Tag Archives: Chicago music

SEE THIS BAND: Canadian Rifle

Read it here.


SEE THIS BAND: Screeching Weasel

Whether you love to hate them or hate that you love them because they’ve “become what they hate” and  you wonder at times if they now hate themselves, you’ve got to admit that Chicago’s Screeching Weasel has made a significant dent in the pop-punk genre. Their fast, light, and summery melodies (Ben Weasel formed the band with John Jughead in the mid-80’s after seeing the Ramones for the first time) coupled with fun and nimble girl-oriented lyrics have most likely influenced your new favorite pop-punk band in one way or another. After procuring a catalog of solid records, the majority of Screeching Weasel’s scattered and ever-changing line-up (like Ben Weasel, who’s now the author of two books and a sports talk radio host on ESPN 1070) have since moved on to the “real” world, reminding us that’s it’s sad to grow up and grow out of it. But if anything, take the Screeching Weasel tour as a relic, an homage to something that was once so great to you, so go ahead and throw that old leather jacket on one more time.

Playing a sold out show Friday, February 26th, at Reggie’s Rock Club with Lemuria and The Seething Coast.

Also read this on Chicago Innerview.

SEE THIS BAND: Wildbirds & Peacedrums

You’d think after the past decade it would be impossible to do something unique with a bluesy two-piece husband-wife duo, yet Sweden’s Wildbirds & Peacedrums hit that paradoxical g-spot of sounding both primal and sophisticated, straddling the genres of “experimental” pop, folk, and jazz– and in turn prodding many a musical debate. Mariam Wallentin’s gorgeous, dynamically off-kilter voice complements Andreas Werliin’s tribal drumming so captivatingly well that it’s easy to forget that– aside from the occasional electronic drone or skeletal xylophone melody — vocals and percussion are all that’s going on. This complexity stems from the talent and mastery of their given roles, and the broken down simplicity of it all makes for an alluring record and hopefully an an amazing live show.

Opening for St. Vincent at the Metro on Thursday, February 18th.

Also read this on Chicago Innerview.


It’s nice to know that guys who remind me of my awkward high school boy-crush– the one who made lo-fi albums on cassette tapes with lots of pedal effects and loopage– can make it all the way to Matador Records. Kurt Vile, “Philly’s constant hitmaker”, started out writing dreamy bedroom pop comprised mainly of melodic, crystal-clear guitar pickings, pretty layers of poetry, and gentle electro-background beats. Now– either playing solo or with his backing band conveniently called The Violators– he’s turning into somewhat of a musical chameleon, and his stylings retain the sensibilities of Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen while fusing polished experimental tracks with fuzzy psych-folk and shrouds of lo-fi angsty pop. It’s these fluctuations that have critics gushing about what’s to come, and ensuring the opening slot for an array of bands including Dinosaur Jr., the Black Keys, and most recently, Fucked Up.

Opening for Fucked Up at the Empty Bottle on Saturday, February 13th.

Weekend Preview: 1/29, 1/30, 1/31

An (old) picture of the Puking Pearls

I’ve completely dropped the ball this week… FRIDAY night the Alex White-approved Puking Pearls play new songs at the Hideout with Hollows and Punk Band (10 PM, $8). This show has been described as a “hot girl punk show” so if that’s your thing then by all means, GO. And, what can I say, I’m partial to local garage acts– SATURDAY night Cococoma play downtown at Cal’s Liquors with Dumpster Babies and Radar Eyes (10 PM, 21+). On SUNDAY the elusive Pony Boy play a nice old-fashioned rock and roll show at Ronny’s with Michael Michael Motorcycle and three other bands: Cicada Face, Threeville, and Asleep at the Javelin (8 PM, 21+). Three shows, three nights, there you have it.

SEE THESE BANDS: Plastic Crimewave Sound, Sadhu Sadhu

Plastic Crimewave

Steve Krakow (Plastic Crimewave) is an artist, illustrator, musician, purveyor, historian, and connoisseur of all things punk-psychedelia. He writes the “Secret History of Chicago Music”, a bi-weekly column in the Chicago Reader (also the title of the WGN 720AM Nick Digilio Show, which he also co-hosts), curates the Million Tongues festival, edits the Galactic Zoo Dossier, DJs at the Whistler, leads “guitarkestras”, and lives in a personal museum of “60-s freak-out” paraphernalia– so it’s no surprise that he also fronts an acid-space-punk band called Plastic Crimewave Sound. Underlying distorted guitars, in and out kraut musings, and deep vocals bellow out like that of a faceless ringleader in a celestial circus complete with motorcycles, tribal drum circles, and cool kids wearing sunglasses nodding their heads as they paint pictures of throbbing spirals and melting bodies. Please illustrate that Mr. Crimewave.

Sadhu Sadhu photo by Meng Yang

I’ve noticed that psychedelic kraut-inspired minimalist rock is back (if it ever left), especially ’round here in Chicago, and this local trio does it well. Sadhu Sadhu’s musical astral explosions, spun out guitar wah-wahs, and lo-fi riffs bring to mind incense-filled opium dens in exotic lands. Songs about aboriginal walkabouts only add to the fitting band name, definitions of the Hindi word “sadhu” include “mystic”, “ascetic”, and “wandering monk”– although the band does stray from the defined abstinence to overindulge in twenty-minute kaleidoscopes of improvised garage with enough distortion and reverb that rockstars in the sixties might overdose on. They’ve been compared to bands such as Acid Mother’s Temple, but I’m thinking they sound more like Brian Jonestown Massacre when Anton was way into heroin, but in a good way.

Both bands play the Hideout on Jan. 22 as part of the Chicago Metaphysical Circus with Vee Dee, The Great Society Mind Destroyers, Dark Fog, Black Wyrm Seed, and DJ Velcro Lewis.

You may also read it here and here.


SEE THESE BANDS: Tim Kinsella, Disappears

Tim Kinsella

Chicago native Tim Kinsella is a musician, filmmaker, bartender, and legend. To list all of his projects and the revolving collective of people associated with them would result in an endless list, but he is most notably known for singing and playing guitar in Joan of Arc, Make Believe, Capn’ Jazz, and Owls. Kinsella’s solo music is abstract in the way that it challenges the clichés of poet and guitar. Depending on the album, the listener is met with highly experimental electronic noise or pretty melodies cascading lightly over each other to end in wavering riffs backed by faint electronic beats. Kinsella’s familiar, shaky voice leads into simple songs in which bleak, stripped down, still-life albums entitled Field Recording of Dreams, He Sang His Didn’t He Danced His Did, and Crucifix Swastika are painted– best viewed late at night.

Disappears photo by Greg Simpson

Self-described as “CCR via Minor Threat”, Disappears drop reverb and distortion into a slowly spiraling sound of psychedelia that’s drizzled over with bluesy guitar melodies negated by short syncopated ousts of vocals. This built up, gnarled wall of sound somehow manages to remain a simple one, a wall Lou Reed might very well jump out of. It looks like Disappears won’t be Chicago’s best-kept secret much longer, after playing Pitchfork and opening for the Jesus Lizard on New Year’s Eve, Disappears are wasting no time in getting ready for a tour with Tortoise in February. Their latest release, Live Over the Rainbo (recorded in an apartment over the bar), of which you may download for free, along with their past two 7″s, via their blog, proceeds their debut album, Lux, due out in April off Kranky Records.

Both play the Empty Bottle on Jan. 22 with A Tundra, Birthmark, Jeremy Boyle, Lites Alive, Matt Clark, Owen, Pillars & Tongues, The Zoo Wheel, Vacations, The Slick Conditions, and surprise special guests…a Capn Jazz reunion?
You may also read it here and here.