Friday, February 26, 2010

Will Play For Tacos: Suns at Lincoln Hall 2.24.10

I met a few people from Inderma Records and Betta Promotions at the Big Science show a couple of weeks ago. One of them, Josh, said I need to come see the band Suns at Lincoln Hall. I am really glad Josh told me about that show. Suns played a powerful brand of indie rock that builds layer upon layer of instrumentation to make an orchestra like sound all the while they have two drummers playing with mallets. It's important to note the mallets because this is symptomatic of the attention to detail that Suns puts into the overall sound. Their sound doesn't need a ton of reverb on the guitar to build noise because that would drown out the mandolin, glockenspiel, clarinet, dobro guitar, Hammond organ, a bow playing the guitar and the aforementioned double drummers with mallets. All of this builds the wave of sound which is punctuated by Mickey Russell's vocals.

The rest of the bands is

Matt Lemke
- rhodes, magnus, harmonium, synth, guitar, vocals
Kody Nixon - bass, banjo, vocals
Mikey Russell - guitars, vocals
Clinton Weber - drums, glockenspiel, vocals
Chris Pagnani - drums, clarinet, vocals
Nick Enderle - guitar, mandolin, springs, vocals

All of the guys were kind enough to sit for an interview and a super cheesy id tag done twice because it was so much fun! This was a first for me as we had 6 people in the Green Room upstairs. The guys were a blast and funny and you will find the Taco title reference of this blog post in the interview. I would have needed a wide angle lens to get all 6 of them in the frame, but I was able to mostly get them on screen. Thanks to the band, Josh, and Rebecca from Betta Promotions for all the help. Suns have a new album coming out soon that I'll review. They will be playing Chicago quite a bit so check them out!

The opening bands were Chicago's Mike Maimone and The Mutts and also fire Zuave from Athens Georgia. Check out both bands' music if you get a chance. I really enjoy Mike's album and will be doing a review of it soon. Both bands were fun live.

fire Zuave from Athens Georgia and Chicago's own Mike Maimone played in support of The Suns. You can check both videos out at dedicatedears2 youtube channel. Check out Mike here in Chicago. His sound has a sinister low end rumble that shouldn't be missed live. Here's a video of his performance.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Do it now... cover up with Earlove Earplugs

I am example #1 as to why you should use ear plugs. I have tinnitus in both ears and have lost the ability to hear the highest tone in my left ear. All of this is due to not having protection for my ears while going to hundreds of shows. Back in the early 90's, before the Internet, there was no way to know the exact extent of what damage could be done to your ears if you went to loud events and didn't wear ear protection. People assume that it is just the volume level of a show that can damage your hearing. It is more than this though. I my case it was shows that weren't excessively loud but the mix was bad. At a few shows that had bad mixes where the high end was too loud led to my ears start ringing from time to time. Now, I have a constant ringing. Nothing is going to help that.

Unfortunately when ear protection came out it was huge blocks of foam like substance that stopped you from hearing everything. That has changed in a big way. My friend August from Novo Entertainment a pair of earlove ear plugs and they are a marvel to me. They fit comfortably in your ears. You can still hear really well it's just as if someone turned down the volume level. I'll be taking my earlove plugs to all the shows I go to in the future. The plugs come with a plastic case that pinches open and also with a mini chain to attach to a belt loop. Very user friendly. Please check out their site and you can also purchase the plugs at Schubas!!!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Creative Commons Community

If you like D-I-Y music and indie folk music you have to check out CLLCT. This site is a Collective of musicians who give their music away the old fashioned way, under Creative Commons license. There are almost 90 pages of artists on this site. It's mostly bedroom recordings in the folk/singer songwriter style of music. You can comment on the music and many of these artists comment on the technical aspects of the other musicians on CLLCT. Also you can favorite and vote for the artists.

Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the musical community on CLLCT is that many of these artists share their music as a "split" releases. There are also some very interesting ideas like Madeline Ava's cover album of Neutral Milk Hotel's In The Aeroplane Over The Sea. She only plays a ukulele. Powerful stuff there.

Communist Daughter by: Madeline Ava

Octobergeist by: Turtle Ambulance

Another band with a different musical style is Turtle Ambulance. Their album Plates is a refreshing take on Tropical music when filtered through a computer.


Manipulator Alligator makes folk music that captures the mindset of the 21st century everyday people heavily influenced by outrageous television talk show participants. His observations are that of a child recounting all of the detail without any shame. From his song "i wish i had everything", 'When i was a kid my parents hit a deer with our van. We were so hungry, we took that thing home and we ate it. Did you suffer when that car was all up in your face? And you're all like I'm just walking here, baby full of baby deer."

i wish that everything by: Manipulator Alligator

Joe Harbison's album Traditions has an expansive sound that is influenced by some of the progressive elements of The Decemberists and more traditional folk elements and storytelling. Joe plays all of the instruments here and the production mix is really nice. It's always great to come across an album like this that was created as a group of songs that depend on one another. There is a linear story telling on Traditions.

Traditions by Joe Harbison


Other artists that I downloaded and enjoyed are : A Wonderful, Kaleidonauts, Midnightfight, Ryland Bouchard, Wisdom Tooth, Europe Good Night, One Hundred Swans, When The War Came, Riseage,Tree River and Michael Taylor.

The artists themselves don't take donations rather the site takes donated money directly to fund the site. So if you are in a position to, please help them out!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Wotienke - Acoustic Live (bandcamp)

Wotienke is a female piano singer/songwriter from Amsterdam. She moved to the Czech Republic and met four Czech musicians with whom she started the band Wotienke.

Finger snap on 2 and 4...check. Upright bass slow groove....check. Softly breathed saxophone....check. Sultry female vocals with a jazz delivery...check. Banjo... ? At first listen the banjo stands out, but it really works on "This Year's Thought", the track opener.

"Skip The Present" has a waltz time and has jazz, folk and classical touches as well. The mixture of the two cultures of the band members really shines here. With all of this going on it's important to remember the heart-felt vocals.

 The live download is FREE. You can also purchase their debut album Mainland Sailors on the same page.

The GoldRoom - El Paso (ep. 2008)

Wm. Shane Ball (singer/guitarist), Joseph Campbell (guitar/vocals), Darin Ledford (drums) and Kevin Torbett (bass) are the Nashville band, The GoldRoom. The band started in 1999 with a self-titled ep. They disbanded in 2003 , and then formed again in 2008 with Shane and Darin carrying on as original members tracking the three songs that make up the El Paso (ep). I came across their music on the file sharing site Sound Cloud.

Being from Nashville, I had to ask Shane how that scene works in respect to hard rock bands like GoldRoom given the Americana influence that the area's music is known for. Shane says there are other acts that have a sound similar to The GoldRoom's sound and stand out when surrounded by the Americana style of music.

"Broken Or Missing" starts off with a guitar riff that punches in and out. This track has a little bit of the Southern element as it has a swing to it. The layered guitar builds a wall of sound that cedes temporarily as the chorus starts. A little later there is a bridge that has an acoustic guitar that comes to the front and the wall of guitar fades to the back. The vocals work well with the guitar and the small amount of vocal harmonies give the track depth.

On "El Paso" the lap steel guitar is a nice counterpoint to the crunching guitar riffs. This track is the one that reminds me of Paw. The wandering bass line and drums set the rhythm and give this track it's swing. 'I'm soaked to the bone with your agony, I found you in the crowd' the lyrics state. Again I like the break with the slide guitar effect and the 1/16 notes on the snare and also another break later that fades the sound down, then ramps it up to a loud crescendo. Here is where the progressive element is used to great effect. This song has many layers and that keeps the listener focused on trying to hear everything that is in there sonically.

The GoldRoom's sound is a hard rock one that reminds me of the harder elements of The Foo Fighters as well as some of the sound of Lawrence, Kansas rockers Paw, and a little bit of Urge Overkill as well. There is a hint of the South in their music with the slide guitar effect. The more progressive elements of their music stand out from the aforementioned bands and contrast really well with the melodies.

The guys are working on a full length release in April with Jason Dietz of Twin Oaks Productions ( They are are also scheduled to do a Lake Fever Session ( on March 7th. Check out the Lake Fever site, really cool stuff they are doing with bands there.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Big Science @ Lincoln Hall 2.6.10

I caught Chicago post-punk band Big Science at Lincoln Hall on Sat. Feb.6th. It was the first time that I went to a concert there. The sound was great and the space is big. There's the extra plus of it being less than a year old. Big Science's set was really good and a lot more of a rock sound live. On the album the keyboards are little more prevalent. They played as a tight unit and enjoyed their set even though they went on a bit early at 7pm. It was great to hear them play a new song. They also played my favorite song by them "DNC". They have a great balance of the bottom end and the guitars.

I talked to met all of the guys in the band and talked to most of them at one time or another during the evening. They are a blast to hang out with. I have some videos of their performance that i'll be posting on my youtube channel this week.

They have a new ep coming out and a new lp they are working on as well stay tuned to their site for details..

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Cartavetro -We Need Time (Anomolo Records)

Cartavetro's We Need Time is a straight ahead rock release. There is a little bit of experimentation on here but the songs are pretty concise. Mike Watt (Minutemen) collaborates on a track. Anomolo is a great label with all albums as FREE downloads. Also check out the groups Hi Risk Cafe and Paddy at Anomolo.
Old Lovers - Cartavetro