Thursday, October 30, 2014

What do people want today when it comes to writing about music?

I have a theory. It's a daring theory. But as every band's content is basically available to everyone at every second the idea of people to help you sift through it seems to be rising in importance again. I still say to hell with the gatekeepers of yesteryear since they didn't champion music as much as they espoused opinions to support their own interests. But we've hit an era where writers' personalities are again coming to the forefront of gaining a reader's trust and helping them suss out the tunes that might help them float above the earth's crust / discover sounds to amaze and enlighten. Do I have one of those voices? I would hope so, and judging by the number of people that either write me or approach me at shows I think I just might. And for that, I thank everyone for their trust. And I trust bands will keep on making music that I will dig and in turn, turn other people on to. And to those bands I don't dig? I'm sure there's another trusted voice out there that will dig you, so all you gotta do is touch someone and you'll be just fine.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

An album full of guitar heavy indie with songs that stretch on in feeling except most don't pass the three minute mark while staying super heavy with a hard pop edge? Sign me up!

Don't let the photo fool you; this band is good and not a bunch of hipster poseurs.
Happy Diving's Big World is a slice of '90s grunge-worthy indie rock, populated with dudes who probably weren't but barely born at the time yet they strike that stance oh so perfectly. A sample lies below. A full length album lies on and beyond Nov. 4. Your attention is destoined to become entwined. Again, the sample taste follows ... now.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

So dark.

It's already dark, all of the time, outside. I feel like I'm living in molasses.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Ready for Halloween?


This guy is more than ready. He's so ready he's just chillaxin' in the unexpected heat wave, already oh so ready for Friday.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Chicagoist is ten.

We had our anniversary party yesterday and it was amazing. The turnout we tremendous, the music was incredible and the memories are now firmly entrenched. On the occasion of Chicagoist's tenth birthday, many past writers took to the inter webs to pen their own memories of the site and I realized that since I've been in the thick of this thing since almost the beginning I have no detached perspective. But you know what? The site is really great. We were a total outlier when we started and I like to think some of that rebel spirit still beats within our writing even as the site has slowly moved into the realm of not only being "respectable" but actually forming one of the primary foundations of Chicago's media scene. Not bad for a little website that used to pull stunts like only using Slayer song titles for headlines for a day. And to give you an idea of our local bent, my post on Cheetah Gym's suddenly closing still holds the record for most—and some of the most insane—comments in the site's history (even if, sadly, they were lost when we switched commenting systems).

Everybody's posts about Chicagoist have hinged on how the site changed their lives. I know in my time I've brought in many a talented writer who has then gone on to do even more amazing things after using the site as the first stepping stone of their career. And I am more than aware that all the super cool stuff I get to do—the truly amazing life I get to lead, is because of Chicagoist. Hell, Chicagoist played a pretty huge part in introducing me to the love of my life who I'm getting married to in just a few months. So that's something.

So I can't get all teary-eyed and sentimental about my time at Chicagoist, because it's still a very present ongoing concern for me, and will be for the foreseeable future. (As Chuck once said, "Tankboy will probably outlast us all.") But I can take a step back for a second and appreciate what the site has done over the years and celebrate everyone that's been on the ride with me to make Chicagoist the amazing, singular, unique voice that it is.

Thank you.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Not gonna lie...

...I am REALLY excited for tomorrow night. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Schedule readjustment.

Due to the public transit station by my gym being closed until Christmas—thanks for that present, CTA!—Mich and I are working on adjusting our schedules so we can continue work out in the a.m. and still make it to work on time. What does this mean? We wake up between 5-5:30 and are out the door by 6:45. Anything later than that at the commute is impossible since we're dependent on buses and traffic and transfers.

This has a domino effect on my own schedule since I don't sleep much at nights. However even I am human so in order to recalibrate to hit an earlier mark I've been forcing myself to get to bed early. Which for me is by 1 a.m. Which has been tough but so far so good and I presume it'll only get easier (on nights I'm not out at a show in order to write about it, that is).

I'm adapting. Slowly. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Feline therapy.

I miss the healing powers of Betty the Beagle, to be sure, but a purring cat nuzzling against your chest has its restorative properties as well. Perhaps there's some sort of unknown therapeutic effect of the low but fast-paced thrum of kitty purrs as they vibrate against the human system. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

One week away!

Use this square poster layout in your Instagram!
The Chicagoist 10th anniversary party is just one week away! Did you RSVP yet?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

"Go" is an unexpected discovery and pure joy.


I always assumed the opening theme to Last Week Tonight With John Oliver was just a snippet written as an into to the show, much the same way as Bob Mould wrote the opening bumper for The Daily Show. I was wrong! It's actually just the opening bars of this kick-ass power-pop tune by Valley Lodge! Now I want to hear the whole album!

And I would have never known this were I not subscribed to the Song Exploder podcast, a semi-regular series I highly recommend you also subscribe to if you're a music fan and am curious how songs get constructed, often piece by piece.

Anyway, here's the tune I'm in love with right now. Go!

Monday, October 13, 2014

You should always take a vacation day after a travel day.

I almost always take a day off after traveling, there's just so much you can't control the day of so you never know how you'll feel the day after. However I'm being greedy and don't want to use any more vacation days for a while so I took a late flight out of St. Louis after visiting Mich's family yesterday and went in to work today. Big mistake. By the end of the day I felt like someone scooped my brain out and then filled my veins with pudding, causing me to sluggishly make my way home, feeling as if I was moving through an every expanding water droplet of gargantuan proportions.

So yeah, next time I'm taking the day off.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Are you ready to PARTY WITH CHICAGOIST?!


We're turning ten! Well, actually we turned ten a few months ago. But we're finally getting around to celebrating it! Here are all the details. And make sure you RSVP if you're over 21+ and want some tasty drinks at our hosted bar courtesy PBR, Sailor Jerry and Monkey Shoulder!

It's been a while since I was involved in throwing a party, but the soiree me and the other editors teamed up to construct looks to be well worth the effort!

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Funk. The good kind!

It's been a heckuva week, but I managed to wrestle some pretty big projects into shape and can look back on the past few days with great satisfaction that hard work truly does produce great results. Yay!

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Needs moar robots.

Just my humble opinion, but less Arby's hat and more Daft Punk would make this better. But it's still pretty damn good.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Amanda Blank teams back up with Spank Rock and continues the magic.

Amanda Blank at Metro in 2009, photo by me.
I love Amanda Blank's voice. I saw her live a few years ago and the love I had for her voice easily extended to her stage show. I enjoyed her debut album enough, but thought it missed the edge I'd heard when she guested on other folks' tracks, and while her solo stuff did sound better live I've always felt she and Spank Rock were made for each other and brought the best out of each other when they teamed up. So I was extremely excited when this tune hit my desk last week (and I now apologize for having forgotten to post it the second it did)! Snag the new tune below for the price of an email.

Friday, October 03, 2014

Last Friday the FAA complicated our trip but it was actually American Airlines that almost ruined our weekend.

That is one marked up ticket, huh?
This time last week I was stranded at O'Hare in a rage at the lousy customer service we were getting from American Airlines. Mich and I had been at the airport since 4:30 a.m., had been seated in first class seats (our first time in first class ever!) and had taxied to the runway to take off, only to be called back to the gate to sit for another 30 minutes until our flight was finally cancelled due to a fire at an FAA facility. By the time we deplaned the airport was in a frenzy as people scurried about to figure out what exactly was happening and try to rebook flights. Up until this point everything that happened was to of American Airlines' hands and we understood that.

Our sad plane that didn't go anywhere. :(
As the day progressed though more and more things went wrong, the biggest snafu being the uncoupling of Mich's and my reservations, causing us to be separated—often by 80 or so other passengers—on standby lists for every flight throughout the day.

Every phone call we made resulted in no help and no gate attendant could reconcile the obvious computer fuck up on American Airlines' end.* In the end, through some very persuasive talking on my part (which certainly teetered into begging) that resulted in one miracle worker at a gate getting us onto the only flight that offered even the slightest chance of making our connecting flight in Dallas instead of scuttling our whole weekend trip.**

Writing this out I'm realizing that the two things that infuriated me, that actually made me blind with rage, were digital aspects of the American Airlines' experience. The fact their computer system borked our whole trip (and this carried over to our return flight on Monday since they screwed up our reservations THAT badly, somehow) and couldn't be reconciled by a single human being is beyond forgiveness. But the true rage maker?

Their Twitter handle.

American Airlines needs to learn that customer service via Twitter isn't canned responses triggered by interns or freshman community managers. A constant stream of apologies with no action involved at all, not ever, does not make your company look like it cares, it makes your company look completely tone deaf. What a difference a year makes, huh?

 So to all the human beings we encountered through our ordeal, I'd like to say thanks. I was upset at the time but in retrospect you truly were doing your best to help out.

To American Airlines' computer system, I'd just like to say fuck you.

And to American Airlines' social media team? It's time to rethink how you do things. Either offer something of value to the customers you engage beyond empty apologies you'd do better to just stay quiet.

At least the day made national news.
Wonder if she and B-Dubs are pals.
One gate representative did actually book us on a flight on Saturday afternoon just to get us on the first actual flight with room leaving O'Hare as a back up and we appreciated the gesture even if it wasn't going to actually help us.

** Which said Dallas flight we did make by SPRINTING across that airport, literally from one end to the other, in under ten minutes. The most hilarious moment of that trip was mid-sprint when Mich just held her boarding pass at me (knowing I wasn't running at full speed in order to not lose her) and panted / yelled "Just go!" And I did. And ended up at the gate panting and checking us in. When the attendant asked me where she was I said, "She'll. Be. Here. In. A. Sec."*** 

*** Apparently, possibly as I was saying this, Mich actually ran past the gate. She was running so hard she totally missed the gate number. I wish I'd seen that.