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Monday, February 3, 2014

Mutts Residency at Township Starts TONIGHT with zforce and The Delta Routine a Chicago Hopes Benefit!!!

My good friends/great guys in Mutts are playing a residency every Monday this month at Township. They guys will be playing some brand spankin new songs and all those great Mutts classics as well . Half of the donations at the door plus half of our merch sales will go to Chicago HOPES. Mutts will be joined by a few friends(zforce and The Delta Routine). Get a free sampler of these bands HERE.
  First show TONIGHT , Monday, February 3rd :
 8pm     zforce
 9pm    The Delta Routine
10pm     Mutts

 Doors open at 7. Cover is a suggested donation of $10. Help support our city's kids. Thanks Mutts and the guys for playing a show for such a great cause. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Tom Schraeder performs his album Dear Brooklyn, I'm Sorry... at Windy City Inn, 9pm TONIGHT


This will be a treat to see Tom play his album Dear Brooklyn, I'm Sorry which is a great album and  has one of my favorite songs Tom had done, "To You, My Friend... ". Come on out to the Windy City Inn (2257 Irving Park Rd.), cover is $5.  I love it when bands play a whole album. I will be there! Also playing with Tom will be Gar Clemens playing his album Onion Eyes, which was prdoced by Gabe Liebowitz.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Dedicated Ears 2013 Most Listened to Albums/EP's

This past year I downloaded some 500 albums and have listened less and less to the big labels. Love the lo fi production and DIY attitudes. No big surprise that Pretty Little Empire is at the top. I love the way their sound grew. I want to say thanks to all the acts for playing such great music, and also all of the bands that have legal free downloads, I appreciate it. I was fortunate to continue my friendship and musical exchange program with DC and the fine people at The Waiting Room. Also, a big thanks to Tom Schraeder for including me in his Chicago, I love You festival. Also, thanks to August and the people at NOVO for the recommendations as well.
1.  Pretty Little Empire - Pretty Little Empire St. Louis four piece driven by Justin Johnson's every man song-writing and backed up most excellently by William Godfred,  Wade Durbin and Evan O'Neal. My favorite song keeps switching, as it should when dealing with a masterful album. As of late "You Are The One" is my jam. 
2. Lapland - Lapland   Josh Mease vehicle that taps into Josh's jazz influences and dream folk, but as well a electronic touches which work to great effect with his signature style as on the track "Overboard".
3. Ant The Symbol - Anthony Part G: Hardlyworking Truly "alternative hip hop"  is what Richmond based Ant The Symbol is selling, and I am buying. This is the quintessential "set to repeat" album. So many hooks, so little time. "Enter The Symbol" is so, damn, good!
4. Sheep, Dog, Wolf - Egospect  Daniel McBride is Sheep, Dog and Wolf and he hails from New Zealand. Headphones are essential on this album. So many layers, so many instruments and so beautiful melodies as well.  "Egospect", with it's soaring vocals, is my favorite track.
( A TWR Recommendation)
5. Car Seat Headrest - Nervous Young Man  Prolific Car Seat Headrest hails from Williamsburgh and plays quietly as well as extremely loudly. You can hear both kinds in the 15 minute opener "Boxing Day".


6. Queens Of The Stone Age - Like Clockwork  QOTSA can always be counted on to put out a kick ass rock album with very little filler.
7. Clones Of The Queen - Moonlight  Haunting electronic music. Be sure to check out the pretty title track.
8. Ego Ella May - The Tree Jazz influenced R & B from London's Ego Ella May. The hypnotic, swaying track "Rush Hour Crush" is my favorite track.
9. CRTVTR - Here It Comes Tramontane!   The opener "Workers" is a hell of a raucous and melodic song. Genova,  Italy based CRTVTR feature Mike Watt again which is fitting because the sound of this album so resembles those indie/alt guitar albums from the 90's.
10. Not Right - Shut The Fuck Up At The Back (live) Lo, lo, lo fi that is so, so, so right. You won't be able to NOT smile whilst listening to "Anti Social Media". Not you father's punk music. Not Right is Coventry based. 11. Janelle Monae - The Electric Lady  Though not the powerhouse of her last album,this is still a really good album.  How awesome is "Primetime (feat Miguel)".


 12) The Black Atlantic - Enshrine Pretty songs from Geert and the guys. "Amor Fati is my favorite on here.


13. La paloma de fidel - Esperando a Gazotti  Pretty folk songs from Buenos Aires based La Paloma de Fidel. "Las naves" is really nice.
14. Mutts - Object Permanence Mutts are back again with another album you have to listen to. "Prizefighter" was on a permanent loop in my head for many a moon this year. There is a stellar video that they did for the song as well. This song should be on a movie soundtrack. Someone get on that!

15. Kristin Hersh - Spark Meet Gasoline (WorkInProgress) I have been a fan since her Throwing Muses days. I became heavily addicted to her album "Hips and Makers". Love her tone. Check out the goodness that is ""Guadelupe".
16. Curt Oren - Home  If you like your saxophone played in a experimental way, like I do, then you will love  Iowa City based Curt Oren's opening track "No Exit".
17. Baik Eun Sol - A Day's Work  Punk (check), fuzz (check), female vocals (check), South Korea (check?!) Baik Eun Sol is all three.  "나쁜 남자" is my favorite track.
18. Dylan Campbell - Magic  Written and recorded in Mozambique. Quite a few musaical influences on this album by New York based Dylan Campbell. Love the title track.
19. Alex Cook, Hler Kristjansson - The Deacon of Myrka  Ambient, Beautiful classical, contemporary. The strings make the album.  Iceland based Alex Cook, Hlér Kristjánsson and Ensemble have made quite an album here.
20. Rachel Anne - Let The Devil Drink  Dark country, gypsy...  I'm there! Sad and longing tales from Alaska's  Rachel Anne. "Wait For The Sun" is my favorite track.
21. Collage - Pixel Swap Century  Electronic pop from Chicago's Jesse Bustamante. An artist I think more people should check out. With influences of island music and electronic experimentation there is never a dull moment!
22. Laurence Made Me Cry - The Diary Of Me Such beautiful songs. Cardiff is home to Laurence Made Me Cry (aka Joanna Whitby).  (TWR Recommendation)
23. Space Ghost Cowboys - Porcupine  Aaron Maine mines the wheel for Space Ghost Cowboy, as the Reilly Brothers, Sex God and his self titled work.  Off kilter is his music and his plainative vocal style is something I really enjoy. "Memory" is my favorite song here.
24. (the gals of) Redbook - the gals of) Redbook  Girl group of the punk variety from Seattle. (the gals of) Redbook pummels along with a lot of bottom ended.
25. Los Animales Superforros - Copla del Pensamiento   Folk, indie, world, pop and island themes are evident in the nice album by Buenos Aires based Los Animales Superforros.
26. Lizard Kisses - Loving Creatures Feels like i've been listening to Brooklyn duo Lizard Kisses forever. The duo sent me their first EP Sleeping In  2010 and I've been a big fan ever since. The dreamy track "Over and Over" is my favorite.
27. Open Attic - The Manderin EP  Chicago's Open Attic write witty songs that would have been on that underground 90's artist you loved. The honest story telling in 'Manderin' is on my short list for best tracks I've heard this year.
28. Sentidor - doismiletreze  Belo Horizonte based Sentidor play glitchy, triphop. The "Kid A" cover was done nicely.
29. Video Ranger - Cassette Tape 3/13  Punk, Lo fi punk, noise goodness from Omaha's Video Ranger. They had me at trombone. "6:8" is my favorite. 
30. Geronimo! - Buzz Yr Girlfriend Vol. 3   Fuzz, math rock, punk from Chicago based  Geronimo! "Genius Is Dead" is my favorite track. On the excellent label Exploding In Sound.
31. Cold Country - Missing The Muse   Been another great year for Chicago acts. I was introduced to the folk,/country, band Cold Country this year.  And I am glad I was. Check out "What It Takes" for sure.
32. Kelly Latimore - Vinegar and Honey   Experimental, First came across Athens, Georgia based Kellya few years back on the now(sadly) defunct site CLLCT. Beautifully done this album is. "Keeper Of Bees" is my favorite.
33. Вкус Киски - Mokroshelky
What's not to like about punk, grunge,  stoner grrrl group music sung in Russian? "Вуду-сука" is my favorite.
34. Memorygardens - Wavelengths  90's alt rock, shoe-gaze, stoner from Pennsylvaniawith love from one man band ( Tyler Pursel ) Memorygardens.
35.  Los Buscadores del Movimiento Perpetuo - Rendiran Culto ala Muerrte  Metal, slugde, stoner rock fsunf in Spanish from Los Buscadores del Movimiento Perpetuo. Quite a few catch loud tracks on here.
36. Judd Madden - Glacial  More stoner rock, desert doom from Melbourne based Judd Madden.
37. Pure Wild - This Night Is Long My Love Is Strong Alt-folk, alternative from New York based Pure Wild.
38. Tres Von Dingo - Basement Depths Tour Split  Bismarkck based Tres Von Dingo plays alternative, lo fi, fuzz pop.
39. Better Or Best - Something of a Reverie  Alternative, indie, dream pop, electronic from San Diego based Better Best. Thanks to Better Best for the download!
40. Teenage Rage - time to turn the page on teenage rage  My favorite Chicago based vaud-ville, county folk act is back with a short and sweet set of songs.They are truly one of a kind.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Lilly's, Chicago, I Love You and Dedicated Ears Present A LIVE MIXTAPE 10. 19. 2013


LILLY'S // CILY and Dedicated Ears present:  A LIVE MIXTAPE 
Show Details In Full HERE 
1:30 -- Flo Res
12:45 -- Girl Detective
12:00 -- Magicks
11:00 -- Bassell & The Supernaturals
10:25 -- Doomsday
 9:45 -- Dirty Pigeons
 
9:00 -- Chris Anderson 
8:00 -- Penthouse Sweets
7:00 -- Woodrow Hart and The Haymakers
6:00 -- Matthew Kerstein
5:00 -- Kate Adams
4:00 -- Roe & Coffey


This Saturday the 19th I am proud that Dedicated Ears will be hosting a Chicago, I Love You event at Lilly's. We've got a great line up of performers. Some I have seen and some I have not. Their is a mixed bag of musical styles as well. I am really looking forward to seeing this show. It's a free show, so come on out!  Thanks once again to Tom Schraeder and CIYL for putting this 10 day long artists display on. And thanks as well for the invited to be a sponsor!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Pretty Little Empire - Pretty Little Empire (Extension Chords Records) Release Show Sat Oct 19 at Off Broadway

Pretty Little Empire have seamlessly blended ambient and post punk elements into their tried and true formula to remarkable results on their third, and self titled release, out on Extension Chords Records. The band members only want to make the best music they can. So egos are set aside and allow for multiple people to sing lead and form songs. This isn't always the case with bands. I have been fortunate to have seen PLE play shows (since 2009) for all three albums. I have also got to talking to them at the shows and ask about their growth as a unit.  So the maturity on Pretty Little Empire is not surprising one bit. They are achieving sounds on this album that would be impossible if this were a "one man band".

The post punk punch of "Talking Loud"  features some lyrics we all would like to utter to someone we know, "I don't want to waste another day, contemplating all the shit your saying, you have proven to me once again, that we never were the best of friends..." . The break two thirds of the way through the song add some depth to this song.

The guitar parts on "Master Plan" is like a long lost friend from the late 80's. I've been singing this songs lyric "There's no master plan, for the things we don't understand" for weeks now. The organ they have on this track is a really effective for the mood of this song.

As a personal patron of waltz timed songs, I wholeheartedly endorse the simple and effective beauty of "Patina".

The Latin accents on "Out Of Control" are a great counter point to the crashing guitars in the song. Best of both world!

Evan sings lead on the country tinged "Nest" and makes you when he will have an album of acoustic originals up on bandcamp?

 The guys picked a great album closer with "You are the one", a sprawling song that features a blissful buzz and catchy melody and heartfelt singing by Justin that sums up the band's sound at this time.

 I scheduled a family vacation earlier this year to St Louis and our whole family got to see PLE play at the art museum there. Even outside in the hot sun the songs were something to behold live! So I implore you to g to their album release show this Sat Oct 19 at Off Broadway. Get tix HERE.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Chicago, I Love You and DO 312 Presents 2013 Version, October 10- 20

Tom Schraeder is back again with Chicago, I Love You, another fine musical love fest that will play out over 22 venues. There is something for everyone in this years show.  CILY is FREE 10-day arts & culture festival between Oct 10-20 celebrating Chicago's music, art, photography, film, literature, & comedy. Some of my favorite Chicago acts of the past few years are playing Tom Schraeder, Teenage Rage, Sarah Holtschlag and The Crosscuts, Magicks, Gia Margaret, Rows of Arrows, Angelina Lucero, Woodrow Heart and so many more acts I am looking forward to seeing for the first time. I'll have another post covering the Chicago, I Love You show that i'll be a co sponsor of. Thanks again to Tom for including me and putting on this testament to the vibrant and varied nature of the Chicago arts scene! Linked above is the  CIYL facebook page, follow along there or on twitter to keep up an all of the shows going on this year!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Lapland - Lapland (album review) (Lapland plays Schubas tomorrow night!)

Lapland's self titled album is awash with great melodies and jazz influences, which comes as no surprise seeing as Josh Mease is Lapland. Josh's great first album, Wilderness made it on my year end list in 2009. This Lapland release shares similarities to Wilderness with respect to the melodies and jazz influences and dream like state of the music, but on Lapland Josh has branched out with some electronic touches which work to great effect with his signature style.
  Some electronic bright sounding parts show up right away on album opener "Unwise". Like a lot of Josh's songs,"Unwise" goes for a bigger picture sound. Less is definitely more and the chord changes really make the difference.
 "Overboard" showcases Josh's vocal style, featuring some sweet harmonies and a lounge instrumentation.
 The slow waltz  creeper "Aeroplane" is an addictive little track, whose melody will stay with you for quite a while. A true accomplishment for a song.
 The experimental waltz timed instrumental "Fountains" is Josh's new experimentation at its best. A perfect off kilter change up that is perfectly placed.
  The chord changes on "Metal Lung" are great. Have you ever heard a Sergio Leone influenced jazz pop song? Love this song a bunch.
 Lapland marks some departure of sound for Josh Mease while still retaining the core that makes me love his songwriting, musicianship and singing/melodies. This album will be on my year end list again!
Come see Josh tomorrow night (18+) show at Schubas Chicago. He will be coming in from New York. See him tomorrow, I will be there!