I've got a whole city to hold down

February 20, 2004

Another hot ticket for LSA

The Empty Bottle just keeps cranking out the hot shows for its Logan Square Auditorium series. So how about this latest: Murs with the Perceptionists, April 25.

Notes for non-Jukies: Murs is a long-standing champ of the left coast underground and frequent Atmosphere partner in crime. The Perceptionists are the new collaboraproject from Akrobatik, Fakts One, and the estimable Mr. Lif.

Metro announces benefit series

David-James Figueroa has worked at Metro for two decades, rising to become the club's head of security while also creating and hosting its weekly punk-rock nights. Some readers will know that Figueroa has struggled with non-Hodgkins lymphoma, currently in remission. Tragically, however, Figueroa's his wife Sonya was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. To assist the couple and help defray their mounting medical bills, Metro is planning a series of benefit shows called Another State of Mind.

The inaugural concert in the series, set for March 14, features Poi Dog Pondering, Scott Lucas of Local H, Giant Step, and Pegboy. Contact Metro for more information.

Chump change

Those of you expecting your slice of the settlement money from the major-label CD price-fixing scam will be pleased to know the checks are in the mail. Now don't spend that $13.86 all in one place.

Weekend picks

Tonight's Empty Bottle release party for the 90 Day Men's new disc, Panda Park, leads the Reader's choices. (Coco Rosie and Pit er Pat share the bill.) Monica Kendrick has good things to say about locals Light FM and Offwhyte.

New City's Dave Chamberlain seconds the 90 Day Men reco.

Sun-Times hypes include DeRogatis on Deep Purple (Tuesday, Chicago Theatre), Hoekstra on Rod Stewart (tonight, Allstate), and Jakubiak on veteran Bay Area MC Robust (Tuesday, Bottom Lounge).

In the Trib, Chrissie Dickinson profiles Delbert McClinton (tonight, HOB). Also in the paper, Rick Reger casts a flattering spotlight on Rob Mazurek, while on the Metromix site he pushes the Mountain Goats, Chris Whitley and more.

Lastly, in the Daily Herald, Mark Guarino profiles Bobby Conn and adds his weekly gig picks.

February 19, 2004

Whining Pumpkins?

The Daily Herald sez Billy Corgan blames James Iha for the Smashing Pumpkins' split. So Urge Overkill reunited, La Liz is coming to town soon, and now this. Can a Veruca Salt news story be far off? (Oh yeah, here's Billy's blog. This link does not constitute an endorsement of the site's contents.)

Meter reader

Bob Mehr reveals Bobby Conn to be "actually pretty normal." He also notes the passing of Chris Saathoff (links below).

Hit-and-run kills local musician near Empty Bottle

Chris Saathoff was struck and killed by a drunk driver who fled the scene on Friday night. Here's the story, and a website his friends and family have established in his memory.

A star is born

Kanye West debuts at #2.

Update: Sasha Frere-Jones calls West "a comedian, social critic, hedonist, and Christian." He's the "only man who can save hip-hop." This, Frere-Jones says, "is why God invented Kanye West." Now that's what I call jock-riding!

Update II: Ridership on Kanye's nuts officially surpasses CTA. Pitchfork, New City, all aboard!

February 18, 2004

Local label news

Things is changing for Chicago's Overcoat record label. One of its marquee attractions, Richard Buckner, has left the Overcoat stable for Merge Records, which will release Buckner's forthcoming album, Dents and Shells, sometime this fall. Overcoat previously issued Buckner's albums The Hill and Impasse, as well as an EP and a collection of his early acoustic demos.

"I am very happy for both Rick and Merge," Overcoat founder Howard Greynolds said in an e-mail to Chicagomuzik. "Rick is moving over to a fantastic label that will offer him a number of luxuries (more time, money, a staff, etc.) that I just could not afford. Merge is receiving an artist whose talents have absolutely no bounds, a true visionary. We had an amazing run, putting our heads together for three releases, all the while keeping our friendship in place."

As for Overcoat's outlook, Greynolds reports he's "happy to be putting out the debut release by Chicago band Pit er Pat. For just under the last year they've played out as Blackbirds, but are changing their name due to legal issues. They play this weekend with 90 Day Men and Coco Rosie at the Empty Bottle." Also on tap: An Iron and Wine EP, more Kingsbury Manx tour dates, and a collaborative EP recorded by Buckner and the ever-present Jon Langford.

Buckner's new disc, meanwhile, promises to bring the rock. It features his newly assembled Austin, TX-based backing band, a group that includes ex-Butthole Surfers King Coffey and Jason Morales and has performed under the name the AA Nightmares. Buckner will play March 5 at Schubas.

Scientific news

Local pop-rock performer David Singer and his band the Sweet Science - who shared Tuesday's Schubas bill with Marah - have lately been recording with Brian Deck at Engine.

Rumor mill

We noted the Tower Records bankruptcy filing in this space last week. No word yet on the implications this development may have for the chain's four Chicagoland locations, but look for Tower to be sold by May 1.

This weekend

Metromix has a brief Q&A with Rufus Wainwright (Friday, Riv).

February 17, 2004

Rock Talk Alert

Sound Opinions covers the latest local releases, 10 to midnight tonight on XRT.

Club safety

The Daily Southtown asks whether local nightspots have become safer in the year since the E2 disaster. Too bad they didn't put the question to anybody who actually owns, operates, works for or patronizes those nightspots. Reading this shallow piece makes Kot's Sunday investigation (linked below) look even better in comparison.

February 16, 2004

How friendly are we, really?

During the week of Jan. 28, WBEZ held a series of roundtables on Chicago, its arts communities, and how hospitable this town really is for local artists. If you didn't catch the discussions on-air, you can hear them via the magic of the internet. The rock and hip-hop roundtable included Bettina Richards of Thrill Jockey, Steve Albini of Electrical Audio, and an insightful Columbia College student and rap-scene scholar named Christopher Baugh. Label mavens Bob Koester of Delmark, Joanie Pallato (Southport) and Bruce Iglauer (Alligator) made up the jazz and blues panel.

New mag redux

After we gave Ladies And Gentlemen, a new specialty mag out of Minnesota, a hard time because it's priced at $16 postage paid, LAG founder Erik Westra wrote in to clarify that the publication is entirely ad-free. The higher price, Westra says, is a tradeoff for making LAG a no-shill zone. Duly noted.

As mentioned previously, the inaugural issue of LAG comes with a 12-inch EP featuring exclusive songs from Iron & Wine, the Wrens, the Hold Steady, Alias and others. On the local tip, it includes written contributions from Chicagoan Kiki Yablon (of the Dishes, the Red-Eyed Legends and the Reader) and our ex-poet laureate of the terminally weird, Rennie Sparks (the Handsome Family).

February 15, 2004

Your concert reviews here

See any shows over the weekend? Click 'Comment' to toss in your two cents.

Update: Print reviews of Urge Overkill, Ojos de Brujo (whose Saturday night set at Martyrs was shut down by the city), and the Big Jam Slow Jam headlined by Alicia Keys.

Sunday ink

DeRo hangs out with Courtney Love on Grammy day, but fails to explain exactly how blowing $40,000 on dresses for the show squares with her punk pose.

Meanwhile, a year after the nightclub tragedies at E2 and in Rhode Island, Kot surveys the tense relations between local clubs and city government. Well sourced and thorough, this is a highly recommended read.