Thursday, December 25, 2008

Monday, December 22, 2008

Spencer Tweedy might be the coolest 13-year-old ever.

You may had already heard that Jeff Tweedy's 13-year-old son is a a rockin' drummer when his band, The Blisters, played the kids stage at Lollapalooza two years ago, but what you may not know is that Spencer Tweedy is a proficient writer, blogger, and has his own software website/company. That's right, I said he's 13.

On his blog, he talks about all of the above, among other pre-teen musings like his Bar-Mitzvah and how he spent his birthday--with Neil Young, Pegi Young, Will Arnett, Amy Poehler, Jack McBrayer, Fred Armisen, and his family--oh, and filling in for Wilco drummer Glenn Kotche at Madison Square Garden. Yup, just your typical American kid...

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Andrew Bird @ The Hideout 12/15

I was bummed that there were no hometown Chicago dates when Andrew Bird announced his tour beginning in January, but then last week I found out about a "secret" show at The Hideout, which ended up being two shows, and I was lucky enough to be at the one on Monday. It was in a word, amazing. Even my boyfriend, who didn't understand the hype, but still respected him as a musician, told me half way through the night that he finally gets it.

Andrew started the set with "Oh No," the only track being previewed from his new album, Noble Beast (scheduled for release in January on Fat Possum). Self described circus-punk marching band Mucca Pazza was there, which at first I didn't understand, because there was no way that entire band would fit on the tiny Hideout stage with Andrew and crew, but then he revealed that that they were filming a music video for one of the new songs, "Fitz and the Dizzy Spells." He explained that the video would be something along the lines of him shooting a flaming arrow from the top of The Hideout as a call for people to leave their jobs and congregate there for a party. He went through the song twice, and Mucca Pazza positioned themselves throughout the audience and danced with their instruments in the air. It was surreal from the middle of the room and I can't wait to see how cool it looked from outside the mob!

It was a comfortable show, Hideout co-owner Tim Tuten himself said that they didn't over sell it (how could they with all the members of Mucca Pazza mulling about!) and to make yourself at home, and that we did. It felt more like a house party, a gathering of friends than a typical concert, especially given the humble surroundings of The Hideout and Andrew's missteps, dialogue and equipment malfunctions. We even went out to the bar for a drink midway through the show, and then ran back in when I heard the opening beats of "Imitosis." He played for almost 2 hours, playing every song from the new album and treating us to a couple of my older favorites including "Fake Palindromes" and "A Nervous Tic Motion of the Head to the Left." I was also especially struck by the new song "Effigy," I don't really know why; maybe it was because he told us it was about the man that sits at the end of the bar writing poetry, and wondering what his story is.

After hearing the entire album, I'm excited for the release of Noble Beast next month. I'll probably even get the Deluxe Edition so I can get that bonus instrumental album that includes collaborations with another favorite artist of mine, Glenn Kotche.

**Tankboy took the photo above, and some great others you can view on Chicagoist. Although I didn't see any of the unicorn sweater...

**PS--Andrew is also going to be at The Hideout's Big Shoulders Ball in DC for the Presidential Inauguration!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Hideout Brings Chicago to the Inauguration

If you've got plans to go to DC (and a place to stay...) for Obama's Presidential Inauguration, you can celebrate the night before with the folks from The Hideout at The Black Cat where they, with Interchange, present The Big Shoulders Ball, a Chicago concert celebrating change. Hideout co-owner and staunch Obama supporter (as is evident by the ENORMOUS picture of Obama hanging on the front of The Hideout), Tim Tuten, has chartered two buses to take the bands and company on the cross country trip. Why am I getting a feeling of America ala 60s full of VW buses, hippie braids and peace signs... Anyway, the lineup is stacked; Tortoise, Waco Brothers, Ken Vandermark and Icy Demons are among the local artists already slated to play. Tickets go on sale today at 4pm and are $50. You can get them from The Black Cat's website, or pick them up in person at The Hideout (1354 W. Wabansia). The exact date of the show is Monday, January 19 (just in case you've been living under a rock and hadn't heard when Obama would take over as Commander in Chief). The Black Cat is located at 1811 14th St. NW WDC 20009.

**UPDATE** Andrew Bird has been added to the line-up as well!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Review: CSS @ Metro 12/14/08

It's tough going to a show on a Sunday night. You're probably worn out (read: hungover) from the weekend's previous activities, and visions of your 9-to-5 loom in the not so distant future. It takes something special to get you out of the house (especially in the middle of a Chicago winter). Enter Brazilian band Cansei de Ser Sexy, better known to us in the States as CSS. They became a sensation last year after Apple used their song, "Music is My Hot, Hot Sex," in an iPod Touch commercial. They're known for their exuberant live shows, and I had seen the crazy get-ups that lead singer Lovefoxx wears, so I expected quite the spectacle at the Metro last night.

You knew you were in for a party when Lovefoxxx ran out wearing a tribal print spandex unitard with an Indian feather headdress, and the drummer started the show shirtless. I honestly couldn't take my eyes off Lovefoxxx, wondering what she would do next as she danced around the stage like you would dance around your bedroom with your hairbrush as a microphone. She interacted a lot with the audience, they mimicked her hand motions and dance moves, and she threw a bunch of balloons into the crowd for them to blow up and throw in the air. She even talked with two guys in the front row and gave them new beers! While the show was spontaneous and chaotic, it was controlled chaos. You can tell CSS are professionals at entertaining--there were no awkward moments, and the music didn't suffer at all. In fact, they sounded incredible and tight. They put some serious "rock" in dance rock.

A couple of times during the show, though, it looked as if there were some sound problems on stage. Crews brought more speakers out to the stage, and at one point keyboardist Ana Rezende was waving down the sound guy and eventually walked across the stage to get his attention. Kind of made me wonder if they even sound-checked, but nothing sounded off from my perspective and Lovefoxxx's antics made it easy to forget the interruption.

The energy really pumped up during their last couple songs and the encore, by the end the crowd was going crazy. Watching a packed house from the balcony of the Metro becomes a sea of lights and people moving as one entity, and Lovefoxxx dove right in and surfed the waves.

*Kirstie Shanley took some great photos of the show you can see on Gapers Block.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Chicago NYE Roundup

Check out my Feature for Transmission this week with my picks for what to do on New Years Eve in Chicago.
New Year's Eve is still more than two weeks away, but its about time to start making plans or you just might end up sitting at home by yourself watching the ball drop (insert image of sad person wearing a pointy hat blowing a kazoo here). Here's a look at some of my top concert picks around town to help you bid adieu to 2008 and ring in 2009 the right way.

Revolution Number 9 @ Congress Theater
"Revolution 9" may have been a revolutionary Beatles song, but this year the name is all about the year's hottest electronic dance music. We recently talked about French DJ duo Justice's documentary, A Cross The Universe, which followed them on the final three weeks of their spring tour. But, for one night you can experience them live as they team up with up with Ed Banger labelmate So Me for a pumping dance party. Local electro band Hey Champ, who just returned from a month long tour with Lupe Fiasco, will open, and will be the only ones on the bill playing as a full band. Other DJs who will keep the party going into the early morning include Willy Joy, DJ Zebo, The Glamour, Dark Wave Disco DJs, Skyler, and Bearries. The party starts at 7pm. The Congress Theater is located at 2135 N. Milwaukee Ave. 17 & up. General Admission tickets are $60 and VIP access (which includes express entry, back stage views, and a private bar) is $200.

The Dandy Warhols @ Metro
The Dandy Warhols are known for their fun version of psychedelic pop rock with hits like "Bohemian Like You" and "Not If You Were The Last Junkie On Earth," and this year they released their sixth studio album, ...Earth To The Dandy Warhols... on their very own label, Beat The World Records. As if starting a record label weren't enough to keep them busy, they're also spearheading the Breathe Easy Benefit, which is a collaborative album project with a bunch of other artists that raises money for Three Rivers Land Conservancy.
We've already told you how excited we are that The Dandy Warhols were announced to play NYE at the Metro, and turns out the Dandys are pretty excited too. If you go to their website you can order a special limited edition t-shirt (just make sure you order before December 19th to get it before New Years). The show starts at 9pm. The Metro is located at 3730 N. Clark St. (18 & over.) Tickets are $55 in advance ($65 day of). VIP Tables are available for $500 and include 4 tickets, 4 seats, 4 limited-edition posters, and 4 drink tickets per person. Formal Attire Encouraged — you could use an excuse to clean up every once in a while.

The Sea & Cake @ Schubas
The Sea & Cake are my favorite band to listen to on a chill, lazy afternoon. Sam Prekop's smooth, infectious vocals can lull anyone straight into relaxation. While they qualify as a pop rock band, they have a heavy jazz influence. They've been making music in Chicago since 1993, but each member has their own side projects, including solo albums and drummer John McEntire's involvement in Tortoise. Their latest album though, Car Alarm, was recorded without taking a break after their previous album, and the result is an even tighter sounding group. The show starts at 10pm. Schubas is located at 3159 N. Southport. (21 & up.) Tickets are $40. There is also a pre-party in the bar before the show from 7:30-9:30pm. Tickets are sold separately for $30 ($35 at the door) and include drinks and appetizers. (This show is part of a two night set, so if you really want to see The Sea & Cake but don't want to shell out 40 bucks, you can see them the night before for half that price.)

Local H @ Bottom Lounge
They found mainstream success with "Bound For The Floor," but that's not all Local H are known for. The alternative duo's live shows are always energetic and always unpredictable. Scott Lucas and Brian St. Clair are finally back home after a nationwide tour supporting their latest album, Twelve Angry Months, which came out this spring. Fellow Chicago bands Sybris and pop favorites OFFICE open. Show starts at 8pm. The Bottom Lounge is now located at 1375 W. Lake St. (21 & up.) Tickets are $35.


For those of you who don't want to break the bank, but still want to have a good time and hear some live music, head on over to Quenchers at the corner of Fullerton and Western where the cover is only $10. Local bands Tight Phantomz and Cougars will rock your face off with some hard hitting, classic rock 'n roll. Quenchers is located at 2401 N Western Ave. Music gets going at 9pm.

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Loneliest Monk Haunts and Enchants

If you're looking for something to do tonight, think about heading over to Bottom Lounge for a concert that's a little different than the usual rock show. He is a member of local indie rock band All Things Lucid and runs Kilo Records. She is a master cellist who has played with Phillip Glass, Kanye West, and even the Foo Fighters in their 2008 Grammy Awards performance. Together, Miles Benjamin and Michelle Morales form the experimental duo The Loneliest Monk. Their cool, ambient music is a nice departure from the standard 4-piece rock or jazz group. It's little bit rock, a little bit classical, a little jazz infused, and completely intriguing.

They will be handing out "Magic Buttons" at the show that you can bring to the Empty Bottle on December 21st (their first headlining show) for a handmade Loneliest Monk Christmas gift. The buttons were designed by Aaron Albarran, and will reveal their new logo.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

What is the future of music?

If you're near downtown Chicago after work tonight, you should definitely go to this. I love these guys and I would love to see what they have to say on the topic, but I can't make it. Go and tell me all about it!

Greg Kot and Jim DeRogatis have a ton of knowledge between them in rock music and the going-ons in the industry. You've heard them on "the worlds only rock 'n' roll talk show," Sound Opinions, and now you can join them live to discuss the future of the music industry in this uncertain time.

It's no secret that the Internet and the digital age have changed the way we listen to music, buy music, are exposed to music, and generally enjoy artists we like. Record companies are left scrambling to try to figure out how to still make a profit in this new time, but what does it mean for you the consumer/ listener, and for the musicians themselves? Kot and De Rogatis promise to break it down for you tonight at Columbia College's Conway Center (1104 S. Wabash). It's free, but space is limited so get there early. Doors open at 5:30, and the talk begins at 6pm.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Noble Beast out earlier than expected, now in Deluxe Edition!

Andrew Bird has pushed the release date of his new album, Noble Beast, up one week from January 27 to January 20. What I thought was to be released as two different albums, one instrumental, has been pressed into a special-edition two-CD set. This Deluxe Edition will come with different artwork by Diana Sudyka, extra photos, a fold out poster, and a 24-page illustrated lyric book and will only be available through pre-order at Fat Possum and on release date at record stores.

The hook? You can only get the extra instrumental CD, Useless Creatures, (which by the way includes another hometown guy--Wilco's Glenn Kotche--on percussion) with the Deluxe-Edition (although I'm sure it will eventually be released on it's own...). Otherwise you'll just have to settle for the Standard Edition.

(Album art above is from the Standard Edition)