Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Celebrate Leap Day With Chisel!

Sometimes spring is just as much a state of mind as a season and today was one of those days. Chicago may have had an historically warm winter this year but that doesn't mean that it was an easy one. Personally speaking, this season has been more than its usual grind. So it was without shedding a tear for my beloved snow that never fell, that I awoke to nearly 60 degree temperatures with a smile on my lips and spring in my step. On these early spring-like days I'm a sucker for two things - driving with the windows down and relentlessly energetic music. So with my trebly speakers blaring out the open windows, I headed off to work this morning, my ears full of Chisel and my head full of Leap Day cheer.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Six Song Six-Pack - Valentine's Day Is Over

"Men can stop domestic violence."

Yeah, yeah, yeah. It's a cliche, we all know that, we don't need the lecture, blah, blah, blah. It's easy to dismiss messages like this because we feel like they're self-evident and no one WE know would do something like that. But the thing is, that's just not true. Almost two-thirds of women reported being the victims of rape, domestic violence or other forms of harassment in the past year. That means that every person reading this knows someone whose been a victim or perpetrated such actions. Of course most people who do such things aren't out there bragging about it and a lot probably don't even think that what they're doing is wrong. The system (if it can be called that) isn't working.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Six Song Six-Pack - The Valentine's Day Edition

Does anyone actually LIKE Valentine's Day? Someone has to, right? Every year it approaches followed closely by groans and eye rolling, yet there it is on every TV show and coating every Walgreens candy aisle, seemingly stronger with with each iteration. How does that happen?

Some would say that it's merely the inexorable machinations of a capitalist system that demands seasonal grist for it's consumerist mill and they wouldn't be wrong, but I suspect there's more to it than that. February is a rough month, especially here in Chicago. It's cold, it's grey, the Bears are done and the Sox are not yet playing in Arizona. Given that the next holiday on the horizon is followed by forty days of fasting, it's fair to say that we could use a little psychic sustenance to pull us through. And what's better than l'amour to give succor to those suffering in the cold? Romantics get to gush over flowers, cynics get to look forward to some guarenteed lovin' and everyone else gets to mock it from afar.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Concert Review - Jeff Mangum at the Athenaeum Theatre, February 8th, 2012

"God is a place you will wait for the rest of your life."

Neutral Milk Hotel wasn't just a band, it was an experience, a shared secret, a way of processing the world, an alternate reality, all based on the beautiful, fractured, naive worldview and lyrics of one Jeff Mangum. His decision to disband the group and subsequent nervous breakdown in 1999 left many of his fans feeling like they were living the above quote from "Two-Headed Boy, Pt. 2". Since then, the band's work has taken on a mythical place in the indie cannon, bringing in millions of new fans to join in the waiting for the musical deity.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Concert Review - Radar Eyes (w/Outer Minds & Bare Mutants) at The Empty Bottle, February 7th 2012

Chicago felt cold and desolate last night. A barren, winter Monday with nobody on the streets - it reminded me of nothing so much as my first February evening in Poland, with a sense of gloomy Slavic dread hanging in the air. Then again, that might just have been the Polish deli's on Western rubbing off on me as hustled from my car into the welcoming womb of the Empty Bottle

I had high hopes for the evening which were immediately vindicated as I waltzed in the door without paying. The show was part of the Bottle's glorious free Mondays series and tonight we'd be treated to three of Chicago's fastest rising bands, all courtesy of local noise-pop label Hozac Records. It was the record release party for Radar Eyes' self-titled debut full-length and it seemed like the whole Chicago indie scene (or at least those not seeing Jeff Mangum) was out and ready to party.