Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Cherry Glazerr gets shinier and poppier but keep their scuzzy heart intact.

Photo by Pamela Littky
With each album, Cherry Glazerr strips away more of the L.A. grit that abraded earlier releases and replaces it with another layer of refined pop. So what started as a caterwauling garage band now sounds like something you’d hear on more mainstream modern rock radio. This makes them a little less fun, IMHO, but I also respect their drive to grow and expand their sound. They could have easily stayed in the swim lane that appeases hipsters but instead are striving for something a little more universal.

All of that said, while the the songs on Stuffed & Ready (out February 1) feature a shinier studio sound, the lyrics are anything but crowd friendly as frontperson Clementine Creevy continues to give zero fucks about what might or might not offend you. I can also easily see these songs stripped down into something grittier and glammier when performed live. In other words the band may be aiming for car radios but they’ll still sound just as good at somewhere like Bottom Lounge when they play there on February 23.

Check out the mildly NSFW video below and see if you agree with my read on the band’s latest evolution in sound.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Not the plague, but not pleasant either.

The drink of champions?
It's been weeks and I just want to stop coughing.

I want my voice back.

I want to stop alternating between feeling feverish and feeling chills all over my body.

I want to be able to get a decent night's sleep.

I want to feel strong enough and rested enough to make it to the dang gym, even!

I know I'm not the only one going through this since my Facebook feed is filled with friends who also seem to be sick with similar symptoms that just won't let go. I can usually power through these things but last week I completely lost my voice, and that never happens to me, so it freaked me out. Yesterday I barely made it out of my bed and to the couch and just focused on doing nothing in hopes my body would repair itself. But here I am, chugging Theraflu at my desk all day long and nothing is improving.

I made a deal with myself that if this stays this bad for the next couple of days I'll go see the doctor. It's just so hard to make the time to do so! I'm so busy at work I feel guilty for leaving the office for an appointment. Again, I'm sure I'm not the only one that does this since most everyone I know are dedicated to what they do and loathe to take any time just for being sick.

Anyway, enough of my moaning and complaining. I;m jjust counting down the hours until I get home, wrap myself in a blanket n the couch, and warm up some chicken noodle soup. It pairs quite nicely with all the Theraflu.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Year in review, or maybe not.

This year has been, um, interesting. I dated a lot of of very cool, very smart people. Exes of mine were kind enough to take me in as I tried to sort though everything. Heck, the girl I lost my virginity to decades ago took me out for a delicious lunch. And, even via dating apps, I made lots of friends.

This is my way of saying I'm O.K.

It's been a rough year. But I survived it.You will too.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Take a ride to "Motor City Steel" with The Dandy Warhols.


The Dandy Warhols are releasing Why You So Crazy on January 25, and today they released the latest video from the new album. "Motor City Steel" is a jaunty little number that will have you humming along with it within the first few measures of the song. It also offers a nice hint of what to expect from the new album as a whole. I've heard it and think that fans of the band's work but recent and old will find this an enjoyable listen.

The band is touring behind the album and celebrating their 25th anniversary as a group this year, with a stop in Chicago at The Metro on May 11. Honestly, I can't believe they've stayed such a solid ensemble for over two decades—no offense, but a bunch of druggy musicians from Portland usually don't have great staying power—but here they are. I guess longevity is a healthy by-product of just doing things your own way and not giving one whit about what others think of you.


Friday, January 11, 2019

Best / worst Fig Dish cover of all time?



I don't know what rabbit hole Kip fell down in order to come across this, but holy cow.

From what I can tell this dude is an L.A. comedian/actor, but I suspect he's being totally sincere here. I wonder if this will lead to another Fig Dish reunion?

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Meg Myers ain't interested in your parent's disco.


Meg Myers was unknown to me until I was listening to a recent All Songs Considered, and the track they played, "Tear Me To Pieces," really grabbed me. So I went to check out her album Take Me To The Disco and while it feels a little uneven, it's still pretty solid and worth your time.

I kind of forgot about it again—I've finally started to rev up and am listening to quite a bit of new music again after months where I slowed waaaay down—but when the news broke that St. Vincent is producing the new Sleater-Kinney album, Myers popped back to top of mind. Meyers is definitely rocking a St. Vincent vibe with her latest music, so I figured in honor of this most excellent new S-K music news, I'd share the track that initially grabbed my attention and sparked the realization Myers most certainly shares that Annie Clarke DNA.

Also note it appears Myers has had at least 5 full-length releases since 2013, so the fact I'm just now discovering her is entirely my fault. But if I hadn't heard of her, there's a chance you might not have either.

Friday, January 04, 2019

I made a funny.

Oh the joys of cartoon clip art. I used Strip Generator to make this. It's awfully glitchy but if you're looking for something goofy to play with, have at it! I obviously opted for the minimalist approach...

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

One last adventure in 2018.


So I did something crazy during the holiday break. On Christmas Eve, at the last second, I decided to buy a ticket and go to the Dominican Republic for a few days. My family wasn't doing a holiday gathering until the following week, and a friend of mine was already down there and offered to arrange somewhere for me to stay while I was in the air.


I missed my first flight when I got to the airport and discovered I had left my passport on my dresser. When I finally landed the cab driver was super late picking me up. My hotel room had an, um, interesting smell and a bathroom that looked straight of the set of one of the Saw movies. I got pretty sick one of the days I was there. On my final night an older Russian traveler who was in the shared suite area of my room decided it was a good idea to bring in a prostitute, and was so drunk he kept trying to open my door, not realizing his room was across the hallway.

Yet it was still one of the most relaxing, wonderful vacations I've had that involved beaches and sun.

In the past I'd usually stay at an all inclusive resort and spend all my time trying to down as much free food and booze as I could. This time my focus was on unplugging and relaxing. I spent one day just reading on the beach, more interested in drinking water than margaritas.

The neighborhood I was staying was more remote and less touristy, and I cared more about just walking around than taking in the nightlife.

I spent a day hanging out with spider monkeys in the mountains, and taking in the countryside during the 90-minute ride to and from the preserve. If you ever have a chance to take a similar excursion I highly recommend it. You haven't lived until you have a bunch of monkeys using you as a literal jungle gym. And later that evening I had some excellent chicken from a restaurant owned by a Serbian ex-pat.

Most of all I just re-centered. Since booze and clubs and partying were the furthest things from my mind—and I stayed mostly offline since I kept my phone in airplane mode while I was there—it was just an excellent few days of getting away from it all without also getting away from myself.




Thursday, December 20, 2018

A sad anniversary.

I've been pretty quiet around here this week, huh? I think it probably has something to do with the fact I was sort of dreading this day. It's the anniversary of my ex-wife filing for divorce. She was as nice as one could be about it, and had her attorney deliver the papers electronically, but it was still a huge blow and quite possibly the worst day of my life. I still remember leaving work early and just walking in a daze down Michigan Avenue in total shock.

2018 has generally been a pretty dark year, and while the divorce was a major factor, it was just a year where all my luck ran out. If I owed karma a debt it has certainly been paid back many times over, with interest. There were times I honestly did not know how to even move forward.

Things have gotten better since our house sold, and it feels like my life is back on an upward trajectory. But I'm still in complete uncertainty about what my future looks like. I had a built a life with someone else and when that ended all the plans I had vanished and I was staring at a blank canvas. If I was younger that might be a more exciting position to be in, but at this age it just feels so daunting.

But, repaint the canvas I shall. I don't really have another option, do I? The year has been rough, but I'm exiting it having learned a couple hard lessons and that certainly contributed to my self-improvement. I'm not going to make those mistakes in the future so that's a positive thing, right? I just wish I'd learned those lessons more quickly, because I'd be in a very different place right now if I had.




Friday, December 14, 2018

Walls work! (Not.)



I came across a press release from the Department of Homeland Security a few days ago that was posted on December 12. It was astoundingly poorly written, and completely different in tone than other press releases on their website. It is filled with misinformation and outright lies. For instance did you know a "violent mob of 1,000 people stormed our Southern border" just last Sunday? Yeah, neither did I. Because it didn't happen.

It looks like they went in and fixed some of the worst grammar mistakes today, but luckily for you I took a screenshot of the original. You can see it here, and just click on it to magnify it so you can read it.

Our taxpayer dollars at work, people. Government agencies should be printing false propaganda to further one madman's obsession.


Thursday, December 13, 2018

I think I have the plague.

Anyone else out there have a nagging cough / cold that sticks around for weeks and just won't go away? What makes it even more fun? I work over 60 stories up in the Sears Tower, and that means the elevator rides are super fun because my ears won't pop due to congestion.

O.K., time for more TheraFlu.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Go, go Carly!



I'm not generally a fan of vertical video, but I'm certainly a fan of this one!

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

In an era of too many reboots, 'Get Shorty' actually deserved to be reimagined.


I stumbled across the TV series version of Get Shorty last night, something I didn't even know existed, and decided to give it a try. And now I'm hooked. I've never read the book, so the '90s movie with John Travolta is the only version I know. The two share similar backstories—mob guy breaks into the movie biz—but they couldn't be more different.

While Travolta's Chili Palmer was all smiles and grace (with a touch of menace), while on TV Chris O'Dowd is Miles Daly, a more sullen menace who is sick of the crime world. Ray Romano is also excellent as a down on his luck film producer who teams up with Miles. But you probably already knew that since the series was just renewed for its third season! I am so behind on this one.

Anyway, if you're as out of the loop as me, and want a darkly comic (and sometimes scarily violent) TV series to binge, fire up the Netflix and sink in.

Monday, December 10, 2018

You know, for kids!

It was kind of an up and down weekend for me, but it ended well with a fundraiser last night that was also one of my favorite shows of the year. I was even home by a reasonable time! The evening really made me appreciate the friends I still have and I managed to keep out of trouble (not always the easiest thing to coat Liar’s Club).

I shot video of the show last year, but last night the phone stayed in my pocket and I just took in the music and enjoyed the show. Going to concerts still occasionally feels like “work” but this was just pure pleasure.

Friday, December 07, 2018

Fri-yay!

Action packed weekend! Parties! Shows! Old friends! New friends! Birthdays! Tree trimming! Yowza!

Thursday, December 06, 2018

I spent a lot of time trying to think of a funny headline to go along with the band name "Ruler" but they were all lame so just read this and listen to some killer tunes.


Let’s dig into some more ridiculously hook-filled rock and/or roll today, shall we? Seattle’s Ruler is let by Matt Batey, and he’s clearly a man who never met a hook he didn’t like.

His debut, Winning Star Champion came out earlier this year but only reached my ears last month ahead of a scheduled show at Scubas in December (which has sadly since been canceled). I know I could’ve used it’s buoyant tunes this summer, but I’m still grateful to have them in my ears to melt the wintry Chicago assault with their sunshine pop.

Did I say sunshine? Please note that while the music is all blasting primary colors the lyrics carry a deeper reverberation, highlighting the daily struggle of just getting through it all. Hell, the opening track is titled “Petrified” and track two has the chorus “‘Cuz I’m the winning star champion of fucking up!” This ain’t self-loathing though, it’s self-acceptance. Maybe that’s why it resonates so deeply with me?

Give it a spin. And if you like it, buy it! And if you don’t have any money, you can download this Gin Blossoms cover the band did for free.

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Jeff Whalen unleashes his bubbleglam on the world. Rejoice!


Do you remember Tsar? Probably not. They had a brief but super promising career in then early aughts where all signs pointed to massive stardom. But, like many other bands, it simply wasn’t to be. I sometimes wonder how different things would be for the power-pop giants had they debuted a few years later. The blogosphere would have tripped over itself with praise.*

Well, the band (sort of) has a second chance! Tsar’s singer and primary songwriter Jeff Whalen has a new solo album 10 More Rock Super Hits. And it is FIRE. It is big, over-the-top, absolutely gloriously glittering power-pop. One might say it’s a collection of super rock hits.**

Whalen describes his music as bubbleglam, and I have to admit I’m a little jealous I didn’t come up with that first, since it perfectly describes his joyously stomping style of songwriting. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit its presence has actually saved me from a December that has been a little emotionally challenging. I am only sad it doesn’t get a full, public release until February, because this is joy I wish I could share with you this holiday season.


Whalen has only released one track publicly (“Jendy!,” above) so you’ll just have to take my word on the other 9 super rock hits. You can set yourself up to be one of the first to hear the album over at Whalen’s PledgeMusic page.

O.K., I’m off to play the album yet again!


*Technically they did release albums later in the decade, but that prime moment had passed by then. At least in my opinion.

**Truth in advertising!

Monday, December 03, 2018

Chicagoist delves into the deep mysteries of the Alderman.



Looks like the gears over at Chicagoist are grinding again! Chance the Rapper debuted "Chicagoist TV" over the weekend. And no, I don't know any behind the scenes knowledge of this, but I'm plesased to see he's starting to produce content under the Chicagoist moniker.