Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Results of Intimacy

"We hoped Bloc Party's last record, A Weekend in the City, would be the group's version of U2's October-- an endearingly awkward transition between a bracing debut and a masterpiece every bit as outsized as the ambitions of its creators. Sadly, album number three is less War than Evil Urges."

Wow! Slam to Bloc Party AND My Morning Jacket in one sentence! Read the entire Pitchfork review here, where you can also find a slam to The Smashing Pumpkins.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

That One Guy From Dave Matthews Dies

Dave Matthews Band saxophonist LeRoi Moore died Tuesday from complications stemming from a June ATV accident.

Did you know they’re still touring? Did you also know that they've come out with a new studio album since Busted Stuff? Neither did I.

Really though, it is a very sad tragic accident and my condolences to his family. The band has set up a fund honoring his life and benefiting several charities that you can find by clicking here.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The saddest little street festival

I thought I had been to the saddest little street festival ever a few weeks ago at West Fest, but I was proven wrong yesterday. Enter Raven Fest. First of all, I didn’t even know this festival was happening, which is shocking to me since the bill had some pretty great bands. When we walked in, it looked like a carnival graveyard; all the inflatable bouncers lay deflated on the ground. And there were children EVERYWHERE. We rush over to the stage to find some adults and there are only about 15 people standing around, most wearing cut-off jean shorts (must have missed the memo). We finally found people we know and we headed over to the opposite stage where The M’s were playing – an hour and a half early. The band scheduled before canceled? The festival literally ended at 8pm. Ticket booths closed, beer sales over.

The day wasn’t a total wash, we got to see a good band minus a huge crowd, and we got out early enough to enjoy a few more beers on a local bar’s patio.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Bloc Party Suddenly Release New Album

Bloc Party announced today that they will be releasing a new album, Intimacy, on THURSDAY. (Nice work keeping that one a secret!) I'm not a huge fan of the new single 'Trojan Horse'. Their press release says "Some songs are Bloc Party at their most wildly experimental, while other tracks are simply classic Bloc Party, fitting in seamlessly amongst fan-favourites 'Helicopter', 'Banquet' and 'So Here We Are'." but 'Trojan Horse' sounds a little more Weekend In The City than Silent Alarm to me. Hopefully the rest of the album will sound more like their other new single 'Mercury'. I guess we'll find out Thursday...

Friday, August 15, 2008

Holy Wow.

I just heard the new single from Peter, Bjorn and John and it is awesome. It’s a lot darker and a huge departure from their old stuff (well, maybe not if you get really into the end of Writers Block). Apparently this new album, Seaside Rock, is all instrumental and its only coming out on vinyl and mp3. It comes out September 23. Sign me up.

"Inland Empire"

Do it do it do it now.

I finally figured out what song this was last night. I’ve been hearing it everywhere, including in that new Girl Talk mashup that is Feed The Animals, but I couldn’t remember who it was! The video is actually pretty cool, I like the half painted girls and the play with colors…

Hot Chip - Ready For The Floor

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Super Concert Day

Today is Super Concert Day. I have bought tickets to three different concerts happening in the coming months. Jamie Lidell, Cut Copy and Girl Talk. All the great concerts happen in the fall after the "radius clause" wears off, and bring me back to the small local venues that I love so much. I am also pumped for tomorrow night's James Murphy DJ set at Smartbar. For those of you who don't know who that is, you may know him better as the man behind LCD Soundsystem. That's right, LCD Soundsystem hand picking the tunes in your local bar.

Dance. Party.

Oh, and my friends Hey Champ will be DJing at The Burlington on Saturday. More dance party happiness.

Monday, August 11, 2008


Last night I found myself at a party where a band called The Hamburglars was playing. Yes, I'm referring to the same Hamburglar we all knew as a child who was always trying to steal all Ronald McDonald's hamburgers. There's a cartoon of the good 'ol Hamburglar on the tv, and then a bunch of guys come out dressed as, well, Hamburglars. Black and white striped suits, masks, hats and all. It was pretty loud and the words were somewhat unintelligible, but then my friend runs up and tells me to listen to the lyrics - they're singing nothing but "robble robble robble, cheeseburger." The songs sound like the songs they are covering, but they are very much about cheeseburgers instead.

Why didn't I take any pictures?

Friday, August 8, 2008

Hey Champ

You may have seen them around town as Hey Champ DJ’s or heard their remixes, but this Chicago trio has their own band, not-so-shockingly called Hey Champ. You’re right if you think you heard synthesizers, they do sound like something straight out of the 80’s dance scene. I’ve even heard that sometimes, vocalist Saam Hagshenas just likes to stay home and play synthesizers.

They have so many songs, their live show is always a little different, but you can bet Cold Dust Girl will be on the setlist, and there will be dancing in the audience. Watch out for Jon Marks to rock out a drum solo (or three) and Pete Dougherty, the most recent addition to the band, wail on the keyboards.

Come see them live, in full effect tomorrow at Market Days on the Roscoe Stage at 4pm.
(*And wish Saam a Happy Birthday :))

Hey Champ - Cold Dust Girl

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Wilco @ Wrigley

Wilco sings take me out to the ball game @ Wrigley and Jeff Tweedy talks Lolla and St. Louis roots.

from Pitchfork

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


You can put –palooza on the end of just about any word and instantly incite ridiculousness. Pre-parties, After-parties, after-concerts - the party really just didn’t stop for 3 straight days (4 for some of us). My how you’ve grown. Is it possible that it’s grown too big? 75 thousand people each day? Sold out every day? That’s a lot of people descending on a relatively small area of Grant Park for 3 days straight. Friday we waited in line for 45 minutes to trade in our tickets for wristbands. The anticipation was killing me, and it was hot as hell. Saturday, organizers closed the crosswalk at Congress, so festival goers were forced to enter on the north or south side and walk back around to get to the entrance at Buckingham Fountain. I know I spent a lot of the time complaining that it’s too crowded, it’s not about the music anymore, there’s too many people, oh I’m not coming next year, I’m only going to the after shows. But that’s because I am a music snob, and I’ll admit it. But understand Lollapalooza has become about the experience as a whole, including the music.

It is also a weekend to plan your outfit accordingly, a weekend to express yourself through your clothes, especially with what is written on your t-shirt. I saw a larger man wearing a t-shirt that said “I’m too fat to be a hipster.” Made me laugh. Wish I had taken his picture. I also saw the all important “I listen to bands that don’t even exist yet” t-shirt. Hipsters, Hippies, Yuppies, White Trash, Lolla has turned into the festival for everyone.

And then there were the Rage Against the Machine fans… all I can say is I’m glad they were all wearing Rage t-shirts so I could identify them and stay the hell out of their way. I swear, everyone I saw in one of those t-shirts was being a total asshole. I really wanted to see RATM, sort of fulfilling a teenage dream, but after seeing how their fans acted all weekend, I decided I wasn’t going anywhere near that stage because things were going to get violent, and I’m not much for getting crushed to death at a concert (but what a way to go!). I did hear they had to stop the concert several times to tell everyone to calm down and take ten steps back. Crews were pulling people out from the front because they were getting crushed from the crowd surging forward.

Instead I went over to Wilco for Saturday’s headliner, which for my music taste now, is a band I love so much more than RATM. They were incredible. Mixing the new and the old, playing the best of their enormous catalog. A lot of people say they don't get Wilco. It did take me a couple years to get into their somewhat experimental, sometimes noise sound, but once you're there, it's a great place to be. They sounded great, but maybe that was because I was dancing 3 feet away from a large speaker. Tweedy kept talking about how much sewing they had been doing in their off time, all decked out in their new multicolored suits that looked patched and bedazzled.

On Friday Jeff Tweedy also did an acoustic solo at the kid's stage, where he played down in front of the stage, in the crowd with the kids. He asked the kids if they had ever heard of the band Wilco, and if they knew any Wilco songs they would like him to play. He was so cute, their first couple suggestions he refused – too sad for a kids show, too adult for a kids show. “Parents – you need to tell your kids some of these Wilco songs deal with adult themes.” But then he played Heavy Metal Drummer, so cute, so upbeat (changing a couple of words, bringing it kid friendly). A happy little set with Wilco’s sweetest sounding songs.

Also on Friday, The Black Keys. Can I get some bass drum? These guys rock so hard. I hear Patrick Carney puts a cinder block in front of his bass drum to keep it from falling over. He hits the drums so fucking hard! I heard somewhere that rock drummers are equally conditioned physically to professional athletes... They were both soaked sweaty at the end, singer/guitarist Dan Auerbach looked like a wet rat. For only two guys, they put a hell of a lot of energy into a show. One question though - Why weren’t there more people with their hands in the air?

The Ting Tings set was a bright start to my Saturday morning. Katie White is the cutest rocking girl I’ve ever seen with her fluffy blonde hair, bright green and red outfit and her cute little British accent. Does anyone remember Jem and the Holograms? I would love to have a little Katie doll if I were a little girl. She danced and bounced all over the stage, rocking out their songs like That’s Not My Name. They’re another duo that makes it hard to believe that just two people can produce that much energy on stage. They ended the set with their hands in the air - waiting, waiting - and then Jules started wailing on this huge bass drum on the other side of the stage (I had wondered why that drum was just sitting over there!) Oh, I almost forgot the cowbell.

The afternoon crowd at MGMT surprised the hell out of me. Have they really grown that popular? I mean, I think they're great, I just didn’t think they had caught on that much. Their set kicked a lot more ass than I expected it to. I’ve seen them a few times at smaller venues, and I agreed with warnings from other writers that their live show isn’t as energetic as you would expect it to be. So, they proved me wrong. They started off slower and moved into more dancy songs like Electric Feel, Time to Pretend and ended with Kids.

I was getting a little worried at the beginning of Jamie Lidell’s set. I had talked his live show up so much since seeing him at Pitchfork last year. Last year he was solo, this year he is touring with a band, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. They played about 4 songs of new stuff full band, and while the music was good, and Jamie was entertaining, it felt a little like a lounge act. But then, the band left the stage one by one, actually walking out into the crowd back towards the festival entrance, leaving Jamie solo on stage. Here. We. Go. He walked over to his keyboard/computer becoming the man behind the umbrella and the show really got going. He started beat boxing, looping, singing and beat boxing and singing over his own vocal loops. It was fantastic. He can make some incredible sounds with his voice, and turning it into music is something special. The band came back for the last few songs, and the endless finale, which was like something out of The Blues Brothers.

Battles = Math rock? Whatever, these guys just rock. John Stainer, former drummer for the band Helmet, has made his high hat cymbal his symbol. He just beats the crap out of his drum set. Is this the year for heavy percussion or what? The set hit its climax in the middle when they played Atlas. Incredible. A little disclaimer… I may be a little biased since I saw them at their Double Door after show that night. Right up front, couldn’t get much closer to Tyondai without being on stage myself. Danced my face off.

So this is where all the really fucked up people are… I popped into Perry’s, which was his incarnation for an outdoor nightclub during the day, for DJ AM’s set. I stayed for about 5 minutes when I was already getting hit on by some Australian dude and decided I’d had enough clubbing.

Sunday was a fairly tame day for me, I spent most of the day on our sheet laid out on a hill by the bar (drinking beer of course). I did get up for Girl Talk though, and I’m glad I did. It was packed. Tens of people dancing on stage, toilet paper guns, a guy crowd surfing in an inflatable raft, a guy dressed as Spiderman, somebody in a gorilla costume climbing a tree… Insanity. Dance-party-insanity.

I closed out the evening, and the fest with headliner Nine Inch Nails. I felt transported back in time to my high school days locked up in my room blaring The Downward Spiral. It was amazing. So much anger, but so much passion. I love it. I left the set before it was over, so I didn’t see the end, but I had to get to a party at the Hard Rock… And we all know how that ended up…(put -palooza on the end of that one.)

All the other bands from the fest I either didn’t see, didn’t care enough to write about or didn’t dislike enough to write about either. All in all, another great Lollapalooza. I didn’t buy any t-shirts this year, but I did get a tattoo, so I guess that will have to do as my souvenir for 2008.

Rock Hard.

I’m still working on getting my Lollapalooza post together, but I just had to get this one out there…

Hard Rock Lollapalooza After Party: File this under things I will remember forever, even though I don’t remember much. Probably the best party I’ve ever been to. Ever.

My friend dj-ed the party the day before, so we were met at the door and escorted upstairs, given the full tour. The guy looks at us and says, “Everything is free. Enjoy.” Holy shit. So, everything was FREE (Including the tattoos, which I am proud to say I now have a new tat on my hip). There were food tables set up everywhere, free booze in the VIP, there must have been a tequila promo or something because people were mixing everything with tequila.

While I am sitting in a chair getting tattooed, two of my girlfriends are sitting next to me getting their hair done. All I can think is What in the world is going on and Where are weIs this for real probably slipped in there too.

I had just been complaining how Lollapalooza had become so corporate and not as edgy as in the old Lolla days (even Pointfest) where you could get tattoos and piercings and all kinds of crazy stuff at booths set up on the festival grounds. Now it’s just a MySpace photo tent and a Q101 Hammock Heaven. Well, I guess the real party is where the artists are.

I’m sure that I met a lot of really cool artists and musicians that I love after the tattoo, but I hardly remember any of it. I do remember dancing – a lot – and there are pictures to prove it.

I’m still trying to piece together everything that happened that night, one thing is for sure though, everyone had a ton of fun.

Tortoise at Pritzker

After a full weekend of music, I didn’t make it to work the next day, but I somehow managed to make it to another concert – an afternoon show from Tortoise at Pritzker Pavilion in Chicago’s Millennium Park. Pitchfork started doing this lunchtime music series there on Mondays called Audible Architecture, the tagline being “nightclubs at noon.” Another brainchild of Pitchfork Festival leader Mike Reed, Audible Architecture was made possible through collaboration with the Chicago Cultural Center and presented by local clubs and promoters. The idea came so late in the year, that they had a hard time booking available bands and they didn’t have much time to promote the series properly. Despite that, the season is rolling along and creating a successful reputation.

The concert itself was amazing. Tortoise is an experimental instrumental band mixing rock, jazz and electronica that gave rise to the indie genre that exists today. I had never seen them perform live, although I own two of their albums and I’ve seen guitarist Jeff Parker play many times. All the members are multi instrumentalists, moving around the stage after every song, switching instruments, picking new things up. At times, they even had two drummers. You can get lost in a Tortoise song, and I certainly did (especially considering my state of mind). The beauty of this being an afternoon concert and being FREE, is that we were could have front row seats. As the show ended and my friend and I looked at each other – “Can you do an encore at an afternoon show?” You certainly can and they did.

Hideout’s Tim Tuten gave an inspiring opening speech commending Chicago for its innovative and supportive music scene and expressing how important programs like this are. I always find it interesting to hear people in the industry talk to the general public about the innerworkings of Chicago’s music scene. I have so many friends in the industry I forget that most people probably don’t realize what all goes into putting on a concert, or putting an album together. There are so many people behind the scenes that make it possible for you to go to a free concert like this, or see 10 bands for $5 at a street festival. It is true that public support keeps programs like this running, and Chicago has set a great example.