I've got a whole city to hold down

July 08, 2004

Pardon our drool

First off, there's no Chicago angle to this one that we can figure (other than the book we're about to plug was mentioned on Pitchfork today). It looks so simply freaking good, however, that we're throwing local ties to the wind and posting the poop here anyway.

The book is called Lost in the Grooves. The publisher describes it as "a fascinating guide to the back alleys off the pop music superhighway." Supposedly it will be organized alphabetically, with entries for dozens of albums. In other words, it will be like any other record guide. Except this one is all about lost or forgotten or never-noticed-in-the-first-place masterpieces. More from the publisher: "Disparate genres and eras rub against each other: folk-psych iconoclasts face louche pop crooners; outsider artists set their odd masterpieces down next to obscurities from the stars; lo-fi garage rock cuddles up with the French avant-garde; and roots rock weirdoes trip over bubblegum." Personally, we can't wait.

So here's the publisher's site. And here's the editor's site (which has a list of contributing writers - think everyone from Richard Meltzer to Rick Moody to a million music writers to - aha! A Chicago angle! - Jim O'Rourke). Enjoy.

From roadhouse to coffee table

The venerable FitzGerald's nightclub in Berwyn is the subject of a fancy new photo book and accompanying CD (which features tracks from the likes of the Mekons, Robbie Fulks, Alejandro Escovedo and others, all recorded live at the club). It's simply titled Live From Fitzgerald's; you can see a few photos, peruse a complete tracklist and order a copy here. (Thanks to Geektastic.)

July 07, 2004

Hot air, good cause

The Reader's Bob Mehr, Trib's Greg Kot, Metro's Sean McDonough and Sun-Times' Jim DeRogatis, all pontificating on "the state of local music in Chicago" - or at least the little slices of it that matter to these four, whose perspectives could hardly be less broad. Sound like a bang-up way to spend a summer Sunday? Then you'll want to be front and center at Dave's Italian Kitchen on July 25, where the price of a ticket will buy you lunch, the panel discussion and a performance from Nora O'Connor (whose second solo album is due soon from Bloodshot).

The saving grace of all this? The proceeds go to the very cool folks of WLUW.

So nobody asked us, but here's one blog's five most notable recent or ongoing developments in the Chicago music scene:

- The Wednesday night DJ series at Chicago SummerDance in Grant Park. What, the city of Chicago taking risks? Encouraging electronic music? Embracing our cultural keystone status as the town that founded house? You gotta be kidding.

- The young lions of local jazz, free, and improv music, who are only continuing to branch out as they come more and more into their own. Most of them play with multiple groups in various combinations on several nights a week, lighting up such venues as the Velvet, 3030, the Bottle, the Candlestick Maker, and the Hungry Brain.

- The embrace of new, unconventional venues by the Empty Bottle. Their semi-regular series of shows at the Logan Square Auditorium and the Open End Gallery has put acts into new contexts, allowed the Bottle to book bands that would be either too big or too quiet for the club, and maybe best of all, opened up new possibilities for all-ages crowds.

- The death of innovation among local rock labels. Really, what's the last new, exciting, unexpected thing released by Drag City, Touch and Go, Bloodshot, Thrill Jockey, Overcoat, et al? Is it any surprise that their combined sales were surpassed last year, as the Meter notes this week, by Victory?

- The revolution of online rock forums in the Windy City, including Pitchfork, Dusted (which, while accepting mail in NYC, is helmed in part by Chicagoan Sam Hunt, and pays close attention to local goings-on), Glorious Noise, various blogs, the Sound Opinions message board, and more.

July 06, 2004


New at Empty Bottle: Oneida (7/31).

New at Metro: Black Keys (9/24), the Gossip w/ Pretty Girls Make Graves (9/25), Hot Water Music (11/20).

New at Double Door: Monster Magnet (8/31).

Rock Talk Alert

Tonight on Sound Opinions, Kot and DeRo are scheduled to discuss their favorite albums of the first half of '04.

What are your sleeper picks?

Idol hands

Welcome back from the holiday, people. From the Sun-Times, here's an excerpt from the new Jim DeRogatis-helmed collection Kill Your Idols, plus info about a Quimby's event for the book that will feature approximately 57% of the city's music crits together in one room.