Mike Rep/Photo: Mary Jo Bole
By Dave Cantor
As suburban sprawl began its duplicitous creep, a kid named Mike Hummel and his family took up residence in Timberlake, a region southwest of Ohio’s capital. It was the 1960s.
Hummel, better known to scum punk collectors as the titular character of Mike Rep & the Quotas, stuck it out in a place he refers to as nowhere a few times in emails and over the phone. But if it weren’t for Timberlake and his parent’s affinity for R&B and 1950s rock ‘n’ roll, the character of Columbus’ musical topography would waver differently all these years later.
In addition to his family’s good sense, though, Rep reveled in a friendship that would wind up spanning decades and countless bands.
“When ‘Israelites’ came out on AM radio, it was a Top 40 hit in America,” Rep reminisces. “To us, it just sounded like a weird take on R&B. … The first time I met Tommy Jay was at a basketball court near where we lived, and we discovered it was both of our favorite song on the radio at the time.” Read the rest of this entry »
The Residual Kid set list/Photo: Steve Lazar
By Bart Lazar
I don’t know about Peter Townshend, but I’m kinda glad that many rock ‘n’ rollers did not die before they got old. While SXSW is typically a place to discover indie music, it has increasingly been where legends show up for a victory lap and big names show up for big “secret” shows.
As I trudged willingly from venue to venue chasing down or lucking into fifty-plus of the 2,000 bands playing in this year’s SXSW, I was struck by the sheer age range of the performers and the music involved. Rock ‘n’ roll is now a mature medium, almost sixty years old. Punk is pushing forty. The performers I saw and heard this year ranged from Max Redman, the twelve-year-old-old bassist for Residual Kid—an Austin-based grungy band (whose set list was written in crayon), all the way to seventy-two-year-old Zombies bassist Jim Rodford (who began musical life in the sixties with the Swinging Blue Jeans, and went on to form and play in Argent with his cousin, Rod Argent, and later join the Kinks from 1978 until their demise in 1996). So for me, I saw performers representing three full generations—some much younger than my children, and others almost as old as my parents!
The music itself spans a wide period, from Animals and Zombies songs first recorded in 1964 to music that won’t be released until later this year or in future years—almost fifty years. Read the rest of this entry »
Photo: Rod Patrick Risbrook
This Guyana born, Chicago-based singer-songwriter is an artist of many facets. Though his music is heavily inspired by neo-soul, he also draws inspiration from the sounds from his native country and the Caribbean. For instance, “His Eye Is on the Sparrow” and the activist “The Gay Warrior” song have a reggae-like flavor, while “I Like That” could be described as an American soul tune with a Latin vibe.
His approach toward music focuses on the music first: “Usually I start with a track, and then I develop the melody and the words that belong to the song,” he explained in a telephone interview. “If it feels sad, happy, encouraging or like a love song, I feel like songs are alive. I think I’m more in tune with this stage of music—I’m listening more to what the music tells me instead of trying to force things.”
Nhojj is also very vocal in his activism on gay rights and bullying. He believes that acceptance toward alternative lifestyles (he is openly gay) is a slow process, but that is how things are sometimes. Read the rest of this entry »
So late in the year, the frequency of quality festivals tapers off. But setting off that autumnal awe is the tenth installment of Adventures in Modern Music, a joint venture between the Empty Bottle and The Wire, to bring together a sizable selection of out-sounds from different genres. One of the better-known acts to be fitted into this sprawling look at contemporary music is R. Stevie Moore, who’s been given credit for presaging the slew of home-recording projects clogging up the internet nowadays. His work’s something like Daniel Johnston’s in that there’re clearly some ghosts being worked out in each affectional composition. He performs Wednesday. To highlight Adventures’ desire to strip genre of meaning, Rob Mazurek’s São Paulo Underground takes a spot on stage during the same evening, raving up experiments that use jazzy frameworks birthed from south of the equator. Read the rest of this entry »
Riot Fest limps on for another year, turning its focus to expanding in other cities, booking bands like Rise Against or the Offspring to fill out time between Iggy and his geriatric Stooges. Even Andrew WK, who has apparently insinuated himself into the NYC underground by sponsoring a well-thought-of venue, is slated to make an appearance. Read the rest of this entry »
Beethoven is recognized as one of the greatest composers of classical music—and yet, the full force of his genius has, for many, been reduced to little more than a history lesson. George Lepauw wants to change that, and to change how we experience classical music.
Beethoven was not just a musical genius, says Lepauw, but also a “cultural activist,” a deeply humanistic thinker influenced by the democratic ideals of the French Revolution. “He hoped that this music would live on for many generations and help the world come together. It’s really a testament to his genius that we’re still playing and loving his music today,” says Lepauw. Read the rest of this entry »
Celebrate Clark Street, a local street festival sponsored by the Rogers Park Business Alliance, may just be one of the best opportunities Chicagoans will have to see world music this summer. The diverse musical lineup, curated by David Chavez of Sound Culture Center for Global Arts, features more than twenty international music artists, both from abroad and from right here in Chicago. The festival also features ethnic foods, arts and crafts.
Among those traveling to Celebrate Clark Street from afar are several artists playing in Chicago for the first time. Sarazino, a truly global artist who has spent large portions of his life in Algeria and Ecuador, combines reggae, hip-hop and Latin and African beats with fresh energy. Read the rest of this entry »
Put it in the books, sink your teeth into those neighborhood festivals and get ready for Lollapalooza—Pitchfork 2012 is through. Don’t go diving off the live-music deep end just yet, though, as we’ve got you covered with recaps, essays, photos and all the absurd music-festival banter you were too drunk to remember or too shocked to ever forget:
“Show us your tits!” at “Overheard at Pitchfork 2012″
Satisfy your critical appetite by trying “Single Servings: Bite-Sized Reviews of Pitchfork 2012″ Read the rest of this entry »
Outer Minds/Photo: Maddie Rehayem
By Maddie Rehayem
Showing up on time for Pitchfork each day was rewarding because of the lesser-known local acts in the lineup this year. Of course it’s exciting to have bands, DJs and rappers come in from around the United States, Canada and overseas, but having a few Chicago acts on the bill keeps the festival grounded and proves to festivalgoers as diverse as the artists on the bill that our city can hold its own in the world of music.
The first local band I saw was the first band to play at Pitchfork this year, Outer Minds. They play that kind of garage rock that I find impossible not to enjoy, no matter how well or how poorly it is executed. A fun band, refreshing and just too cool, their set was perfect for ringing in this year’s fest. Read the rest of this entry »
We saw a lot of weird stuff at Pitchfork this year, not including Lady Gaga checking out Kendrick Lamar. Mostly, though, we heard a lot of weird stuff—and that’s not even counting the music playing on stage. These are a few of those highlights, coming from the people on stage, in the crowd and by the fifty-odd Porta-Potties in the middle of the park.
Photo: Maddie Rehayem
“Don’t want to hear no digital shit!” –Shirtless guy emotionally preparing for Olivia Tremor Control to start
“Y’all have been very nice watching me be self-indulgent.” –Willis Earl Beal
“Wow there is a massive crowd here.” –Security guard at Japandroids, just before pulling out a dozen crowd surfers
“Let’s first pee a little and then let’s eat something.”
“It’s getting Feisty.” –Walking toward the Green Stage to see Feist
“Show us your tits!” –Yelled at Feist, as people slow dance in crowd
“Hey look, Daddy’s on that screen over there. I gave birth to all of you. It took twelve hours under the sign of Saturn.” –Atlas Sound talking to crowd, pointing toward video screen Read the rest of this entry »