When I first brought the idea of Hasty Revelations to Rick Riggs at Handwritten, it was a purely selfish endeavor. How wonderful, I thought, to have bands that I love come in to the studio and play a song just for me. Of course, I would share these songs afterward, but for one hour, they were completely mine and no one else’s. Rick seemed to … Continue reading 60 Minutes Or Less: The Hasty Revelations Album
Back in the first week of January I put up a list of some bands I thought you should keep your eye on for breakouts this year. Some of them were educated guesses, others hopes, and quite a few longshots. Now we’re about halfway through the year, and many of these bands have already delivered some good stuff. Not all of them, mind you, but a good amount. Let’s go over some of them in the order in which I originally listed them.
1. Dastardly-I put them at the top of the list for a couple reasons, chief among them being that I know they have the talent to be something special. At the beginning of the year they released an EP called Bury Me In The Country which featured “Brief Thoughts On Death,” one of my favorite songs of the year so far. In August they’re releasing another EP, Ballads In Blue. I’ve been fortunate enough to hear it already, and it is completely different from what I expected. I tried to describe it a few days ago, and I don’t think I made much sense. Basically I think it sounds like Rodgers & Hammerstein filtered through David Lynch…if that tells you anything.
2. Bhi Bhiman-The biggest success on the list by a large margin. When Bhiman, Bhi’s second album, came out it was met with great reviews by The New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Sun-Times, NPR, and Paste among others. I called it the second he opened his mouth last year at SxSw that he was gonna make it. So far this year he’s opened for Josh Ritter, John Prine, Martin Sexton, Joe Pug, and Rosie Thomas and played headlining gigs at some well-known venues around the country. Next week he stops in Chicago for the fourth time since January.
3. Adam Arcuragi-Also garnering much critical acclaim was Like a fire that consumes all before it…Adam Arcuragi’s latest album that came at the end of January. This was my introduction to his style, which he refers to as “Death Gospel.” He toured the US in support of the album, then headed over to Europe for a streak of dates. He also put out a great Daytrotter session back in May that you can check out.
4. Sons Of An Illustrious Father-In 2011 they delivered the album of the year, One Body. They took a bit of a break for a while and now they’ve headed out on their first big tour. They’re hitting Chicago on July 20th with The Canoes and The Buddies, so I’m eagerly awaiting that. They are down a member, as Sofia Albam left to play with her new band Thorn & Shout.
Since we’re at that point now, and I’ve already run my top 25 albums and top 25 songs if the year so far, I figured we may as well finish out the trifecta and talk about some great concerts. Living in Chicago, there isn’t a shortage of amazing shows to see night in and night out. Obviously I don’t make it to all of them, and there have been some that I wish I hadn’t missed. For the most part, though, if I really want to get to a show, I do. It’s been a pretty great year so far, and looking at my calendar through September, the good times won’t be stopping any time soon.
So here we go. See if you can’t spot a couple of my favorite music venues.
I feel like, more than anything, this was an education for me. I missed out on most of Canasta’s existence, but I made up for it by rocking front and center for this show.
9. Islands, March 1 at Lincoln Hall
Sometimes I just go to shows to enjoy them and not worry about writing a review. So I never wrote about this one. If I had, too much of it would have been filled with trash talk about the “fans” who had no idea what the new songs were even though the album had been out for a couple weeks already. I thought it was great.
One of my favorite surprises of 2012 has been First Aid Kit. I don’t understand how the Swedish have such a grasp on American folk music, but they do. Between these sisters and The Tallest Man On Earth, artists in the US need to step up their game to compete.
This past Saturday night we headed out to see Bhi Bhiman for the third time in five months. Though he makes his home in San Francisco, he’s been steadily touring in support of his most recent album, Bhiman. In January we caught him playing Park West, and in March we saw him at Schubas. At this rate I assume he’ll be back in June playing at Metro and then again in August to headline Lollapalooza (taking over the Black Sabbath spot). My point is, the guy is here a lot.
That seems to be helping get the word out about his record. The crowd at Lincoln Hall seemed to be aware of his work, singing along with a lot of the songs and applauding loudly after most. He was opening for Carolina Chocolate Drops, an americana/roots trio from North Carolina, so it was definitely an audience that would be into his brand of sweetly sung folk. This was definitely the most receptive group of people I’ve seen at one of his shows, and something about that puts a big smile on my face.
It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since I went live with this website. The time has flown by thanks to all of the amazing people I’ve met and great times I’ve had working to bring some lesser-known bands to the foreground. There are so many thanks I’d like to give and so much respect I’d like to show for all those who have … Continue reading The Inexorable March Of Music
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