Archive for September, 2009


Gavin Glass Brings Us Irish Southern Rock…

From the land of Jameson and some truly excellent folksters, comes Gavin Glass – a man who used to roll with Lisa Hannigan. Yeah, the same Lisa who used to roll with the other Irish lad I give a damn about: Damien Rice. Musically speaking though, it’s practically irrelevant. Gavin is country southern home cooking: yee-haw melodies, folk meets blues strumming, a throaty, yet soothing delivery. Gavin is a Whiskeytown rendition all over again, and if you know anything about this blog, our Irish companion received a big compliment.


And So It Begins — SDRE

with Seattle based Sunny Day Real Estate, who turned their back on the grunge craze to spearhead the emo movement. Sure, today the word emo may cause one to cringe, maybe even an automatic hate towards the act. Sunny Day created captivating soundspaces with strong guitar play tuned to the key of 90s rock. Their music churned, it came down and after light melodic strumming, rose right back up. For the first time, this evening, I have the opportunity to witness what the fuzz was all about.

From 98’s How It Feels to Be Something On

Sunny Day Real Estate :: Pillars

SDRE are simply kicking this live music week off. Tomorrow, I’m finally graced with my favorite live act of ’05: Autolux. And a few days later, Sea Wolf brings his relaxing chamber pop my way. Let the fall season begin…


Still, Chicago Did Rock (In the 90s)

A few weeks ago something amazing occurred. A former Chicago music aficionado – James Van Osdol of Local 101 fame –  announced he wanted to chronicle the 90s Chicago rock scene – in book form. The only dilemma? He needed our help – the music fans who were fortunate enough to experience this era; more like a movement, really. James was short on cash, and in order to make our dreams a reality, he needed 17K. His deadline came. The flow wasn’t raised. And now, supposedly, the book won’t become a reality. Crushed? I’ll say devastated. But…

In the meantime, I’ll share some bands from that era I played ceaselessly. If I had the knowledge and expertise, like James has and hopefully will share, I’d try my hand at filling in the huge gap the lack of this book has created. All I have are memories, not knowledge or precision on the Chicago scene. It was James Van Osdol, who introduced me to the first band that made me realize good music rarely falls into your lap. One must make an effort. Luckily, his Local 101 radio show made it simplistic. That band, the truly first one that made music click for me, were the Smoking Popes.

Simplistic, concise tracks were the Popes specialty. Pop-punk with an edge; and that advantage, to me at least, was Josh Caterer’s unique voice – it was and still is today, laid-back, full of earnest romanticism, lovelorn, at times; sung like we’re sitting in that lounge with Josh hearing him pour out his heart for our enjoyment. 16 or so years ago, it wasn’t the meaning of these songs that caught me, but the fast-paced tempo of most numbers. As time went on, I realized the many facets of the Smoking Popes; and thank James and the Popes today for spawning an insatiable love for new, interesting music that required stepping outside of my element to discover…

Smoking Popes :: Rubella

Smoking Popes :: Under the Blanket

Disclaimer: Chicago did spawn countless bands and records in the 00s, too. Don’t misinterpret my title, faithful readers.


Spank Rock Re-emerges, Sorta…

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The wordsmith behind the 2 Live Crew for hipsters act, Spank Rock hasn’t done much for me since 2006’s debut record. A party starter of an album, really, where pressing play and letting it ride made people put their hands up, BUMP, and shake it.

The dirty-minded MC, who has been stagnant as of late, appears on NYC’s punk band with a twist Japanther’s Radical Businessman. Before, the poet uttered lines like shake it till my dick turns racist, and now, he spits 1, 2, 3, 4, fuck the cops! Have these past few years turned our hero angry and not interested in dirty scenarios?

Let’s hope not. Experience Radical Businessman….

Spank Rock :: Race Riot on the Dancefloor


I Asked and Quickly Received…

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There is a scene, a classic one, from The Wire where only one word is uttered many times over. The word is fuck. Bunk Moreland and Jimmy McNulty, two detectives hot on the trail of a female homicide, are having an epiphany. After many tiresome hours, the two gumshoes realize the solution to the problem. This morning, while taking in those eight hours away from music happenings, I saw Hawksley Workman is briefly stepping into the states. And I was just complaining about how the man doesn’t visit. Without hesitation, I scrolled down to see who the lucky winners will be. My current locale? No, of course not. But, he is rolling through Schubas, my second-favorite Chicago venue.

On this Sunday in October, I have a prior engagement. Within a second, all I could think of was fuck. Nothing more. Instead of uttering the obscenity because I figured it all out, this was more in frustration, to put it lightly. Although, every problem has a solution. Either in Chicago, or one of the other venues below, I will be there. Don’t disappoint me, HW…

20-Oct-09 Cafe Du Nord Cafe Du Nord San Francisco, CA

21-Oct-09 Hotel Cafe Hotel Cafe Los Angeles, CA

25-Oct-09 Schubas Tavern Schubas Tavern Chicago, IL

28-Oct-09 City Winery City Winery New York, NY

29-Oct-09 Tin Angel Tin Angel Philadelphia, PA

A number very representative of what drew me to Hawksley in the first place…

Hawksley Workman :: When You Gonna Flower


Hawksley Workman and His Little Beauties…

Ontario is being selfish. They have a versatile one-man jam, who is capable of keeping us guessing from album to album – sometimes even from track to track – but are keeping the goodness to themselves. Hawksley Workman is glam rock. No, a spiritual composer and quirky pop enthusiast. With his eclectic collection of records, he’s everything, really. Ultimately though, an artist who has won me over. There are artists that put out maybe a few songs, or a stunner of a record. After that, anything they do, no matter the true quality of it, is locked in for greatness. Hawksley Workman achieved that status.

2006’s Treeful of Starling, an album far from what originally hooked me, is soft-spoken and full of light and optimistic melodies. Workman’s vocal instrument plays a prominent roll on all nine tracks. Below, is one that caught me upon first listen…

Hawksley Workman :: Hey Hey Hey (My Little Beauties)

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September 2009