Chicagomuzik

I've got a whole city to hold down

February 07, 2004

Concertwatch

A fresh batch of gigs on the Schubas schedule: The Hold Steady with RockFour (March 11), Josh Ritter (March 26), the Decemberists (April 1-2), Preston School of Industry (April 3), Cary Hudson Band (April 6).

Also, an update re Logan Square Auditorium: Tickets for the Sage Francis show there are available through the Abbey Pub's box office.

Cough up for community radio

We encourage you to click on over to WLUW, good folks dedicated to good music and this city. They're holding their annual pledge drive now through Feb. 14, featuring a gang of on-air guests and snappy gifts to induce your donations. An exceptionally worthy cause.

February 06, 2004

10 years in the life of sin

We're planning to offer our own take on this topic soon, but for now here's a couple of articles on the occasion of Bloodshot's 10th anniversary. Both the Trib and Sun-Times offer pieces in advance of the label's two-show shindig Saturday at the Old Town School; see Kot and Bobby Reed.

Update: Michael Parrish paints by numbers in this Trib review.

Weekend roundup

In the Sun-Times, DeRo shines the spotlight on John Petkovic of Cleveland garage lifers Cobra Verde (playing tonight at the Subterranean). Mary Houlihan profiles feisty folkie comer Graham Lindsey (tonight, Hideout, with Laurie Stirratt). David Jakubiak talks up the Molemen’s Chicago Rocks hip-hop showcase (tonight, Metro). And Laura Emerick chips in a profile of locals Oh My God (Saturday, Wheaton Grand Theater).

Over at the Trib, Kot likes Parasol’s alt-scare survivors the Poster Children (Saturday at the Empty Bottle).

Reader crits blurb the M’s, Notwist, Metric and more, while Monica Kendrick weighs in with her typically eclectic Spot Check.

We’d like to add a note in favor of Brother Ali at the Abbey tomorrow (early show). This Atmosphere protégé is funny, brash, and righteous, and also the only corpulent albino Muslim MC we’ve yet encountered.

Now it’s your turn – what are you going to see this weekend? Thoughts on the pieces above?

February 05, 2004

Margasak signs off

Dean Schlabowske (of the Waco Brothers and the new Dollar Store) is the subject of Peter Margasak's last Post No Bills column. The Reader writer signs off here.

New summer venue, competition on the horizon

Today's Daily Southtown reports that the planned home of the Chicago Fire, a 30,000-seat outdoor stadium to be built in Bridgeview, will challenge Tweeter Center for a share of shows on the summer shed circuit. The new stadium, set to open in 2006, will be managed by the Anschutz Entertainment Group, a competitor of industry behemoth Clear Channel Entertainment and partner of local independent promoter Jam Productions. In addition to offering an alternative to the "800-pound gorilla of the industry," AEG says the new venue will boast significantly better sound than Tweeter. Thousands of Jimmy Buffett fans could not be reached for comment.

These guys [expletive] rule!

The Trib's Josh Klein reviews Wednesday's Metro appearance by Welsh psych stars Super Furry Animals.

You say goodbye, I say hello

Change is afoot for the Chicago Reader's music section--again. Not long after Jim Shapiro (formerly best known as the drummer in Veruca Salt) succeeded Keith Harris in the music editor's chair, the weekly's lead music column is also changing hands. In a move announced last fall, Peter Margasak will hang up the Post No Bills column; now word is out that Margasak's successor is Bob Mehr.

Mehr comes to the Reader on the rebound from an ugly firing at the hands of his former employer, the Seattle Weekly. You can dig the gruesome details here (third item), here, and from the horse's mouth here; in short, Mehr's successor (sometime Reader contributor Michaelangelo Matos) was hired, flown to town, and announced to the rest of the staff before Mehr himself was given the courtesy of being canned. It's probably safe to assume Matos won't be writing for the Reader anymore.

As for Margasak, he'll stick around to write longer stories, or so he told Chicago mag's Steve Rhodes in October (second item). Though we've oft found common cause with those who consider Margasak's writing dull and his subject matter too esoteric--"Nobody covers jazz trombone like Peter Margasak," Jim DeRogatis snickered on XRT recently--we'll miss his breadth. If nothing else, the cover of section three won't likely be as hospitable to jazz, hip-hop, international, and electronic acts; judging by everything we've ever read by the guy, Mehr's taste is very white, male, middle-aged and rockist. (Seriously.)

February 04, 2004

Bottle brings full slate to Logan

The Empty Bottle has been sponsoring concerts at the Logan Square Auditorium for some time now--last year bringing such acts as Mum and Low to the upstairs stage--and the practice is about to become even more common. The Bottle's ambitious new slate of shows at the larger venue includes the Wrens with Constantines (March 12), Liars with Young People (March 20), Ted Leo/Pharmacists (March 23), and Unicorns (April 4).

Yes, we said the Wrens and Constantines are playing together.

No, you're not more geeked than us.

For those who, like, totally don't know, the LSA is located right on Logan Square, at the corner of Logan Blvd and Kedzie just off Milwaukee. We love the place, with its blonde hardwood floor, high ceiling, balcony, and--on two sides--long windows overlooking the park. There's no comparable venue of this size in Chicago; even more exceptionally, it's an all-ages joint. And maybe best of all, it's one door down from our favorite restaurant in the whole damn city, Lula Cafe.

Also on the LSA docket next month is a March 13 appearance by bearded dynamite emcee Sage Francis and his sidekick Joe Beats, aka the Non-Prophets. This one is an MP Shows promotion, not a Bottle gig.

Concertwatch

Jam has a bushel of new shows on its schedule. They include a second Dylan gig at the Riv on March 6 (the 3/5 show sold out in a flash last week), a Camper/Cracker bill at the Vic on March 18, and Mark Kozelek’s Sun Kil Moon at Park West on March 25. Also the Darkness at the Vic on March 27, NERD with Black Eyed Peas at the Riv on April 8, A Perfect Circle with the Mars Volta at the UIC Pavilion on April 16, and Air at the Riv on April 20. Note, too, that Elvis Costello has rescheduled from March 1 to 16.

Young rock gets the sniff test

It’s been a while since Chicago cranked out a crackerjack new band that really rocks. We never bought the whole OKGO thing (too cute). Then we put our chips down on Mansion/the Boas, but the band split before beginning to realize its potential. Now buzz is building on a couple of comers, the Redwalls and the M’s—but we’re skeptical.

The Redwalls are the much-discussed teenaged suburbanites now signed to Capitol. We liked what we heard on WLUW last summer (back when they were known as the Pages), but their record-release gig at the Subterranean in October left us cold. Terri Hemmert must love these guys, but we found ourselves waiting for Ed Sullivan to bring out one of those plate-spinner dudes. The band’s debut, “Universal Blues”—which we admittedly haven’t heard—came out on Undertow a few months back, and its major-label bow is slated for fall. The Redwalls play Feb. 15 at Metro.

The vibe we’re getting from the first M’s EP—available from Brilliante—is almost as derivative. Only difference is they’re Kinksy and glam, not Fab. The tide of favorable ink they’ve had lately is too much too soon, and we can’t help but wonder if the difference in local press treatment of the two bands has something to do with the divergent paths they’re perceived to be traveling: M’s are the cool indie guys, Redwalls are the careerist climbers. Our POV: Maybe they’re both just acts in need of a new idea?

Sometimes, though, and especially with developing bands, the proof is in the onstage pudding, not the embryonic discs. The M’s have another shot to impress us in that forum this Friday at Schubas. We'd like to be swayed.

February 03, 2004

Envelope Please

The results are in for the Chicagomuzik listserv's year-end poll. The top 10: 1. Shins, 2. Ted Leo, 3. White Stripes, 4. New Pornographers, 5. Wrens, 6. OutKast, 7. Long Winters, 8. Grandaddy, 9. M. Ward, 10. Bonnie 'Prince' Billy.

Top finishers among local albums were Songs:Ohia's "Magnolia Electric Co.," the Fruit Bats' "Mouthfuls," and the Fiery Furnaces' "Gallowsbird's Bark."

The poll's 11 voters declined to comment on rumors that each celebrated the results by growing a beard.

I Am Trying To Break Your Bank

By now you've likely heard that multi-instrumentalist Leroy Bach has left Wilco (by all accounts amicably). The bigger news, though, is the band's new record. Currently scheduled for a June release on Nonesuch, the disc is reportedly done--and certain privileged ears in the local scene have already been offered (under tight security) their first aural glimpses of the finished product.

Wilcolytes are also saving their pennies for the Greg Kot-penned band bio, "Learning How to Die" (due June 15 from Broadway Books) and Jeff Tweedy's virgin volume of poetry, "Adult Head" (Zoo Press, March).

We're curious to read the former book, though it's hard to imagine what Kot could possibly reveal that wasn't found in Sam Jones' comprehensive rock doc, "I Am Trying to Break Your Heart." As for Tweedy's poetry collection, well, we're no authorities on the form, but what we've seen would be better left buried under a layer of guitar fuzz. General word to the wise: Nothing breeds a backlash like overexposure.

Post-Rock 'n' Roll Will Never Die

Our neighbors at Pitchfork report on the forthcoming Tortoise disc. Title: It's All Around You. Release date: April. Label: Thrill Jockey (none other).

Rock Talk Alert

Tonight on Sound Opinions, DeRogatis and Kot discuss "the gay influence in rock."

New Kids on the Block

Welcome to Chicagomuzik, a new blog devoted to covering the artists, albums, shows, venues, labels, and media that make up the Chicago music scene. After all, what the world needs now is another new blog, right?

Well, actually, we think it does. Lots of people write about Chicago musicians, shows, and the music industry, but no one (well, that we know of) does it in an interactive, daily, online venue devoted exclusively to the topic. Likewise, there are several online forums where the local scene is discussed, but none of them (to the best of our knowledge) offers editorial content. We aim not to compete with any of the above, but to draw on the strengths of both.

Because the average life expectancy for fledgling blogs is less than that of a pop star's Vegas wedding vows, we make no promises as to how frequently this site will be updated or how long this venture will last. It's safe to say, however, that the more YOU participate, the more likely our survival becomes. So please: stop by, drop a line, check out the links, tell your friends. We appreciate it, and hope you will too.