Archive for November, 2009


We’re All So Sick of California Songs…

No, not true. A ‘lil bit. But realistically, this state, full of velvet ropes and a fierce attitude, spawns infinite musical inspiration for many artists in my catalog. Luckily for us, the music fan ,who enjoy an upbeat number, either in sweet, surf-inspired concise form, or in stoner meets jock rock form, California is always in. Take the former, Wax, a band I only know for writing a number under two minutes and 30 seconds, birthed California – a song that deserves the attention its video generated from at the time, a young, creative, and always up for a good time, Spike Jonze.  The latter, a stomper from a MiS favorite, Local H, angrily protest their dislike for songs about the West. Scott may sing, The message is the same; it’s gettin’ pretty lame; but for me, this state generates love, in music form, of course…

Wax :: California

The real burning man (video)

Local H :: California Songs


Tesla Boy is Bright and Russian…

Quick! What do you think of when I say, Moscow? Zangief and vodka? Yes, me too. But what I didn’t know is their adoration for 80s inspired bright synth-based pop, as well. If you didn’t get enough of Cut Copy’s swaying beats and sunshine evoking synths, Tesla Boy from Moscow might be the new-wave, meets electro act to fill their shoes in 2009. Not everyone making dancy and mainstream appealing beats are Australian. The trio has taken cues from Prince, my favorite sections of Maniac, and most elements of 80s inspired pop you wanted to show back up in 2009 to create fire. Catchy, even irresistible blends of sound are what this trio brings to a genre I lately never tire of.

Tesla Boy :: Electric Lady

Tesla Boy :: Spirit of the Night


High Speed Cakes!

Dreamworks records in ’99 and ’00 helped to craft two hard to forget records unique from one another – one stemming from sElf, who produced a grandiose record responsible for this blog, amongst countless other oddities. And then Dreamworks hoped to continue the Chicago 90s rock boom into the 21st century. For the label, this venture into the Midwest never garnered monetary success; but for the keen listener,closely following an era, a movement, aural pleasure care of guitars never left Chicago. Take the quartet Cupcakes, a sonically space-like act that carried over the crunchy guitar sound from yesteryear into their 2000 s/t debut. Light, sweet power-pop melodies are sprinkled throughout most tracks. Soft, yet tightly layered build-ups exist throughout most 13 tracks, that are precursors to eruptions of walls of sound.

Living through this era was difficult – I was at the age where strutting into a bar, a Chicago rock show, wasn’t an option. Luckily though, most acts ventured into all-ages venues; but unfortunately, especially after sitting down again with this quartet’s debut, Cupcakes were an act I never witnessed in all their sonic glory.

Cupcakes :: Black Helicopters

Cupcakes :: Intentionally Vague

Cupcakes :: Exaggerator

Not that I know from personal experience, but YouTube showcases a story of Cupcakes being mighty impressive in a live setting. Good looks on the link, JT…


We Like Beer!

I turn to hip-hop to smile; for a carefree few minutes when I’m fiending for beats & rhymes. Embrace the fun and humorous aspect hip-hop can provide. For instance, People Under the Stairs, a LA duo 10 years strong with seven LPs, likes to enjoy themselves. Numerous tracks off their latest, Carried Away, were constructed for the weekend, or intended to rock a party in throwback style. Many were written for the heads who know how to take a step back and take things for what they are.

To last a decade in the underground scene, the love for the craft of samples, scratching, artful poetry needs to be strong. After listening to PUtS’ Beer, their adoration for the frosty beverage is equally intense – possibly on another level even. Lyrics straight to the point can only make you smile, smirk, remember why you listen to music.

You like Ed Hardy? WE LIKE BEER!
You like hanging out on Twitter? WE LIKE BEER!

Step elsewhere, if you’re looking for something else…

People Under the Stairs :: Beer

A smooth, yet funky beat intended more for the club; but by no means is the duo not smiling and pumping their fists…


Local H’s 68 Angry Minutes…

The main influence for that song was Naughty Girl…by Beyonce.

Verbalized by Scott Lucas, the front man for the hard-hitting Chicago duo Local H, when asked about last year’s stunna White Belt Boys. 12 Angry Months by Local H was without question my favorite record of last year. And up until today, it still receives consistent spins. A very real break-up record that birthed seven consecutive nights of the act re-creating all of their albums in true start to finish fashion. Absolute nostalgia aside, Scott Lucas, Brian St. Clair, and a host of blasts from the past, showed why they survived the post 90s Chicago boom: sincere passion and a true love for the art we all cherish and follow fervently.

As anxiously mentioned before, their momentous live occasion was being filmed for a DVD. 12 plus months later, the final product is available for consumption. The tracklisting and bonus material consists of the following:

Track Listing-

1. JANUARY: the one with ‘kid’

2. FEBRUARY: michelle (again)

3. MARCH: bmw man

4. APRIL: white belt boys

5. MAY: the summer of boats

6. JUNE: taxi-cabs

7. JULY: 24 hour break-up session

8. AUGUST: jesus christ! did you see the SIZE of that sperm whale?

9. SEPTEMBER: simple pleas

10. OCTOBER: machine shed wrestling

11. NOVEMBER: blur

12. DECEMBER: hand to mouth

Bonus: Fritz’s Corner, Cynic, Heavy Metal Bake Sale, Half Life, Wolf Like Me, and All The Kids Are Right
Bonus Commentary from Scott and Brian with insight into the recording of 12 Angry Months and more!

If their record and love for rock hasn’t persuaded you, check two trailers…




Hyph Mngo!

When browsing the ‘net, you come across a lot of hyperbole. But when uttered through reputable sources, I stop and take a listen. It sometimes works out; and other times, I wasted three-five minutes of not listening to this. The hype went something like: hottest electronic cut of 2009. Since the club this year hasn’t seen my fancy footwork, nor have I kept my ear to this scene, I figured, why not?

Joy Orbison outta London starts M83- minimalistic, slowly begins to build with light laser-like synths; female vocal stabs are set in motion and the funk begins care of an upbeat tempo and BASS. Quality UK-garage, I guess. Not sure what the electronic track of the year could/would be. Decide for yourself if this is it. Most club tracks do repeat themselves – loop over and over again so you can find that groove. Maybe you’ll step to the dub and work your two-step.

Joy Orbison :: Hyph Mngo


What Really Changed the Game?

appetite for self-destructionYea, the Internet might have ruined the industry. We know. I might be guilty of not helping an industry we once all loved. The Chicago Tribune’s Greg Kot impressively expounded on this 21st century topic in his excellent page turner Ripped: How the Wired Generation Revolutionized Music. And in my queue, of endless books to read, is Appetite for Self Destruction: a historical perspective on the last three decades of an industry some have given their left nut to. Why bother reading, in book form, what has been all over every form of media for a good eight or nine years? How about because it’s about to become a book on TV – well, HBO, to be exact. The mad geniuses behind The Wire – an untouchable series about life on the streets of Baltimore – are rumored to be concocting an adaptation of the book. The flawless duo have purchased the rights to Appetite. And now, all we can do is wait. Oh, it will be all in ‘da game!

Get the full details at


Back When Liz Phair Was Cool…

One of the coveted – if not the one and only publicly known female artists – to come out of the Chicago 90s boom was Liz Phair. Her debut record, Exile in Guyville, was adored, and still today is highly regarded by fans of that era; critics showed love, too. Off her ’95 EP, Juvenilia, came a cover – one that AMG claims has been recorded 141 different times. The well-known, notoriously to some, while others embracing all versions, no matter the idiocracy, is Turning Japanese. To me, a fun track – nothing more and definitely not much less. Not Phair’s usual lo-fi formula: an energetic delivery from Liz, including a great time change, churning guitar play, hard-hitting, frenetic drums, all with a sense further proving post 90s Phair just isn’t the same.

Liz Phair :: Turning Japanese


Pulsating News For You…

George Michael meets Daft Punk is how Seb, a British artist full of sunshine jams, describes himself. I’m a sucker for light-hearted dance numbers. The two former acts –ex-Wham wonder boy and thy French robots – are artists to cherish, not distance yourself from. But it’s the more thrust worthy version, care of Stockholm Syndrome, full of pulsating electro beats I find myself swaying to. The original is tough to step to; but with the re-fix, the tempo is intensified, an extension worthy of finding your gruuve is tacked on, and the airy vocals become more prominent over the hard-hitting rhythms. Feel it…

Seb :: News For You

Seb :: News For You (Stockholm Syndrome remix)

In news that involves great finds this year, the commercial of the year is here. Nice work, VW.

Upcoming Shows:


November 2009