent(at) I also sell all the Fire Show releases and the Number One Cup stuff too. RFC: So now that Resplendent has been put to rest...what's your next project going to be? ML: The next project will just be Michael Lenzi. I figure I won't be changing that name for a while. Maybe I'll return to Resplendent at a later date. Who knows. I change my mind all the time. The new songs I am writing are all about my life in Chicago which is pretty broad I know. The music will be very very minimal. The vocals will fill a lot of the space. RFC: Anything else you'd like to add? ML: I don't really know. There is so much else to add always. Go see Dalek when they come around again. Buy the new Trail of Dead record. Buy the early Talking Heads records. Sit down and listen to Notorious B.I.G.'s record "Ready to Die" from start to finish one night. Love yourself a little less and love others more. ----------------------- more about Resplendent... Favorite record of 2004: I listened to the Christie Front Drive "Anthology" record more than any other record in '04 because that is what I fall asleep to every night. It came out a long time ago. How many pints in a quart? 2 I think. I drink 4 pints of Old Style a night sometimes. Artist or band that inspired you to make music: Tricky. The Nearly God record excited me and scared the hell out of me at the same time. The song Poems is totally the one for me. That song is love. He turned the light on for me about making broken songs with samples and vocals. Digital or analog? Analog for recording and photography. Why? Because I like it. Digital for the everyday life. I just wish that it wasn't always so fucking either...or all the time. Tastes great or less filling? I don't worry about getting filled up. I worry about having stuff to enjoy. For the latest Resplendent news, MP3s and more...check out

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Introducing...Radio Free Chicago Night

UPDATE: Great music and cheap booze...TONIGHT at aliveOne (back room) 9pm

DJ Schedule:

Steve Damien- 9:00 pm (sharp!)

DJ Personal Bankruptcy - 9:30 pm

DJ JuiceBoxx - 10:00 pm

DJ Lucifer Sam - 10:30 pm

Open sets - 11:00 pm-?

UPDATE: Guest DJs have been confirmed for next Wed's Radio Free Chicago Night at aliveOne... Cranking up the tunes on the decks will be Nicole Chavas, aka DJ JuiceBoxx, from WLUW, Steve Damien, formerly of WLUW's "Retrospective," J. Niimi, aka DJ Personal Bankruptcy from WHPK's "Radio Zero," and of course, yours truly, DJ Lucifer Sam. Hope to see you all there... ----- Next Wednesday, March 9th, will be the inaugural "Radio Free Chicago Night," a monthly bar series taking place at various establishments around the city. Basically, it's an excuse to round up fellow music fanatics, geeks and scenesters to talk music, spin records and down a few drinks. The first RFC Night will be held at aliveOne, home of Chicago's only all-live jukebox. We'll be taking over the back room, cranking up the turntables and enjoying $2.50 High Life's. DJ Lucifer Sam (aka Brad K.) and other guest DJs (TBA) will be providing the tunes. Come on out and join us...and feel free to bring some records. Radio Free Chicago Night aliveOne - (back room) 2683 N. Halsted Wed., March 9 9pm-? No cover, $2.50 High Life Guest DJs, witty banter and more!

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

New Releases Tuesday (3/8)

Local and Related: Pit Er Pat - Shakey (Thrill Jockey) Local trio's debut album for Thrill Jockey Sam Prekop - Who's Your New Professor? (Thrill Jockey) You know, the Sea & Cake guy? Other Notables: Boom Bip - Blue Eyed in the Red Room (Lex) Cincinnati-based experimental hip-hop artist returns with another full-length on Warp Records-imprint Lex. Stars - Set Yourself on Fire (Arts & Crafts) Insanely catchy indie-pop from the Great White North. Various Artists - Run the Road (Vice) A legendary comp in the UK, this album compiles all the best artists from the grime scene, including Dizzee Rascal, Wiley, The Streets, Lady Sovereign, Roll Deep and more.

Monday, March 07, 2005

R.I.P. Resplendent, 2002-2005

While working as a DJ at WLUW, I was exposed to numerous recordings from local bands and musicians. However, there was one local artist in particular that I was always intrigued by...Resplendent. For starters, it wasn't your typical Chicago was stark, atmospheric, and a even bit experimental at times. Certainly still classifiable as rock, but not the usual guitars/drums/bass and loud vocals that seemed to be so pervasive in WLUW's local music library. Nothing against any local musicians who revel in turning it up to '11,' but it was refreshing to actually hear something different from a local rock artist. Second, I had been following the local music scene pretty closely for a couple of years, yet I had never heard anything about this Resplendent. I never saw him listed in any upcoming shows and never read about him in the Reader or any of the other numerous local arts publications. There was a review on one of the CDs at the station that said that he used to be in a band called Fire Show, but that was about the only thing I really knew about him. Hell, even the liner notes didn't say much...the song titles were listed in small print on a really small piece of paper and that was about all that was included with his records. The composer was listed as M. Lenzi and the label was Mixx Tape Records. The music was as good as just about anything else new I had heard on any local or national record label, yet the entire production seemed to be self-released. Eventually I left WLUW and admittedly sort of forgot about Resplendent for a while. Then, in January, a friend of mine at the station told me that a new Resplendent release had come in. Naturally, I was looking forward to hearing the new record, but this time I was determined to actually find out who was this mysterious artist behind these records. I had still never seen anything written about him or his releases, so it seemed like an ideal story to pursue for Radio Free Chicago. After a quick Google search the next day, I found that Resplendent now had a complete website up and running. There was a full discography and a decent amount of bio info, but I still wanted to get more insight about the I dropped him a line to set up an interview for RFC. We corresponded a couple of times and eventually set up an interview date. Then, about a week or two before we had planned to meet, I received a message from Resplendent asking if I was coming to his "one and only" performance at The Hideout. I was a bit confused by this because... 1. I didn't remember reading anything about any upcoming gig on his website before 2. What did he mean by "one and only" show? So, I went back to the website right away to try to figure out how I missed the show listing the first time, and the first thing I see is: "R.I.P. Resplendent, 2003-2005." Now I knew I didn't see that the first time, so I was at least reassured that my mind wasn't completely slipping...but what was the R.I.P. business???? It figures, I find a new local artist that I think is really great and unique and his career is done before I even get a chance to do an interview. Luckily, while the music of Resplendent may have come and gone without many in Chicago even knowing it, the man behind the moniker is still alive and well and already looking forward to his next project. I finally caught up with the artist (formerly) known as Resplendent after his final (and only) Chicago performance and found out that there is still plenty more musical fire left in this local (and dare I say, underrated) musician. Stay tuned later this week to RFC for my complete interview with Michael Lenzi, aka Resplendent. In the meantime, go to to hear a download from his latest release and check out the links to the reviews of his past releases.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Thrill Jockey invades Tower

This Saturday (3/5), venerable Chicago indie-label stalwart Thrill Jockey will be taking over Tower Records on Clark to celebrate the release of their new DVD, Looking for a Thrill, An Anthology of Inspiration. Actually, the DVD is a celebration in marks the label's 100th release after over 13 years in the biz. It boasts over 100 interviews with musicians, artists and label owners who have been a guiding force in the independent music scene. Besides featuring numerous acts from the Thrill Jockey family, the documentary also includes quips and quotes from the likes of Mike Watt, Thurston Moore, Bjork, Yo La Tengo, Steve Albini, Ian MacKaye and Jon Spencer. The film was directed by Braden King, edited by Ian Williams and conceived by Ms. Thrill Jockey herself, Bettina Richards. Now get this...not only does this sound like a great documentary and an essential addition to any music fan's library, but it even benefits a worthy cause! Thrill Jockey is donating 100% of the profits from this milestone release to Greenpeace. But wait, there's more... As I alluded to earlier, Thrill Jockey will, in fact, be invading Tower on Clark this Saturday at 2pm with a barrage of performances and autograph signings for the DVD. Here's the line-up scheduled to perform: Eleventh Dream Day, Freakwater, All Natural, Califone, Janet Bean, The Zincs, Edward Wilkerson Quartet, Bobby Conn and the one and only Lonesome Organist. A stellar line-up by any means, especially for an in-store! I'm guessing it might get a little cramped, so you might want to get there early. I'm not really sure if Tower is equipped for a SXSW-sized label showcase, but we'll see what happens! (if you can't make it Saturday, the DVD is available at all Chicago-area Tower Records, or via by clicking here or on the link above) Looking for a Thrill DVD release party Sat., March 5 at 2pm Tower Records 2301 N. Clark

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Radio 4 play SmartBar tonite (3/2)

This just in to the RFC newsroom... After their show tonight at The Empty Bottle, Radio 4 will be making the trek up north to spin a set at SmartBar. Apparently they are planning to "bring over their iPods, hook up, and spin tunes for you!!" OK, so maybe they won't exactly be "spinning," (sounds more like their going to just hit "shuffle" on their iPods and drink for a couple hours) but hey, I'm sure they've got some good MP3s loaded up for your dancing pleasure.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

New Releases Tuesday (3/1)

Not much going on at the record store this week...from a major label stand point, really just two significant new releases (Doves+Mars Volta), unless you've been anxiously awaiting the new joint from Fiddy-Cent. Here's the run-down: Doves - Some Cities (Capitol) Album number 3 from the Mancunian trio formerly known as Sub Sub. Released last week in the UK, the reviews on the BBC website are all glowing so far, though a couple posts alluded that it probably doesn't top Lost Souls. (No surprise there) The Mars Volta - Frances the Mute (Universal) Shivvy Shiv from sez this album is prog-a-licious, featuring 15+ minute epic tunes complete with multiple 'movements', just like your Dad's old Yes albums. Ivy - In the Clear (Nettwerk) Apparently this is their 5th album?? I guess I missed the last 3 or 4...oh well, I don't remember them varying their sound much, so I probably didn't miss a whole lot.