Friday, April 29, 2005

Putting the 'Public' back in NPR

Last night before spinning tunes for the ClothingChange Exchange, I got a chance to hear some insightful and innovative talk radio programming courtesy of NPR. (whoa! I never thought I'd say that!) No, I wasn't crankin' up Afternoon Edition to get pumped for my DJ set, but rather I was listening to a broadcast of Neighborhood Public Radio live at buddY. Unlike the "other" NPR, which has seemingly become an outlet only for the affluent and upper class white communities, Neighborhood Public Radio is an organization that strives to give everyone in the community a voice and an outlet for news, arts and entertainment that is not available via mainstream media outlets. Here's their official statement from their website: At few times in recent history has it been more imperative that communities find ways to make their voices heard. As the FCC attempts to make it easier for radio stations to be co-opted by large corporations, and as the Corporation that runs our one National "Public" radio outlet conspires to exclude all other voices from the left end of the radio dial, individuals in the Bay Area are making it known that they will not be restricted from accessing the airwaves that are rightfully their own property... Our motto: If it is local and it makes noise .. we hope to feature it on NPR(Neighborhood Public Radio) Neighborhood Public Radio will continue broadcasting through the rest of the weekend here in Chicago as a part of Version fest, which wraps up this Sunday in Bridgeport. Check out their website for more information, archived broadcasts and a link to their live stream at Version.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

WHPK Pledge Drive

WHPK, The Pride of the South Side, is currently conducting their annual pledge drive, running now through May 8. Sorry PBS fans, there aren't any tote-bag giveways, but you can get other "premiums" at bargain prices. Here's the word from the 'HPK website: For a contribution of at least $14.99, you'll receive a WHPK sticker and one year of WHPK program guides. For any donation of $15.00 to $24.99, we'll send you a WHPK mug, a WHPK sticker, and one year of WHPK program guides. For any donation of $25.00 or over, you'll get the mug, sticker, and program guides, as well as the fantastic new 2005 WHPK t-shirt. Ethan D'Ercole designed this year's shirt, and sizes from small to XXXL are available. Click here to see a sample version. Local businesses have graciously donated many other premiums available during on-air giveaways. Tune in to get the lowdown! The premiums donated by local business are also a bargain. For example, for a $15 pledge you can get a $10 gift certificate to Hyde Park records. You practically get all of your money back while still contributing to a good cause! Tune into 88.5 FM on the South Side for more details or check out their website at (hold tight North Siders, word on the street is that WHPK will be soon be webcasting, so hopefully you'll soon be able to check out this hidden gem without traveling to Hyde Park)

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

RFC Night is Tonight!

Yes, that's right...tonight marks the second installment of Radio Free Chicago Night. The event returns once again to back room of aliveOne and this time we'll be celebrating the release of the new Stereolab box set, Oscillons from the Anti-Sun; a 3-CD set featuring 28 tracks previously unreleased in the US and a bonus DVD with rare videos and UK TV performances. After previewing tracks from the box set, WHPK and WLUW personalities will then take over the decks for live DJ sets. Here's the official line-up: 9-10p: Selections from Oscillons... 10p: DJ Damienone (Steve Damien) 10:20: DJ Rufo (Jeff from WHPK's Gap the Mind) 10:40: dj popscum (Jaclyn from WLUW) 11:00: DJ JuiceBoxx (Nicole from WLUW) 11:20: DJ Lucifer Sam (aka RFC's Brad K.) High Life's are only $2.50 and 1 lucky winner will also walk away with a FREE copy of the new Stereolab box set. The event is also free, but you must be 21+ to attend. aliveOne is located at 2683 N. Halsted, which is near the corner of Diversey and Halsted...once you're there, walk all the way to the rear of the bar to find the back party room.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

New Releases Tuesday (4/26)

DJ Spooky vs. Dave Lombardo - Drums of Death (Thirsty Ear) Noted hip-hop producer DJ Spooky (aka "that subliminal kid") hooks up with the drummer from Slayer for some mad beats. (I'm not making this up!) eels - Blinking Lights and Other Revelations (Vagrant) Eels leader Mark Oliver Everett (better known simply as "E.") is a bit of a mad genius, but overall his albums have been a bit hit or miss. I thought Souljacker and Electro-Shock Blues were brilliant records, but the records that followed up each were really mediocre in my book. Hopefully this one will, in fact, be another "revelation." Features guest appearances by Peter Buck, Tom Waits and John Sebastian from the Lovin' Spoonful. Lyrics Born - Same #$@! Different Day (Quannum) Remixed version of the solid Later That Day album. Also includes a bonus remix of the classic Lyrics Born jam "I Changed My Mind." New Order - Waiting for the Sirens' Call (Warner Bros.) No, not yet another compilation with one or two Joy Division tracks thrown in, but an actual new album. The Cure - Seventeen Seconds/Faith/Pornography (Rhino) Latest batch of classic Cure albums reissued by Rhino. Each is a 2-disc set full of rarities/live tracks, etc. I'm sure Cure fans are drooling over these CD reissues, but I'd personally recommend finding a used copy of Pornography on record instead, it sounds so much better on vinyl. Stereolab - Oscillons from the Anti Sun (Too Pure) 3-disc, 1 DVD box set featuring 28 previously unreleased tracks and rare videos. Coming soon to RFC night.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Listening Party-palooza

Tonight is a busy night for listening's the line-up: New Order CD Release Party SmartBar - 10pm DJs Brad Owen and Heather spin New Order past and present including a pre-midnight preview of Waiting for the Sirens' Call, plus classic New Order video projections - the New Order Video, Pumped Full of Drugs, The New Order Story, Factory Records Documentary, Live in NYC 1981, Live at Finsbury Park and more. Plus, you can enter to win autographed posters, prizes and tickets for the New Order show at the Aragon on Tuesday May 3rd! Tower Records will on-hand to sell the new disc at midnight. Reckless New Release Ping Pong Party VIII Schubas - 9pm The latest installment of Reckless' uniquely unorganized attempt to bring you cheap drinks, dates, ping pong tournaments and new releases will feature the aforementioned New Order release as well as previews of Mary Timony’s Ex Hex and the next batch of Cure reissue deluxe double discs; Seventeen Seconds, Faith and Pornography. And, naturally the Reckless staff will be bringing plenty of extra copies of these records for you to purchase at the end of the night. (though if you're a pro on the ping-pong table, you may be able to score some free swag as well) Eels Listening Party The Long Room - 9pm Tower Records and The Onion present a preview of the latest release from The Eeels, Blinking Lights and Other Revelations. Free goodies are promised from The Onion, plus featured microbrews will put you back only $2.50. ----------- And, of course, can't forget on Wed (2/27).... Stereolab Listening Party/Radio Free Chicago Night aliveOne - 9pm The latest release from Stereolab, Oscillons from the Anti-Sun, will be previewed, followed by hot DJ sets from DJ Damienone, DJ Rufo (WHPK), DJ Personal Bankruptcy (WHPK), dj popscum (WLUW), DJ JuiceBoxx (WLUW) and DJ Lucifer Sam (RFC).

Friday, April 22, 2005

Keep this man away from the DJ booth

Lollapalooza line-up announced

And the line-up for Lollapalooza '05 in Chicago is... The Pixies Widespread Panic Weezer The Killers Dinosaur Jr. Cake Dashboard Confessional Arcade Fire Billy Idol Death Cab for Cutie Digible Planets Liz Phair G. Love and Special Sauce Blonde Redhead The Black Keys Kasabian Kaiser Chiefs ...Trail of Dead The Bravery The Walkmen Louis XIV Sound Tribe Sector 9 Z Trip Los Amigos Invisibles M83 The Dandy Warhols The Brian Jonestown Massacre Tegan & Sara VHS or Beta Soulive Ambulance LTD The Redwalls Shout Out Louds Blue Merle DeSol World Leader Pretend The Changes So Chicago...what are your thoughts on the much anticipated line-up?? Let's get a discussion thread going, click on "comments" or drop a line to rfceditor(at)

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Free threads!

Shameless Plug

One more note about Version '05... Next Thursday (4/28), I'll be DJing the ClothingChange Exchange at buddY. Here's the 411 on the event: Thursday April 28, 2005 buddY 1542 N. Milwaukee Ave 2nd floor 7-10p Free! The ClothingChange Exchange is a colorful touring event offering all-ages fun in a creative atmosphere. In the spirit of an international bazaar it attracts people from all walks of life to come together for trade. This is a bartering bazaar for traders to clean out their closets and bring their unwanted clothing to exchange. Items that defy mass manufacturing such as vintage, ethnic and homemade garments are especially welcome. However, the primary focus is to recycle used clothing in general. Traders may bring as few or as many pieces of clothing as desired. These pieces are used as currency to barter for new clothing from other traders. Items do not have to be traded piece for piece, the value and worth of an item is determined by the engaged traders. There is one rule: No money may be exchanged. Clothing left at the end of the Exchange can be taken back home or left at the event location. The remnants are bagged by volunteers and event organizers, then donated to a local charity. Our organizers prefer to donate to a local organization within the neighborhood of each event and try to steer clear of national organizations that might sell the clothing in bulk to overseas exporters. To promote positive self- image and expression there is a for-kicks fashion show that everyone is encouraged to participate in. Participants construct their own creative outfit to model on their own body in a walk of confidence. The ClothingChange Exchange is a playful event, but is driven as a vehicle for positive social change. Our main objectives are to create a fun event where people can practice the usuage of alternative currencies, sustainable living, fair trade, positive self-image, responsible consumption and resource conservation and preservation. ----- Since organizer Trent Denton wants the event to evoke "the spirit of an international bazaar," I'll be going for a sort of a dime-store lounge/world record kind of sound for my set. In addition to some bizarre foreign and lounge dusties, also expect to hear a healthy dose of swingin' favorites like Senior Coconut, Sergio Mendez, Herb Alpert, Lee Hazlewood, Serge Gainsbourg, Air and Stereolab. This sounds like a great can't beat picking up some free vintage threads and getting a chance to groove to Gainsbourg at the same time!

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Version '05 starts Friday

An experiment in navigating emerging or sub cultures, the fourth annual Version fest kicks off this Friday. This year dubbed "Invisible Desire," the festival combines the visual and performing arts with activism and creative uses of new technologies. While the focus of Version is on "strategies and aesthetics of artistic intervention and political change," there are some notable music and media happenings of note that you might want to check out even if you've never fancied yourself as much of a political activist. Here are some highlights: Sunday, April 24 McKinley Park 35th and Archer(Orange line stop) BBQ near 3700 S. Hoyne Birds by Dan St. Clair: This performance for FM radio responds to pop culture’s saturation of our consciousness with bland and predictable melody. Birds re-injects the possibility for surprise into the radio landscape by synthesizing bird song to mimic the playlists of commercial music radio stations in real time. 7pm Music in the park: The William Young: Chicago's premiere pirate band sings shanties to put sail to your seven seas. Ultimate Marching Warriors: Paul Velat (aka The Lord of the Yum Yum) transforms into a one-man marching band. Jitney is Hiphop, dance and noise. Occasional Detroit is extreme noise psychedelia on the mic. Tuesday April 26, 2005 buddY 1542 N. Milwaukee Ave 2nd floor 9pm $5 Politics and Popular Music: Strange gyrating singers, elusive sounds of mash up sensibilities, experimental action. Beverages served. Performances by: We Can And Must Live Local podcasting pros will give a 30 - 40 minute lecture on podcasting basics and on its use of podcasting to transmit their particular form of electronic improvisation. A performance follows. We Can and We Must consists of Electronic Composer/Performers Jason Wampler and Ryan Ingebritsen. Potter Belmar Labs Audio Visual collective. Hong Kong Delight Art-rock/time-based art performance that includes video, text, performance, rock music and thought-provoking politics. Lovely Little Girls Icky sticky drippings from Gregory Jacobsen's all-new band of misfits making its world premiere at Version>05. Rotten Milk vs. Bubblegum Shitface Terry Plumming's deviant noise fiends eternally locked in battle - for no apparent reason. Wednesday, April 27 Zhou B. Center 1029 W. 35th St (35th and Morgan), 2nd floor 10am-7pm $5 donation Terry Plumming summit program #2: 100 improvising musicians will perform in an 80' pentagram. 10 person typewriter chorus will record events, spoken and otherwise. There will be simultaneous lectures, a format consisting mainly of the rolling start and objection rounds go round. There will be famous summit photograph reenactments, presented in front of a beachscene backdrop. "Recency, begins at 10 a.m. with waiting around. Then at 2 p.m. one hundred improv musicians on five PAs inside a pentagram will invoke the maze after which objects will be produced which exploit magic sonic potentials." Beverages will be served, earplugs provided. For lists of participants, dates and times (constantly being updated), vist Friday, April 29 Texas Ballroom & Diamonds on Archer 3012 S. Archer Ave., 1st and 3rd floors 10:30pm Suggested donation $10 Community of the Future Opening AfterEvent: ZIbelline Epee is a 10-minute puppet show with appropriated and live music. Far Rad: NO RAVE. youloveitsodoit. Everyone Mutates (Ghost Arcade Ltd.): Minimal body wave. The Atari Star (Johann's Face): Lush, intimate and carefully crafted. DJs : Grady and Benn Flashbulb Sunday, May 01 Zhou B. Center 1029 W. 35th St. noon - 8pm VERSION NFO EXPO-Chatroom Program 1pm Neighborhood Public Radio - DIY: The History and Future of Neighborhood Public Radio Years of broadcasting nomadically throughout the San Francisco Bay Area have taught ‘NPR’ a great deal about transmission methods, community organizing, the myth of PUBLIC radio, and attempts of corporate media to exclude localized voices. DIY is a presentation drawing upon this experience, relayed via conversation between a low power radio proponent and a low-level corporate radio hack. Followed by a hands-on workshop on how others might duplicate their methods. Version '05 kicks off this Friday with a 3-floor opening party encompassing the Highschool, Heaven and buddY galleries(aka The Compound). For more info and a complete line-up of events, visit

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

New Releases Tuesday (4/19)

Local and related Weird War - Illuminated by the Light (Drag City) Third album from former Make-Up members Ian Svenonius and Michelle Mae. Former Weird War member Neil Michael Haggerty (Pussy Galore, Royal Trux) is out of line-up and the band is now a trio. In addition to new member Alex Minoff, Sebastian Thomson of the Fucking Champs is also featured on this album. Neil Hamburger - Great Moments at Dipresa's Pizza House (Drag City) According to the unofficial Neil Hamburger website, Drag City Records is planning a major marketing blitz for this album involving "special promotional balloons." Only the best for America's $1 funny man. Other Notables Autechre - Untilted (Warp) Miss Kitten - Mixing Me (Astralwerks) Roots Manuva - Awfully Deep (Ninja Tune) Mary Timony - Ex Hex (Lookout!)

Monday, April 18, 2005

Mark your calendars...

Next Wednesday, the 27th, Radio Free Chicago Night returns to aliveOne. In addition to more drinking and DJ debauchery, we'll also be previewing the new Stereolab record, Oscillons from the Anti-Sun, which hits store shelves on the 26th. (pre-order your copy and support RFC here) Stay tuned to RFC for more details and the complete DJ line-up...

Friday, April 15, 2005

Happy Tax Day from (I)NC!

Tired of our country's oppresive tax regime? Here's some helpful links courtesy of the (International) Noise Conspiracy: International Socialist Tendency - A website uniting revolutionary organisations around the world, part of the worldwide anti-capitalist movement. Smurfing Socialists - Hand Carved Magazine article on the subversive propaganda that is The Smurfs. Socialism today - The monthly journal of the Socialist Party. The World Socialist Movement - This website is the collaborative work of socialists around the world.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Scanning the dial...Lost 45s find their way to the Indie-Rock Alarm Clock

So I get an message earlier in the week from my buddY-dwelling friend Matt. On a routine stroll downstairs to check the mail, he stumbles upon a milk crate full of old 45s in the doorway. Apparently this isn't that strange of a phenomenon...people do occasionally leave random goodies and donations for the buddY crew. Last week, they received a random box containing some organic tea, vit.C immunity boost drink mix, incense, & a packet of Q-tips. Many other times they've received random stacks of used books and records that more than likely had been rejected from nearby used media emporiums Myopic and Reckless. However, according to Matt, this was no ordinary crate full of dollar-bin records. This was a goldmine full of amazing ol' skool funk tracks like Bobby Rush's "Chicken Heads," "Get Down" by Harvey Scales & the Seven Sounds and "Slip Around" from Charlie Hodges. While he was ecstatic about his discovery ("years of crate digging has just landed in my lap"), Matt still had a nagging feeling that maybe someone had misplaced their crate or left it behind from a gig the weekend before. Perhaps Calvin Johnson was loading up the K Records van and forgot to pick up the last crate? Tuning into WLUW this morning, however, it was quite obvious that no one had claimed the lost records yet...I was awakened to a great set of scratchy funk grooves on Matt's show, "The Indie-Rock Alarm Clark." I didn't get a chance to hear the entire show, but what I heard sounded great. Thanks to whoever donated (or lost) their 45s, and kudos to Matt for bringing them in and playing them on the air. (and nice work sneaking in RJD2 into the set, well-played Matt) If you happen to know why/how these records landed on buddY's doorstep and who was the benefactor, by all means forward the info this way and help Scooby and the gang solve the mystery of the abandoned records. Or, if you've recently misplaced a milk-crate full of funk 45s, drop us a line and we'll verify if Matt does, in fact, have your records. ------------ If you did lose these records, don't worry...they're in good hands. And I'm not just saying that because I'm friends with the guy. When it comes to music, Matt knows his shit and his weekly show, "The Indie-Rock Alarm Clock," (Thurs 6-9a, 88.7 FM) is easily one of the best shows on WLUW and probably the best free-form rock show on the station. A bit of a misnomer, the Indie-Rock Alarm Clock is way more than just indie-rock (which tends to get exhausted quite a bit on 88.7). It's really just a great collection of independent and underground music (hip-hop, soul, funk, world, rock, electronic, etc.) in the grand tradition of free-form college/community radio. Matt also does a really great job of mixing in the new with the old and doesn't get stuck playing just the top 30 "hot" new indie releases...something that many of his WLUW brethren seem to fall victim too. Finally, I really appreciate his subtle, yet knowledgeable on-air delivery, which is something seriously lacking at WLUW. Most of the DJs on 88.7 are either too eager and talk on the air waaaay too much, or they're barely audible and don't seem have any interest or knowledge in what they're playing. Don't get me wrong, Matt is not the only great DJ on WLUW, but if you get frustrated with the inconsistency of the station like me and don't always listen 88.7 on a regular basis, I highly recommend tuning in specifically for the "Indie Rock Alarm Clock" Thursday mornings from 6-9 AM. You won't be disappointed.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Follow up: Q-101 New and Improved? or...

The verdict is in: I'm convinced this station is a sinking ship. After they expanded their playlist on April 1, I programmed Q-101 into my FM presets to periodically check out their new(old) sound. After almost two weeks, I've probably listened to it for a total of about 20 minutes. As I mentioned on the first day of the format tweak, listening to the station completely fact, now after checking it out a few times, it's actually become predictably bad. Digging that classic new wave track?? Better keep your finger on the dial, because the next track is almost guaranteed to be some nu-metal/hard rock BS. Shuffle my ass! Sounds like they're purposely arranging the playlist so that you always hear 1 new track, 1 80's track and 1 90's track in every 4-5 song set. It's really frustrating because some of the old songs they've dug up sound great...last night I heard "Cut You Up" by Peter Murphy and I totally cranked it up. But then they followed it up with "Enter Sandman" by Metallica!?! End result? Radio goes off, CD goes in. Luckily, I'm not the only one who thinks that Q-101's programming dept. is on crack. According to today's Feder column in the Sun-Times, many industry experts agree that the station's iPod-like "now on shuffle" modus operandi is seriously flawed: Should a medium that's already universal be comparing itself constantly to a new gadget that's in the craze phase?" the trade publication Inside Radio wondered Tuesday. "Radio in the '70s and '80s didn't compare itself to 8-tracks or cassettes...Mancow Muller, the Q-101 morning star who's missing from the current marketing campaign, finds his bosses' strategy downright hilarious. "Now I'm trying to talk them into sending XM and Sirius Satellite radios to everyone," he said with an evil laugh. So if anyone from the Q-101 staff is reading this, I'll reiterate what I said before about their brilliant plan to be a radio station that's "like an iPod on shuffle" Why would you want to listen to someone else's iPod that's stuck on shuffle and doesn't have a "skip" button?? Wouldn't you rather just listen to your own iPod that's filled with all of your favorite songs? ------------- Speaking of follow-ups, here's a quick Lollapalooza Chicago update: The pre-sale "bargain" tickets for $35 are already sold out. The 2000 that were alloted for the pre-sale sold out in about 90 minutes. Never being one to buy tickets ahead of time, I totally flaked out on this and didn't get to the website before they sold out. Oh well, the artist line-up still hasn't been announced, so I'm not kicking myself just yet. Plus, according to the website, there are still more "deals" to come. We'll keep you posted...

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

New Releases Tuesday (4/12)

Local Labels Adult. - D.U.M.E. (Thrill Jockey) Detroit electro duo makes their Thrill Jockey debut with this 6-song ep. Mark your calendars, they'll be playing the Bottle on May 7. Supersystem - Always Never Again (Touch & Go) Formerly known as El Guapo, Insound calls them a cross between Kraftwerk and Q and not U. They'll also be gracing the stage of the Bottle soon...on April 29. Zincs - Dimmer (Thrill Jockey) The newest member of the Thrill Jockey roster, the Zincs "play brooding pop music rooted in the mysterious sounds of America and Britain to which the band grew up listening."

Husky Rescue - Country Falls (Minty Fresh) The Guardian calls this this Finnish-based band "part Royksopp, part Goldfrapp..a joyous clash of electronica and folk."

Other Notables Les Georges Lenningrad - Soopa Dupa (Troubleman Unlimited) Of Montreal - The Sunlandic Twins (Polyvinyl) The National - Alligator (Beggars Banquet)

Monday, April 11, 2005

Schubas presents free screening of Dig!

Tomorrow night, Schubas will be presenting a free screening of Dig!, the award-winning rockumentary about the bizarre rivalry between The Dandy Warhols and the uber-disfynctional Brian Jonestown Massacre. The screening is in celebration of the DVD release of the film, which hits store shelves tomorrow (4/12) . As I raved last year before its big-screen debut at the Landmark Century Theatres, this is a great documentary and a must-see for any hardcore music fan. Definitely take advantage of this free screening, though I would also recommend picking up the DVD as me, it gets even better after multiple viewings. The Dig! screening starts at 8pm, Schubas is located at 3159 N. Southport. ----------- Speaking of free viewings of Dig!.... is giving away free copies of the DVD for the next two weeks! Here's the scoop from the Future of Rock and Roll: DIG! DVD Giveaway We're giving away a DIG! special edition DVD every weekday through April 22nd! Just tune in weekdays between 9am and 6pm EDT and listen for us to play a Dandy Warhols or Brian Jonestown Massacre song. When you hear it, log onto, click on the contest link and get registered. Hurry because you only have 15 minutes to register from the time you hear the song.One winner will be drawn each day from the eligible entries received. Please note, this contest is only open to U.S. and Canadian residents (except Quebec), and you can only register once per day. Good luck!

Friday, April 08, 2005

This white boy can dance!

K Records founder plays buddY this weekend

(4/11) Devotion to Accuracy Dept: OK, so I totally botched this story...Johnson's set at buddY was actually a solo acoustic set. Still great nonetheless, but it was hardly a night of dancing and debauchery. This Saturday (4/9) in Liquor Park, former Beat Happening frontman, esteemed Halo Bender, Dub Narcotic dance master and K Records founder Calvin Johnson will be invading the buddY Gallery for a night of dancing and debauchery. Johnson will undoubtedly be bringing an entourage of K Records cronies, so hijinks are sure to ensue. Johnson is currently doing a DJ-set tour as "Selector Dub Narcotic" and will be wrapping up the Midwest leg of the tour this Saturday after some raucous performances in DeKalb, Davenport and Beloit. If you've never seen Johnson perform live, you definitely need to come to check out this show. Even if you can't stand his music (OK, maybe he's not the best singer ever), it's worth seeing him live to experience his amazing white-boy dance moves. buddY Gallery is located at 1542 n. milwaukee ave, above Labinski starts around 9pm

Thursday, April 07, 2005 spreads love to Windy City

Legendary alt-rock stalwart and current internet-radio phenom, WOXY (aka 97X...[BAM!] The Future of Rock and Roll), is spreading its love beyond the Ohio border to the Windy City. Tomorrow night at Abbey Pub, the station will be presenting its first-ever Chicago concert. Headlining the night is Brendan Benson, a power-pop newcomer from California who All Music Guide calls "this decade's Matthew Sweet." The Strands and Charlie Mars open. The event is 18+, show starts at 10pm. The Abbey Pub is located at 3240 West Grace. Tickets are $15, but if you're lucky, you may still be able to pick up a free pair of tix by tuning in to WOXY. Good Luck.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Metro's new "mPod"

Metro launches new website

Have you seen the new Metro website yet? Joe Shannahan and Co. launched the new site last week and it's chock full of new improvements and features. While I liked the stark design of the old Metro website, the new version is significantly more streamlined and easier to navigate through. For example, in the "shows" section you can now scroll down through two months worth of events or click on individual dates via the calendar interface. There are also big, pretty pictures of each artist playing as well as a direct link to order tickets for each show. (unfortunately, the link is through Ticketbastard, so you'll be charged a serious "convenience" fee for this on-line privilege) However, the most notable new feature on the site is easily the mPod player. This nifty little device let's you toggle through songs from upcoming Metro acts. Not only does the mPod display tell you who and what you're listening to, it also tells you when they will be appearing at Metro. A very clever marketing tool and a great way for fans to check out new music. Check out all of the new improved features on the Metro website at

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

New Releases Tuesday (4/5)

Fischerspooner - Odyssey (Capitol) How much did Capitol/EMI lose on their debut album?? Something like $2 million? I guess it couldn't get much worse, eh Casey? Hot Hot Heat - Elevator (Sire) Is it just me, or are these guys blatant one-hit wonders? That "Bandages" song was catchy as hell, but... Various Artists - Verve Remixed 3 (Verve) I was going to easily dismiss this release until I saw who appearing on this one: Bent, RJD2, Danger Mouse and Lyrics Born. ALSO... The Books - Lost and Safe (Tomlab) British Sea Power - Open Season (Rough Trade) Magnolia Electric Company - What Comes After the Blues (Secretly Canadian) Okkervil River - Black Sheep Boy (Secretly Canadian)

Monday, April 04, 2005

The new Lollapalooza: Coachella of the Midwest?

When was the last time there was a "good" Lollapalooza? 1993? 94? So, needless to say, when I saw a big, full-page ad in the Reader a couple of weeks ago touting a "Lollapalooza '05," I hardly flinched. Let me guess...a couple of major label staples like Foo Fighters, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Coldplay headlining a day at the Tweaker Center. Sure, there may be a couple of decent opening bands, or a second stage with some notable acts...but overall, hardly anything worth driving an hour south to the boonies and spending $50+ to see a show at one of the worst venues in the country. However, news about Lollapalooza got a lot more interesting last week...turns out the event will actually be held Grant Park instead of Tinley Park and, most surprisingly, Chicago will be the only stop for the event. Hmmm...could Chicagoans be getting a world-class music festival to call their own? Sort of a Coachella for midwest music fans? Damn! If they nail down a solid line-up, this cynical music junkie who balks at paying over $15 for a show, might actually shell out some serious cash to check this out. Earlier this year, I was thinking about flying out to Cali to check out Coachella if I could find airfare for under $200, but now I might not even have to shell out $2 to see a major music festival, as I can just hop on the el or ride my bike to get downtown. Of course, the real test for the show's success will be the talent booking. If they can pull off a line-up similar to Coachella '04, I'll be there with bells on. And yeah, even though they are not touring this summer, thousands of fans in the region (and everyone at RFC central) are already saying their prayers and keeping their fingers crossed about a Radiohead return to Grant Park. The Lollapalooza website boasts that there will be 70 bands on 5 stages, plus other installations featuring music, art, invention, light, sound and robots. (Robots!!! OK, now I am sold!) Sounds great so far, let's hope it lives up to the hype and Lollapalooza becomes a credible, worthwhile event again. Check out for more info and to pre-order tickets at a bargain 35 bucks a pop, starting on April 7. RFC will keep you posted on the music line-up as information becomes available. (Word on the street is that Beck will be one of the headliners...who else would you like see? Post your Lollapalooza '05 wish list in the comments section)

Friday, April 01, 2005

Q-101: New and Improved? or Sinking Ship?

Barely two days after the latest Arbitron radio ratings showed that Q-101 had dropped to its lowest ranking ever in the market, Q-101 announced that it was expanding its playlist and putting everything on shuffle, iPod-style. Coincidence?? Hardly...after dying a slow death for years, it seems that the folks at Q-101 have finally woke up and realized their station is a rapidly sinking ship with no help in sight. (c'mon "alternative" music peaked around 1994 and was dead by 1998!) So, in an effort to actually get people listening to Q-101 again, they've adopted the "we play anything/we're like an iPod on shuffle" gimmick that's been all the rage in radio industry lately. (aka "Jack FM," "Bob FM," or "Nine FM" as its called here) However, unlike the Jack FM's or suburban Chicago's Nine FM, Q-101 will be only shuffling music that's classified as "alternative," promising to dive into their archives for 25 years of alterna-hits. While I haven't even touched the station in 5 years, I couldn't resist checking out the "new" Q-101 today…hoping it would be heavy on classic 80s alternative with a dash of the latest buzz bands like Franz Ferdinand, Modest Mouse and whatever "The" band is popular at the moment. I tuned in at 10am sharp this morning to hear the official re-launch of Q-101 and it started out great… “Burning Down the House” by The Talking Heads!!! Hell ya, classic alternative here we come! A great song to kick off a new format and hopefully the sound of things to come. Unfortunately, barely 5 minutes into the “new” Q-101, it seemed the format had already peaked… Following the Talking Heads was: a new track by Green Day, Incubus and Live. Not an awful set, but I was hoping for more...wait! here we go, "Just Like Heaven" by the Cure. Then, it really went down hill: Chevelle (after a Cure pop song?!?), Dave Matthews, and Slipknot. Now get this...after the Slipknot track comes "Birdhouse in your Soul" by They Might Be Giants. What the f#%^$*?!? This is pretty much how it went the rest of the day...a resurrected 80s classic followed by some nu-metal/aggro shit followed by an overplayed Q-101 staple. Just as soon as you start to feel a groove for a certain style, something completely jarring comes on next. Check out this brilliant set from earlier today: Saliva into Belly into Papa Roach into Depeche Mode into Bush. OK, I get it, the station is supposed to be on "shuffle," but who wants to sit through that entire set? Saliva fans sure as hell don't want to hear Belly and most Papa Roach fans probably don't dig Depeche Mode. It's almost like their trying to drive listeners away. OK, so maybe they're doing this on purpose to an extent in order to attract attention. You know, get people saying, "oh my god! I can't believe they just played those two songs together! What will they play next??" But once the novelty wears off (probably after a day or two), then what? This is what I don't get about the "we're like an iPod on shuffle" radio format. Why would you want to listen to someone else's iPod that's stuck on shuffle and doesn't have a "skip" button?? Wouldn't you rather just listen to your own iPod that's filled with all of your favorite songs. Plus, when you listen to your own iPod, you don't have to listen to squirrelly DJs and 6-minute commercial blocks. It seems to me that in trying to compete with new music technology like the iPod, commercial radio is actually driving people away to their iPods. Listening to the "new" Q-101 today was almost exactly the same as my experience listening to the new, "we play anything," Nine FM when it debuted last summer. A great song, followed by a mediocre song, followed by a really mediocre song, followed by a song that makes me want to change the station. Another great song might come on later, but all of the songs in-between are lame, so in the end you just give up and not listen to the station altogether. Sure, the concept of an expanded playlist and a wider variety of music is something that's been seriously lacking from commercial radio for years, but it means Jack shit (pun intended) if the presentation and flow sucks. Granted, I'm not an experienced radio consultant, but it seems to me that in trying to be everything to everyone, Q-101 is actually going to end up pleasing no one. I still think the station could be quite successful as a full-time classic alternative station, but if they continue the shuffle mish-mash, they're doomed for failure. -------------- Speaking of beating a dead horse and trying to recapture the halcyon days of "alternative" music, Lollapalooza is in the headlines...again! This thing just refuses to die! Much like Q-101, Lollapalooza hasn't been relevant in over 10 years, but they're going to give it a go yet another year. However, things got more interesting this week as they've announced it will only be held in one city over one weekend. And yes, that city is Chicago...with word that it will be held in Grant Park. Hmmm...could we be getting our own Coachella-caliber event?? In the heart of the city?? This could be promising... More on the prospects of Chicago's Lollapalooza on Monday.