Reviews, profiles and news about music in Chicago

Preview: Kate Simko & Brenda D./Darkroom

Chicago Artists, DJ, Electronic/Dance, House, Techno No Comments »

RECOMMENDED

Soul Foundation will host a record-release party for Chicago’s own Kate Simko, whose innovative tech-house exploits have garnered both domestic and international acclaim. Philter, the DJ collective’s monthly event at Darkroom, provides an apt setting in which to celebrate Simko’s forthcoming “Lights Out” LP, slated for an April release on the acclaimed Berlin-based Hello? Repeat imprint. The album’s first single, “Mind On You” features Soul Foundation alum Brenda D. on vocals, and will be available March 7.

Despite an already impressive discography, Simko is hardly confined to studio work. Deft programming and impeccable mixing skills have earned her regular appearances at world-renowned music festivals and club venues. Her approach to house and techno employs a hypnotic layering that often results in a distinctive sound still unmistakably Chicago at heart. Simko is joined at this month’s edition of Philter by Brenda D., Brian Gardner and the long-anticipated return of DJ Apocalypse. (John Alex Colón)

March 12 at Darkroom, 2210 West Chicago, (773)276-1411, 9pm, free before 11pm, $5 after, 21+.

Preview: Moldover/Darkroom

Chicago Artists, DJ, Electro, Electronic/Dance, Experimental, House, Industrial, Metal, Noise, Prog-rock, Punk, Techno No Comments »

RECOMMENDED

Simultaneously garnering props from music industry hotshots and technology aficionados, Moldover’s 2009 debut album was more than an Internet flashpoint, it fostered the growth of a paradigm shift in live electronic stage acts: controllerism. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes of a dysfunctional MacBook, Moldover’s work catapults the stoic, laptop-based events of years past into a new era of rockstar idolatry, with the software controller in the driver’s seat. An unmistakable rock influence pervades his musical efforts, which deftly run the gamut from rapid, techno-fused breakbeats to glitch-inspired funk. Moldover will be supported by the DJ skills of Chicago favorites Striz, Magpie and Duke Shin. (John Alex Colón)

March 11 at Darkroom, 2210 West Chicago, 9pm, free before 10pm, $6 after.

Concert Review: We Were Promised Jetpacks/West Fest, July 11, 2010

Festivals, Indie Rock No Comments »

They may have been promised jetpacks, but all we want is a good time and something to distract us from the pouring rain. Sunday night at the West Fest and people are gathering in front of the stage at Chicago and Damen. Some have just arrived, some linger from the last set and others are just getting wasted. We  wait with excitement and frustration for the last band of a  two-day festival but it is raining, umbrellas are in the way and it is past 8:30pm. Personal space is getting scarce as more and more people fill up the street. Those of us who got here early are starting to get impatient.

Four guys make up Scotland’s indie-rock band, We Were Promised Jetpacks: Adam Thompson (vocalist/guitarist), Michael Palmer (guitarist), Sean Smith (bassist) and Darren Lackie (drummer). Their debut album, “These Four Walls,” was just released in June 2009 with a follow-up EP, “The Last Place You’ll Look,” released in March of this year. Though it’s hard to compare their unique sound to other bands, it’s not too far-fetched to hear shades of The Strokes and Bloc Party  in the guitars, bass and drums, but the singer has a completely different voice, not to mention a Scottish accent. Read the rest of this entry »

411: For Whom the Belle Tolls

Indie Rock, News and Dish No Comments »

Belle-and-Sebastian_uKCIdcVeFhUx_fullChicago Suicide Club will host its second Belle and Sebastian Night at Ukrainian Village’s Darkroom on January 19, following a successful launching of the event. “I know lots of people love this band,” says Heaven Malone, the night’s primary organizer, and one of the evening’s performers. “They have a huge following. The idea to do a Belle and Sebastian night came from seeing how so many people responded to their music.” More than fifty posters were created by DJs, musicians and residents of Wicker Park for the original event, and the event’s Web site (belleandsebastiannight.com) now allows users to create their own album art. The night will feature DJ sets and a live acoustic performance by Malone, a live silk screening by Mikul Wing of Members Only AV, and a vintage-style mod photobooth presented by Glitter Guts. “To me, Belle and Sebastian are the epitome of indie rock. They were the indie-rock band. And Chicago’s music scene is very indie.” (David Stockdale)

Preview: Lake Street Collective/Darkroom

Chicago Artists, DJ, Dubstep, Electronic/Dance No Comments »

RECOMMENDEDdarkroom_august-1

Incubated in the warmth of underground loft parties, the Lake Street Collective makes another visit to the crimson-lit confines of Darkroom, where a mere $5 after 11pm gets you a live dose of dubby rhythms and organic breaks from Elev8tor, along with DJ sets from Shifty Johnson, DJ Striz, Adrienne Sanchez and DJ 8 that are likely to go from nice to nasty. Elev8tor sports a trio of seasoned musicians on drums, bass and keyboards and loops to lay down enough funk to keep it moving, but with enough variety to avoid the Velveeta factor that seems to threaten any live band dealing in funk. Darkroom always seems like a comfortable place to hang, whether you’re lounging or dancing. Add in a good Friday night jam of varied homegrown thump for the dollar… give thanks to Revolutionary Music and illmeasures for looking out for both ear and wallet! (Duke Shin)

October 23 at Darkroom, 2210 W. Chicago, (773)276-1411, at 10pm.

Preview: Out of Order featuring Glass Candy (live)/Darkroom

DJ, Electro, Electronic/Dance, Hip-Hop No Comments »

RECOMMENDED2008-06-19_glasscandy

Glass Candy makes an appearance at this month’s installment of Out of Order, presented by scene stalwarts Sang & Paul in Chicago. The Portland synth-pop crew released some notable efforts on Troubleman before settling on the Italians Do It Better imprint—a good fit, considering the numerous comparisons to Moroder and Morricone. The sultry, cryptic lyrics of Ida No are supported by the ever-infectious keyboard mastery of Johnny Jewel, resulting in what sounds like an update of Blondie, or a dance-floor-minded Nouvelle Vague. Chicago heroes Trancid and Intel rev up the crowd with eclectic breaks and smooth hip-hop. (John Alex Colon)

May 7 at Darkroom, 2210 W. Chicago, (773)276-1411

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Preview: Steinski/Darkroom

DJ, Electronic/Dance, Hip-Hop No Comments »

RECOMMENDEDsteinski_2

The lessons taught by Steve Stein, a.k.a. Steinski, will not easily be forgotten. He has influenced the careers of Coldcut, Girl Talk and skilled deck technicians such as DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist. Famous for layering illegally sampled recordings over body-rocking hip-hop beats, and doing so in the face of copyright law and criticism, his work laid the foundation for the scratch records and mash-up sets of the last two decades. Steinski will educate a Darkroom audience alongside wildly successful Chicago synth-pop trio Hey Champ, in a new monthly brought to us by local promoters Sangwerks and Paul in Chicago. The event, Out of Order, is inspired by the legendary Hacienda nightclub of Manchester and seeks to be as musically adventurous, while keeping partygoers fused to the dancefloor. (John Alex Colon)

February 26 at Darkroom, 2210 W. Chicago, (773)276-1411.

 

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Preview: Lasers and Fast and Shit/Darkroom

Chicago Artists, Indie Rock, Punk, Rock 1 Comment »

RECOMMENDED

So they build their own instruments and light show essentially from scratch and their live shows are riotous and the name of the band is Lasers and Fast and Shit. Honestly, is there anything more you need to know to make you want to see this band? The Chicago group blends infectious punk with some stoner-rock indulgences to put together songs that are both energizing and usually hysterically amusing. Titles like “Beware of the Great Lakes Vikings,” “Keep the Water in the Tub” and “Lemon Bars” boast incredibly penetrative hooks that are so simple, so on-the-surface dumb, you can’t not fall in love with it. It’s an assault, but an endearing one. Consider “Lemon Bars”’s lyrics. “I got a lemon bar” repeats four times. Then “I’ll trade you a lemon bar” repeats four times. Then “Lemon bar for a kick pedal” shouts, you guessed it, four times. Then repeat the process, except replace “lemon bar” with “brownie.” That’s pretty much it, save for the “Let’s make a deal” coda. I want to know the story behind this song more than anything else in the world. I want this song to be transformed into a lemon bar that I can devour during the length of this song. I want to hear this song every day for the rest of my life. (Tom Lynch)

November 11 at Darkroom, 2210 West Chicago, (773)276-1411, at 8pm. $7.

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Preview: Jesse De La Pena’s Birthday Bash/Darkroom

Electronic/Dance No Comments »

RECOMMENDED

For my money, Jesse De La Pena is right up there with the best DJs in Chicago. Combine his deep crates and casually technical prowess with the fact that he often plays at no-frills clubs and lounges (with slim cover charges), and you can almost guarantee a good time. Well versed in club-music history, De Le Pena is somewhat of a chameleon, with his sets moving from New Wave classics, EBM and house to R&B and funk. De Le Pena is just a few years shy of being officially over the hill, but for DJs like him, being a graybeard can be a good thing. For his birthday bash, expect a crowded dance floor and many club classics. With Major Taylor, Uncle Milty, Willy Joy and more. (Michael Hirtzer)

September 27 at Darkroom

Preview: The Herbaliser (Ollie Teeba DJ set), DJ Intel, DJ Trew

Electronic/Dance No Comments »

RECOMMENDED

  Since the mid-nineties, London’s Herbaliser (Ollie Teeba and Jake Wherry) have shared their passion for hip-hop, funk, soul, disco and rare grooves with audiences the world over. The duo’s known for albums for such notable labels as Ninja Tune and that of the legendary nightclub Fabric and working with legendary UK MCs such as Roots Manuva, Blade and New York’s Jean Grae (then performing as What What). Their new release for Studio !K7, “Same As It Never Was,” builds on their classic sounds established over fifteen years of Teeba and Wherry’s collaborations, and sees the band move further to incorporate the live horns of studio-mates Easy Access Orchestra and reveling in high 1960s swinging-London camp, rather than the traditional sample-based hip-hop of earlier releases like 1997’s “Blow Your Headphones” and 2002’s “Something Wicked This Way Comes.” “Same As It Never Was” also introduces The Herbaliser fans to the group’s new vocalist, Jessica Darling, whose contributions reveal a far more soulful edge to the band’s new work. In celebration of this new release, Ollie Teeba has embarked on a DJ tour of the US introducing American audiences to the group’s deep roots and diverse influences—from DJ Premier to James Brown to David Axelrod and Serge Gainsbourg. Chicago’s DJ Intel opens the night. (Andrew Lochhead)

Olli Teeba of the Herbaliser drops a DJ set, with DJ Intel and DJ Trew at Darkroom, 2210 West Chicago, (773)276-1411, August 6 at 9pm. $10.

 

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