Crystal City-Dynamite Video Premiere

August 31, 2014 Leave a comment

IMG_0362.JPGCrystal City, a rock group based out of Iowa City, have been together for five years and put out their first full-length album a couple months ago. The band plays uptempo rock n roll with heart, screaming guitars filling in the gaps between contemplative lyricism.

I was turned on to the band by Bruce Bales, a filmmaker whose work has been showcased here before (the video for the In Rooms song “Terraces”). He also directed Crystal City’s video for their song “Dynamite,” and it’s a pretty cool clip.

I like the way Bales uses the energy of the song to dictate the mood. It’s a grower that starts off kinda slow, but before you know it you’re two minutes into the song and the band is rocking in ways you never would have expected.

Problem-Lift Off Tour

August 28, 2014 Leave a comment


I just got sent a couple tracks by Compton-based rapper Problem, and they’re pretty good (I think the term “dope” would apply here). I’d never heard of him before, but he’s got a track featuring Childish Gambino that’s a lot of fun, and a remix of Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy” that almost makes me not hate that song-almost.

Starting next week, Problem is kicking off a US tour in Santa Barbara, CA. He makes his way as far east as Chicago (September 17th at SubT) before heading back through Colorado and Arizona. I don’t recommend a ton of rap shows, but it might be a good idea to catch this one at the very small Subterranean before Problem is playing with Drake and Lil Wayne at the United Center.

In Response: Pitchfork’s Top 100 Tracks 2010-2014

August 27, 2014 Leave a comment

I had so much fun compiling my list of the best albums so far this decade that I decided to ape Pitchfork one more time and make my own list of the best songs as well. This one was much harder because there are a ton of albums that I don’t think are great but have one or two really great songs. So I had to dig a bit deeper. Still a lot of repeat offenders from my previous list but that’s ok.

I put them into a Spotify playlist for your listening pleasure (numbers reversed of course).

FIDLAR-Cheap Beer
MC Lars feat Weerd Science-How To Be An Indie Rapper
The Congregation-You’ll Always Be Alright With Me
The Joy Formidable-I Don’t Want To See You Like This
Nik Freitas-Hold That Thought
Milo Greene-1957
Dastardly-Brief Thoughts On Death
Jason Collett-Don’t Let The Truth Get To You
Emily Wells-Passenger
Bill Fay-The Coast No Man Can Tell
Bahamas-Your Sweet Touch
Empires-Lord Have Mercy
Patrick Watson-Quiet Crowd
Metric-Breathing Underwater
Of Montreal-Ye, Renew The Plaintiff
Andrew Jackson Jihad-American Tune
Killer Mike-Reagan
Lawrence Arabia-Traveling Shoes
Gloom Balloon-Fix The Sunshine
The Great American Novel-Layne Montgomery Is Bad At Girls
Los Campesinos!-Songs About Your Girlfriend
Bright Eyes-Shell Games
Stars-Dead Hearts
Jake Bugg-Lightning Bolt
Bombay Bicycle Club-Ivy & Gold
John Grant-Silver Platter Club
The All-About-Jessie
Portugal. The Man-Modern Jesus
Pacific Air-Float
Sir Sly-Ghost
Scissor Sisters-Baby Come Home
Poison Control Center-Reoccurring Kind
Rural Alberta Advantage-North Star
Chaperone-O Ye Drowning Children
Tom Waits-Hell Broke Luce
Cloud Nothings-Stay Useless
Ghostpal-Wildebeest Song
Felice Brothers-Fire At The Pageant
Pretty Lights-Still Night
Hot Chip-One Life Stand
Deltron 3030-The Return
Broken Social Scene-Chase Scene
Killers-Miss Atomic Bomb
Ezra Furman-My Zero
The National-Vabderlyle Crybaby Geeks
Spider Bags-Shape I Was In
The Vaccines-Post Break-Up Sex
Pusha T-Who I Am
Daniel Ellsworth & The Great Lakes-Shoe Fits
California Wives-Blood Red Youth
Mountain Goats-Beautiful Gas Mask
J Cole-Let Nas Down
Portugal. The Man-Sleep Forever
Wilco-Dawned On Me
Bob Dylan-Pay In Blood
Arcade Fire-Sprawl II
Josh Ritter-Galahad
Run The Jewels-Banana Clipper
Ezra Furman & The Harpoons-Mysterious Power
Schoolboy Q-Studio
Willis Earl Beal-Too Dry To Cry
Islands-Becoming The Gunship
Kanye West-Monster
Bruce Springsteen-This Depression
Big Boi-Shutterbug
Fort Frances-City By The Sea
M.I.A.-Double Bubble Trouble
Shabazz Palaces-Are You Can You Were You?
Kendrick Lamar-Swimming Pools
Avi Buffalo-Remember Last Time
Free Energy-Bang Pop
Foxygen-No Destruction
Josh Ritter-Hopeful
Mister Heavenly-Bronx Sniper
Frontier Ruckus-Junk-Drawer Sorrow
Childish Gambino-Heartbeat
Calvin Harris feat Ellie Goulding-I Need Your Love
The Antlers-Every Night My Teeth Are Falling Out
Sons Of An Illustrious Father-We Will Do Great Things
First Aid Kit-Emmylou
Tegan And Sara-Closer
Japandroids-Continuous Thunder
St Vincent-Cruel
Daft Punk-Get Lucky
Smith Westerns-Weekend
Mavis Staples-You Are Not Alone
Janelle Monáe feat Erykah Badu-Q.U.E.E.N.
Fiona Apple-Werewolf
Perfume Genius-Hood
LCD Soundsystem-Dance Yrself Clean
Dum Dum Girls-Coming Down
Watch The Throne-Niggas In Paris
Titus Andronicus-A More Perfect Union
Frank Ocean-Pyramids
Justin Timberlake-Mirrors

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: , , , , ,

My My My at Abbey Pub 8/21/2014

August 22, 2014 Leave a comment

999976_10151644580837771_1228489733_nLast night I ventured out to Avondale to hit Abbey Pub for the very first time. A short walk from the Addison blue line train stop, the club seems perfect for local groups to hone their skills. But I know that they get some bigger acts in there as well, and if you can get tickets to one of those it’s a nice small venue. I got to 3420 W Grace around 9:30 after being told that My My My would go on at 9:45. The band before them played past that time, so punctuality is not the top priority at Abbey Pub. 

Luckily that didn’t matter because the band that was on stage was a lot of fun. They’re called The Roalde Dahls, and before last night I’d never heard of them. Frontman Dylan Flynn has a wacky stage presence that makes it feel like he’s having more fun than anyone in the audience. Nikko Paoulos is brilliant on the synths and their drummer Esteban Martinez didn’t miss a beat. I’m excited to check out more from the three-piece after this performance.

My My My began to set up around 10 and I was surprised to see that the stage at Abbey Pub that looks like it fits about four people comfortably, was able to accommodate all six members plus the three singers currently making up The Peoples. Filled to capacity, the stage featured guitar, bass, keys, synths, drums, KEYTAR, as well as the two main vocalists Russell Baylin and Sarah Snow.

The set featured some new songs, to be released on the tentatively titled Tigers On The Dancefloor in a couple months (according to Baylin). The short set also featured older favorites, like “Starting To Change,” but the main focus was on the new, and it’s obvious they’ve been hard at work crafting great songs for the record. There hasn’t been a huge stylistic change in the music, but the tunes seem to be more polished and mature than their previous releases. We won’t know for sure until we hear the whole thing, but I’m optimistic that Tigers On The Dancefloor will be My My My’s best record yet.

I think the thing I’m most impressed with, in a live setting anyway, is that the vocals come across very clear. With Baylin and Sarah Snow sharing lead vocal duty, plus three backup singers and other people in the band, there were times when as many as seven or eight people were singing and it never seemed like the voices were flooding one another. I’ve been to shows where one person singing sounds like garbage, so to be able to know where each individuals voice needs to be in order to sound good is hard work and My My My did it with ease.

We have a while before we’ll get the new record, but the band has put out plenty of dancey indie rock/synth pop jams to hold you over until then. Check out some of their stuff on their Facebook page.

In Response: Pitchfork’s Top 100 Albums 2010-2014

August 20, 2014 2 comments


The list seems wholly unnecessary, but people love anything on the web that features a number followed by an item as evidenced by the popularity of sites like BuzzFeed. Pitchfork’s Top 100 Albums of the decade so far isn’t a bad list-it would’ve made more sense to wait until 2014 is over to put it out, but that’s neither here nor there. My biggest problem with it is the redundancy factor. A lot of artists made the list multiple times, taking up spots that should really go to bands that aren’t featured on the list at all (Kanye gets 2 spots in their top 10, plus another for Watch The Throne). So here’s my list. I’ve kept the doubling down to a minimum, but it does happen a couple times. And yes, Kanye makes the list twice just not nearly as high.

100-Flying Lotus-Until The Quiet Comes

99. Hot Chip-One Night Stand

98. Wolfgang Jay-And We Move

97. Patrick Watson-Adventures In Your Own Backyard

96. El-P-Cancer For The Cure

95. Andrew Jackson Jihad-Knife Men

94. Big Boi-Sir Lucius Leftfoot

93. Dastardly-Ballads In Blue

92. Bright Eyes-The People’s Key

91. The Canoes-Slim Century

90. M.I.A.-Matangi

89. The All-About-Winter Pop

88. Gorillaz-Plastic Beach

87. The Elected-Bury Me In My Rings

86. Ezra Furman & The Harpoons-Mysterious Power

85. Empires-Garage Hymns

84. Fort Frances-The Atlas

83. Nik Freitas-Saturday Night Underwater

82. Beirut-The Rip Tide

81. The Great American Novel-Kissing

80. Heidi Spencer & The Rare Birds-Under Streetlight Glow

79. Adam Arcuragi-Like a fire that consumes all before it

77. Kno-Death Is Silent

77. Kurt Vile-Smoke Ring For My Halo

76. Fiona Apple-Idler Wheel

75. Bhi Bhiman-S/T

74. The Congregation-Right Now Everything

73. Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti-Before Today

72. Lupe Fiasco-Lasers

71. Portugal. The Man.-In The Mountain In The Cloud

70. Jason Collett-Reckon

69. Emily Wells-Mama

68. Charles Bradley-Victim Of Love

67. J. Cole-Born Sinner

66. Brian Wilson-Smile Sessions

65. The Joy Formidable-Wolf’s Law

64. Wilco-The Whole Love

63. Chaperone-Cripple King

62. Deltron 3030-The Event II

61. The Mountain Goats-Transcendental Youth

60. Free Energy-Stuck On Nothing

59. Stars-The North

58. We Were Promised Jetpacks-In The Pit Of The Stomach

57. Perfume Genius-Put Your Back N 2 It

56. Arcade Fire-The Suburbs

55. Abigail Washburn-City Of Refuge

54. Killer Mike-R.A.P. Music

53. Bruce Springsteen-Wrecking Ball

52. Conor Oberst-Upside Down Mountain

51. Ghostpal-Nathan Jones Is Dead

50. Rob-Maniac OST

49. Shovels & Rope-O Be Joyful

48. Janelle Monae-ArchAndroid

47. Slothrust-Of Course You Do

46. Pusha T-My Name Is My Name

45. Laura Veirs-July Flame

44. Arctic Monkeys-Suck It And See

43. Islands-A Sleep And A Forgetting

42. Shabazz Palaces-Black Up

41. First Aid Kit-Lion’s Roar

40. Los Campesinos!-Romance Is Boring

39. Mister Heavenly-Out Of Love

38. John Grant-Queen Of Denmark

37. Drake-Thank Me Later

36. Spider Bags-Frozen Letter

35. Josh Ritter-So Runs The World Away

34. Kanye West-My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

33. The Chromatics-Kill For Love

32. Gloom Balloon-You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Disaster

31. Childish Gambino-Camp

30. Tom Waits-Bad As Me

20. The Decemberists-The King Is Dead

28. The Wonder Years-Suburbia I Have Given You All And Now I Am Nothing

27. Broken Social Scene-Forgiveness Rock Record

26. The Tallest Man On Earth-The Wild Hunt

25. St Vincent-Strange Mercy

24. Hurray For The Riff Raff-Look Out Mama

23. Avi Buffalo-S/T

22. Watch The Throne

21. Dum Dum Girls-Only In Dreams

20. The Felice Brothers-Celebration, Florida

19. Bill Fay-Life Is People

18. Willis Earl Beal-Nobody Knows

17. Okkervil River-The Silver Gymnasium

16. Mavis Staples-You Are Not Alone

15. Japandroids-Celebration Rock

14. Of Montreal-False Priest

13. Run The Jewels-S/T

12. Girls-Father Son Holy Ghost

11. The Antlers-Burst Apart

10. The Vaccines-What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?

9. Smith Westerns-Dye It Blonde

8. Justin Timberlake-The 20/20 Experience pt 1

7. Otis Redding-Live From The Sunset Strip

6. LCD Soundsystem-This Is Happening

5. Frank Ocean-Nostalgia, Ultra

4. Ezra Furman-The Year Of No Returning

3. Frontier Ruckus-Eternity Of Dimming

2. Sons Of An Illustrious Father-One Body

1. Titus Andronicus-The Monitor


August 19, 2014 Leave a comment

IMG_0360.JPGI do my best to give every album someone sends me a fair shake. But when the first line of the email reads “We’re an experimental psych-pop group from Birmingham, Alabama,” well, my mind immediately thinks it’s a joke. Here is a list of things I know about music in Alabama: Muscle Shoals, “Sweet Home Alabama,” Wilson Pickett. That’s literally my whole list. Luckily I thought “This is probably the only submission you’ll ever get from Alabama, so what the heck.” And guess what? It’s actually a pretty good record.

Not so much psych-pop as electropop, Remedies new record Believers is a good listen that can be put right alongside some of recent albums I’ve really enjoyed like Blake Sennett’s new band Night Terrors Of 1927. It’s got a mix of 80’s new wave and early 90’s R&B grooves that is very pleasant while not being overly polite. They’ve also found a way to make the music eerily undanceable. Where most bands would want to get into the crowd-pleasing radio arena, Remedies goes a more interesting route.

The eight tracks found on Believers were recorded over a span of 10 months, so they had plenty of time to tinker with things and decide how they wanted the album to sound. Smartly, they didn’t try to get too clever, and they saved the best for last so you’ll want to hear a lot more from Remedies in the future.

The title track closes out the record, and it is easily the best song in the collection. The vocals and music mesh perfectly and it has a chorus that I could see teenagers singing along with loudly when they take their parents car out for their first drive alone. It’s Duran Duran meets Zapp & Rogers in the best way possible.

You can pick up this record for FREE from their bandcamp page and I highly recommend checking it out.

Categories: Music Review

Ezra Furman-Ferguson’s Burning

August 18, 2014 Leave a comment

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty

Ferguson, Missouri continues to be a hotbed of racial animosity as the townspeople have been forced to live under martial law by a police force made up almost exclusively of white men. This started last week when one of their fraternal order shot and killed an unarmed, black, 18 year old young man named Michael Brown. The details have been slow to come out, but for now we know that Brown was shot at least six times, including twice in the head, and before the police would release the name of the officer that shot him, they sent him away on paid leave. The media’s handling of the situation would be laughable if it weren’t so rage-inducing. Luckily there are some brave souls on the ground there that have been doing a remarkable job of reporting, mostly via Twitter, under the most strenuous of conditions. The cops literally put them in a small cordoned off area and told them if they leave they’ll be arrested. 

Now another brave soul, he of the musical world, has released a protest song that will hopefully become an anthem for those that seek justice as they’re being pelted with tear gas canisters and rubber bullets. It’s Chicago’s own Ezra Furman, with “Ferguson’s Burning,” and it’s the most important song to come out this year.

Here’s a list of people you should follow on Twitter who are risking their freedom to report on the scene: @jonswaine @mattdpearce @ryanjreilly @mollyhf @WesleyLowery

Categories: Music Review

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