Saturday, July 30, 2011

Robbie Fulks - "Let's Kill Saturday Night"

Country music can be a tricky passion for the Stuff White People Like-crowd that so often frequents the mp3 blogs. One crowd feels icky about the Wal-Mart, plastic Nashville, Garth Brooks/Toby Keith-aura that many associate with the genre. There are others who risk censure for "ironic" appropriation of poor white working-class music that smacks of condescension.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Concert Preview - Milwaukee Ave. Arts Festival, July 29th-31st

Chicago may be erm... less than temperate for much of the year, but during the summer it's glorious, with a bevy of amazing $5 suggested donation street festivals. Festivals in more fully gentrified neighborhoods such as Lakview, Roscoe Village and especially Wicker Park traditionally grab the most attention with big-name national indie acts. This year's Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival (run by I Am Logan Square, NOT a professional festival promoter) is taking a different route. Besides having a stronger local art and family focus, MAAF also booked a strong lineup with some of the local scene's best bands. (Even more importantly, they ditched the Linenkugels and Bud and let Revolution Brewing handle the brews!)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Six Song Six-Pack - Let It Rain

Chicagoans once again woke up this morning to puddles, blinking stoplights and alarm clocks flashing 12:00 as last night’s thunderstorms made this our wettest July on record. Assuming you have power, On Warmer Music has your back with six songs about rain to make your day a little better.

The Very Best are comprised of English DJ Radioclit and the African singer Esau Mwamwaya. They’re perfect summer music with danceable, poppy hooks combined with booty-shakin’ beats. This is off their debut album, The Warm Heart Of Africa and features not only everyone’s favorite agit-pop controversy diva, M.I.A. but a great rainstick intro, which I’m a sucker for.
They've also got some free mixtapes worth checking out.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Concert Review - Ted Leo & the Pharmacists at Millennium Park and Fireside Bowl

“I don’t what to do about this country, man. Like this is a serious problem for me. I’m losing sleep.”

“I know.”

This was the conversation a friend and I had while walking to the Ted Leo & the Pharmacists show Monday night. It’s been a rough few weeks for American liberals as we’ve seen incompetent leaders on both sides of the aisle fiddle while our already-burning nation edges closer and closer to the tinderbox. I have to admit it was starting to wear perceptibly on me, making my chest clench every time I turned on the radio.

Times like these call for in inspiring music and, as always, Ted Leo was the man for the job.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Live Preview - Ted Leo & the Pharmacists

It’s a good week to be a Chicagoan! On top of having a three day music/arts festival pull up down the block from me this weekend, I’ve also been graced with not one but two visits from punk torch-carries Theodore Francis Leo and his Pharmacists.

In the best use of taxpayer money in the history of the world, Ted and the boys will be playing a free show Monday Night at architectural and sonic gem Millennium Park as part of the city's Downtown Sound series. Tuesday night however, I won’t have to do anything more than hop on the #74 bus for The Fireside Bowl, a classic Chicago punk club/bowling alley that Ted has been playing for over a decade.

I’ll have reviews later in the week. Meanwhile, here’s your sweet taste below.

Concert Review Wild Flag at Wicker Park Fest, July 23rd, 2011

First of all, let me just say that there was a part of me going into this show with the weight of Catholic guilt around my neck. You see, I had a chance to see Sleater-Kinney on their final tour at Lollapalooza in ’06 and I saw the Violent Femmes instead. It’s a long story and I stand by my decision but I nevertheless had to live with the guilt of knowing that I’d missed one of the great punk acts of my time. So when I heard about the formation of a supergroup featuring two former SK members, I knew I would have to catch them to atone for past sins and on Saturday night, my opportunity finally arrived.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Track Review - "On Warmer Music" - Chisel

A fitting call-to-arms for this blog, “On Warmer Music” is the lead track off Chisel’s third and final album, Set You Free. Chisel was Ted Leo’s first band with bassist Chris Norberg and drummer John Dugan. They formed at Notre Dame and were indie stalwarts throughout the 90s, turning out three albums and assorted singles of wickedly catchy and fuzzy mod-punk before breaking up in 1997.