Tag: Chicago IL

Acclaimed Chicago-based post-punk outfit and JOVM mainstays Ganser — founding members Nadia Garofalo (vocals, keys) and Alicia Gaines (vocals, bass) along with Brian Cundiff (drums) and Charlie Landsman (guitar) — can trace their origins back to when its founding members met while attending art school. Bonding over a mutual love of The Residents, outsider communities and the work of John Waters, the duo developed a hands-on DIY craftsmanship that eventually carried into their band: Each member of the post punk outfit shares writing duties and they collaborate on every aspect of their creative work, including videos, album art, merch and the visuals which often accompany their live shows. 

Ganser’s 2018 full-length debut Odd Talk received widespread praise nationally and across the blogosphere with some critics comparing their sound and approach to Sonic Youth and Magazine. Thematically, the album focused on communication breakdowns — namely, the difficulties of being understood, avoidance, intimacy and avoidance. 

2020’s sophomore album, the critically applauded Just Look at That Sky found the members of Ganser thematically probing the futility of striving for self-growth during chorus — all while evoking an all to familiar manic worry and generalized sense of existential dread and doom. It’s an album that seems to accurately captures our slow-burning, omnipresent hellscape. 

Besides last year’s Look at That Sky Remixes EP, the Chicago-based JOVM have been busy working on new material — including their Angus Andrew co-produced, three-song Nothing You Do Matters EP.

Earlier this year, I wrote about “People Watching,” a woozy and expansive ripper that begins with a slow-burning and atmospheric, bass-driven intro before quickly morphing into a feverish thrash featuring slashing guitar attack, relentless four-on-the-four and squiggling bursts of electronics paired with Garofalo’s seething, irony-drenched delivery. 

Arguably the most tense and uneasy song of their growing catalog, “People Watching” captures the mad and desperate senselessness —of well, just about everything right now. 

LIARS’ creative mastermind Angus Andrew recently gave “People Watching,” the remix treatment — and the LIARS remix is bold and mind-bending rework that retains the propulsive energy, rhythm and acerbic vocal delivery of the original but transform the song into a kaleidoscopic, funhouse from hell-like club banger that sounds much like a garbled transmission beamed down from a UFO 20,000 light years away.

“We had worked on the original recording of ‘People Watching’ together at Key Club in Benton Harbor, MI so I was already super entwined with the song,” Andrew explains. “That familiarity gave me a lot of freedom with the remix. My goal was to maintain the great momentum and vocal delivery of the initial recording, but just give it all a big kick in the butt with synths.”

Nothing You Do Matters EP is slated for an October 5, 2022 digital release and a December 2, 2022 vinyl release through Felte Records.

New Video: Makaya McCraven Shares Gorgeous and Dream-Like “Dream Another”

Makaya McCraven is an acclaimed Paris-born Chicago-based jazz percussionist, beatmaker and producer, who has released a remarkable run of critically applauded, genre-defying and re-defining albums that includes 2015’s The Moment, 2017’s Highly Rare, 2018’s Universal Beings, 2020’s We’re New Again and Universal Beings E&F Sides, and last year’s Deciphering the Message

McCraven’s newest album, In These Times is slated for a September 23, 2022 release through International Anthem/Nonesuch/XL Recordings. The album is a collection of polytemporal compositions inspired as much by broader cultural struggles as it is by McCraven’s personal experience as the producer of a multinational, working class musician community. In These Times‘ material was seven years in the making, and was consistently in process in the background while McCraven was in the middle of his critically applauded run of albums. 

Featuring contributions from a talented cast of collaborators including Jeff ParkerJunius PaulBrandee Younger, Joel RossMarquis Hill, Lia KohlMacie StewartZara ZaharievaMarta Sofia HonerGreg Ward, Irvin Pierce, Matt GoldGreg SperoDe’Sean Jones, and Rob Clearfield, the new album was recorded in five different studios and four live performance spaces while McCraven engaged in extensive post-production work at home. Sonically, the album sees McCraven and his collaborators weaving orchestral, large ensemble arrangements with the “organic beat music” sound that’s become his signature sound. The end result is an album that’s reportedly a bold and decided evolution for McCraven as a composer and as a producer. 

Last month, I wrote about In These Times single “Seventh String,” a dazzling and dizzying composition featuring rolling bursts of polyrhythmic drumming and beats, glistening, finger plucked guitar, gorgeous orchestral strings, twinkling bursts of harp and soulful flute lines.

In These Times‘ first single “Seventh String” was a dazzling and dizzying composition centered around rolling bursts of polyrhythmic drumming, glistening, finger plucked guitar, gorgeous orchestral strings, twinkling bursts of harp, soulful flute lines. While the composition smudges then blurs the lines between J. Dilla-like beatmaking and jazz, it sees the musicians carefully walking a tightrope between chaos and order, free-flowing improvisation and structured composition in a way that’s thoughtful, mischievous, and forceful yet breathtakingly gorgeous. 

Written and recorded in McCraven’s Chicago-based home studio, In These Times‘ second and latest single “Dream Another” features Brandee Younger (harp), Junius Paul (bass), Matt Gold (guitar, sitar) and De’Sean Jones (flute) on a gorgeous and expansion composition that simultaneously nods at 70s soul jazz and jazz fusion and psychedelia in a way that reminds me a bit of synthesis of Return to Forever, Mahavisnu Orchestra and the aforementioned — and beloved — J. Dilla.

Directed by Nik Arthur, the accompanying visualizer features hand-drawn, digital and photographic animations composed and then laser-etched into stone in the style of a “zoopraxiscope,” a 19th century animation device that predates the motion picture, and allowed images to move on screen for the first time.

New Audio: Chicago’s Crawling Vines Shares a Breezy and Hook-Driven Bop

Jack Holston is a Chicago-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and creative mastermind behind the emerging solo psych pop recording project Crawling Vines. And with Crawling Vines, Holston is able to fully display his self-described experimental, genre-bending style rooted in inventive melodies and polished production.

Holston’s latest Crawling Vines single “Not Today” is a hook driven, breezy, and summery pop confection centered around twinkling synths, a sinuous and punchy bass line, some funk rhythm guitar and a blazing guitar solo paired with a distorted vocal. Ironically, written and produced during the cold winter, “Not Today” manages to sound influenced by Tame Impala and JOVM mainstays like Summer Heart and Washed Out while capturing the awkward and swooning pangs of love — both requited and unrequited.

Makaya McCraven is an acclaimed Paris-born Chicago-based jazz percussionist, beatmaker and producer, who has released a remarkable run of critically applauded, genre-defying and re-defining albums that includes 2015’s The Moment, 2017’s Highly Rare, 2018’s Universal Beings, 2020’s We’re New Again and Universal Beings E&F Sides and last year’s Deciphering the Message.

McCraven’s newest album, In These Times is slated for a September 23, 2022 release through International Anthem/Nonesuch/XL Recordings. The album is a collection of polytemporal compositions inspired as much by broader cultural struggles as it is by McCraven’s personal experience as the producer of a multinational, working class musician community. In These Times‘ material was seven years in the making, and was consistently in process in the background while McCraven was in the middle of his critically applauded run of albums.

Featuring contributions from a talented cast of collaborators including Jeff Parker, Junius Paul, Brandee Younger, Joel Ross, Marquis Hill, Lia Kohl, Macie Stewart, Zara Zaharieva, Marta Sofia Honer, Greg Ward, Irvin Pierce, Matt Gold, Greg Spero, De’Sean Jones, and Rob Clearfield, the new album was recorded in five different studios and four live performance spaces while McCraven engaged in extensive post-production work at home. Sonically, the album sees McCraven and his collaborators weaving orchestral, large ensemble arrangements with the “organic beat music” sound that’s become his signature sound. The end result is an album that’s reportedly a bold and decidedly evolution for McCraven as a composer and as a producer.

In These Times‘ first single “Seventh String” is a dazzling and dizzying composition centered around rolling bursts of polyrhythmic drumming, glistening, finger plucked guitar, gorgeous orchestral strings, twinkling bursts of harp, soulful flute lines. While the composition smudges then blurs the lines between J. Dilla-like beatmaking and jazz, it sees the musicians carefully walking a tightrope between chaos and order, free-flowing improvisation and structured composition in a way that’s thoughtful, mischievous, and forceful yet breathtakingly gorgeous.

McCraven will be embarking on a very busy tour schedule throughout the summer and fall. The tour includes a July 31, 2022 stop at Central Park SummerStage. Check out the rest of the tour dates below. For ticket info and more, check out the following: https://www.makayamccraven.com/home#page-section-62a80fe5d655357142843718

TOUR DATES

June 30 – July 2 – Montreal Jazz Fest – Montreal, QB

July 6 – Copenhagen Jazz – Copenhagen, DK

July 7 – Warsaw Jazz Days – Warsaw, PL

July 8 – North Sea Jazz Fest – Rotterdam, NL

July 9 – Kongsberg Jazz – Kongsberg, NO

July 16 – DOUR Festival – Dour, BE

July 19 – Jazz en La Costa – Granada, ES

July 20 – Teatro Trento Jazz – Trento, IT

July 21 – Casa del Jazz – Roma, IT

July 22 – Musiques en été – Geneva, CH

July 24 – Odysseus Festival – Helsinki, FI

July 30 – Newport Jazz Festival, Newport, RI

July 31 – Central Park SummerStage, New York City, NY

August 2 – Salt Shed – Chicago, IL

August 5 – OFF Festival – Katowice, PL


October 15 – Chan Center for the Arts – Vancouver, BC

October 17 – Bluebird Theater – Denver, CO

October 19 – Fox Theater – Boulder, CO

October 21 – Revolution Hall – Portland, OR

October 23 – The Independent – San Francisco, CA

October 25 – Earshot Jazz Festival – Seattle, WA

October 27 – Kuumbwa Jazz Center – Santa Cruz, CA

October 29 – Musical Instrument Museum – Phoenix, AZ

October 30 – Jazz Is Dead @ The Lodge Room – Los Angeles, CA

November 4 – JazzOnze+ Festival – Lausanne, CH

November 5 – C2C Festival – Torino, IT

November 7 – CBE – Cologne, DE

November 8 – Domicil – Dortmund, DE

November 9 – J.A.W. – Berlin, DE

November 10 – Enjoy Jazz – Mannheim, DE

November 12 – Moods – Zurich, CH

November 13 – LaFabrika – Prague, CZ

November 14 – Müpa – Budapest, HU

November 16 – Trabendo – Paris, FR

November 17 – PAARD – The Hague, NL

November 18 – Islington Assembly Hall – London, UK

November 19 – SuperSonic Jazz at Paradiso – Amsterdam, NL

Melbourne-based punk rockers and JOVM mainstays Amyl and The Sniffers recently wrapped up their first Stateside tour in three years, a tour that saw the Aussie outfit playing some of their largest shows to date, including sets at Coachella, Shaky Knees and Brooklyn Steel, as well as their late night, Stateside TV debut on Late Night with Seth Meyers.

Photo credit: Jamie Wdziekonsk

The JOVM mainstays will be turning to the States this fall to play the biggest venues they’ve ever played. The tour includes a September 23, 2022 stop at Terminal 5 and one of my favorite venues in Chicago, The Vic Theatre on September 28, 2022.

I caught them at Brooklyn Steel last month and the band is a must see. So if you live near any of these tour stops — and even if you don’t — cop some tickets y’all and catch Amy Taylor and her Sniffers destroy your eardrums. Ticket presale begins June 15, 2022 at 10:00am local time and the general on-sale begins June 17, 2022 at 10:00am local time.

As always, tour dates below. And you can get those tickets here: https://www.amylandthesniffers.com/shows

Tour dates

9/18/22 – Primavera Sound – Los Angeles, CA

9/20/22 – Brooklyn Bowl – Nashville, TN

9/21/22 – Variety Playhouse – Atlanta, GA

9/23/22 – Terminal 5 – NYC

9/24/22 – 9:30 Club – Washington, D.C.

9/25/22 – Big Night Live – Boston, MA

9/27/22 – Majestic Theatre – Detroit, MI

9/28/22 – Vic Theatre – Chicago, IL

9/29/22 – First Avenue – Minneapolis, MN

10/1/22 – Ogden Theatre – Denver, CO

10/2/22 – The Depot – Salt Lake City, UT

10/4/22 – Knitting Factory – Boise, ID

10/5/22 – Sessions Music Hall – Eugene, OR

10/6/22 – Showbox Sodo – Seattle, WA

10/9/22 – Ohana Encore Weekend – Dana Point, CA

New Video: Ganser Shares Brooding and Menacing Visual for Tense, New Ripper, “People Watching”

Acclaimed Chicago-based post-punk outfit and JOVM mainstays Ganser — founding members Nadia Garofalo (vocals, keys) and Alicia Gaines (vocals, bass) along with Brian Cundiff (drums) and Charlie Landsman (guitar) — can trace their origins back to when its founding members met while attending art school. Bonding over a mutual love of The Residents, outsider communities and the work of John Waters, the duo developed a hands-on DIY craftsmanship that eventually carried into their band: Each member of the post punk outfit shares writing duties and they collaborate on every aspect of their creative work, including videos, album art, merch and the visuals which often accompany their live shows.

Ganser’s 2018 full-length debut Odd Talk received widespread praise nationally and across the blogosphere with some critics comparing their sound and approach to Sonic Youth and Magazine. Thematically, the album focused on communication breakdowns — namely, the difficulties of being understood, avoidance, intimacy and avoidance.

2020’s sophomore album, the critically applauded Just Look at That Sky found the members of Ganser thematically probing the futility of striving for self-growth during chorus — all while evoking an all to familiar manic worry and generalized sense of existential dread and doom. It’s an album that accurately captures our slow-burning, omnipresent hellscape.

Besides last year’s Look at That Sky Remixes EP, the Chicago-based JOVM have been busy working on new material — including their Angus Andrew co-produced, three-song Nothing You Do Matters EP. The EP’s first single, the woozy and expansive ripper “People Watching” begins with a slow-burning and atmospheric, bass-driven intro before quickly morphing into a feverish thrash featuring slashing guitar attack, relentless four-on-the-four and squiggling bursts of electronics paired with Garofalo’s seething, irony-drenched delivery.

Arguably the most tense and uneasy song of their growing catalog, “People Watching” captures the mad and desperate senselessness — of well, just about everything right now.

Directed by Alicia Gaines and Nadia Garofalo, the accompanying video for “People Watching” employs the same LED Volume virtual “green screen” technology that’s used in shows like The Mandalorian: We’re thrown in the middle of a wintry and desolate bit of farmland, where we see an extremely nervous and uncertain Gaines, Cundiff and Landsman with shovels trying to bury a body — a body that turns out to be, Garofalo. It’s menacing yet there’s a campus sense of humor to the proceedings.

Nothing You Do Matters EP is slated for an October 5, 2022 digital release and a December 2, 2022 vinyl release through Felte Records.

Lyric Video: Chicago’s Así Así Shares a Hypnotic New Single

Chicago-based indie outfit Así Así — Fernando de Buen (vocals, guitar), Ben Geissel (drums), Celeen Rusk (vocals, keys) and Sam Coplin (bass) — can trace their origins back to 2018, as the continuation of a previous project, El Mañana, which was originally founded in Mexico City before the band’s members relocated to Chicago. Whether as El Mañana or Así Así, the Chicago-based band is a part of the city’s growing Latin rock scene — and has played at a number of venues across the Chicago area. 

Así Así’s sound sees the quartet and blending elements of rock, dance and Latin with arrangements that feature acoustic and electronic drums, synths, guitars paired with propulsive grooves frequently create material that’s haunting yet upbeat and catchy. 

Their debut single “Carne Molida” was released back in 2020 and received coverage in RemezclaFilter Mexico and Indie Rocks, as well as airplay on Mexico City’s Reactor, 105.75FM.

Recorded at Palisade Studios, the Chicago-based outfit’s Fernando de Buen and Marcus Reese co-produced album Mal Otras is slated for release later this year. Last month, I wrote about album single “Yo La Sé” is a dreamy and expansive track featuring a driving, motorik-like groove, glistening guitars, de Buen’s plaintive vocals and an uneasy bass outro. While the song evokes the sensation of waking up from an unpleasant and incredibly vivid dream, the song thematically focuses on a familiar sensation of all of us now — a deep-seated frustration over the seemingly never-ending stream of terrible news.

The Chicago-based quartet’s latest single “Me Quedo Ahí” is a trippy song heavily indebted to 70s and 80s psychedelic cumbia with hints of the indie rock that they band has been known for with the song featuring glistening keys, reverb-drenched guitars, a strutting bass line, and shuffling rhythms paired de Buen’s dreamy vocals and a glistening guitar solo. The end result is a song that may arguably be their trippiest yet most danceable song to date.

New Audio: H2S04 Returns with a Slickly Produced, Hook-Driven Bop

Formed in Kent back in the late 90s, British electro pop act H2S04 — Graham Cupples (keys, programming), Darren Till (keys, programming) and James Butler (vocals, bass) — features a collection of accomplished musicians: Cupples previously led techno acts Mortal and Code. Till played with Cupples in Code. Butler contributed bass and vocals in indie rock act Lobster, which was once known as Sulpher. 

Initially tracing their origins back to when they started experimenting with a series of remixes, the members of H2S04 began writing original material that blended electronica, rock and techno paired with a special attention to songwriting. Their debut single, 1998’s “Little Soul,” quickly became popular in their native England — and because of its extremely limited release, a collector’s item.

The trio’s 1999 full-length debut Machine Turned Blues featured the aforementioned “Little Soul,” as well as “I Need Feel,” “The Way I Want,” and “Imitation Leather Jacket,” a track that was a favorite among British DJs that also received radio play here in the States. They supported Machine Turned Blues by playing a series of festivals across the British festival circuit, including Glastonbury — and they played shows in Canada and Chicago.

2000’s Glamtronica saw the British trio further establishing their sound while adding a playful sense of satire to the mix. The act largely disappeared until 2015’s Under Control and 2021’s Love and Death

2022 has been a busy year for the British trio with the release of two singles:

H2S04’s latest single “Electroworld” is a sleek and slickly produced track that continues a run of material that’s club and lounge friendly. Featuring thumping beats, glistening and wobbling synth arpeggios and Butler’s insouciant yet sultry delivery, “Electroworld” is rooted in the trio’s unerring knack for crafting an infectious, razor sharp hook.

Live Footage: Soccer Mommy Performs “Shotgun” on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon”

Sophie Allison is a Swiss-born, Nashville-based singer/songwriter, guitarist and the creative mastermind behind the critically applauded indie rock project Soccer Mommy.  Allison first picked up guitar when she was six — and as a teenager, she attended Nashville School of the Arts, where she studied guitar and played in the school’s swing band.

During the summer of 2015, Allison began posting home-recorded songs as Soccer Mommy and posted them to Bandcamp, just as she was about to attend  New York University (my alma mater, no less!), where she studied music business at the University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development.

While she was attending NYU, she played her first Soccer Mommy show at beloved, Bushwick-based venue Silent Barn. Allison caught the attention of Fat Possum Records, who signed her to a record deal — and after spending two years at NYU, she returned to Nashville to pursue a full-time career in music. Upon her return to Nashville, she wrote and released two Soccer Mommy albums — 2016’s For Young Hearts released through Orchid Tapes and 2017’s Collection released through Fat Possum. 

Allison’s proper, full-length debut 2018’s Clean was released to widespread critical acclaim, and as a result of a rapidly growing profile, she has toured with the likes of  Stephen MalkmusMitskiKacey MusgravesJay Som, SlowdiveFrankie Cosmos, Liz PhairPhoebe BridgersParamoreFoster the PeopleVampire Weekend, and Wilco.

Before the pandemic, Allison, much like countless other artists was gearing up for a big year: she started off 2020 by playing one of Bernie Sanders’ presidential rallies and joined a lengthy and eclectic list of artists, who endorsed his presidential campaign. That year also saw the release of her critically applauded sophomore album color theory, which she had planned to support with a headline tour with a number of sold-out dates months in advance that included a stop Glastonbury Festival and her late-night, national TV debut on Jimmy Kimmel Live!

With touring at a halt as a result of the pandemic, Allison, much like countless other artists recognized that the time off from touring offered a unique opportunity to get creative and experiment with new ideas and new ways to connect with fans. 

Combining her love of video games and performing, Allison had a digital show on Club Penguin Rewritten with over 10,000 attendees, who all had to make their own penguin avatars to attend. The show was so popular, that the platform’s servers crashed, forcing a rescheduling of the event. Of course, Allison also played a number of live-streamed sets, including ones hosted by  NPR’s Tiny Desk At Home (which she kicked off) and Pitchfork‘s IG Live Series. She also released her own Zoom background images for her fans to proudly show off their Soccer Mommy fandom. 

Allison and her backing band then embarked on a Bella Clark-directed 8 bit, virtual music video tour that saw Soccer Mommy playing some of the cities she had been scheduled to play that year, if the pandemic didn’t happen — in particular, MinneapolisChicago, SeattleToronto, and Austin. Instead of having the virtual shows at a traditional music venue or a familiar tourist spot, the band were mischievously placed in highly unusual places: an abandoned Toronto subway station, a haunted Chicago hotel, a bat-filled Austin bridge underpass and the like. The video tour featured color theory single “crawling in my skin,” a song centered around looping and shimming guitars, a sinuous bass line, shuffling drumming, subtly shifting tempos and an infectious hook.

She closed out 2020 with an  Adam Kolodny-directed, fittingly Halloween-themed visual for “crawling in my skin” that’s full of creeping and slow-burning dread that reminds me of Roger Corman’s Edgar Allan Poe movies with Vincent Price. 

Allison’s newest album, the Daniel Lopatin (a.k.a. Oneohtrix Point Never)-produced Sometimes, Forever is slated for a June 24, 2022 release through Loma Vista/Concord. The new album reportedly sees Allison pushing her sound in new directions — but without eschewing the unsparing lyricism and catchy melodies that have won her attention across the blogosphere and elsewhere. 

Inspired by the concept that neither sorrow nor happiness is permanent, Sometimes, Forever will be a fresh peek into the mind of a bold, young artist who synthesizes everything — retro sounds, personal tumult, the disorder of modern life — into music that feels built to last for a long time. The album’s material is also partly inspired by the uncomfortable push and pull between her desire to make meaningful art, her skepticism about the mechanics of careerism, and the mundane, artless administrative chaos that comes with all of it. 

The album’s first single, the woozy “Shotgun” is an infectious banger centered around a classic grunge song structure — quiet verses, explosive choruses paired with layers of distorted guitars, Allison’s achingly plaintive vocals, an enormous hook, thunderous drumming paired with a throbbing groove. 

“Shotgun” manages to liken a young romance to a sort of chemical high — but without the bruising and sickening comedown, which always comes after. But throughout the song, its narrator focuses on small moments in a particular love affair that’s imbued with a deep, personal meaning, “‘Shotgun’ is all about the joys of losing yourself in love,” explains Allison. “I wanted it to capture the little moments in a relationship that stick with you.”

Last night, Allison and her backing band performed “Shotgun” on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. After a brief break, Soccer Mommy will be embarking on a couple of Stateside festival dates including a stop at this year’s Governor’s Ball on June 12, 2022.

The band will then embark on a lengthy European tour. For information and tickets, check out the following: https://soccermommyband.com/#tour