A good EP makes the most of its handful of songs. So the pressure is on when you only have three songs to offer. Sic Alps delivers on She's on Top . In addition to the title track, we get Biz Bag and Carrie Jean , all psychedelic pop beauts. Incidentally, all three landed a place on my summer playlist. But, then again, I'm a sucker for these Bay area rockers. Buy this EP now. It's available on 12-inch vinyl or as a download.
Eighties-synth loving Swedes Shout Out Louds are touring the fun new album Optica with a stop at Metro Thursday night. I predict there will be dancing. Also check out this cool remix of the single from the album, Illusions .
Mikal Cronin sets up his new album, MCII , nicely with the first song, Weight , a bouncy power pop number. That song sets the stage for an enjoyable collection of fuzzy, melodic tunes. Perhaps Cronin is still best known as Ty Segall's collaborator and traveling band mate but the guitarist shows on his sophomore album that he is a highly entertaining solo artist as well. There is an interesting movement in California that is resulting in excellent music from artists who are (mostly) influenced by '60s psychedelia, '70s classic rock and metal, and yet they produce very relevant music today. Cronin, Segall, Thee Oh Sees and Sic Alps [...]
Kurt Vile is that rare artist who is so confident and focused that he consistently puts out great albums by simply sticking to his knitting. His voice and guitar are unmistakably identifiable yet each new album sounds unique and fresh. His latest album, Walkin on a Pretty Daze , is no exception. Kurt and his band, the Violators, play a sold out show at Lincoln Hall Tuesday night. Steve Gunn opens.
Black Moth Super Rainbow showed it could make music with a lot more bite on the band's 2012 album, Cobra Juicy . You can see these guys at Metro Saturday night. Also, check out this fan video pairing Gangs in the Garden with Bruce Lee's Enter the Dragon.
Bill Callahan hasn't yet followed up his great piece of work, Apocalypse , from 2011, but there was a tour documentary released last year. Callahan is on the road for several tour dates this month, including one in Chicago at the Garfield Park Conservatory Monday (May 6). Doors open 6:30 and the show is 7 with Flat Foot opening. Garfield Park Conservatory is at 300 N. Central Park Ave. in Chicago. Advance tickets appear to be gone. The show is being put on by Land and Sea Dept.
The Canadian duo known as Majical Cloudz just shared this sparse, captivating song, Bugs Don't Buzz , ahead of the album Impersonator , which is out May 21. Majical Cloudz open for Youth Lagoon at Metro May 15. [...]
The Portland, Oregon, duo known as Wampire is about to release the band's debut album, Curiosity , in a couple of weeks. Here's a song, Trains , from the record.
Seattle musician Jesse Lortz , formerly of the Dutchess and the Duke , is about to release his second album with his latest project Case Studies . Give this song, Driving East, and Through Her , a listen. It's very cool and will appear on This Is Another Life , which is due out in June.
I like this single, Stand in the Sand , from Chicago's Twin Peaks . The song will appear on the band's debut album, Sunken , which is scheduled for release in July. You can download the song here .
GRMLN is Southern Californian Yoodoo Park , who made an interesting pop EP last year, Explore . In June, Park is releasing a full album as GRMLN, Empire . Check out the song below, Hand Pistol , which is more of an uptempo rock song. Judging from the first two songs released from Empire , the album will be a much different style than Park's EP. Also listen to this earlier single from the new album, Teenage Rhythm .
Wow. It's Monday and tax day. Who says the day has to totally suck? Purling Hiss headlines a free show at Empty Bottle Monday night. The band is promoting its latest album, Water on Mars . A cool, fun band at the Bottle for free? Seems like a no brainer.
Phosphorescent is Alabama native Matthew Houck , a singer-songwriter who draws comparisons as varied as Bonnie "Prince" Billy to Fleet Foxes . Houck, who now resides in Brooklyn, just made a fascinating album, Muchacho . The release is getting a lot of well-deserved buzz, which explains why he sold out a Saturday night show at Lincoln Hall . If you snagged a ticket, consider yourself lucky to be able to see a rising artist. Strand of Oaks opens.
Woods often has an anachronistic sound, especially on last year's brilliant Bend Beyond . So why wouldn't the band cover a 1971 Kinks song, God's Children? The song will be the B-side on an upcoming 7-inch.
Copenhagen punks Iceage play Empty Bottle Wednesday. And, believe it or not, tickets are still available (as of Tuesday). You have something better to do? Really? Also check out the band's excellent new album, You're Nothing . Coalition - Iceage
Lollapalooza single-day tickets reportedly sold out within an hour of going on sale this week. Since three-day passes were already gone, that left only some overpriced travel packages. What's stunning is that this mad rush for Lolla tickets was achieved with the stellar headliner lineup of Mumford & Sons, the Killers and the Cure . I'm still floored that Mumford is a headliner at Lolla. But think of the possibility for next year? Taylor Swift ? Adele ? Any finalists from American Idol? Gotta get Dave Matthews, John Mayer [...]
Strictly Reserved for You , the first song off Charles Bradley's new album, Victim of Love , has a classic Al Green feel to it. It's a strong opening to an album with an old-time feel throughout. Bradley, a former James Brown impersonator now in his 60s, is a true soul man with a painful past who has only made two albums. I suppose these records could be dismissed as revivalist gimmicks but there's an honesty to Bradley's songs. I can't embrace every track on Victim but when he's [...]
The Lollapalooza lineup was officially announced Monday and, yes, Mumford & Sons is a headliner. Granted, the big fest hasn't been cutting edge for years but can we agree that Saturday's headliner, Mumford & Sons, is a new low? The other top acts are Friday's headliner the Killers and Sunday's top act, the Cure . I'm sorry. I just nodded off thinking about it. Nine Inch Nails, the Postal Service and Phoenix are also listed near the top of the bill. No doubt at least two of the [...]
Though his roots are in lo-fi, Nathan Williams' latest album as Wavves , Afraid of Heights , is a well-polished, slickly produced offering. Stylistically, it doesn't stray that far from 20102s King of the Beach , though it is a step forward. I'm blown away by the first two songs on the album, Sail to the Sun and Demon to Lean On . If only Williams would have kept that momentum through the rest of the album, Afraid of Heights would be a contender for one of [...]
Pitchfork rounded out the lineup for its annual three-day Chicago festival and there's a lot to like this year. I've said that this is one of the most interesting music festivals regardless of headliners. The up-and-coming early acts are often a highlight for me. The biggest name added to the fest is M.I.A. , who will play Sunday night before R. Kelly (at least that's how the schedule appears now). Also joining the lineup are indie vets Yo La Tengo (Sunday) and the punk legends of Wire (Friday). What [...]