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 »
HoZac’s Blackout Fest returns for another year of unrefined rock ‘n’ roll. And each evening’s headliner represents a different portion of underground weirdness: The weekend’s festivities run the gamut from psychedelia to South Bay hardcore and garage. Davila 666 sound like every other garage band you’ve heard—there are just more dudes in the group than most would find necessary, and the whole thing’s dispensed in Spanish. Read the rest of this entry »
The difference between The Yolks’ pair of singles from 2008 and their long-player from a year later is pretty distinct, with quality of recording and songcraft varying wildly. The Yolks, a local trio drawing from the tepid pool of punk and garage, haven’t hit upon any significant music revelations. But with so little to screw up during the ensemble’s three-chord rants, there’s not much to take issue with. Folks seem smitten with “Mob City Hustle,” a cut from one of those releases. Read the rest of this entry »
Tied to grunge in perpetuity, Seattle and the Northwest still deal in a wealth of revved-up pop music angled at punk updates. Detached from all recent Sub Pop singer-songwriter nonsense and faux-cowboy rock, the Briefs arrived around the turn of the millennium to dispense punk’s properly composed sucrose. After a few albums, the last couple on BYO, the band took a break. Pretty quickly, though, any given weekend night the Cute Lepers, a group headed by Brief’s honcho Steve E. Nix, might be found running through sets at the Comet or some other local dive. A handful of singles followed, and less than three years after the Briefs called it a day (temporarily?), “Can’t Stand Modern Music” was released.
The aural distance between the Lepers and the group that spawned it seems minimal at best. Over the course of the newer ensemble’s first album, though, a wider range of spunky Brit rock crops up; “Prove It” could pretty easily be passed off as an Elvis Costello outtake dating to 1977. “Adventure Time,” released this past spring, finds the Lepers embracing a larger ensemble sound with the inclusion of piano and sax. Read the rest of this entry »
Around the beginning of the new millennium, anyone listening to the radio would hear the explosion of pop-punk songs flooding the airwaves, the equivalent of new wave hits in the eighties or alternative rock in the nineties. Most bands were one-hit wonders, dropping a catchy song that might be in rotation for a year, tops. The bands that lasted the fallout fell through the cracks. Chicago’s Lucky Boys Confusion, with their brand of ska-punk infused hip-hop, can attest to that as this year marks their fourteenth anniversary.
Kaustubh “Stubhy” Pandav, vocalist and guitarist, recalls, “A lot has changed. It seems like a lot of the bands making waves these days are older and been through the grind.” LBC embodies this, as their experience has given them the perspective of what it takes to maintain longevity. When playing locally, they still pack in clubs, much as they had done throughout their career, regardless of how the music landscape has changed. “I wish there was as much solidarity as there was when we first started,” says Pandav. “I think that takes some band that is doing well to take the reigns, like LBC, the Dog and Everything and the Plain White T’s did for our scene.” Read the rest of this entry »
With Chicago the spawning ground of the likes of the Smoking Popes and Screeching Weasel, annual pop-punk festival Windy City Sound Clash feels right at home. “Chicago offers a nice central location, dedicated scene and plenty of other activities to do to keep everyone occupied,” founder and curator Jeff Wegner says.
The festival showcases local bands like Vacation Bible School, alongside well-established touring acts such as Kepi Ghoulie from California and Canada’s Chixdiggit. “I think it’s important to have a showcase in Chicago,” Wegner says. “Some of these bands may only play to a crowd of twenty people if they came through on their own, but this way they can play to a couple hundred people.”
Planning a festival is no easy task. “Every year has been self-funded. It’s all a learning experience,” Wegner says. “It really does make me feel good when someone comes up and says that they can’t wait until next year.”
The festival is only in its third year. “I do Windy City Sound Clash so that everyone can have a good time,” says Wegner. “Seeing people smiling, drinking, partying and screaming is really the only motivation I need to keep going.” (John Wawrzaszek)
May 28, 4:30pm, $12, all ages; May 29, 3:30pm, $10, 17+ at Subterranean, 2011 West North.
Yet another record-release show this week from a local band, the Caterer brothers and their Smoking Popes offer “Stay Down,” the band’s first record since its reformation and first album of all new, original material since the classic 1997 record “Destination Failure.” The result? “Stay Down” sounds like the natural follow-up to “Destination Failure,” as if it could’ve come out in 1999 and fans would’ve gulped it up with a much-warranted passion. To hear Josh Caterer’s lounge-lizard-like vocal delivery over these pop-punk power chords once again is warming—not to sound too cheesy, but the kid-like joy I felt while hearing the new tracks was overwhelming. Songs like “If You Don’t Care” and “Grab Your Heart and Run” could soundtrack the entire summer—no, “Stay Down” isn’t quite “Get Fired,” “Born to Quit” or “Destination Failure,” much like “Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” can’t stand next to the first three “Indiana Jones” films, but shit, Smoking Popes are back and we should all pause and be ecstatic about it. Cool? Cool. (Tom Lynch)
Saturday, June 7 at Metro
Even the most pretentious and serious of music lovers has to laugh at a chorus like “I am the ambassador of kick your assador,” and marvel at a sincere love song pertaining to government mind control (“if the government can read my mind, they’ll know I’m thinking of you”). A goofy, sarcastic band, The Vandals are the one act from your embarrassing ninth-grade pop-punk phase that you shouldn’t feel so guilty about. For twenty-seven years, The Vandals have proven that punk rock isn’t inherently mindless, by blending the typical four-chord structure with unconventional and amusing lyrics (becoming somewhat of a badass version of They Might Be Giants). Perhaps the intelligence and the self-awareness emanates from the band’s only constant member, bassist Joe Escalante (possibly the only punk-rock bassist to also own a law practice). With songs about the fictional death of Farrah Fawcett and Kelsey Grammar’s answering machine, The Vandals aren’t particularly serious or Earth-shatteringly important, but that’s precisely the point. (Andy Seifert)
Friday, March 14 at Reggies Rock Club
By Noah Levine
These days it seems there’s no shortage of bands from Montreal, bands with the word “Wolf” in their name and bands pounding out the sounds being labeled dance-punk. We Are Wolves certainly qualifies for all of the above, but the bilingual trio of Quebecois deliver their serrated keyboard rock with an intensity that separates them from their various ilk.
Read the rest of this entry »
Come bid farewell to Chicago pop-punk band Spitalfield. The Victory Records artists have called the quits after nine years together. Fresh off a lengthy farewell tour—that included a jaunt across the pond—the pioneering emo kids come home for a final hometown show before disbanding. Fans have long wondered how this common thread between Chicago’s indie success stories—the band has toured with Fall Out Boy, The Academy Is… and Plain White Ts—never broke through to the mainstream. The band remains mum about the reasons for the split, but members have stated in recent interviews that they wish this final show to be a celebration—not a funeral. Joined by an extended line-up of local indie acts, this show is not to be missed. Chicago’s The Audition and Peoria’s The Forecast lend their emo chops to the fray, along with local pop outlets Holy Roman Empire and Beardog. (K. Tighe)
Sunday, December 23 at Metro