Reviews, profiles and news about music in Chicago

Preview: Tweak Bird/Beat Kitchen

Psychedelic, Punk, Rock No Comments »

RECOMMENDEDTweakBird

If you’re looking to blow off some steam on a Friday night, catch Tweak Bird, Fake Limbs, and Nones at the Beat Kitchen. This mixed bag of psych, hardcore and art rock should do the trick.

Tweak Bird is an LA-based pair of brothers who just released their first full-length LP on Bloomington, Indiana’s Let’s Pretend Records. Their psych vocals can get so high they’re almost delicate, but are balanced out with waves of thick, rolling guitar riffs and heavy drums. The go-to psych influences are obvious, but there are also whispers of the Melvins and The Jesus and Mary Chain to keep things unpredictable. Read the rest of this entry »

Preview: Reigning Sound/Beat Kitchen

Garage Rock, Rock No Comments »

reigning soundRECOMMENDED

There’s not so much punk bearing down on Greg Cartwright’s Reigning Sound project. Since its inception in the early aughties, the band’s work has taken a decidedly lower-key feel than his earlier ensemble, the Oblivians. And while that Memphis institution has recently issued a new disc retaining its grimy feel, the songwriter and guitarist seems to have been able to cordon off his more rambunctious leanings. Read the rest of this entry »

Preview: Earth Crisis/Beat Kitchen

Hardcore, Metal No Comments »

RECOMMENDED

Back in the nineties when Derek Hess’ art featured prominently on any number of album covers and grunge seemed to need an angry nemesis, a buncha straight-edge types went and upped the musical ante. Displeased with most aspects of the culture surrounding punk and metal, some folks in Syracuse, New York, founded Earth Crisis to function as a mouthpiece for the animal-rights and righteous-living camps. Remember when fights broke out at shows because someone was drinking a beer? Yeah, it was some tough guy who liked Earth Crisis instigating all that. Read the rest of this entry »

Preview: Grass Widow/Beat Kitchen

Indie Rock, Pop, Punk, Rock No Comments »

RECOMMENDED

If you’ve read anything about the Bay Area trio Grass Widow over the last several years, it’s most likely focused on how good these women—and that point’s repeated ad nauseam, they’re women—are at writing and performing original music. The group’s work is usually shuffled off to the indie-ghetto with some mention of updated femme-harmonies. Read the rest of this entry »

Preview: Bomb the Music Industry!/Beat Kitchen

Punk No Comments »

RECOMMENDED

If this is the worst thing that ever happens to punk, all involved should be thrilled. Bomb the Music Industry! proclaims it’s a collective, not a band. And yeah, that’s kinda like being vegetarian, but qualifying it by saying that eating fish, sometimes, is alright. But BtMI has been issuing music for around seven years, doing it on a steady basis and touring enough to cultivate a fanbase engaged with punk, third wave ska and any manner of goofier indie-styled rock stuff. During the band’s development, there has been a significant expansion of its sound–even if there was always a certain updated righteous folk thing at work. Read the rest of this entry »

Preview: Jonny Corndawg/Beat Kitchen

Country No Comments »

RECOMMENDED

Wayward Southern singer-songwriter Jonny Corndawg has the awkward task of performing country music and trying to disseminate its sounds to citified listeners under the age of forty. Born in Virginia and rambling around the world for the better part of the last decade hasn’t resulted in the singer’s wide acclaim. But ditching Nashville for Brooklyn has served to introduce the singer to a different swath of the listening public. Hooking up with Dawes and Deer Tick for various recording and touring concerns hasn’t hurt, but with such a purposefully difficult moniker, some would-be fans might initially be put off. Taking a listen to his Kickstarter-financed “Down on the Bikini Line,” though, reveals a performer able to summon his country heroes while accidentally working in enough of Dylan’s “John Wesley Harding” and “Nashville Skyline” to sate adherents to any manner of country’s derivations. Read the rest of this entry »

Preview: Voodoo Glow Skulls/Beat Kitchen

Hardcore, Ska No Comments »

RECOMMENDED

When discussing Boston’s illustrious history with hardcore, it’s difficult to leave out Dicky Barrett, best known as the gruff-sounding frontman for The Mighty Mighty Bosstones. That the man’s work with a third-wave ska band is subservient to contributions made to D.Y.S. or Gang Green isn’t too surprising—the music’s been more impactful for a longer period of time than third wave bands. Read the rest of this entry »

Preview: The Pinstripes/Beat Kitchen

Reggae, Ska No Comments »

Photo: Caroline Tompkins

RECOMMENDED

There are places with a deeper connection to Jamaican music than Cincinnati, Ohio. The city, with its downtown area spilling over into Kentucky, feels like the gateway to the South. Doormen at shows can sport significant accents and there’re bound to be more than a handful of folks who eat nothing other than fried foods. Of course, Cincy counts Bootsy Collins as one of its best exports and Mood issued some of the most engaging hip-hop of the Rawkus era, pulling in Talib Kweli and DJ Hi-Tek as accomplices. The Pinstripes, though, sit outside of that history. Read the rest of this entry »

Preview: Chris Murray/Beat Kitchen

Reggae, Ska No Comments »

RECOMMENDED

During Moon Ska Records’ final few years, Chris Murray remained one of the few acts issuing music through the New York-based imprint who retained a unique musical identity. Amid the ska-cum-rock-oriented fare, Murray’s work was anachronistic—predating all the lo-fi nonsense the music press caught onto a few years back. But by the early aughties, the L.A.-based singer and songwriter had so well defined his sound that not having a label signed up to issue his work on a regular basis wasn’t really a problem. Read the rest of this entry »

Preview: Tigers Jaw/Beat Kitchen

Indie Rock No Comments »

When Tigers Jaw’s vocalist Adam McIlwee croons “you are everything and I am nothing” on “Chemicals,” the fourth track on the band’s self-titled 2008 record, it can be very hard to stomach. There’s a terrifying level of teen angst ridden in McIlwee’s lyrics that have the potential to put many people off. Yet once you come to grips with the fact that they are a young, emotional band (I’m sure things are introspectively stressful down in Scranton, Pennsylvania), then there is a lot to enjoy in Tigers Jaw’s take on nineties college indie-rock. Read the rest of this entry »