I've got a whole city to hold down

April 22, 2005

Lolla list

Yesterday Jim DeRogatis reported that Liz Phair and Tegan & Sara are confirmed for Chicagopalooza, and today MTV added the Killers to a list we've previously gleaned to include the Pixies, Dinosaur Jr, Weezer, Widespread Panic and the Kaiser Chiefs.

Update: The Pixies, Weezer, Widespread Panic, the Killers, the Arcade Fire, Liz Phair, the Black Keys, Death Cab For Cutie, Cake, Dashboard Confessional, Dinosaur Jr, Kasabian, Kaiser Chiefs, Louis XIV, Tegan & Sara, M83, Los Amigos Invisibles, Blue Merle, the Redwalls, the Changes, Dandy Warhols, Digable Planets, Brian Jonestown Massacre, Billy Idol, the Bravery and Blonde Redhead. (Billboard)

Update II: Also G. Love, the Walkmen, VHS or Beta, the Warlocks and a few others are now on the Lolla site.

Tix start at $85 for the two-day pass.

Update III: In their own words.

April 21, 2005

New Kanye on the way, supposed first single leaks

The net started buzzing yesterday afternoon with a leak of "Diamonds," the reported first single from Late Registration, Kanye West's sophomore disc and follow-up to last year's crossover blockbuster The College Dropout.

A few hours later, posted a story that verifies the single and quotes Kanye saying the album will be out July 12.

As for the cut, it's built around a sample of Shirley Bassey's "Diamonds Are Forever." The verse is structured similar to "Heavy Hitters," the lead track on the old I'm Good mixtape, and the hook is the same ("Throw your diamonds up"). Basically it's Kanye hyping the Roc, taunting the haters and goofing on himself too (about the AMA meltdown, among other things).

For local flavor, turns out K-West spit most of the "Diamonds" verses while freestyling with Common on WGCI back in January. You can hear it on the new Mike Love mixtape "Hardcore Beats and Bustdowns."

Oh and one of the funniest rhymes on the single is quoted wrong in the MTV piece: "All I need is y'all to pronounce my name/It's Kanye, but some of my plastic still say 'Kayne.'"

April 20, 2005

IPO redux

Last week we offered a scouting report on the first half of the fortnight-long local incarnation of the International Pop Overthrow festival.

As promised, here's part two. As before, all picks come courtesy of Michael Bennett, who publishes the weekly Chicago Pop Show Report and reviews records for

April 22 - Beat Kitchen. Perhaps the best bill of the fest, featuring artists from the Rainbow Quartz label. Andy Bopp of Myracle Brah opens, followed by the Lackloves (pure jangle circa 1966), the Telepathic Butterflies (an incredible psych-pop band), and the Grip Weeds (a great live act, they mix Byrds guitar shimmer with the rhythm power of the Move).

April 23 – Gunther Murphy’s. (evening) With a major-label album to their credit, Admiral Twin are pro popsters; the Cells keep on rolling with a hard pop sound.

April 24 – Beat Kitchen. (evening) A lineup of Canadian artists on Bullseye Records. The two best acts finish – they are the Kings (a really fun band known for “This Beat Goes On/Switchin’ To Glide”) and Dave Rave (formerly of Teenage Head and a great pop artist in the vein of Paul McCartney and Matthew Sweet--though not quite like either, I suppose).

April 27 - Schubas. Dolly Varden, who haven’t played out in a while, will provide their usual alt-country brilliance, but David Singer and the Sweet Science are the highlights.

April 28 - Schubas. One of the strongest lineups of the fest, it includes Van Go (an energetic, meat-and-potatoes power pop band), the Scotland Yard Gospel Choir (twee, Chicago style), Canasta (hard to categorize, but one of the most promising local acts I’ve seen in a while), and Epicycle (a psych-pop band featuring Ellis Clark, who has worked with David Roth, Kevin Tihista and others).

April 29 - Abbey. In what's becoming a Chi-PO tradition, stalwarts E’Nuff Z’Nuff and Off Broadway top the bill. Other nice locals include the Mark Watson Band (total heartland pop) and Million Yen (who pack a sleeker, Cheap Trick-meets-Bends-era-Radiohead style).

April 30 - Gunther Murphy’s. (evening) The Goldstars are one of Chicago’s best garage rock bands. And look out for the Breakup Society, a rocking power pop outfit led by a former member of the Frampton Brothers.

May 1 - Wise Fool’s Pub. (evening) Dave King is from the Canadian band the Cloudsmen, and his music is adult pop in the vein of latter day XTC and Crowded House. The Oohs have ace vocals and play a mix of skinny-tie rock and Jellyfish sophistication. And while I haven’t heard the Injured Parties yet, front man Larry O. Dean has a good track record.

April 19, 2005

If you're free tonight

Last minute notice: The members of Tortoise are slated to spin records tonight at Rodan (1530 N Milwaukee) from 10p to 2a.

Rock Talk Alert

This week it's also a local band alert - Scotland Yard Gospel Choir is tonight's in-studio guest on Sound Opinions.

What'll they think of next

Albums, import-only tracks, download-only tracks, shows, solo shows, benefit shows, festivals, movie, bio, coffee table book, poetry book, side projects ... what could possibly advance the Wilco brand now?

Give up?

How 'bout a concert DVD?!

Indeed. The band will be playing, Sam Jones filming, and Wilcolytes hollering for "Passenger Side" for four shows at the Vic, May 4 through 7. More info's at Jeff Tweedy Omnimedia.

April 18, 2005

... and the livin' is easy.

Keep your new tulips and first robins; fat squirrels, fresh graf and professional squeegee guys Spidermanning it up and down your office tube are the surest signs of spring in the Windy.

Well, that and the street-corner hottness of the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, spotted today kicking it for a crowd at State and Madison.

(old photo swiped from some tourist's blog; thanks tourist - and G00gle)

The fellas are selling the same CD as ever and they've got no club gigs booked, but say that now the nice weather has arrived, they'll be busking on the regular - "every day 'cept Sunday."

(Hypno-tizing profiles here and there.)

Punch & Judy -- and Paul

"I haven't had this much fun at a rock concert in months," Tribster Greg Kot says of seeing Paul Westerberg on Friday at the Riv. "[T]his was the kind of spontaneous combustion that used to be called rock 'n' roll: Kids in garages wired on electric guitars and whatever they could find in their parents' liquor cabinet, making it up as they go along."

In the Sun-Times, though, Jim DeRogatis goes bananas on the performance, scalding Westerberg's approach, his band and his antics. Those antics - "pathetic bursts of stupid playacting," in Jim's parlance - included "attack[ing] a television set with a guitar, destroying both the TV and the Fender axe. He later reprised the bit by smashing an old telephone.

"At least," DeRo concludes, "he could have updated the Who routine to include an iPod, laptop and cell phone. And he should have tipped the stagehand who dutifully swept up his mess."

Here's the whole piece. It's definitely an entertaining read - or it is until the conclusion, which underscores exactly why I tend to avoid this sort of show. "Delivering more than two hours of utter mediocrity from the 15 years that followed his heyday isn't a brave step forward," DeRo writes. "[I]t's a sad reminder of a great talent that has either been squandered or lost to the passage of time."

If you went, what did you think? Do you come down on Greg's side, or Jim's?

Might note that Kot also checked out Elvis Costello at the Auditorium Theatre, finding him "in amphetamine power-pop mode .... It was a throwback to the British singer's new-wave era, when words somersaulted across dense, speedy arrangements that conveyed the restlessness and anxiety of younger men deprived of sex, sympathy and cash."

That's nice writing, no doubt. But Greg's similar thumbs-up to Westerberg's similarly retro show - and DeRo's pie-in-the-face routine following same - beg the questions: Is Kot being too soft on a couple of increasingly irrelevant oldsters? Or is Jim too eager to bash?

Have at it in the comments.

Update: "Old geek" Dave Hoesktra on Elvis Costello in the Sun-Times.