Friday, August 26, 2022

Celebrating Joe.

I previewed a celebration of Joe Cassidy that is happening at Metro this Sunday.

I still think about Joe every single day.

If you want to skip the preview and just pick up tickets, you can do that here

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Gimme some Fletch—I'm ready!

While I will always wonder what a Fletch movie would've been like with the actor Kevin Smith once told me he wanted to cast in the role, I think Jon Hamm is gonna do a mighty fine job. I was already feeling positive about this movie, but the scene in the trailer where Fletch is being compared to his ID photo ... well, that sealed this deal for me. 

Fletch lives!

Thursday, August 18, 2022

Get lost in the meadow with Eli Miller.

Photo by Julia Dratel
There's not a ton for me to say about Chicago' Eli Winter’s self-titled album that's out this Friday, other than I highly suggest you check it out. I'm not a person who usually gravitates towards the folkier side of the spectrum, but the intricate guitar work here elevates this onto a different plain. And as I've found myself drawn to music that is truly transporting—that will remove me from the current moment and plop me in the middle of another world for 30-50 minutes—this seems like a lovely culmination of all the things I like when it comes to playing in that arena. Or occupying that meadow.

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Keep For Cheap delivers a bundle of tunes soaring above the Midwestern prairie.

Keep For Cheap, looking mischievous yet subdued, photo by Morgan Winston
Everything I've been sent from Keep For Cheap includes the line "Prairie Rock out of Minneapolis, MN" and I have to agree that the band saved weary music critics from having to come up with their own, less accurate definition of the band's sound.

Bundle is the band's debut full-length, following a series of singles and EPs that clearly define the group's progress over the years from a gifted almost-folk act into their current confident balance of softer sounds, energetic rhythms, and voices that blend as if bonded by blood.

I'd been waiting to write about the band in hopes of linking it to a Chicago show, but it appears the group is currently playing shows only in the Minneapolis region. But today, the band released a video for their latest single off Bundle, "Hide My Emotion," a song that runs along the band's softer contours of sound.

I can see you sitting there (or standing there) watching the video above and asking yourself, "Well this is nice, and I can see why he likes the video, but what else can they do?"

So here's the second-most-recent single off Bundle, currently on YouTube with the caption "The Time is Keep for Cheap's third and final single off their debut album." So I'm happy that turned out to not be true and they had another single / video in 'em! So give this a peek and you'll see the energetic side of the group that clearly also hits me directly in my aural happy spot. 

See? Between these two videos, I think you can see what it is I find so alluring about this group, and I really hope they do tour a little farther from their home base in the near future because I'm eager to see what their live shows are like.* But in my head, they are super fun.

You can give the whole album a spin below, and snag physical** or digital copies of Bundle if Keep For Cheap knocks you off your feet as clearly and cleanly and they did me.

*Private message to Keep For Cheap: C'mon, come play Chicago!
**I picked up the 12" Red Swirl vinyl for myself, just in case you were wondering.

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Thinking of you, thinking of Bloods, and wanting to dance in the sun.

Bloods hails from Sydney, Australia and applies equal parts pop sheen and rock grit to their danceable tunes. They've got that thing where the band can sound poppy as all get out, but you also get the impression they've played in a few rough bars along the way and wouldn't stand for anyone calling them soft. Maybe it's the continent—INXS had a similar vibe to them in the earlier days they never fully lost despite becoming mega-stars in the late '80s—but whatever it is, it's working for Bloods.

Their new album Together, Baby! is out next month, but the track "Thinking Of You Thinking Of Me" is 110% a summer bop, and it seems criminal for you to not enjoy its pleasures immediately. So give it a listen, put it on repeat, and deploy as needed to either enhance (or make up for lack of) a summery sunshine day.

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Midwestern-sounding power-pop via Sweden? That's Capricorn!

I realized I'd been sitting on this album since January, waiting for its release, and then never ever posted about how awesome Capricorn is! But holy shit, this track sounds like old Tom Petty meets Jackson Browne's "Running on Empty;" high-energy stuff that's polished but never plastic, and I can feel the sweat hitting the guitar strings as they push the good times forward.

The video above is just for the opening track, but the whole album fires at this level. And you can sample the full-album playlist on YouTube or go ahead and order yourself a copy of the band's excellent For The Restless LP.

Monday, August 08, 2022

A 100% guaranteed musical shot of joy.

Today marks a number of important anniversaries in my life, and that made me think of the songs I always turn to when I need a dependable boost. One of those, I Was A King's "Norman Bleik," has worked for me 100% of time when I needed it, but it's been hard to track down in an easily sharable form, so I've always kinda kept it for myself, despite believing its power may be strong enough to energize anyone within listening distance.* It's not just one thing about the song that works—not the lyrics or melody or arrangement alone—it is the song working as a perfect whole that gives it rejuvenating powers.

But today I ran across it as a track in a label sampler, so if you don't want to dig through used record stores for your own copy of the band's 2009 self-titled album (or the actual single!), this should do the trick when you have need of a pick-me-up!**

And while I think many would argue this song is well known and helped the band break through to a wider audience, in my mind it has never reached the influential heights is power should've imbued the song with the power to do.

*Keeping in my mind I prefer to not share Spotify or Apple Music or Tidal or any of those kind of streaming links. Once, this is my interpretation of "easily sharable."
**Naturally, I will always prefer having a copy of the actual album, and highly recommend it!

Wednesday, August 03, 2022

Hello, hi—you'll definitely want to stick around!

So, while I've always enjoyed Ty Segall's stuff, I confess it's always fit more in the "I dig it, bit it doesn't really stick with me" category of music. But the nice thing about that category is that when something does hit, it hits hard! And with "Hello, Hi" Segall made me into a believer. Heck, as you can see above, I even shelled out hard-earned dough for the vinyl of this album!

On "Hello, Hi" Segall mixes lower-key acoustic numbers with some real '70s chugging, choogling rockers. The whole thing is tight, flows perfectly, and actually sounds like an album I'd've asked my mom to play in the '70s. I won't go into all the influences I hear here, you should enjoy the fun in that instead of me spelling it out for you, but this is a really, really lovely standout of an album.