Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Here's a Wednesday jam for you.

I prefer the 8-minute full version of this tune but this'll do in a pinch.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Lately, it feels like '90s Chicago is everywhere.

Not an actual photo from the '90s, but c'mon, Rainbo hasn't changed a whit so any shot will do! Photo by Thomas Hawk
This video is pretty amazing.

Between this, last week's podcast, and news from Bill Wyman to keep on eye out for his piece on the era in this week's New City, '90s Chicago is looming large in my mind. I feel sorry for folks who didn't get to experience. it!

Monday, March 28, 2016

Stomach bug.

What is up with my body breaking down on me more frequently recently? I used to have the constitution of a tank—never got sick enough to actually miss work—and lately my immune system seems to be under constant attack.


Friday, March 25, 2016

It's true. "You Can't Judge A Book By Its Hair!"

Amazing. Just amazing. And if you think those voices in the song below sound familiar it's because that's Michael McKean singing lead with Harry Shearer (and I think David Lander a.k.a. Squiggy) on back up vocals.

The three were part of the Credibility Gap comedy troupe in the '70s and this is off their second album A Great Gift Idea!, which incidentally would make a great gift for any fan of comedy in your family.

Ready to get down and boogie? And giggle? Let's do it!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Lolla picks.

I, and a few others, shared a handful of acts we're excited to see on the 2016 Lollapalooza bill in Chicago.

This is just an initial sampling though. I'm sure we'll do a more comprehensive "recommended to see" list closer to the actual fest. Whoo!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Lolla line-up is out.

You can see the whole thing here, along with some (super) initial thoughts on the acts. Half the headliners are kind of a yawn—Thursday's final acts are the pits—but the undercard is surprisingly vibrant.

I'm going to have to step up my exercise and get super healthy before the fest kicks off though ... now that it's four days instead of three it could* prove to be a bit of an endurance test!

*Could = WILL

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Digging through the Chicago scene of the '90s...

I sat down with Andy Derer, Annie Zaleski, and hosts Tim Minneci and  Jason Dziakon this week's Dig Me Out Podcast to discuss the '90s Chicago music scene. I had a blast. However I have three footnotes to consider before you listen.
  • Yes, I know Seam isn't from Chicago. I was thinking I'd go on to talk Touch & Go and local labels and their importance of drawing influences into and sending them out of the city. I dropped that ball!
  • I can't believe I failed to mention Gravity Studios, especially since I was studio manager there for a brief spell and helped negotiate the release of Veruca Salt's original "Seether" demo for a demo reel of theirs!
  • Blake Smith's new band that's fabulous and I couldn't remember the name of is Forgotten Species. Give 'em a listen.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Friday, March 18, 2016

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Vacation day two!

It was our first proper beach day! (We spent yesterday by the pool.)

Friday, March 11, 2016

Here's how to get a free ride in Chicago this Saturday (especially if you're "celebrating" St. Patrick's weekend).

Photo via Uber
Usually publicity stunts seem forced and awkward—often painfully fucking ridiculous—but the match-up of Uber and Pedialyte offering free uberPOOL rides to Chicagoans over the St. Patrick's weekend is a frighteningly natural fit.

I certainly don't want you driving once you're done celebrating what appears to be Chicago's favorite holiday, and god knows you'll need to rehydrate the next morning. The only thing that would make this an even stronger deal would be if an IV clinic got into the act.

The promotion kicks of Saturday at 8 a.m.—because so many of you will probably already be stumbling drunk by then—and end at 11 p.m. that evening. And the ceiling on the ride is $30; if you travel further than that you'll have to pay beyond that so if you live in the suburbs maybe you should just crash on a friends couch.

 Here's how it'll work:
  • Open your Uber app. For many this may be the most difficult thing about the whole promotion. Concentrate. Nope, not that app. Not that one. Yes! That's the Uber app!
  • Enter promo code GOLDCHI in the app. Close one eye if you need to focus.
  • Enter where you're going and enter 1 or 2 seats (parties of 3 or more aren't eligible).
  • Wait for your ride, be nice to your driver when they arrive. Don't puke in their car. Tip when exiting.
It's that simple! But the fun doesn't stop there. Oh no it doesn't.

On Sunday you can enter the promo code GREENCHI between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. into the app to request delivery of what they're calling a Fuel Pack, but is actually (obviously) a hangover kit. It'll cost you $5 and includes a Pedialyte powder pack, water bottle, a Stan’s Donut Green River Glazed donut (keeping it local!), an eye mask and sunglasses in case you need to venture outdoors.

Though why in god's name would you do that?

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Big ol' crunchy party pop a la Cardiknox burnin' up my boombox.

Cardiknox photo by Hazel & Pine
I'm going to see Carly Rae Jepsen Saturday and I'm pretty excited. So excited I'm even dusting off my camera and coming out of concert photography semi-retirement to shoot the show. Usually when someone like Jepsen tours she's saddled with sub-par openers so I was resigned to sitting through some mediocre music before being able to go bonkers (well, as bonkers as I get at shows which is to say my head nods even more vigorously).

And then I got the new Cardiknox album sent to me since they're opening Jepsen's tour. Luckily for them the album actually drops tomorrow so anyone in Chicago will have a chance to get familiar with Portrait before seeing them play.

And I highly recommend getting familiar with the album. The L.A. duo traffics in the same vein of electro-pop as Jepsen, and also share the headliner's acumen for creating big radio friendly anthems that still ave a big of the grit of the authentic L.A. underground scene sticking to them. It's '80s swagger and '70s sequins and '90s squiggle synth. It's eternally Saturday night. It's a party and a half.

Can't wait.

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

125 albums this year so far.

Headphones Girl Venice Graffiti, photo by Michael Dorausch
I hit album number 125 today. A lot of them have been reasonably good. And I have plenty of fodder as a prepare to resurrect the regular Quick Spins feature at Chicagoist.

As I look through the spreadsheet I keep of music I listen to I noticed a trend—there are a lot of 5 out of a possible 10 albums.* Much like a performance review at my 9-to-5, it's harder to reach numbers higher than five. Five means you're doing a fine job. Music-wise these are albums I enjoyed, and wouldn't turn off if they came up again, but probably won't play in their entirety on my own anytime in the near future.

A six or above denotes an album I will go back and play, and the higher the score the more likely it is to be more regular in the rotation of my "pleasure listening." Of course the irony here is that since I feel like I need to give all new music a chance, the time denoted to "pleasure listening" is painfully small.** This year I actually intend to try and do something about that since listening to music more often feels like "work" than not.

How much new music does the average listener take in, I wonder? Do people still listen to albums over and over again? Or do they just hit shuffle on Spotify or pandora and allow themselves to be constantly surprised? I mean, I know that everyone has different listening habits, and none of them are "wrong." Maybe that's my new cocktail party small talk conversation starter, "How do you listen to music on a regular basis?"

*I've always avoided rating things in my public reviews, but some sort of system needs to be in place as far as my private tracking is in place, otherwise there's a chance stuff I liked and wanted to write about might get lost in the waves of new music that's always flowing in.

**I also listen to a ridiculous number of podcasts so they eat into my "pleasure listening" time as well. So it's kind of my own damn fault.

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

The Roomsounds are old school in some of the best ways.

The Roomsounds
The Roomsounds' new album Elm St. is out later this month and it's like a sneak attack of a listening experience. The band has a very big Gin Blossoms meets Midwestern twang mixed with a dash of gritty bar rock and a tinge of pop. It's all affable enough. The first time I spun it I was ready to delete it after a full first listen, thinking to myself, "This is super capable, but is it really good?"

And then I realized that the band's approach is classic. The Roomsounds aren't trying to reinvent rock and/or roll by any means. Heck, they aren't nearly even as dangerous as their lyrics would suggest they think they are. But I think that's the point; they're happy playing the part of band lifers, hard partying "bad boys" with hearts of gold that respect the friends standing by them. They're playing by the rules and are more interested in writing solid songs that stick with you than actually crafting anything remotely dangerous.

In short, The Roomsounds are really good at having a really good time, and you find yourself having a really good time because of that.

Friday, March 04, 2016

Yup, this is happening. Save the image above and show it on your mobile between 9 and 10 tomorrow night for a hosted beer (a special release tapping of Sam Adams Kosmic Mother Funk Grand Cru).

See you there!

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Feeling dead in the head.

Bleached is helping everyone working for the weekend.
The new Bleached album landed in my inbox this morning and as I was importing it on my tankPHONE I started replaying their single "Dead In Your head" off their debut. And I realized it was a fitting tune for my current mental state because I'm so focused on the 9-to-5—this is kind of a crunch week for a lot of deliverables—I feel a little blank once I get home.

So let's all recharge together with this little jam and power through until we get to Friday at 5 (or 6 or 7 or whenever everyone gets out of the office and home for the weekend)!

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

FINALLY, The Drowners are coming back.

The Drowners
The Drowners' show at Schubas was one of my favorite shows of 2013, I raved about their debut album so much that it made it onto my list of favorite albums in 2014.

And then silence from the band.

Well, they are silent no more! They have a new album, On Desire, coming out at the end of June. Judging by the first single it was worth the wait.

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Drumpf? DRUMPF?!

So every "establishment" Republican candidate is pretty much out of the running. Chris Christie is standing behind Drumpf at a press conference. We've officially hit a point I honestly thought was impossible to arrive at. This is literally insane.

To My Democrat* friends, I'll say it again: both Hillary and Bernie are better choices than either of these jokers. IF you do not go out and vote for either of them in the general—NO MATTER WHO GETS THE NOM—there is now officially something wrong with you.

Also Marco Rubio just said on live TV that Trump getting the nomination will officially destroy the Republican Party. Let's allow that to happen while saving our country at the same time.

*Republican and Independent friends can play along too. I can't imagine anyone I know wants Drumpf in office.