Thursday, April 29, 2010

Luminal - Canzoni Di Tattica E Disciplina

Luminal - La lunga corsa

Luminal is an indie rock band from Italy that I came across on Soundcloud. They have both male and female lead vocals that both work well. They have hard rock and progressive elements at times as well as having a punk attitude.

The standout track for me is "La Lunga Corsa" . This song slithers along and reminds me of Faith No More at times. This is a really strong album that grows on you with repeated listens.

Check out Luminal's website to purchase albums from their discography.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Dedicated Ears Presents: David Safran, Brendan Losch, and Pretty Little Empire Live May 8 at The Chopin Theatre Chicago

I don't usually incorporate much of my personal life in this blog as this is a music blog and not a blog about me. Yes, there is a but coming. But, I thought a little back story on how I went from no blog 1 yr ago to blog and booking shows might help set the story for Dedicated Ears' first show at The Chopin Theatre.

I went to see and interview Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs last October at The Chopin. I got to talk to Lela, who is half owner of The Chopin. I had started looking into venues for bands I was friends with and mentioned this to Lela. Earlier this year I met with Lela and the other owner, her husband Zygmunt. I dropped off music of the bands that were looking for gigs. Lela and Zygmunt have been putting on shows at The Chopin for 18 years and are still very excited about trying new things. So they asked if I would be interested in booking acts on a regular basis at The Chopin. I happily agreed even though I haven't booked shows anywhere before. I owned my own sub sandwich start-up and I did everything by myself, top to bottom. That was a big learning curve and I have found that those skills of organization, people skills and problem solving that go along with owning my own business will serve me well while booking shows at The Chopin.

I have had an invaluable amount of help from August Forte who works at Novo Entertainment. I went to high school with August and recently reconnected via facebook. He has helped me meet many cool people in the music scene in Chicago. He is also a good friend and will be promoting many of the shows I book for the Chopin. He has helped make my Dedicated Ears' first show at The Chopin Theatre a reality, so I thank him for it. The show is May 8th with doors at 9:30 pm and the first band at 10pm. This is a 21+ show with a $6 cover. The three great acts to perform are David Safran, Brendan Losch, and Pretty Little Empire. Thanks to these bands for playing this show. Also thanks to another blogger Tarty Tart, who is probably at a show as we speak! She gave me the heads up on Brendan's music. Please come see them play live and hang out in the very cool cabaret space at The Chopin Theatre.

A good friend of mine Brian Fitzgerald designed the great poster for the show that you see on this page. You can reach Brian at if you would like to inquire about his design work.

A special thanks to my wife. She's always supportive and helps me make my crazy ideas become realities. She originally pushed me to start this blog one year ago. Like I like to say, "This is all her fault", in a good way!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Arcade Sound Ltd. a gem in Tennessee

More free music net-labels. This time around it's Arcade Sound Ltd., which was started by Ryan Foltz and is based in Knoxville, Tennessee. The label has cassettes and vinyl along with downloads. A good deal of these downloads are free. Donations are accepted! Better yet, buy a record or cassette. I came across the great Magic Man FREE download album Real Life Color during my daily scan of bandcamp releases. This album is full of lo-fi indie pop songs.

<a href="">Swell Song by Magic Man</a>

I listened to that quite a bit over the next week or so and then searched out their label Arcade Sound Ltd. Other artists that I have downloaded and enjoyed are Memoryhouse's The Years (ep). The MillionYoung album Sunndreamm (ep) features an electronic world beat that is infectious. Also the newest release is Blackbird Blackbird's 80's synth ep Happy High.

<a href="">Happy High by Bye Bye Blackbird</a>

I asked Ryan Foltz to explain a little about the beginnings of his net-label as well as what he looks for as far as artists for Arcade Sound Ltd. "I started the label in 2007 while in school in Florida. It kinda started as an outlet to release my own music, as well as friends' bands. When I moved back to Knoxville, TN after graduating, I found Million Young and that really made the label what it is now. Mainly what I look for in artists is just good music. I know that sounds cliche, but anything I can't get out of my head I usually contact."

Monday, April 12, 2010

Ini - A Caixa do Macaco (FREE ALBUM)

Ini is a really good band from Brazil that occupies the same border between heavy metal and alt guitar that Soundgarden used to straddle many years ago. Ini are aggressive and quiet alternately. There are many starts and stops on this album. Many different time signatures are used and this album will keep you guessing until the end of each song.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Oh My God video for "Bring Yourself"

Chicago indie band Oh My God have a new video out for their song "Bring Yourself" off their album The Night Undoes The Work Of The Day, of which I did an album review.

The video was created by Dan Bigelow who drew the concept and then moved those photos to the computer and then made an animated video for "Bring Yourself". This video appeals to music fans, animation fans and people who have a general enjoyment of art. I like some cinematic touches like the match action cuts. There is a nice story with the video, but I won't give away too many details and spoil the experience for you. Check out the links above for the video link as well as for Dan's site.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Live Report From The Lollapalooza Annoncement Party

I was at the Debonair Social Club's "Rehab" dance party series last night for the official Lollapalooza 2010 Announcement Party hosted by Perry Farrell himself (pictured above). Co presenters were Team Bayside High, DJ's that will perform at Lolla this year. Perry did not disappoint with his mystical and sexy routine in overdrive for the announcement of this years acts. We were treated to a story of how sexy some of the women had found him to be that evening. Then Perry said the names of the artists who are to perform Lolla. At the same time the artists names scrolled on a big screen off to the side in full view of the crowd. Farrell delivered all of this with his signature spaced out hippie speak. The vibe of the room was standard fare for what you get at a dance club. There was a large press contingent there that mixed with a crowd that was largely comprised of club goers. Sorry if you were expecting me to say that there was a mixture of freaks and a culture class there wasn't. This isn't the idealistic doe eyed 1992 version of Lolla. This is the streamlined corporate Lolla that has run the last few years here in Chicago. The show was a lot of fun and I was able to hang out with some old friends and also met a few new cool people. Of the acts announced my faves to see are : Mavis Staples, Devo, Dodos, Mimicking Birds, and Dirty Projectors. Check out the complete list below and pick your favorites. Remember they will probably add a few minor acts in coming weeks.

Now the acts to perform are : Soundgarden, Green Day, Lady Gaga, Arcade Fire, The Strokes, Phoenix, Social Distortion, MGMT, Jimmy Cliff, Hot Chip, The Black Keys, The National, Spoon, Devo, Cyprus Hill, Cut Copy, The New Pornographers, Slightly Stoopid, Grizzly Bear, Gogol Bordello, Chromeo, Wolfmother, Yeasayer, X Japan, MUTEMATH, Metric, Dirty Projectors, AFI, Mavis Staples, Matt and Kim, The xx, Drive -By- Truckers, Blues Traveler, Edward Shape and The Magnetic Zeros, The Temper Trap, Jamie Lidell, Frightened Rabbits, F**k Buttons, Deer Tick, Blitzen Trapper, Stars, Raphael Saadiq, The Cribs, Minus The Bear, Switchfoot, The Walkmen, Mumford and Sons, Wild Beasts, Rogue Wave, Los Amigos Invisibles, The Big Pink, Dodos, Hockey, Cymbal Eat Guitars, B.o.B, Dawes, Warpaint, The Antlers, The Soft Pack, The Rebelution, Balkan Beat Box, Wavves, American Bang, The Ike Reilly Association. Company Of Theives, Nneka, Harlem, The constellations, Miniature Tigers, Mimicking Birds, The Kissaway Trail, HEALTH, Javelin, The Morning Benders, Foxy Shazam, Violent Soho, Royal Bangs, Freelance Whales, Semi Precious Weapons, Dan Black, The Band Of Heathens, Dragonette, My Dear Disco, Shawn Fisher, Skybox, Neon Hitch, The Ettes, Jukebox The Ghost, These United States, MyNameIsJohnMichael.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Cast Spells - Bright Works And Baton

Dave Davis of Chicago math rock stalwarts Maps And Atlases moves towards a more pop oriented sound with his side project Cast Spells album Bright Works And Batons. Maps had made a slight turn towards a more recognizable pop sound on their great album You Me And The Mountains. They had moved away from the jazzier elements of the album before, Trees, Swallows, Houses.

With Bright Works and Batons, Dave has created a vehicle to showcase his wry lyrical wit. His nasal delivery, which is a staple to many mid-western vocalists, ambles at times and races along at others. The music on this album might be best described as the Soundtrack music to a Wes Anderson movie. The melodies here are killer and are equal to the high bar set by the interesting lyrics and off kilter delivery.

&<span class="blsp-spelling-error" id="SPELLING_ERROR_0">lt</span>;a <span class="blsp-spelling-error" id="SPELLING_ERROR_1">href</span>="">Glamorous Glowing by Cast Spells&<span class="blsp-spelling-error" id="SPELLING_ERROR_2">lt</span>;/a>

The album opener "Glamorous Glowing", would sound at home in a Wes Anderson film. The track features toy piano, rolling tom-tom drums and hand claps. "There are songs that have been sung by the largest loudest lungs you'll find them all in the glamorous glowing... and you don't have to sing the last song, but we'll all just play along, and hum with bright works and baton you'll find them all in the glamorous growing" go the lyrics utilizing clever word play.

'While conversating with flowers we spoke up far too loud and got swept beneath the mower blades of the paralyzed old plow, I know it's not your fault, but it doesn't make no sense to put all your living relatives close to your deceased clan', Dave offers on "War Story Hellos". This could have a dual meaning as many of the lyrics on this album.

There is an emphasis on telling stories on Bright Works and Baton. With his off kilter pop sensibilities, Dave Davis delivers an album that is worth quite a few repeat listens. I look forward to seeing him perform these pop gems live soon.

You can purchase Cast Spells two ep's at their bandcamp page.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Luminal - Canzoni Di Tattica E Disciplina

Luminal - La lunga corsa

Luminal is an indie rock band from Italy that I came across on Soundcloud. They have both male and female lead vocals that both work well. They have hard rock and progressive elements at times as well as having a punk attitude.

The standout track for me is "La Lunga Corsa" . This song slithers along and reminds me of Faith No More at times. This is a really strong album that grows on you with repeated listens.

Check out Luminal's website to purchase albums from their discography.

Pulse - Elle Lefant

If you like Santogold, Lilly Allen etc. It's a name your own price download (no minimum) on bandcamp. Nice simple melodies. The mix on the vocals is nice. These songs have an addictive rhythm to them.

From their myspace page " nijae:: disheveled vocalist. lyricist. banjo player. fast food enthusiast. ebay nemesis. max:: a renaissance man, if you will. producer, choreographer, pianist. music fanatic. he holds all the keys. together, we are elle lefant from Poughkeepsie , NY."

Artists from NY who are not from Brooklyn, almost a rarity.

&<span class="blsp-spelling-error" id="SPELLING_ERROR_2">lt</span>;a <span class="blsp-spelling-error" id="SPELLING_ERROR_3">href</span>="">Runaways by Elle <span class="blsp-spelling-error" id="SPELLING_ERROR_4">Lefant</span>&<span class="blsp-spelling-error" id="SPELLING_ERROR_5">lt</span>;/a>

Judson Claiborne / The Black Atlantic / The Cave Singers Empty Bottle 3.27.10

Please check out dedicatedears3 you-tube channel for my interview and the entire live set of Geert and The Black Atlantic. I also have four songs from Cave Singers that are incredibly good. Also, check out Chicago folk band Judson Claiborne.

I had figured that after listening to The Blacks Atlantic's album Reverence For Fallen Trees (free download on their site!) more than 30 times that the band would be really good live. There's a great video series called Amsterdam Acoustics in which The Black Atlantic performed on the streets of Amsterdam. This video showed that there was no studio trickery responsible for the beautiful sound of The Black Atlantic. They were GREAT live! The crowd was pretty full by then and recognized how good The Black Atlantic were live! Geert's vocals have another dimension live. The harmonies of the whole band were amazing. Geert set up the songs with stories about the origin of the songs. It was heart-felt and beautiful the way he spoke of his family and the loss of three grandparents in one year. He addresses these in length on the interview that he kindly did with me.

Chicago folk band Judson Claiborne opened the show and I was struck by their sound that is faithful to the sound of the early music of the band James. There is a Celtic swirl mixed in with the folk music. They used many different instruments, some I haven't seen before. They have loose groove to their sound that makes it all the more interesting. I took a video of one song. I look forward to doing an interview with them soon and getting video of their full set. You can buy their album Time and Temperature on their site. I have it an it's really good!

As The Cave Singers took the stage, Paul and I were downstairs doing the interview with Geert. Everyone upstairs was stomping, hooting and hollering. There was some dirt that shook lose from the ceiling above and came floating down almost making it appear that the Cave Singers were going to induce the crowd into stomping right through the floor and falling on us. ( I needed to use quite a few audio filters for Geert's interview as a result!) We went up after the interview and the Cave Singers were an amazing sight to behold. Lead singer Pete had whooped the crowd into a frenzy. Here are some of the thing that Pete did or said: He told the crowd "Thank You" and then when we cheered he said "You're welcome". He said that they would play in the parking lot across the street after the show, and I spied him grabbing Derek's ass (caught it on video too!). The crowd got louder and louder and started to scream "YA YA YA" and other calls that made it sound as if we were at a south of the border fiesta and the aunts and uncles present had consumed a bit too much of the ol' adult beverage. The band's sound leans more heavily on the psychedelic and blues elements live and there is more jamming as well. It's a wonderful mix live and I was fortunate enough to take a video of four songs.

As if this were not enough, I was able to hang out with my good friend August from Novo Entertainment. Also, my compadre in music, Paul Leddy was there. He shot the interview footage and came up with the last two really good questions in Geert's interview. Last but not least, my friend Steve Juras was there shooting pics with his "big boy camera" for this blog. Can't forget his heartwarming tales of bonding with loved ones! I met so many cool people that night, as I often do. I got to hang with Rebecca from the Chicago music blog Love Shack Baby. Rebecca and I were lucky enough to help The Black Atlantic land this gig. Check out her blog and facebook. She goes to a ridiculous amount of shows and has turned me onto some really cool bands.

I did get to talk some before and after the show with the Cave Singers. Great guys. I wish I had more time that night. I'd love to interview them as well. Geert and the guys from the band were incredibly nice. If you get a chance, see them perform. I hope to help them get a return gig here in July. I'll keep you posted on that one.