Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Coachella line-up announced

So...the Coachella line-up has been officially announced, and it looks like it's Depeche Mode, not the Smashing Pumpkins, who will be headlining. The NME has the full list of performers, but then again this is the same news source that was reporting the Pumpkins reunion, so I suppose it should be taken with a grain of salt. Tickets for the 2-day festival in Indio, CA go on sale this Saturday at noon.

New Releases Tuesday (1/31)

Dream Brother: The Songs of Tim & Jeff Buckley - Rykodisc A various collection of artists cover tunes from the ill-fated father and son team. Contributors include Sufjan Stevens, The Magic Numbers, The Earlies and Matthew Herbert. For more info on the album and Buckley lore, check out this blurb from PopMatters.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Ctrl-Alt-Rock

Mark your calendars for an upcoming night of great local music sponsored by fellow bloggers Chicagoist.com: Ctrl – Alt - Rock With: The Assembly May Or May Not Alphabet at Schubas Tavern (3159 N. Southport) on Thursday, February 16th, 2006 at 8 PM Cover: $8 Says Chicagoist: Chicagoist.com presents its first live music event, Ctrl – Alt – Rock, at Schubas Tavern on Thursday, February 16th, 2006. After more than a year and a half of blogging about Chicago's innovative music scene, Chicagoist, in conjunction with Tankboy Productions, joins the fray with a live show featuring three Chicago bands on the rise: The Assembly, May Or May Not and Alphabet. The Assembly is riding a wave of acclaim thanks to their 2005 album Commencement that combines Brit rock influences with that distinctive Chicago guitar crunch. For fans of shimmering guitars, melodious vocals and wanderlust musings, May Or May Not comes on like lo-fi indie pop that's been making out with the sounds of 70s AM radio. Lastly, Alphabet brings a Bowie-meets-Beck-after-being -hit-with-Pixies-guitar-lines aesthetic to the evening. With a name that's geek speak for restarting your computer, Ctrl – Alt – Rock brings Chicagoist's sensibility to Chicago's live music scene. "We wanted a name that would let our readers know that this isn't just another rock show," says Scott Smith, Chicagoist's associate editor for arts and entertainment. "Ctrl-Alt-Rock will be a uniquely Chicagoist event with all of the snarky charm our readers have come to expect from us."

Friday, January 27, 2006

Weekend Schedule

The list from the lovely Oh My Rockness. 1/27 The Spill Canvas, Hit the Lights @ Beat Kitchen 1/27 Gil Mantera's Party Dream @ Empty Bottle 1/27 Low, His Name is Alive @ Logan Square Auditorium 1/27 Her Majesty's Ship, Bill Dolan (of 5ivestyle) @ Marty's 1/27 Feist, Jason Collett @ Park West 1/28 Treaty of Paris, Quietdrive @ Beat Kitchen 1/28 Healthy White Baby, Bang! Bang!, The Dirty Things @ Double Door 1/28 The Life and Times, The Narrator, The Plastic Constellations @ Empty Bottle 1/28 Wax on Radio, Hanalei @ Metro 1/28 Mark Mallman, Love Story in Blood Red @ Schuba's 1/28 Radiant Darlings, Notes and Scratches @ Subterranean 1/29 I Can Make A Mess Like Nobody's Business, Owen @ Beat Kitchen 1/29 Jeff Hanson, Southerly @ Empty Bottle See, there really is no excuse to stay in this weekend. The concert schedule in Chicago is exploding to a summer-like echelon already. And get in line for these upcoming shows. Tickets go on sale Saturday. VIA Ticketmaster: Jenny Lewis @ Park West 3/14 Magic Numbers @ Double Door 4/1 Metric @ Metro 4/13 My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult @ Double Door 3/4 VIA Ticketweb: The Gossip/Comet Gain @ Abbey Pub 3/30 The National @ Double Door 3/24 And in mysterious ticket sale news: Yesterday the Chicago Reader posted on its Early Warnings page a listing for the Pitchfork Music Festival, July 29-30 in Union Park. The purchase tickets link leads to the Pitchfork site, which has no information whatsoever about the event. The Chicago Tribune recently reported that Pitchfork confirmed that last year’s Intonation Fest would be returning this summer under the Pitchfork moniker, and that a lineup would be announced in the coming weeks. Hmm. Might we be jumping the gun? It’s not even Valentine’s Day, people. Guess we’ll have to wait and see how secretive Pitchfork does or does not want to be with this one.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

RFC Interview: Eliot Lipp

Co-headlining this month's Immediate Action night at Sonotheque is former Chicago resident and instrumental hip-hop producer Eliot Lipp. RFC recently caught up with Lipp to talk about Friday night's show and his debut full-length for Hefty Records, Tacoma Mockingbird, due out next month. Radio Free Chicago: The album is basically just composed with synths and breaks, right? Also, I hear you have a bit of a penchant for beat-up vintage equipment? Eliot Lipp: Well, I used what I had to work with and at the time I couldn't afford anything fancy so yeah, most of my music so far has been made on used or borrowed gear. RFC: What was the hardest thing about making the new album? EL: Staying seated long periods of time. RFC: What’s one thing you want people to take away from this record? EL: A receipt...ha ha. No, I want people to hear the connections I'm trying to make between different styles that don't know each other. RFC: Where do you feel most comfortable? Live at the club or in the studio? EL: I feel about the same in both spots. I guess since nobody is looking at me in the studio I'm more comfortable there, but I'm pretty much trying to do the same thing in both places, which is to come up with interesting sounds and create a moment with music. RFC: How did you become involved with Hefty? EL: My boy Ray booked me at Danny's and I gave him a CD after the show and he said he wanted to play it for John (owner of Hefty). Soon afterward John called and asked about what I was up to and we really clicked. RFC: What can we expect from the upcoming Immediate Action show at Sonothque? Will you be spinning or doing a live set? EL: I'm doing a live P.A. with two analog synths and whatever else I can fit on the plane. Speed Round… RFC: What is/was your New Year’s resolution? EL: To make it another year with no job. and to play a shitload of shows. I also want to make another full length album. RFC: Album you listened to most in 2005: EL: It's a tie between the analord saga and Elzhi's "witness my growth" mixtape. RFC: What is the future of electronic music? EL: Titties, drugs, dance music, Rap, parties, the machinedrum and the monomachine, the 303 and the 606, the 808 and the 909. RFC: What do you miss about Chicago? EL: Good beer on tap everywhere. Girls wearing scarves. RFC: What don’t you miss about Chicago? EL: The Hollywood Grill and rats. Eliot Lipp co-headlines Friday night's Immediate Action night at Sonotheque with West Coast experimental hip-hop producer Daedelus. Opening DJ sets will be provided by Six8 the Jah Breaker, Charlie Cooper of Telefon Tel Aviv and Slicker. Show starts at 9pm, cover is $10. Sonotheque is located at 1444 W. Chicago.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Live Review: Cloud Cult @ Abbey Pub 1/21/06

Photo by Cristin McCurdy

Cloud Cult’s bio reads like a Dave Matthews Band script in a perfect world, and I’m sure most people who read it as their introduction to the band never bother giving the music a chance to expound. Those who know the music before the story think that there must be two Cloud Cults roaming America, because the last time we heard a musician talk about his solar-powered recording studio, he finished his lecture by propping his acoustic guitar on his knee, tightening his ponytail and inviting his barefoot life-partner onstage to warble about weeping birds and weeping sunshine and weeping rivers. Surely Craig Minowa of Cloud Cult, who plants trees to compensate for his car’s CO2 emissions and who uses recycled CD jewel cases, cannot be the Craig Minowa of Cloud Cult who samples The Princess Bride and who plays with a drum machine and who sings in robotic rage, “Why you always gotta be pissin’ on me?” But they are the very same, which is what makes Cloud Cult a manifestation of the fresh air it strives to protect. It’s not unique to complain about the president, but it is unique for a band with a political agenda to truly believe what it says it believes; to trade exposure and money and ease for obscurity and duct-taped guitar straps and hard work; to trade safe, stale, mainstream pseudo folk-rock for an organically electronic, eclectic folk flavor that reeks of quirkiness and innovation. I would hope that a Cloud Cult show would offer as much surprise and schizophrenia as a Cloud Cult album, but unfortunately the performance in question was tame and lacked the effervescence befitting a band bent on progressive activism. This isn’t to say that the show was ordinary or boring or shoddy; this is to say that the set was skewed towards an acoustic folk sound that didn’t do Cloud Cult’s spectrum-spanning genius justice. For an act that can run in veins with anyone from Animal Collective to the Flaming Lips to Bright Eyes, the show was one-dimensional and modest. In addition to Minowa, Cloud Cult’s live band consists of drummer Dan Greenwood, cellist Sarah Young, bassist Matthew Freed and a pair of painters who use the music as motivation to create pieces of art throughout the duration of the show. At 11:40 the hobbit-esque Minowa, barefoot in rolled up jeans that exposed his tree tattoo, opened the set with a new tune, which featured him solo on an acoustic guitar, singing in sweet, sad pop fashion, “Someone sing us a song to make us feel like the coolest kid on the first day of school.” From here the band moved into the up-tempo “Living on the Outside of Your Skin,” and the painters rose from their sitting positions to begin their compositions while Freed jammed coolly on his bass, Young yielded an eerie cello line, Greenwood pounded with harnessed passion and Minowa played happily his wahing guitar and banged lovingly on his keyboard. The performance was not without excitement, but that magical element that makes Cloud Cult’s recorded material so invigorating seemed to be missing. Simply stated, this missing factor may have been no more than a synthesizer or a laptop. Tunes like “On the Sun” and “Breakfast with My Shadow” lost their eccentric Wayne Coyne-like feel for a more acoustic, epic quality. And other featured songs, including the foot-stomping “Washed your Car” and the bluegrass jam “My Son is Watching” were undeniably exuberant, but contributed to a uniformly folk-country feel. Cloud Cult’s productive drum machine was only invoked on one or two songs, and we didn’t get a good dose of its oddball electronic pop until the closer, “Happy Hippo.” With just four musicians and no electronic gizmos outside a keyboard and a simple console at Minowa’s feet, it was impossible for them to mimic the intricacies produced in their studio. And even though their presence added a layer of eccentricity to the show, I just longed for the painters to put fold up their easels and open up their iMacs. To belittle Cloud Cult’s show seems unfair and is not the intention of this review. Indeed, the band sounded incredible and exuded a vibe to send the weariest of souls to the upper regions of bliss. The crowd was attentive and showed faithful solidarity by screaming out song titles and ecstatic oh-my-gods. Those less familiar with the band’s studio work were blown away by Cloud Cult’s passionate and familiar-yet-peculiar sound. And those who went into the show frightened they would be subjected to leftist propagandizing shenanigans were pleased by the subdued, carefree tone, the same tone that is at the root of my disappointment. I was probably in the minority, but I wanted rage and proselytizing and outlandish stunts. But mostly I wanted brought from studio to stage the figurative and literal electricity, the beautifully personal, bizarrely poignant neurosis that motivates this band to sample state of the union addresses and babbling babies.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Los Angeles, I'm Yours

I'm heading out to sunny L.A. for the next two weeks, so I'm handing over the keys of the RFC offices to Robyn and Nicole for a while. They'll be teaming up on posts throughout the week to keep you informed the latest news and reviews from the local scene. I'm hoping to able to chime in occasionally with a report or two from Cali, but no promises...I've got a pretty busy schedule of searching for stars' homes and visiting wax museums.

New Releases Tuesday (1/24)

Cat Power - The Greatest (Matador) Everybody's favorite manic live performer returns with her seventh studio album. This time around Chan Marshall teams up some of Memphis' best session players for an introspective trip of Southern harmony and soul. Don't delay, buy now...the limited edition first pressing of the CD contains a bonus track. Robert Pollard - From A Compound Eye (Merge) Bazilionth release from the indie rock veteran, but this one's notable as his first major album since the disbanding of Guided by Voices. True to form, Bob leaves not a note on the cutting room floor and ends up with a 26-song double CD. Tortoise and Bonnie "Prince" Billy - The Brave and the Bold (Overcoat) Tortoise and Will Oldham team up for a unique covers album featuring tracks from the likes of Bruce Springsteen, The Minutemen, Elton John and Richard Thompson. Other fine releases this week: Clearlake - Amber (Domino) Gossip - Standing in the Way of Control (Kill Rock Stars) The National Trust - Kings and Queens (Thrill Jockey) Pearls and Brass - Indian Tower (Drag City) Saint Etienne - Tales from Turnpike House (Savoy Jazz) Test Icicles - For Screening Purpose Only (Domino) Town & Country - Up Above (Thrill Jockey)

Monday, January 23, 2006

Tortoise on MBE

Chicago post-rock stars Tortoise will be chatting it up with Nick Harcourt and performing live today on KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic. The performance and interview airs at 1:15pm Chicago time, but as always, you can listen anytime afterward via KCRW's extensive streaming archives. Speaking of which, the big news from the basement of Santa Monica College this month is that KCRW has now launched video Podcasts of their popular Morning Become Eclectic live sessions. Available via iTunes, AOL music and KCRW.com, the first video Podcasts featured were past live sessions from Kate Earl and Si Sé. Starting today, last November's session with the Arctic Monkeys will be made available.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Pumpkins to reunite at Coachella

Gary Schepers benefits start tonight

"Sound Check," a concert series to benefit local musician and veteran soundman Gary Schepers starts tonight at both Fitzgerald's and The Abbey. Schepers has been in the hospital since December and was diagnosed with Group A streptococcus, a flesh-eating bacterial infection. As a freelancer without insurance, Schepers now faces medical bills skyrocketing in the six figures, so his friends in the local musical community have gathered to organize a week worth of benefit shows at numerous different venues. Tonight (1/20) at Fitzgerald's, 8pm

Jay Farrar, Robbie Fulks, Corky Siegel, Bakelite 78, Devil in a Woodpile and more.

Tonight (1/20) at The Abbey, 9:30pm

New Duncan Imperials, Mr. Rudy Day, Diamond Jim Greene

Sunday at The Hideout

Noon - Kids Show featuring Jon Langford, Sally Timms, Kelly Hogan and Nora O'Connor (sold out)

8pm - Califone, Grimble Grumble, Edith Frost and Chris Mills

Wednesday at The Abbey, 9pm

Jeff Tweedy and Devil in a Woodpile (sold out)

Thursday at Martyrs', 8pm

Kelly Hogan, Jim and Dave Boquist & Mike Heidorn, Eric Noden, Sleepydog and Lush Budgett

Next Friday (1/27) at Schubas, 9:30pm

Bottle Rockets, Tijuana Hercules and Great Crusaders

Saturday, Feb 4th at The Hideout, 4:30pm

Freakwater, Jim Elkington and Deanna Varagona

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Live Review: We Are Scientists @ Subterranean 1/16/06

(photo by Cristin McCurdy) Remember those guys in high school? The ones who never sat in the cool back corner, but always in the neutral zone a few rows in and halfway up? There was the shy, unassuming doorknob guy, only recognizable because he hung out with the other two: the frantic klutz whose adorableness made his geekiness incomprehensible, and the nerd oh-so-aware and unconcerned about his nerdiness that he played into it. They went unnoticed for years. Then at the senior talent show this trio took the stage and it was a minute into their rendition of “Baba O’Riley” before anyone realized who they were. But as recognition dawned across the auditorium the room was filled with and odd surge of excitement because, hey, these guys were actually good. They were fucking cool. They were fucking rock stars! Who knew these nobodies had lives outside of honors freshman bio? The feeling of this show was a little like that. Keith Murray (guitar/vocals), Chris Cain (bass/moustache), and Michael Tapper (drums) weren’t those guys in high school, they’re those guys right now. Every club they enter turns into a finally-legal birthday basement bash, and they’re the quirky fellows rockin’ out in the corner by the water heater. But their quirkiness really only goes as far as Cain’s goggles, and then it’s all cute, passionate power pop. The Subterranean isn’t a basement but it possesses a similar charm with the claustrophobia-inducing layout and the spiral staircase that leads from the “backstage” area down to the main stage. The crowd, two-parts rapturous and one-part curious, packed into this room, waiting for their enthusiasm to be vindicated or their skepticism to be confirmed/denied. After teasing us with dangling feet, the Scientists emerged from their secret lair and, once Cain’s protective eyewear was in place, jumped into “This Scene is Dead” with the gusto of quiz bowl champs outwitting an oblivious student council president. From there they went off running through the entirety of With Love and Squalor, plus a few other tunes to get the heads bobbin’, including a perfectly sweet rendition of The Ronnette’s “Be My Baby.” Murray knew how to find that perfect point between pretentious rock star and delightfully geeky artist that makes for enticing stage presence. On rockers like “Can’t Lose” and “Callbacks” he held onto the mike for dear life, screaming with a seductive hip shake and loose guitar stroke. This suave seduction only held up because it wasn’t impenetrable. His zealous jaunts around the stage caused a few stumbles, and his trek down the spiral stairs for the encore nearly ended with a nosedive into and amp. More than a few times his solid vocals were spiced with giggles that could be interpreted as nerves or excitement, and sometimes he seemed utterly shocked that people actually recognized the songs he was singing, or that anyone was there to hear him sing at all. One of the best moments of the night came during “Textbook,” on which Murray’s voice was endearingly crackling and a touch off-key, when he took his first look up at the balcony and made the slightest flinch and laugh, apparently surprised by the captivated faces he saw there. But we were all there, even us who admittedly aren’t completely sold on With Love and Squalor. As that freshman bio teacher used to say, we are all scientists, and I’m not sure there was one person in that crowd who wasn’t observing with keen attention and inquisitive lust every move these fellows made. While an animated Murray rocked around the stage, Tapper created a solid focal point as one of the most calm (but by no means listless) pop rock drummers I’ve ever seen, concentrating his passion into every hit. Cain, despite (because of?) his moustache and goggles, was a more subdued, romantic counterpart. When he wasn’t bantering with Murray and the crowd he was eyeing his bass lovingly and singing his harmonies with a debonair enthusiasm to rival any Errol Flynn climax. We Are Scientists are a conundrum. Their music is sprightly emo appealing to the sixteen-year-old in all of us, yet their live show harnesses this youthful energy to create passion only an older (like, twenty-sixish) crowd could appreciate. If I had seen them when I was sixteen I would have just fallen in love with Keith Murray and that would have been the end of it. I wouldn’t have appreciated the tight sound, the controlled energy exploding like a post-teen yearning anxiously for more time. We Are Scientists have high school hearts in the bodies and minds of college grads, and you aging hipsters can dismiss all you want that their sound is just the next buzz wave of power pop, but when they hit the stage your head’s going to swirl in an addictive giddiness where reminiscence and carpe diem collide, and you’ll wonder why you ever lost faith in the miraculous powers of simple pop rock fun.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Langford brings Executioner's Last Songs to MCA

Debuted last Spring in Milwaukee, John Langford brings the A/V version of The Executioner's Last Songs to the Museum of Contemporary Art this Friday and Saturday night. If you're not familiar with the project, The Executioner’s Last Songs was a three-volume set of old American "songs of murder, mob-law, & cruel, cruel punishment" recorded with Langford's Pine Valley Cosmonauts and other Bloodshot recording artists to raise support for the Illinois Coalition Against the Death Penalty. The MCA show will be a "music-theater" performance combining music from the collection with writing and visual art by Langford. The show starts at 7:30pm both nights, tickets are $22. The Museum of Contemporary Art is located at 220 East Chicago Ave., for more info visit www.mca.org.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Live Review: Jazzanova@Metro 1/13/06

I was really looking forward to checking out Jazzanova last Friday. Their new remixes collection (the unimaginately titled The Remixes 2002-2005) is great and I was curious as to what their live show would be like. A collective of 6 DJs and producers, Jazzanova are probably best known for their remix work, though they did release an album of original material in 2002. In support of their new remix album, I figured this Metro gig would probably just be a night of DJ sets as opposed to any sort of live performance, but would there actually be all 6 members of Jazzanova in attendance? Is so, would they spin individually, or would they team up on the mix? Turns out it was just one guy spinning the whole time, Alexander Barck...at least while I was there. Barck's set was great, but I only stuck around for about an hour because I experienced yet another "curse of the opening band." The show was listed as 10pm, so as the headliners, I figured that Jazzanova wouldn’t be going on stage until after midnight. However, I was still a little shocked when I arrived and saw the set list on the door that said they’d be starting at 1:30a. It wasn’t even midnight at this point and I had absolutely no desire to see the opening band, Tortured Soul, so we headed next door to the Ginger Man tavern to kill some time. I walked back over to Metro about 1, but the damn opener was still playing. A trio that “plays live soulful house,” the gimmick of Tortured Soul is that they play dance music with live instruments (drums, bass, keyboards) instead with computers, drum machines and turntables. Practically from their name alone, I knew I was going to hate their sound, and sure enough, they were even worse than I imagined. Two kinds of music that I can’t stand are jam bands and mainstream dance, and Tortured Soul were a torturous combination of both. I almost completely bailed, but opted to loiter in the lobby until it was time for Jazzanova to come on. Like I said, Barck's set was good, but the long wait and having to endure a bad opener sucked out all my energy so I didn't have nearly as good of a time as I thought I would. The crowd was also oddly thin for a major Metro headliner, as everybody left after Tortured Soul. For the most part, this was a good thing as the Tortured Soul fans were even more annoying than the band was. However, it was kind of weird to see the floor so empty on a Friday night and it dampened the energy of the show quite of bit. Technorati:

Monday, January 16, 2006

New Releases Tuesday (1/17)

Damn... New Releases Tuesday goes back into hibernation this week as there are quite literally no new albums out tomorrow. There's not even any new mainstream releases to make fun of. Looks like it might be a good week to dig through the dollar bins to find some classic gems.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Benefit at Metro this Saturday

(reposted from Metro's email list) On July 14, 2005, Michael Dahlquist, John Glick and Doug Meis (3 close friends, fellow musicians and co-workers at Shure Incorporated) were stopped at a stoplight in Skokie, IL when their Honda Civic was struck from behind by a woman traveling over 70 m.p.h. who was trying to commit suicide. All three men died in the tragic accident, but their combined spirit, compassion for others, love of music and overall zest for life live on. The 3FRIENDS memorial and benefit show was organized to honor and pay musical tribute to Michael (Silkworm), John (the Returnables) and Doug (Exo, the Dials). The night will feature performances by some of the men’s former groups. In addition, there will be a raffle and silent auction. All proceeds from the event will be donated to the charities selected by family members on the men’s behalf. The four band bill for the night will be comprised of the former bands of John and Doug. Michael, and his former band, Silkworm, will be honored alongside John and Doug via performances of Silkworm songs along with original sets by Exo (CD release / last show ever), The Dials, The Returnables and The Negligents. EXO + The Dials The Returnables The Negligents Saturday, January 14, 2006 $11 / All Ages / Doors: 6pm / Show: 6:30pm Metro 3730 North Clark St / Chicago

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Indie Pop Fest Returns Tonight

Jeremiah Wallis of Paper Airpane Pilots and Matt Rucins, talent buyer at Schubas, have teamed up once again to present Tomorrow Never Knows, a four day music fest celebrating the best in indie pop. While still mostly local in focus, the festival also features some regional favorites this year such as Jason Molina and Magnolia Electronic Co. from Ohio and Minneapolis buzz band Tapes 'n' Tapes. Shows start at 9p, and tickets are $10 or $12 depending on the night. For the complete run-down, check out Schubas.com or the TNK 2006 homepage on MySpace.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

New Releases Tuesday (1/10)

Sia - Colour the Small One (Astralwerks) Domestic release of the latest ablum from the Australian vocalist Sia, who is probably best known for her work with Zero 7. Features two bonus tracks and two remixes exclusive to the U.S. release. We Are Scientists - With Love and Squalor (Virgin) Major label debut for Brooklyn pop punk trio. Currently on tour in support of their new album, they'll be rolling in to town next Monday for a headlining gig at Subterranean.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Reckless Ping Pong Returns

Reckless Records' monthly Ping Pong extravaganza returns tonight at Schubas with a celebration of the best releases of 2005 and a DVD release party for Why Should the Devil Have All the Good Music, the locally produced indie film about about the artistic, religious and cultural phenomenon that is Christian rock music. But wait, that's not all...immediately following the screening of the film will be a live peformance from the Dethholz!, one of the featured bands in the movie. The festivities start at 7:00 pm, and admission is absolutely free. However, you must be 21+ to attend. Wagering on the ping pong games is strictly prohibited, but Reckless will be awarding the night's tournament champion with a $50 store gift certificate.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Bobby Conn residency at Schuba's

Chicago's favorite glam-rocker, Bobby Conn, kicks off his January residency tonight at Schuba's as a part of the club's monthly "Practice Space" series. Joining Conn for his Monday night sessions is an impressive list of local talent, including Rob Lowe's Lichens project tonight, The Lonesome Organist next week, Magas on the 23rd and The Detholz! on the 30th. All shows start at 8pm and are 18+. Price at the door is a ridiculously cheap $6 bucks.

Friday, January 06, 2006

More Best of 2005

Brett Grossman - Reckless Records (vaguely ordered but sort-of not) 1. Clientele "strange geometry" merge 2. Canyon Country "there's a forest in the fire" attack 9 3. Sufjan Stevens "come on feel the illinoise" asthmatic kitty 4. Destroyer "notorious lightning and other works" merge 5. Great Lakes Swimmers "great lake swimmer" misra 6. Fiona Apple "extraordinary machine" epic 7. Andrew Bird "mysterious production of eggs" righteous babe 8. Remote viewer "let your heart draw the line" city centre 9. New Pornographers "twin cinema" matador 10. The Occasional Keepers "beauty of the empty vessel" ltm 11. Love as Laughter "laughter's fifth" subpop 12. Kallikak Family "May 23rd, 2007" tell-all 13. Various Artists "childish music" staubgold 14. Akron/ Family "Akron/ Family" young god 15. White Stripes "get behind me satan" v2 16. Colleen "golden morning breaks" leaf 17. Lucksmiths "warmer corners" matinee 18. Keren Ann "nolita" blue note 19. Edan "beauty & beat" lewis 20. A Sides "hello hello" prison jazz 21. Animal Collective "feels" fat cat 22. Nils Okland "bris" rune grammofon 23. Yann Tiersen and Shannon Wright "yann tiersen and shannon wright" ici d'ailleurs 24. Liam Singer "the empty heart of the chameleon" tell-all 25. Peggy Honeywell "faint humms" galaxia7 26. Parker and Lily "lows lows" warm electronic 27. M.I.A. "arular" xl 28. Fruit Bats "spelled in bones" subpop 29. catsinsinks.com MAGAS TOP 10 of 2005 NEW: QUINTRON & MISS PUSSYCAT: Swamp Tech/Electric Swamp (Tigerbeat6) KAP BAMBINO: Neutral EP (Wwilko) GENDERS: There's Something In the Treats (Tigerbeat6) BLACK DICE: Broken Ear Record (DFA/Astralwerks) ADULT.: Gimmie Trouble (Ersatz Audio) GD LUXXE: Make (Tigerbeat6) ELECTRONICAT: Voodoo Man (Disko B) CANDEE HANK: Brandy Cramps (Wwilko) SOUNDS OF THE INDIAN SNAKE CHARMER (Hanson) EASY ACTION: Friends of Rock And Roll (Reptilian) OLD: VA: NO NEW YORK (Lilith) CELTIC FROST: Morbid Tales (Earmark) CELTIC FROST: To Mega Therion (Earmark) ENNIO MORRICONE: Crime & Dissonance (Ipecac) GEORGE BRIGMAN: Jungle Rot (Bona Fide) GEORGE BRIGMAN: I Can Hear the Ants Dancin' (Bona Fide) STOOGES: Funhouse (Rhino) STOOGES: Stooges (Rhino) ENNIO MORRICONE: Crime & Dissonance (Ipecac) VA: Big Gundown: Reggae Inspired by Spaghetti Westerns (Earmark) Pat Van Hulle - Grow Fins Booking (top 10 records of the year, in alphabetical order) 1. Akron/Family “S/T”- After I saw them play with Angels of Light and after quite a few drinks, I went up to one of the guitarists and slurred, “I envision you guys playing in a grassy field.” There is something about their music that makes me want to see them perform in a grassy plain. Listen to “Sorrow Boy” or “Before and Again” and let me know what you think. 2. Angels of Light “Sing Other People”- Michael Gira continues releasing his excellent post Swans albums as Angels of Light. This time he has the Akron/Family as his backing band, who add some excellent banjo and slide guitar to the mix. 3. Animal Collective “Feels”- Even though it came out in late fall, Feels is likely the album that I’ve listened to the most this year. Part of this has to do with the fact that it was leaked way early (don’t worry Fat Cat Records, I am getting a legal copy for x-mas) and the other part has to do with that fact that I was not floored by that many other records this year. Feels should be enough to floor anyone though. “Did You See The Words”, “Grass“, “Purple Bottle”, “Banshee Beat”, and “Turn Into Something” are all songs of the year. 4. Jesu- Justin Broadrick is back with a new project and, go figure, it is filled with punishing, droney, crunchy guitars, and long songs. Even though they are often repetitive, there is something so compelling about the songs. 5. Oneida “Wedding”- Adding a bunch of strings to their sometimes psychedelic, sometimes classic rock, always organ driven sound, Oneida again come out with a great album. If you read anything about this album, it likely said something about the band building the largest music box on the east coast. Well, don’t go listening for it on the album. It was just a lie they created for the press. Why? They thought it would be fun. 6. Nine Inch Nails “With Teeth”- It took Trent Reznor 5+ years to get the follow up to “The Fragile” together. He really built up a bunch of anticipation that I figured he could never live up to. I was even more scared when I found out he was now clean and sober. Would he still be able to write good songs with the time gap and without all of his heroin and alcohol? Well, he can. Sure, there are some silly points (see the oft-repeated titular line of the title track) but overall, With Teeth is a solid album with about five standout tracks. He even found something new to be pissed off about…dubya. NIN put on one of the best shows I saw all year. 7. The Residents “Animal Lover”- Newer Residents releases are always a bit sappy and nowhere near as good as their 70’s output, but Animal Lover’s second half is what gets it on this list. It is very dark and really unlike anything they have done before. For example, the last track is very droney, Middle Eastern influenced, and hypnotic; which are all things I’ve never really run across in their huge discography. It almost seems as if touring with Black Dice, Growing, SunnO))), and Gang Gang Dance on a touring festival of Australia really rubbed off on them. Pretty amazing for a band who is celebrating their 30th year together. 8. Sleater-Kinney “The Woods” - I think this is one of the best rock records of the year. I really don’t want to talk about the gender issue and how these women rock harder than lots of male rock bands, but seriously, the beginning of the opening cut of the album sounds like it has far more testosterone than the complete dude-rock of Comets on Fire. 9. Sufjan Stevens “Illinois”- This is probably the most hyped album of the year, so obviously I did not want to like it. Well, I did. Who doesn’t want to hear some beautiful orchestral pop at times? 10. Ween “Shinola”- Deaner and Geaner show that even an outtakes album of Ween material is far stronger than most albums by many other bands. From the Thin Lizzy inspired “Gabrielle” to the Prince-isms of “Monique the Freak” this rarities collection is nearly just as good as any Ween album.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

The Return of Resplendent

Last March we profiled local artist Michael Lenzi who had recently decided to put an end to his career as "Resplendent." However, RFC is happy to report that Resplendent is back from the dead with a brand new ep titled The Vicarious Choir. It's a mostly instrumental collection of new 8 songs available only through Lenzi himself. Price is $7 postage paid. To order, drop a line to resplendent(at)comcast.net. For more information on Resplendent and his back catalog, check out www.resplendentmusic.com.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Live Review: Wolf Parade @ Viaduct 12/31/05

Bad, bad , bad. Shows can be bad for many reasons: The band sounds awful. The band is late. The band is boring. The band isn’t the band you thought it was and when you shout out an erroneous song request they flip you off, call you an asshole and make everyone in the crowd turn around and laugh at you. Actually, that last bit would make a bad show good. Bad shows are annoying. No one wants to give her money to a group that doesn’t give a shit about performing. They leave you feeling ripped-off and angry. But bad shows are even more painful when: A) You know that the band in question is capable of putting on a show that can drive you over the cliff of acceptable (sober) public activity with its ecstatic zest B) The lackluster performance is no fault of the band C) It’s New Year’s Eve, and you’ve convinced your friends to start 2006 at this particular show because this band was your “it” band of 2005 and you know this is going to be a stellar way to end/start the year. Wolf Parade could have used some vulgarity on New Year’s. They could have used a riot. They needed something to shake the Viaduct to its knees. Or at least to attention. I’ll have to say that this was one of the worst, if not the worst, crowd I have ever kept company with at a show anywhere in this city. Yes, I understand that this was a New Year’s show, and I was probably the anomaly, being more interested in watching the band than doing the acceptable New Year’s Eve get-shit-faced-find-someone-to-get-into-my-pants routine, but people were already wasted before opener Jason Forrest hit the stage at ten o’clock. Possibly including Mr. Forrest himself. Those who weren’t dry humping were sitting blank-faced on the fringes of the theatre, as lively as me being forced to listen to my mother talk about her new job selling office equipment. Yes, it was NYE with Pitchfork, and people were too busy forgetting their horrible year or too busy trying to impress people to be able to live in the moment and view this as just another show where they could relax and rock out to some good tunes. After a psychotic laptop show by Jason Forrest and a nondescript set by Blood on the Wall, there was a half-assed New Year’s countdown that, according to most people’s watches, happened a few minutes too late. At “midnight” we pretended to sing “Auld Lang Syne” while a pathetic balloon drop served to be more annoying than festive. By the time Wolf Parade hit the stage I was ready to leave. But hey, it was New Year’s, and I still clung to the hope that my Canadian darlings could salvage the night. I just couldn’t get into it. They started snappily enough with “Fancy Claps,” but there was scarcely room to move, let alone dance. And I think I was the only person willing to actually participate in the song title’s said clapping during the chorus. From my perspective at least, perhaps five percent of the crowd was even paying attention to the band. And that five percent was beyond putting their hands together. It looked like Wolf Parade was at least trying. They only had so much room on the cramped stage, but Dan Boeckner was doing his rock star thing with his angry, jerky gestures and his greasy hair and pasty, tattooed biceps. And Spencer Krug was his adorable, key-slap-happy self, bouncing behind his keyboard and singing the hell out of melodies. They stuck with the most upbeat tracks from last year’s album and e.p., including “Shine A Light,” “You Are a Runner and I am my Father’s Son,” and “Disco Sheets.” Then, about forty minutes into their set, the show came to a halt. Whether through technical issues or incompetence, the sound seemed off all night, with overpowering microphones and an altogether off-centered sound, and now Krug’s keyboard decided that it was going to malfunction. The band worked for about ten minutes to fix the problem, which involved a lot of shrugging and running of fingers through hair. Electronics man Hadji Bakara mused, “Well, this just goes to show that Pitchfork doesn’t always get it right.” They finally got things back together and trooped through “This Heart’s on Fire,” after which the keyboard’s meltdown repeated. Krug seemed to have lost hope and said the show might be over, at which point one of the more sophisticated members of the crowd jeered, “Pussies!” Thankfully the keyboard came back so the band could uplift us with “I’ll Believe in Anything,” which I think is unanimously every Wolf Parade fan’s favorite Wolf Parade song. Bouncing and even light moshing ensued. After the song the band left the stage, and either through confusion or lack of interest, the crowd gave a half-hearted cheer for an encore. Wolf Parade did come back, inviting Blood on the Wall onstage to help with the deliciously cliché “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door.” And that was it. I pulled my jacket from underneath some drunk chick’s butt, deftly evaded the hugs of a euphorically smashed Jason Forrest, hitched a ride home and was in bed by two. I’m almost thankful Krug’s keyboard crashed because I didn’t think I could handle it much longer. Rather than being pissed-off, I felt bad for Wolf Parade. I feel bad that this was the first and last impression they made for some of these fans. I felt bad that things were out of their control, that a bad venue, a bad crowd, and bad equipment plagued a night that was probably too whorish to let them command a set anyway. Yay, New Year’s.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Live Pics - The Juan McLean w/Spank Rock@Empty Bottle 12/31/05

Updated in the RFC Live Photo Archive are pics from Saturday night's New Year's Eve party at the Empty Bottle with Spank Rock and The Juan McLean. As expected, Spank Rock stole the show... Check out the complete set of pictures here.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Your Best of 2005

Chris Costello - Notabbott.com -Porcupine Tree, Deadwing -Stereophonics, Language. Sex. Violence. Other? -Beck, Guero -Bloc Party, Silent Alarm -New Pornographers, Twin Cinema -Adrian Belew, Side One -Mike Doughty, Haughty Melodic -Bob Mould, Body of Song -Kate Bush, Aerial -White Stripes, Get Behind Me Satan Megan Timmons - WLUW radio 10. The P-Funk All Stars: How Late do U Have to BB4URAbsent? 9. Seu Jorge: Cru 8. Royksopp: The Understanding 7. Nikka Costa: Can'tneverdidnothin' 6. Blackalicious: The Craft 5. M.I.A.: Arular 4. Annie: Anniemal 3. Common: Be 2. The Go! Team: Thunder, Lightning, Strike 1. Zuco 103: Whaa! J. Niimi - Chicago Reader/WHPK Radio Village Voice Pazz & Jop 2005 ballot (with points): 1. M.I.A. – Arular (XL) – 10 2. Run the Road (Vice/Atlantic) - 10 3. Bloc Party – Silent Alarm (Vice) - 10 4. LCD Soundsystem – LCD Soundsystem (DFA) - 10 5. Electrelane – Axes (Beggars/Too Pure) - 20 6. Why? – Elephant Eyelash (Anticon) - 10 7. Danger Doom – The Mouse and the Mask (Epitaph/ADA) - 10 8. Pernice Brothers – Discover a Lovelier You (Ashmont) - 10 9. Colder – Heat (Output) - 5 10. The Chap – Ham (Lo) - 5 Nicole Chavas - RFC Chief Image Coordinator 1. Wolf Parade- Apologies to the Queen Mary 2. Animal Collective- Feels 3. Sufjan Stevens- Illinois 4. The National- Alligator 5. Andrew Bird- & the Mysterious Production of Eggs 6. The Decemberists- Picaresque 7. Sleater-Kinney- The Woods 8. The Hold Steady- Separation Sunday 9. LCD Soundsystem- LCD Soundsystem 10. Antony and the Johnsons- I Am a Bird Now 11. New Pornographers- Twin Cinema 12. Bonnie Prince Billy and Matt Sweeney- Superwolf 13. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah- Clap Your Hands Say Yeah 14. Architecture in Helsinki- In Case We Die 15. Robot Ate Me- Carousel Waltz 16. Thunderbirds Are Now!- Justamustache 17. Caribou- Milk of Human Kindness 18. Broken Social Scene- Broken Social Scene 19. MIA- Arular 20. M83- Before the Dawn Heals Us 21. Stars- Set Yourself on Fire 22. Xiu Xiu- La Foret 23. Bloc Party- Silent Alarm 24. Royksopp- The Understanding 25. Spoon- Gimme Fiction Caitlin - WCRX radio (in no particular order) 1. The Decemberists - Picaresque 2. The Hold Steady - Seperation Sunday 3. Sleater-Kinney - The Woods 4. Sufjan Stevens - Come on Feel the Illinoise! 5. Maximo Park - A Certain Trigger 6. Andrew Bird - The Mysterious Production of Eggs 7. Antony & the Johnsons - I am a Bird Now 8. Wolf Parade - Apologies to the Queen Mary 9. Devendra Banhart - Cripple Crow 10. Art Brut - Bang Bang Rock n' Roll Honorable mentions to: Belle & Sebastian - Push Doorman to Open Old Wounds (best compilation) The Go! Team - Thunder, Lightning, Strike! (best album to work out to) Brad K. - RFC Managing Editor Top 5 Albums 1. Gorillaz – Demon Days (Virgin) 2. Prefuse 73 – Surrounded by Silence (Warp) 3. BRMC – Howl (RCA) 4. Boards of Canada – The Campfire Headphase (Warp) 5. Various Artists – Run the Road (Vice) Top 5 Shows 1. Mercury Rev (opening for Doves) at The Vic 5/13/05 2. Sufjan Stevens at Metro 9/17/05 3. Eels (with strings) at Park West 6/22/05 4. Lady Sovereign at Sonotheque 7/8/05 5. Dungen at Empty Bottle 10/8/05