Posts Tagged ‘Chicago’

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“Warmer”, the companion LP is to be released six months after Jeff Tweedy acclaimed 2018 solo album “Warm”, will be released exclusively on vinyl for Record Store Day 2019. There are ten previously unavailable studio recordings written and recorded during the same sessions. The “sister albums”….“Warmer came right behind Warm – recorded in the same burst, motivated by the same impetus, overflowing with the same consoling ethos”.

Ahead of the album’s April 13th arrival, Tweedy has shared the Warmer track “Family Ghost,” a “reflection on the difficulty of understanding and eliminating the types of casual and systemic racism pervasive in Jeff’s southern Illinois upbringing,” a press release for the album stated.

The 10-song collection was recorded during the same studio sessions at Chicago’s the Loft Studio that resulted in Tweedy’s 2018 album. Warmer was “recorded in the same burst, motivated by the same impetus, overflowing with the same consoling ethos,” author George Saunders, who penned Warm‘s liner notes, said of the “sister album.

Tweedy has said of Warmer in a statement, “At some point I separated the songs from the Warm/Warmer session into two records with individual character, but still tried to keep the overall tone and texture of the combined session consistent. In a lot of ways these two records could have been released as a double LP. Warmer means as much to me as Warm and might just as easily have been released as the first record of the pair.”

WARMER includes ten previously unavailable studio recordings written and recorded at The Loft in Chicago


Lucille Furs are a “baroque pop” band from Chicago. Their debut self-titled album was released a few months ago.

Lucille Furs consists of Trevor Pritchett (vocals, guitar, keys), Constantine Hastalis (keys), Patrick Tsotsos (bass), Nick Dehmlow (guitar) and Brendan Peleo-Lazar (drums). Initially, this band was conceptualized by Patrick, as the rest of us had been in musical projects in Chicago. At first, Constantine was not a member but since he was already a friend (and through our progression as a band), we decided to add him to the line-up on Mellotron and organ.


Band Members
Patrick Tsotsos
Nick Dehmlow
Brendan Peleo- Lazar
Trevor Newton Pritchett
Constantine Hastalis
Vinyl record available via Requiem Pour Un Twister
released March 15th, 2019

This  is a Woozy, lovelorn, plaintive, playful, tender, a list of all things. It could be any of them. It could be all of them. All and so much more. Love is never normal but it’s all I wanted us to be. Normal people, together and apart, finding comfort in the small things: a candle on a birthday, the click of the latch on the door when you return with the groceries. Plaintive components of a spellbinding journey, small cogs across the breadth of a relationship, from learning to love, to watching it all fall apart.

Recommended on a whim, I recommend this album with an utmost certainty that this is music for all ears and listens, among my most anticipated albums of 2018 when it was finally released . “There’s Always Glimmer” by Gia Margaret . And I can already say it’s gonna be one of those few albums that will leave quite an inspiring mark . I just love the sound and mood, subtle use of electronic parts, the overall warmth. Just beautiful.

On the surface, Gia Margaret’s music is somber, glistening songs might seem gloomy — especially when her lyrics revolve around alienation, anxiety, depression and memories she wishes would fade already. But as its title suggests, There’s Always Glimmer is about letting slivers of appreciation and light pierce the melancholy. “Birthday” is downright intoxicating, as Gia Margaret’s drowsy voice nestles comfortably against tender guitar lines.

All songs written, performed and produced by Gia Margaret 


Recorded and mixed by Nicholas Papaleo and Gia Margaret at Inside Voice, in Gia’s bedroom and at Decade Studios Smoke and West recorded and mixed by Doug Saltzman

Additional musicians:
Brendan Losch — additional guitar + backing vocals (2)
John Morton — backing vocals (2), drums (2, 3)
Scott Jacobson — additional guitar (10)
Ivan Pyzow — trumpet (3)
Quinn Tsan — additional vocals (7)
Bob Buckstaff — bass (2, 5)
Nicholas Papaleo — bass (6, 10), additional keys (2, 5, 10)
Molly Rife — cello (4)
Doug Saltzman — drum production (4, 12)
Chris Dye — drum production (10)

In and out of focus in a hallucinogenic haze, Bill’s conversations with himself follow a travel-worn map copied over and over again. The picker journeys sonically from familiar to unknown places, a style suspended between the traditional and the avant-garde, expansive and flowing like boiled-over magma. Bill MacKay is a Chicago based guitarist-composer-improviser. He has energized experimental folk, rock, and avant-garde scenes with his radiant songs, and creative and unpredictable approach to the guitar.

Smoke signals, sirens, urgent messages Bill MacKay‘s six-string mastery pulses like a sun with (Sandy) Bull-ish psycho fusions on Fountain Fire, his second solo album for Drag City. The fire in the album title is a continuity in Bill’s life – part of his genealogy, his living history, his astrology and the scorching effect of the over-driven slide throughout the album! Bill melds slide, acoustic and distorted electric tones on Fountain Fire to explore the enigma at the end of a continent, civilizations that precede others, and how we all end up the same. MacKay also throws another element into play: a stark and emotionally-charged vocal number that causes the hair to raise on the listener’s neck with a haunting and eerie beauty. This number, “Try It On,” shows Bill has found a broader plane of expression than he’s ever revealed before, his voice expanding his songwriting into uncharted zones and territories


releases March 22nd, 2019

Written, performed and produced by Bill MacKay 
Instruments: guitar, bass, piano, voice, percussion, organ, glass slide, requinto

With clattering piano, Nile Rodgers-esque guitar chunks and a stomping horn section, the new Fort Frances single is a wake-up call for the information age. Atwood Magazine describes the song as “a lyrical journey of endless news cycles and social media feeds; of theoretically ‘massive’ stories that surrender to the next day’s trend overnight; of a deluge of push notifications, emails and texts.”


Released January 23rd, 2019
Lyrics & music by David McMillin

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Lillie West knows that sometimes you have to look back to move forward. West, who records as Lala Lala on SubPop imprint Hardly Art, has, in her music, confronted the kind of trauma that can inspire self-destruction or, hopefully, self-reflection: a home invasion and subsequent paranoia; toxic relationships; battles with addiction; and the deaths of several close friends, to name a few.

On “Siren 042,” the Chicago-based singer-songwriter collaborates with WHY? founder Yoni Wolf to examine the guilt that trickles in after ignoring your better judgment — the particular sensation of seeing problems or hazards on the horizon but proceeding anyway. “There was a siren ringing in my head,” sings West on the chorus. “But I wasn’t listening, so I did what I did.”

“Siren 042” is written by Yoni Wolf of WHY? and Lillie West of Lala Lala.

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Chicago singer/songwriter Lillie West records as Lala Lala and she’s set to release the follow-up to 2016’s Sleepyhead. Her forthcoming Hardly Art LP, The Lamb, is a stark indie-rock record, informed by a difficult time period of West’s life, which consisted of “home invasion, deaths of loved ones and general violence.” As the album hops between lo-fi pop and scuzzy rock, West’s musings are nuanced and naked in their emotional outpouring. People react to early adulthood in vastly different ways and as West found herself intermingling with addiction and toxic people, she sought rejuvenation through sobriety and these new songs. “Destroyer” sees West trying to finally get passed previous hardship and “Water Over Sex” sees West grappling with her newfound more positive lifestyle. She’s a compelling, relatable narrator, someone who’s in her own head, but takes you on a journey through her clever mind and candid, unglamorous life experiences.

Can an album simultaneously charm and devastate? In the case of Lillie West and her solo project Lala Lala‘s sophomore album, The Lamb, the answer is an emphatic yes.

The record is a multi-dimensional exploration of both the human spirit and music that aims to crush souls. The quiet yet emotionally powerful grunge ballad “Moth” is pure escapism sonically and in its message. Beautifully knee-buckling, “Dove” is the feeling of plunging into the great blue sea. This landscape, however, is drowned with the tears of sorrow and pain, as West says goodbye to someone she dearly loved. On the chiming, dark rocker, “Destroyer”, West is brutally honest. She proclaims without hesitation, “You are the reason my heart broke behind my back”. Beyond the chorus, however, she also explains the many times she was almost her own destroyer. It’s a frightening yet honest revelation from the young artist.

The Lamb is also gorgeously widescreen, such as on the stirring and breathtaking “Dropout”. It is fantasy meeting reality, as West’s asks out loud, “Can you keep a secret? This is not the only one”. The dazzling and breathtaking approach of “Water Over Sex” uncovers the lies West tells herself to protect what she has. As she reveals, “I love my secrets, I’m lucky in making”. Vulnerability strikes on gritty “I Get Cut”, which summarizes the multiple events that have affected West’s life over the past two years.

Despite the trials and tribulations of her not-so-distant past, West still found a way to make them beautiful and stunning. Through her own perseverance, we understand that the human spirit is stronger than one can imagine. We understand that even a lamb can quietly roar.

The Lamb is out now via Hardly Art.

Wilco may have set a high water mark for experimental Americana with 2002’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and 2004’s A Ghost is Born, but frontman Jeff Tweedy has spent the intervening years slowly inching away from the abstract and obtuse elements of those LPs, in favor of more direct and explicit songwriting. Warm, his first proper album under his own name, marks the exceptional culmination of that approach. Written in the wake of his father’s passing, and as Tweedy enters his 50s, these deeply intimate and skeletal songs consider what it means to remain in the present, what it means to be a link in a family chain, and what it means to appreciate the joys of life even as darkness threatens to swallow us whole.

Rarely has Tweedy conveyed so much emotion with such sparse arrangements. On standout track “How Hard It is for a Desert to Die,” each vivid note of his acoustic guitar carries remarkable emotional heft. On opening track “Bombs Above,” he recounts his battle with opioid addiction in a near-whisper—“I’m taking a moment to apologize,” he sings—backed by knotted guitars and his elder son, Spencer, gently thumping the drums. Even “Let’s Go Rain,” a major-key jangle and the album’s most accessible track, utilizes its sunny melody as a foil for an allegory of total destruction, and the deception makes it all the more chilling.

On “War on War,” from Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, Tweedy proclaimed, with then-typical abstraction, that “You have to learn how to die / If you want to want to be alive.” Throughout Warm, he conveys his gratitude for that life with a clarity and solemnity that, finally, brings that sentiment into sharp focus. “I don’t believe in heaven,” he sings on the album’s title track. For Tweedy, heaven, and hell, are right here on earth.


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Campdogzz are a Chicago indie rock five-piece who released their sophomore album, In Rounds earlier this month via 15 Passenger. The band was the first to sign to Cursive’s record label and they came to the Paste Studio to perform three songs: “Raw Bone Ring,” “Run Wild” and “Dry Heat.”

Campdogzz capture the bleak yet spirited heart of the industrial midwest in a five-piece band propelled by driving rhythms, insistent dual guitars set in intriguing arrangements, and the haunting, evocative songs and voice of Tulsa native Jess Price. In a moment, Jess turns a beguiling melody to a darkening storm, rich in portent and meaning.

Campdogzz have earned a devoted following in Chicago and the midwest, with a lineup that has solidified into a potent live band featuring Jess Price (lead vocals, guitar and keyboard); Mike Russell (guitar and backup vocals); Nick Enderle (guitar); Mahmoud Haygood (bass); and Matt Evert (drums). In addition to their own headlining shows and tours (until recently conveyed by a school bus rigged for self-sufficient touring and camping; if you don’t know where to get the best falafel in every American city, you are definitely not a Campdog), the band has opened for Big Thief, Sam Evian, Ohmme, Tim Kasher and others. They were recently seen in the first season of the Netflix series, “Easy,” recorded a popular Audiotree live video session, and self-released “Riders in the Hills of Dying Heaven” in 2015. That early recording has been streamed nearly 2 million times. Now, Campdogzz are poised to come aggravate your blues, bang your head, and remind you where you are on the long road away from home.


1. Raw Bone Ring 1:03 2. Run Wild 6:41 3. Dry Heat 12:50

Mike Russell, Jess Price, Nicholas Enderle, Andrew Rolfsen, Chris Dye


There’s probably a reason why shoegaze never achieved widespread musical acceptance. The swirling, trippy waves of sound over the distant vocals and drums that were often more faint pulse than propulsive pop beat created a genre that would be beloved by few, but never embraced by many. As one of the blessed few who love the shoegaze sound, I was incredibly excited by Lightfoils’ new EP, Chambers, which perfectly captures classic shoegaze sound.

Shoegaze came out of England but Lightfoils comes out of Chicago, but you wouldn’t detect anything particularly American about the band. Singer Jane Zabeth Nicholson’s dreamy vocals are the sonic equivalent of Vasoline over a camera lens, taking an image just slightly out of focus. Her voice is similarly, and beautifully, out of focus, preventing her voice from being tethered to a particular geography.

Instrumentation is also an important part of shoegaze, and Lightfoils deliver there, too. Guitarists Neil Yodnane and Zeeshan Abbasi deploy the feedback, distortion, and tremolo characterizing the ethereal sound, although Lightfoils does play with cleaner guitar sounds in interesting ways.

The clean tones are in play on “Duende,” which has folk-influenced, almost-Spanish melody emerging from a chorus-laden guitar. Nicholson’s voice hangs over the track like a mist while dueling guitars chime and John Rungger’s drums ever-so-gently push the track along.

“Summer Nights” also has clean tones, built upon a low-key tremolo-y riff that almost phases in and out of time. But not time as in beat, but rather time as in chronology. The song, with its beautiful melodies and crystal-clear drums, gets stronger and more focused over an epic eight minutes, and while it never becomes a straight-ahead rock song, it does become more of a rock song.

Great shoegaze, like My Bloody Valentine or The Jesus and Mary Chain, can be liberating. Instead of focusing on notes and beats, the listener becomes wrapped up in sonic textures. It’s not so much about a song, so much as it’s about creating an almost-secret-yet-complete world.

Lightfoils have built a beautiful, sonically gauze-hazed environment in just five songs (and just over half an hour). Listeners who missed the first wave of shoegaze in the 1990s, or simply miss the sound today, should give Lightfoils a chance.