Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Intonation: Helping Kids Rock Since 2006

If you're in Chicago tomorrow you should stop by this happy hour that one of my co-workers is involved with (which I actually didn't know until I was researching the organization)...

Here's the write-up I did for Gapers Block: Hope to see you there!

Intonation may not be throwing festivals in Union Park anymore, but they are still very active in the Chicago music scene, just on a smaller level, as in with smaller people. Now Intonation Music is a Workshop for kids ages 6-18, putting instruments in their hands and giving them instruction and opportunities to perform. The workshop is a band-based after-school program meaning drums, bass, guitar, keyboard, and amps--not your typical high school marching band. Their goal is to provide this type of programming in neighborhoods where kids might not otherwise be exposed to music. They've already expanded to two locations in addition to their Fuller Park program, and even more sites are in store for next year.

Thursday night Intonation Music Workshop is throwing a Launch Party Fundraiser at The Butterfly Social Club (728 W. Grand Ave.) from 5-8pm. There will be a silent auction with items from Hot Doug's, Parasol Records, Hejfina, The Score Sports Radio and many more. From 5-6pm you can get complimentary beer courtesy of the guys at The Half-Acre Brewing Company. Free beer? And feeling good about donating to charity? What better excuse do you need? And you never know, you might be enabling one of the next generation's great rock bands. Tickets are $10 at the door and all proceeds benefit Intonation Music Workshop.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

There is more to Glenn Kotche than Wilco

Glenn Kotche is the drummer for a little Chicago rock band you might have heard of called Wilco. What you may not know, is that Wilco is just one of Kotche's many projects.

Kotche joined Wilco in 2001, right before the band went rogue (sound-wise and label-wise) with Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. Its no surprise that Wilco took an innovative turn at that time, when you consider Kotche's background and other projects. He was in the experimental rock trio Loose Fur with Jeff Tweedy and Jim O'Rourke when Tweedy asked him to join Wilco. Currently, he makes up half of the jazz experimental duo On Fillmore with Darin Gray. He also recently collaborated with fellow local Andrew Bird for one of Bird's upcoming albums. And on top of all this, right now he is busy recording a new album with Wilco.

As if that wasn't enough to keep your plate full, Kotche has a burgeoning solo career of his own. In 2006 he released his third solo album, Moblie (Nonesuch Records). His creative exploration of rhythm and the space between is nothing you would expect and incredibly intriguing. It's also diverse, from the ambient title track "Mobile Parts 1 & 2" to the intense jam beats on "Projections of (what) Might."

Tonight "indie classical meets indie rock" when he appears with classical group eighth blackbird at Harris Theater. They will perform works from Mobile, and Kotche himself will perform a solo set. What can you expect? Lots of unorthodox percussion instruments and a departure from rhythm you're used to hearing.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Song of the Summer

Every summer there is a song that gets constantly remixed, played in dj sets, covered all over the place by other bands, earns the top spot on "Top 25 Most Played" playlist on your iPod, and just downright seeps into your brain.

There has been some talk that this year's song was "Kids" by MGMT, but if you ask me, that song didn't get hot until the end of summer/beginning of fall. For me, 2008's song of summer was definitely "Cold Dust Girl" by Hey Champ. They're local, so this one didn’t dominate across the country, but in my world, it was huge. First of all, they're my friends, so I was going to all their shows anyway, but then they filmed a video for "Cold Dust Girl" starring a bunch of friends (yours truly making an appearance) and it started popping up in DJ sets around town and all over local blogs. And now they're signed to a label and touring with Lupe Fiasco. On top of all the hooplah, the song is incredibly catchy and fun to listen to. The perfect summer soundtrack. What was your song of summer?

Past year's “songs of summer":

2007: "Young Folks" - Peter, Bjorn & John
2006: "Crazy" - Gnarls Barkley
2005: "Mr. Brightside" - The Killers
2004: "Toxic" - Britney Spears (ok, guilty pleasure, but I was guiltlessly into pop.)
2003: "SexyBack" "Rock Your Body" - (alright, another guilty pleasure*, but this song rocked my summer on the boat at Party Cove.)

Geez, I had great taste in music for a while there...

*When I bought this cd I actually put it under another cd so no one would see I was buying it--yeah, thats back when we still bought cds, so instead of being on an iPod playlist, the cd was probably in the little holder on the visor in my car.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Tom Schraeder wears His Ego on his sleeve

Tom Schraeder is 24 years old, but sings with the sorrow of a man twice his age. Upon first listening to his new EP, Lying Through Dinner, I found it a nice little Americana album, but it wasn't until a few more listens that I was really gripped by the heart in his songwriting. There is some real emotion in this album. There is heartache, a couple of foot-stomping singalong moments, and some passages that can make you feel the lost hope of someone drinking alone in an empty bar at closing time. Tom has a talent for evoking the feeling you've been there before, even if you haven't. He is such an excellent songwriter, that while you feel the hurt and yearning in his songs, he is still a joy to listen to. And somehow, with all the pain experienced in his lyrics and acclaim he's received, he still manages to keep a cool head.

Tom Schraeder & His Ego are back in Chicago for one show this Saturday at Schubas before heading out on tour. It's a record release show and everyone with paid admission will receive a free copy of Lying Through Dinner. Watch the promo video below to get a little preview of the first song on the album, "Needle Will Bite."

Tom Schraeder Promo Video: Schubas Saturday 11/15

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Band of the Living Dead

I take Halloween very seriously, so when I decided I was going to be a zombie this year, I had a lot of homework to do--turns out there is a lot to learn! You've got slow zombies, fast zombies, and a whole different set of rules that have evolved to go along with each of them.

Since I like zombies and I like rock bands, what could be better than combining the two, right!? I went to the Double Door last night to see Venom Lords pay homage to the master, George Romero. If you listen closely to the lyrics, they'll tell you all about how the 'dead hate the living' and they want 'more brains'; that is if you can hear them. Their songs are all guitar heavy punk/garage rock, but what else would real zombies listen to?! And what better soundtrack to accompany a zombie attack in a movie?

A fun show to see on a Tuesday night drinking with friends. One thing that would make this show better though: actual zombies. I wish that at least one of the band members would black out their eyes... and maybe just a little bit of blood?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Reviewed: Girl Talk @ Congress Theater

I went to Girl Talk at the Congress Theater with a bunch of my friends this weekend, and we had a blast. It was debauchery from the moment we walked in the door (okay, maybe not quite as much as Lolla, but still nice to let loose and dance for a night).

I wrote a review of the show for Transmission. The only thing I didn't talk about is how annoyed I was about the coat check. Right when we walked in we went up the stairs to the coat check just to be told it is full and they are not taking anymore coats, while I'm looking at a huge empty space behind them. I'm sorry, its 30 degrees outside and this is a sold out event, you should accommodate all your patrons. This venue has been here for 80 years, its not like we didn't know it was going to be cold in Chicago in November! And Congress, I couldn't help but notice that your website touts "high capacity coat check service"...

Anyway, enough of my rant, go read my review of the actual show.

P.S. Tankboy got some AWESOME pics of the show you should check out.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Keep On Dancin'

Ghostland Observatory is made up of two guys from Austin. Thomas Turner dances around the stage wearing a get-up that looks like American Indian meets '70's hippie while Aaron Behrens wears a Dracula cape and plays the drums. There are colorful laser lights everywhere, and that's just their stage show. The title of their latest album, Robotique Majestique is a good indication of what the soundtrack is like: electro pop of the future, a very groovy future. They play the Metro tonight with DJ sets by Mister Wolf.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Umbrella Music Festival

My first post went up on Transmission yesterday about Umbrella Music Festival. It's basically a festival showcasing creative and improvised jazz music. It started last night with a free show at the Chicago Cultural Center and continues through the weekend.

Anyone who knows me knows that I have a slight affinity for this type of music, since I dated a jazz musician and was subjected to it for a year. Unfortunately we broke up before I finally grew to appreciate it. (Hmm, maybe this blog is going to start to become a little more personal...)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Mich is writing for Gapers Block!

Hi folks, I'm excited to report that I am now writing for the Chicago website Gapers Block in their Transmission section (about music, duh)! I'll still be posting here, and even re-posting some of the things I do for them on here too.

I'm super excited! Check me out!

And bookmark it!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Happy Election Day! As the kids say, 'you can vote however you like', just make sure you vote!

Polls are open from 6am to 7pm (in Illinois).

Monday, November 3, 2008

Get Pumped for Election Day!

Election Day is tomorrow! For all you Obama fans out there, here is some inspiration to get to the polls.

Z-Trip - Obama Mix (mp3)

There have been a lot of Obama "mix tapes" surfacing in the last days of this race, but Z-Trip is by far the best one I've heard.