Reviews, profiles and news about music in Chicago

Preview: Scott H. Biram/Reggies Rock Club

Bluegrass, Blues, Country, Metal, Punk, Rock No Comments »

RECOMMENDEDartist_gal_biram2

Though Texan Scott H. Biram has released a number of well-received albums and has been performing for more than a decade (amassing a considerable following in that time period) his latest release from Bloodshot Records (“Nothin’ But Blood”) is bringing new fans out of the woodwork. Biram calls his music “the bastard child of punk, blues, country, hillbilly, bluegrass, chain gang, metal and classic rock,” and for once this is not an example of an artist over-selling himself. Despite the first track on his latest album implying that he’s taking it “Slow & Easy,” Biram still preaches as much hellfire as he does redemption with both his lyrics and musical style, following loud, fighting-angry metal tunes like “Church Point Girls” with easy listening bluegrass ballads like “I’m Troubled.” Seeing Biram take the stage alone with his signature trucker hat, the uninitiated may expect a fairly typical country singer-songwriter—but once he gets going, it becomes clear why he’s also known as “The Dirty Old One Man Band.” Read the rest of this entry »

Preview: Moonspell/Reggies Rock Club

Metal No Comments »

RECOMMENDEDMoonspell

While Portugal’s Moonspell has had the usual shifts in style that are characteristic of a band with a lengthy history, in a black-metal-dominated contemporary scene that clings to “no clean vocals” like a religion, the band’s gothic influences are an acquired taste for certain fans. That being said, “Alpha Noir,” part of the band’s most recent two-part release, is their thrashiest in years. Read the rest of this entry »

Preview: Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire/Reggies Rock Club

Hip-Hop No Comments »

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Matching the lunacy of Kool Keith rhymes, Tha Alkaholiks penchant for boozy word play and occasional Cudi-style sing-alongs (but not too many), Mr. Muthafukin’ eXquire’s “Lost in Translation” arrived last year only to be overshadowed by gimmicky newcomers and a slew of genre luminaries issuing work after being sprung from the clink. Joined by folks like Jake One, El-P and Esoteric, eXquire doesn’t ever lack proper musical backing to discuss the finer points of getting wasted, exploiting your girlfriend and proclaiming his love of breast milk. The MC even takes the time to expound on his affection for fried chicken and all the sides he can snag to make a meal. Read the rest of this entry »

Preview: Chance the Rapper/Reggies Rock Club

Chicago Artists, Hip-Hop No Comments »

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It’d be easy to get lost amid the slew of independently issued releases from Chicago’s hip-hop underground. So, it’s surprising that with the media fawning over Chief Keef and his major dealings, Chance the Rapper still stands out. And it’s not because of the MC’s desire to work his own personality into contemporary music mores. Instead, on his “10 Day” release, the still-teenaged rapper digs through twenty-year-old influences—groups that started releasing music before he was born. Read the rest of this entry »

Preview: Cockney Rejects/Reggies Rock Club

Punk No Comments »

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The States are woefully short on soccer riots. So, if there’s one band that should do well, working in that vacuum, it’s the Cockney Rejects. During the band’s brief early eighties heyday, the United Kingdom group was best known for stuff like “War on the Terraces” and “I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles.” Tossed on the heap of bands Garry Bushell dubbed Oi!, the Rejects kicked on for a few years after issuing “Greatest Hits” in two volumes as a pair of cheeky 1980 albums. Everything skinners-in-training need to know about the band—and a bit more—is contained on those discs. There’s a wealth of coulda-been hits if someone had taken the time to ramp up a proper punk/Oi! chart thirty years back, but “I’m Not a Fool”’s as catchy as the genre gets. Read the rest of this entry »

Preview: Murphy’s Law/Reggies Rock Club

Hardcore No Comments »

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Murphy’s Law is, and always was, pretty much Jimmy Gestapo and some guys behind him playing music. Cropping up in the mid-eighties, the band can’t really be considered a trendsetter of the New York hardcore scene. The ensemble, though, should be recognized for taking some of the seriousness out of the genre, which was becoming more codified and stodgy with each passing year. Of course, no band from the era could resist trash-talkin’ the president. So, the 1986 track “California Pipeline” and its closing refrain, “Ronnie Reagan, he’s my man/If he can’t do it, no one can/America rules,” should be understood as a sign of the times and an extension of the band’s ham-fisted humor. Read the rest of this entry »

Preview: Midnight/Reggies Rock Club

Hardcore, Metal, Punk No Comments »

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Not to ruin the band’s mythology, but Midnight’s actually fronted by a guy who steered Boulder, Abdullah and a few other Cleveland-based metal bands during the last decade and change. Midnight, for some reason, has captured the attention of metaldom, perhaps in part due to the fact that frontman Athenar has gone out of his way to remain a character as much as a real human being. Read the rest of this entry »

Preview: David Allan Coe/Reggies Rock Club

Country No Comments »

Photo: Matthew Woitunski

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It probably doesn’t matter to anyone if the rumors surrounding David Allan Coe are true, except for the country singer himself. If each of those yarns–everything from living outside the Grand Ole Opry to being holed up in a cave without a proper place to call home to accusations of racism—is true, it only makes the man’s on-stage persona that much more three-dimensional. Of course, positioning oneself as a country-music tent post, while simultaneously being an outsider and an Ohio native seems like an odd backstory. But Coe’s been singing with a Southern accent for the better part of the last forty years. Read the rest of this entry »

Preview: Deicide/Reggies Rock Club

Metal No Comments »

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This is some seriously disturbing music. And as all music goes, listening to Florida’s Deicide is best suited to a unique time and place. For metal of this particular caliber, the ideal scenario might be a worked-over pickup truck, speeding down some narrow road at inadvisable speeds. The music’s pace might demand such an extreme, but it might also be some evil ju-ju unloosed by listening to songs about God’s dismissal. Sure, we’re all skeptical at times, but Glen Benton, the band’s singer and bassist, doesn’t even go in for some exploratory discussion. He gets right at the crux of it and says, “Died for me, well that’s too bad, I don’t believe,” on the band’s first album during a song titled “Deicide.” Read the rest of this entry »

Preview: Stalley/Reggies Rock Club

Hip-Hop No Comments »

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You’d probably be able to buy a physical copy of “Lincoln Way Nights (Intelligent Trunk Music)” without too much difficulty. But Stalley, a Massillon, Ohio MC, is a distinctly digital dude amid a clutch of artists signed to Rick Ross’ Maybach Music. Releasing the aforementioned mixtape-cum-physical commodity late last year consolidated Stalley’s hirsute momentum. The bearded Midwesterner’s turned the hype surrounding that release and his association with some millionaire rappers into high expectations for his pending release—“Savage Journey to the American Dream.” Referencing the subhead of Hunter Thompson’s 1972 “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” is a bit odd, but the immediacy of the author’s writing and its unfortunate contemporary applicability should bolster Stalley’s recording when connections are necessitated. Read the rest of this entry »