Friday, May 28, 2021

Bachelor's sound is less doom and more sun, but fully both those things.

Photo by Tonje Thilesen

Look, I don't think Bachelor really needs my help in raising awareness about the duo since it's made up of Palehound’s Ellen Kempner and Jay Som’s Melina Duterte. However, on the off chance you haven't heard of this team up, I hope to rectify that situation.

Elevator pitch? This is the best Liz Phair album of the year ... probably until Phair releases her own album later this year. Which is to say they've got that particular vibe down. And the comparison to Phair is fair inasmuch as Bachelor is definitely surfing on that Matador '90s sound, while tweaking it to fit their own purposes. All with their own unique style and swagger—it's truly a joy to listen to (even when the subject matter is challenging and emotional).

I think this will be one of the big breakout albums of the year. I'm not one to make predictions, but their tunes will fit nicely into the space vacated by the year-long promo campaign of the last Phoebe Bridgers album. So anyone that was worried they'd spend 2021 looking to fill that hole, Bachelor's Doomin' Sun is it.

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Throwing a DAGR onto the dancefloor.

DAGR, bringing the dance party outdoors

I was listening to DAGR's forthcoming debut recently, playing it in the background and kind of enjoying their decision to freeze their sound circa 2007, and midway through the album one track broke through the scrim and popped a little louder than the others. When I went back I discovered the title of that song was ... 'Tank Girl." I laughed out loud. Of course!

But the other track that immediately leapt out to me is also the first single from the album and it features ... Uffie?! Further substantiation for my theory the production team behind this—Ceci G and Veronica Jane—are locked into the party soundz of '07-'10 and are trying to pull their favorite elements into '21 and beyoooooond! 

I'd tell you where to pre-order DAGR's self-titled debut, but I can't seem to find any link to that yet. But I'll update this once I do! Until then, go ahead and follow the duo on Bandcamp.

Friday, May 07, 2021

5 albums to snag on this (potentially) final Bandcamp Friday!

I've been meaning to write about a few of these albums for a while now—though there is one surprise in here, even to me!—and rather than let the final Bandcamp Friday (for now) pass by I wanted to alert you to their existence in hopes you'll dig them too and give the artists all the dough. SO....

PONY's TV Baby was one of those albums I found in a weird corner of the internet, listened to, and immediately bought a physical copy of it because it absolutely slays. All really big crunchy guitars, great vox, and super catchy. LOVE IT. It's short, sharp, focused, fun. DO NOT MISS OUT.

I was going to save the "surprise" for the end, but I'm just too excited—Analog Radio finally released a new EP! The group got their start in Chicago, and were on a loooooong hiatus, but the members managed to come together (virtually, I assume?) from their various locations and started making new music again last year. But I didn't expect this to drop today! Also, for Bandcamp Friday, they are matching all proceeds and donating everything to the NAACP legal defense fund. So hop to it!

Tamar Berk played in a bunch of Chicago bands and led her own project Starball, before heading west. She's kept making music, most notably heading down the slightly prog classic rock route of Paradise. On this new album the restless dreams of youth sees her returning to a grittier power-pop, and it is fantastic. She also just announced a limited vinyl release of the album, so pick that up too if you dig it!

What would happen if Ted Leo and Joe Jackson started a band together? It would sound like Proper Nouns' Feel Free. This is an absolute furnace blast of frenetic guitars and impassioned vocals that are buried in so many hooks nothing ever sounds melodramatic. It just feels real, and big, and excellent.

Sparked by his break-up with his Rubblebucket bandmate, Tōth worked through it by writing music. And the first song that leapt out to me while listening was "Guitars Are Better Than Synthesizers For Writing Through Hard Times," which I discovered turned out to be the starting point that led to the rest of the album. And it's a lovely album, managing to weave in the occasional horn line and other little sonic flourishes that just make the ol' ears perk right up. Perfect for getting lost in or winding down with.

Tuesday, May 04, 2021

Wanna see live music again? Get vaccinated!

 I posted this on my Facebook page a few days ago, and realized it was worth sharing beyond that circle. Mainly because I admit my personal social circle seems to have no issues getting vaccinated ASAP, so maybe this will help sway one or two readers of this site to take the plunge and get poked in the arm. Trust me, it is so worth it.

So, you want summer music festivals? Then tell every single person you know who believes they don't need to get vaccinated to do so ASAP.


All the current headlines last week were joyously announcing the return of summer festivals in Chicago in 2021, but the capacity limits in place won't make any of them profitable enough to actually happen. 

15 people per 1,000 square feet is not a ton of people, really. And if you want those limits raised—something I believe every single fest currently planning to happen this year is counting on—the vaccination rate needs to be higher and the infection numbers have to keep dropping.

If we don't? While something like Pitchfork Music Festival in Union Park with only ~10K people would be lovely, it simply wouldn't be able to pay for itself.

So don't just sit on your laurels thinking your vaccination card is the entry ticket for a world of wonder this summer, because it'll be worthless if capacities aren't high enough to justify actually having a large, live event.