I've got a whole city to hold down

April 02, 2004


Think Jack Flack's a tiresome ass? Then don't miss Chicagomuzikblog from now through April 18, when we're ditching Jack and turning things over to CMB associates Lazlo Hollyfeld, Roy Stalin and Teddy Duchamp. As Roving Correspondent, Northland Bureau Chief, and Left Coast Liaison, respectively, they'll be taking things in a slightly less Chicagocentric direction while keeping the music and entertainment ratio up to our usual stylin' standard. Or at least that's what they said. Make 'em welcome and enjoy.

Shades of Peterdom

Bob Mehr's first review roundup of local discs is nearly Margasakian in scope, sampling jazz, rock, improv and even one-a them hip-hop rappers. Of course, we're steamed at his ignorance of the thriving Polish-American cratedigger scene. But dig the Meter anyway.

April 01, 2004

We'd like to dedicate this song... the haters who dissed us so dourly in the wake of our report on A Ghost Is Born. (To those among our readership lucky enough to have missed the whole flap, we reported that the forthcoming Wilco album would be a double-disc, a la Being There. The veracity of that report was widely questioned, and our info was ultimately denied by the Wilco camp, so we retracted it. Fair enough, right? Um, nope. Cue unpleasant shitestorm of criticism from hive of humorless Wilcolytes.)

All the time we remained confident in our source. Some concluded that Wilco had planned to issue Ghost on two discs, then changed those plans (or had them changed). Now we've stumbled across a nugget that lends some significant credence to that conclusion: Random House, publisher of the upcoming Greg Kot Wilcobio Learning How to Die, is pimping the tome hand-in-hand with what they call "the band’s two-CD release, A Ghost Is Born."

Now, Chicagomuzikblog is lucky enough to have an advance copy of Ghost, and we can say for a stone-cold fact that it's on one CD. But it seems pretty clear that the two-disc plan was not only considered, it was well enough down the chute that Nonesuch or the Wilco camp or somebody told Random House to hype it as such.

The point? Just that we're not quite so fulla crap as those Wilcolytes would have you believe. Consider this an itsy-bitsy bit of vindication.

Update: Hold the phone. This from new Wilco tour guitarist Nels Cline's page: "The band will be touring extensively in support of the forthcoming (and seemingly much-anticipated) double CD called A GHOST IS BORN." So: Who's zoomin' who?

March 31, 2004

New spin for the old 45

The 2004 edition of New City's Music 45 list is out, and this year they found a way to keep money-grubbing middle-aged suits from clogging the top of the charts: Limit it to musicians.

Which is not say it's a perfect list. At first glance, we're wondering where Mavis Staples, Alkaline Trio and Jim O'Rourke went.

Who do you think got jobbed?

Paging Clarence

We don't want to beat this Clarence Page thing into the ground (if you're not up on it, scroll down a few posts for the back story), but thought we'd toss this into the fray. What if, instead of outright condemning "hip-hop culture" in his column of last week, Page had said something like this:

"I'm fascinated by rap and by hip-hop. I think there's a lot of poetry in it. There's a lot of anger, a lot of social energy in it. And I think you'd better listen to it pretty carefully, 'cause it's important. ... Do I think that sometimes some lyrics in some songs have stepped over what I consider to be a reasonable line? Yeah, I do. I think when you start talking about killing cops or something like that, it bothers me. [But] I understand, [and] I'm still listening because I know that it's a reflection of the street and it's a reflection of life, and I understand all that."

By the way, those words were spoken by one John Kerry.

No, we had no idea either.

March 30, 2004


New from Jam: Nelly Furtado (April 30, Vic), Poi Dog Pondering (May 1, Vic), Andrew W.K. (May 14, Vic), Incubus w/ the Vines (July 14, Allstate).

New from Metro: Redwalls (April 27), Ozomatli (May 6), Brides of Destruction feat. Nikki Sixx and Traci Guns (May 15), the Decemberists (June 4).

New from Double Door: Lying in States and others (WLUW benefit, May 5), Mike Watt & the Secondmen (May 26).

Downloads don't hurt

A newly published Harvard/University of North Carolina study shows that internet file-sharing of music doesn't hurt retail CD sales. (Or, in prof-speak, "Downloads have an effect on sales which is statistically indistinguishable from zero.")

There's a whole lot of interesting info in the study, so have at it and geek out. Our favorite touch: Massive Attack, Sigur Ros and the Mountain Goats are thanked for "aural support" ... in a footnote.

Rock Talk Alert

Tonight on Sound Opinions, Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot lead "a panel of club owners and bookers" in a discussion of "the state of live music in Chicago."

This dovetails nicely with DeRo's Sunday feature in the Sun-Times, "Face the music," in which he asked "20 of the top people in the Chicago music industry" to forecast what "the music industry will look like five years from now."

Four club reps were included in those 20: Angie Mead of the Abbey Pub and Gunther Murphy's (which DeRogatis inexplicably described as "two of Chicago's best rock clubs"), who laments stringent new city regulations but sees clubs as integral to a local scene; Joe Shanahan of Metro and the Double Door, who wants to offer concertgoers more than just a concert; the Empty Bottle's Bruce Finkelman, who says the sky is falling; and HOB's Michael Yerke, who says everything is peachy.

We understand the city could hardly be more inhospitable to small music venues, but we hope tonight's roundtable doesn't become just another bitchin' session about oppressive government regulations on business. There are other issues, too, you know. We'd wager that listeners, who happen to also be club patrons, would like to hear about why ticket prices just seem to be going up and up and up. And things could be worse for these rockers. They could be hip-hop heads, who pretty much have to go to rock clubs, frat bars, or the plastic-corporate HOB for their live fix. Or how about some discussion of the really great things happening on the local club scene, like the Bottle's Logan Square Auditorium series, and how other, similarly creative ideas might be brought to life?

Review the reviews

"The Vines [show] this weekend was the worst show I've seen in years," Daily Herald popscribe Mark Guarino said in an e-mail to Chicagomuzikblog. "Never been to a show where just 20 minutes into it, half the audience is out the door."

On that note, let's sort through the weekend's clips, starting with Guarino's published piece on that Vines debacle at the Vic.

And while we're at it, here's Trib freelancer Bob Gendron on the Vines, too.

Also from the Trib: Greg Kot on Al Green at HOB and freelancer Matthew Lurie on R. Kelly at Allstate Arena.

The Sun-Times' platoon of professional showgoers, it seems, took the weekend off.

We have clearance, Clarence

In response to the discussion below and on other sites:

To: Jack Flack
From: Clarence Page

Thanks for sending the link, etc.

I'm delighted to see I generated some buzz. Most of it sounded pretty thoughtful, too.
You have restored my faith in the hip-hop generation. There is hope.


March 29, 2004

On Deck

Pitchfork gives knob-twiddling boy-next-door Brian Deck some nice notice for his work on the new Iron & Wine disc, Our Endless Numbered Days. Deck presided over sessions with Sam Beam & Co. at Wicker Park's Engine Studios last summer.

Rhyme 'n' registration

Piggybacking somewhat on our Clarence Page discussion, a survey of reaction to Saturday's Chicago Hip-Hop Summit at the UIC Pavilion:

The Daily Herald's Mark Guarino says "the summit centered on a panel of artists and executives including Simmons, Ludacris, Damon Dash, Kanye West, Common, Twista and others, taking questions from the audience ranging from the importance of getting involved in the political process to the cultural damage created by negative images in hip-hop videos."

In the Sun-Times, David Jakubiak reports that "not all of the people at the summit believed it was constructive. B-Leaver and Talib Mustafa, both local hip-hop heads, were both disappointed with the event. 'I feel this was nothing more than a publicity stunt. I don't feel they addressed the issues. They didn't tell people who to vote for, they didn't tell people why they need to vote,' said B-Leaver. ... Ludacris claimed the goal of the event was not to tell people who to vote for ... [b]ut Mustafa was frustrated that some of the rappers on the panel were the artists who promote 'negative' images of the black community."

Update: From the Trib, here's Matthew Lurie's take.