I've got a whole city to hold down

December 02, 2004

Best of 2004: The Like Young

Jack Flack: With a guy (Joe Ziemba) on guitar and vocals and a girl who shares his surname (Amanda) on drums, the shorthand is inevitable: Wanna-Stripes.

Of course that shorthand could hardly be more wrong. The pair - who kicked around Champaign with Wolfie before striking out alone in the big city - pepper you with these sharp, fuzzy, angry bursts of pop tunes that have little or nothing to do with Blind Willie, Blind Lemon, or Blueshammer.

Your take?

Lazlo Hollyfeld: If you live in Chicago and you haven't seen this band to form your own opinion, you really need to get out more. They've only been the opener on eight or nine hundred bills this year.

I love So Serious. I love the melodies and the meshing of their vocals and the way the 12 songs and 24 minutes rush by when I'm stuck in traffic and I don't even realize that the disc has finished until I stop daydreaming and it's on track 3 the 2nd time through.

Only suggestion for next time out: Find room for more solo vocals from Amanda.

Jack: Those are all good reasons why the band has blown up this year - starting with lots of LUW love, including all those bookings you mention, and culminating with a Greg Kot piece in the fall. (Oh and a snarky Spin mention.)

Lazlo: LUW gets all the credit for tuning me into them. It was a case where I heard 3 different shows play 3 different songs of theirs in a one-week span, and I was then forced to run out and grab the album.

I think that also speaks well of their sound. By the third time I heard them on radio, I knew it was them, even though the song was brand-new to me. Their hooks cut through the clutter of early morning pre-caffeine commuting.

Jack: Their momentum really started last year, with Art Contest, their first album on Parasol. I remember Dave Chamberlain big-upped it at the time. Have you heard that disc? And where do you see their arc headed?

Lazlo: I haven't heard Art Contest (and now welcome the half-dozen comments from people who can tell me how late to the party I am, or that it's twice as good as So Serious).

They seem so close to perfecting their own thing (the short hooky pop songs, the his/her sour/sweet vocals). I'd like to see them try to nail it even more on the next album instead of a "moving on and up" attempt (say bigger production, fuller sound, or any other potential hazard you can think of).

Jack: You mean no Ryan Adams collabo?

Note: This is the first in a series of bits and pieces on the year in Chicagomuzik. Wanna see your own thoughts on anything under the local-music-04 sun posted here? Then don't wait, opinionate.

December 01, 2004

Yeah but did he punch anybody's lights out?

Empty Bottle booker Pete Toalson e-mails: "Not only was Jack White in the club on Saturday (hanging out and playing with Blanche) but also Slint!"

Which reminds us: If any readers are going to the Slint-curated All Tomorrow's Parties festival in Feb (which by the way is sold out), drop a line.

Update: Slint has announced two Chicago shows: March 25 at Metro and March 26 at Park West. Tickets go on sale this Saturday, 12/11.

One more day

Okay kiddoes, we'll start the year-in-review stuff tomorrow 12/2, so get your contributions - the 04's best of Chicago gigs, acts, discs and whathaveyou - in now.