Miike Snow As Of “Late”, In Photos

Miike Snow
The Riviera – Chicago, IL

As 2011 readily approaches, artists are quickly churning out tracks, EPs, LPs, deluxe or B-side albums or even a re-mix of their dust covered singles.

Not Miike Snow.

[Read more…]

Is M.I.A. Missing In Action?, or, How 2 Make A Gun W/ UR Hand

The Vic Theatre – Chicago, IL
9/29 & 9/30 – /\/\/\Y/\, out now!

Whether she wants to admit it or not, M.I.A. is a celebrity. Since the (commercial) success of “Paper Planes,” the performance artist turned electro-banger sailed on to create an album which spawns controversy wherever it lands. One of Maya Arulpragasm’s recent music videos (directed by Romain Gavras) caused quite the anger-gasm as the majority of the viewing public failed to understand just exactly what the artist was trying to say. [Read more…]

Sonar Chicago 2010; The Multi-Media Post

Sonar Chicago
Millenium Park & Chicago Cultural Center – Chicago, Il
9/09/10 – 9/11/10


From SonarChicago.com, “Sónar is the festival of advanced music and multimedia art that takes place at various venues in Barcelona (Spain) in the third week of June since 1994.

Sónar is a pioneering festival that is unique in terms of its format and content: a leading international benchmark thanks to a carefully assembled range of culture that combines entertainment with artistry, the avant garde and experimentation, featuring the most consolidated artists and trends in electronic music and their interactions and hybridisations with other genres…

To date, Sónar has travelled to London (an annual event since 2002), New York, Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo, Seoul, Frankfurt and Tokyo, among many other destinations, and in late 2010 a special format festival will be held for the first time in the North American city of Chicago, on 9, 10 and 11 September.

Sónar Chicago is the result of an initiative by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs -the public office planning and promoting musical, performance, and visual arts events in Chicago-, the Institut Ramon Llull, -the consortium made up of the Government of Catalonia and the Government of the Balearic Islands-, Advanced Music -the creators of Sónar festival – and AC Entertainment -the promoter of the Bonnaroo festival.”

With that said, here are the artists I was able to experience…
[Read more…]

Young the Giant at Lincoln Hall

Young the Giant
Lincoln Hall – Chicago, IL
9/09/10 – Young the Giant out 10/26/10

Young the Giant at Lincoln Hall

Young the Giant quickly took the world wide web by storm- topping hypem.com charts in just two days to create a viral fervor that could only be remedied by a 5-track EP (Shake My Hand). The young Californians are gearing up towards their first full length album which drops onto the digital world October 26, 2010. Now seems an exciting time as ever for the young musicians, jetting off to tour with Marina & the Diamonds before their major lp release- and hopefully a headlining tour in the near future. Young the Giant previously opened for Ghostland Observatory, The Whigs and Kings of Leon fresh out of high school. These twenty-somethings are doing something right and we like it.

[Read more…]

Casiokids Atop Electro-pop

Schubas Tavern – Chicago, IL

The Norwegian electro-poppers Casiokids seem fun to listen to, very radio friendly, although with previous pop divas creating their “own” electronic works, I am not sure mainstream America can appreciate the playful energy of Casiokids. The five-piece band littered the small Schubas venue with their various retro-wares and sent the packed room into their finest hipster-shuffle-dance until the end of the up-beat set. There was even an impromptu slide flute solo during one of the songs. The audience and band shared a moment of laughter after. I find it most appealing when the average concert-goer gets a short glimpse in the amount of happiness I’m not sure what brings people to concerts, but not to let go of inhibitions and dance. [Read more…]

Oh My God, Charlie Darwin Album Review

The Low Anthem
Oh My God, Charlie Darwin
Nonesuch Records

Releasing their third album in June 2009, Oh My God, Charlie Darwin, The Low Anthem continues to create pure folk with its gritty vocals and foot-stomping good tunes. Their sound has not changed much, keeping true to their unique style of recording and playing together. In my live review, the band played musical chairs (unknowingly) as they all played many of the same instruments littering the House of Blues stage.

The album does lose some drive as most tracks do not flow into one another- outside of “To The Ghosts Who Write History Books” followed by the gospel–like “Omgcd.” Brilliant. The track “Home I’ll Never Be” is one of the few tracks that has the drive almost necessary to make this album complete. If The Low Anthem had plugged other tracks into the Darwin album like the almost-too-melancholy “Ticket Taker,” it would certainly not be on repeat right now.

In their live sets, concert goers are able to see the variety of the instruments they use, many of which are featured in the song “Music Box,” an ethereal look into The Low Anthem’s layered music. The album is also a shining view into the bands live sets. Full of energy and pure passion for music making, The Low Anthem’s live sets are almost eerily similar to the Darwin album. There is no auto-tune or cross processing muddying the waters. Oh My God , Charlie Darwin is a brilliant reminder of what happens when a quartet of multi-instrumentalists get together and jam out.

The Low Anthem is currently on tour throughout the US, hitting up a few festivals across the sea in August and September. They are more than phenomenal live, featuring previously unreleased songs and covers out the wazoo. Also, they play a saw.

And something like that is meant to be seen!




Album Review: Corinne Bailey Rae ‘The Sea’

Corinne Bailey Rae
The Sea
Capitol Records


Corinne Bailey Rae is a brilliant English singer-songwriter with a golden set of pipes. Her breakout self-titled album released in 2006 (Corinne Bailey Rae) was followed by a very successful world tour over the following year. However, disheartening personal events after the tour caused the Leeds native to become a recluse for the better part of two years. Rae’s recently released sophomore album The Sea (January 2010) is deeply impassioned and nearly naked at times, yet rings true with the celebration of life, love, and everything in between.

More on the recent record The Sea and Corinne Bailey Rae’s upcoming North American tour after the jump…

[Read more…]

Nosaj Thing Like L.A. Electro

Nosaj Thing Jason ChungGrabbing his name from a graffiti mistake, the intergalactic DJ Nosaj Thing sent the Chicago crowd spinning with track after track of pure gold. His set was a pretty standard amount of time for an opener, yet the L.A. native seemed to slow down time with his very unique electronic sound. Originally wanting to produce tracks as the next Timberland, Nosaj Thing decided to take matters into his own hands and create his own music in the meantime. “I find creating music very therapeutic… When I first start creating a track, I don’t really think about it,” Jason said in a pre-show interview.

More on the future of Nosaj Thing after the jump…

One of my favorite tracks from Drift, “1685/Bach”, made an appearance early in the set warping the venue into a deep space feel. This track has absolutely no boundaries letting his moody melodies soar above the deep bass. Just before the baddest of all beats drop, Nosaj stands back from his controls, confident that the next switch would be one to remember. He could have easily been cockier… There wasn’t a person at the venue who wasn’t shuffling hypnotically to his tracks.

Nosaj takes phenomenal songs like Kid Cudi’s “Man on the Moon” and weaves an equally phenomenal personal spin into his intricate live set, complimenting Cudi’s vocals with sounds similar to that of Air or Télépopmusik. Actually, Nosaj Thing’s interpretation of the song (via “Aquarium”)was used on Kid Cudi’s recent mixtape. I mean, this twentysomething has almost as many remixes as original songs. And there’s no end in sight. He even paid a brief homage to trip-hop artist Portishead with a crowd pleasing mix of “Wandering Star”. You can downloada few of his recent remixes FREE at his website below.

In my recent interview, I found out he is working on a mixtape-type album to be released sometime around June of this year. The (mostly) remix album will feature one of Jason’s biggest influences, Daedelus, Flying Lotus and a few other artists to be mentioned closer to the release date. Nosaj Thing is also collaborating on a must see live visual art show. A short preview can be found here. But, if you just happen to be in Barcelona this summer, head on over to Sonar. Nosaj Thing plans on premiering a more complete project at the venue. The spectacular show is currently scheduled for June. “Then, hopefully we’ll be able to do it in the States,” Jason commented.

Jason gets by with a little help from his friends, the creative minds of Julia Tsao and Adam Guzman who will revitalize the near-cinematic art show. The rest of us will just have to wait for a (very likely) US tour featuring the ethereal sounds of Nosaj Thing with the out-of-this-world synchronized art of Julia Tsao and Adam Guzman.
Nosaj Thing is definitely an artist to watch in 2010. Be on the lookout for an upcoming remix with Fever Ray!

www.NosajThing.com for tour dates, videos and a free track or three.

Written by: Blake Russell

Matt Hires Records Upcoming Album Live at Schubas

Matt Hires
Schuba’s Tavern – Chicago, IL

Matt Hires Schuba's Tavern

Generation iPod, take notes! There is something to be said about live performances. Losing your hearing for a night, worming your way towards the front of the stage, and leaving fully drenched in sweat and a Bud Light the girl dancing next to you snuck in. I mean, you can listen to John Mayer or Kings of Leon on your new iPhone all day, but nothing will compare to being there, being crushed by the growing mob of fans, being right in front of a talented group of folks who want nothing more than to be playing in front of you.

Read the rest and see photos from the concert after the jump…

The band played a long set with plenty of guitar solos and whistling in between. He played through most of his recently released album, Take Us To the Start. After revealing the night’s performances would be recorded for a future album, Matt Hires opened with the ever-poignant “State Lines”. He did not disappoint in the surprises promised for his Chicago fans. After playing through a few songs, he encouraged the jam-packed Schubas venue to whistle along with his cover of “Kids” by MGMT. In retrospect Matt Hires is a pretty damn good whistler.

In fact, Matt Hires is a pretty damn good musician. While most of his songs can fall into the rock or singer/songwriter categories, he debuted a new song called “A to B” which was very much a form of a Midwestern-slash-Americana style of sound. The crowd loved it while the energy soared well into the late night. Matt finally topped off his album with a loud and thunderous finale closing off what I hope is a phenomenal live album.


Click on thumbnails of Matt Hires to enlarge photos:

Photos by: Katie Williams

Written by: Blake Russell

Dance or Rock, It’s Still Solid Gold

Solid Gold
Lincoln Hall – Chicago, IL
1/14/2010Solid Gold Lincoln Hall

The Minnesota based band came down from the constant cold to warm up the young Chicago crowd at Lincoln Hall on 1/14. Solid Gold was featured as a part of the Tomorrow Never Knows 2010 series which took place this week at both Lincoln Hall and Schubas music venues. MTV actually came down to record part of the series, hopefully sparking a new wave of music for MTV.

After hearing a few songs from their EP, I was pumped to hear how Solid Gold would sound live. Their music is pretty electronic, but a few beats shy of “dance” music. Sure, there are electric guitars. Too many of them if you’re too hipster, but not enough if you’re Solid Gold. Seriously. Nearly every member of the group had a guitar. At one point, the drummer stood up, and I could have sworn he was going to pick up a guitar.

Solid Gold Lincoln HallThey sound like Chicago-locals Hey Champ! in theory. The lead singer has a lot of soul in his voice with that classic rock wail itching to let itself go. During “Calm Down,” the crowd really picked up Solid Gold’s vibe. The chill beat and high vocals had the Chicago crowd cheering before the end of the song.

If you’re listening to “Synchronize” on their recently released EP, you’d be surprised to hear it sounds less dream-like and more nightmare-like.

Oh, but in the good way! The sound of the guitar is much heavier while the electronic sound is easily forgettable. The downbeat shoegaze was a different sound than headliner Voxtrot or the synth-tastic Gemini Club. Still, the sea of plaid bobbing to the beat, scrambling to pull out their iPhone’s for a few snap shots of the band’s frontman as he thrashed around the stage.

Solid Gold sounds great in theory, but their live sound is so different that it threw me a bit. Honestly, grab their new EP from iTunes. There is definitely something to Solid Gold that I can’t place my finger on. I’m not sure if it’s the downbeat dance music or the shoegaze vocals that makes them pretty unique for the indie scene. Although, there is something I have to give them credit for… They were the only artist that night that didn’t use a synth!

Photos of Solid Gold in Chicago:

Angel Taylor at the House of Blues Chicago

Angel Taylor
House of Blues – Chicago, IL

Angel Taylor House of Blues - Chicago, IL 9/25/2009

Product (RED) is producing many concerts across the nation to raise funds and awareness to The Global Fund, which benefits people living with AIDS across the world. For more information please visit: [www.globefund.com]

A humble 21-year old California native, Angel Taylor opened for alt-country star Brandi Carlile as a part of Product (RED)NIGHTS Concert series. She was featured on iTunes “Single of the Week” series weeks before her debut album “Love Travels” hit stores. She’s recently signed with Aware/Columbia records and Chicago just found out why. Gracefully utilizing her full range she opened her set with “Like You Do.” She brings a new sound from the West to the House of Blues by fusing her unique soulful voice into a not-quite-pop sound.

Ms. Taylor will be an artist to watch in 2010. Her piano ballads like “Epiphany” and “Want you Back” echoed through the low lit venue. Showing off her guitar skills, she covered “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” by JET, which brought the crowd’s energy levels way, way up. After a few more songs of her acoustic set, she wished Chicago well and also mentioned a move to Chicago in the near future.

Be sure to catch her at The Lakeshore theatre on October 30th with Five for Fighting.

Photos of Angel Taylor at the House of Blues: