Archive for the 'Culture' Category


If I only knew being a concert technician was an option…

Earlier in my life I had to pick a profession, perhaps a trade. Ultimately, something that would afford me a living of some sort. Awhile back, like yesterday and today, music was at the forefront of my thoughts, and when it came time to pick something to focus on in school, I wanted it to be music based. The kicker though, my musical talent was nil. So the thought of entering into the business on the business side of things was perhaps my only choice. When this life altering decision time presented it self, the industry was almost at the point of a radical overhaul due to the internet and what it was — at the time — slowly doing to physical record sales. I decided against it and chose something radically different. Fast forward a decade plus and for most artists, stepping out on the road and performing live gigs is how one makes a living. Enter the concert technician.

A working professional doing what they love. For a very respectable wage, too. The Wall Street Journal shares an excellent write-up on what we all used to know as the roadie and how this gig has evolved. With so many artists having to tour, and for many, tour extensively, there is a great demand for tech production crew gigs.

Roadies: Unlikely Survivors in the Music Business



Would That Be Nice?

Luckily for us, Divine Fits are not a super group. Meaning, they’re committed to this game. It’s not even a temporary project; this quartet knows they have something and want to pursue it beyond their debut LP. The amalgamation of Spoon, Wolf Parade/Handsome Furs, and the New Bomb Turks is everything it should be: consistent and near impossible to ignore

As a committed Spoon fan, a neon synth enthusiast, and one who adores a driving guitar with throaty vocals, this record was inevitably going to be taken in. A lot. If my Last FM is an indication, it’s transcended any original expectations. Locked for a best of 2012.

A Thing Called Divine Fits

An 8-bit pulsating sound drawing Daniel’s distinct vocals front and center courtesy of RJD2:

Divine Fits :: Would That Not Be Nice (RJD2 Remix)


Hippie Priest Bum-out…

Chicago has a reputation with some that if the audience doesn’t know the music first hand, no one is moving. Yea, Chi don’t dance no more style. And in that great city’s defense, my experience has been your cities don’t move much either. But what happens when you know who’s behind the decks and that maestro is playing his favorite cuts you know nothing of? The controller of the evening can have a massive impact.

Fast forward a year and a half since the demise of LCD Soundsytem and front man James Murphy hasn’t lost his edge: His post-punk meets disco knowledge when applied to the speakers still brings in bodies ready to be juked. In heavy droves. James and his beat keeper Pat Mahoney spun to an almost sold-out, dance filled crowd Thursday night at the Boulder Theater. Their weapons of choice are an eclectic mix of disco stars only James and a few select ears are privy to. More tracks are older than the average 2012 groove fan.”We’re playing some weird tracks”, uttered James as he thanked the beat happy crowd for showing this DJ duo respect by forgetting the weekend has yet to arrive and pulsated with every disco-tinged wax track.

If the flow is right, the tracks all have a theme — energy — and the crowd embraces what the DJ strives for, moving in unison to the beats are inevitable. Does it really matter that the hippest retired rocker is orchestrating the soundtrack to your evening?


Since it’s my time….

If I asked you, the dedicated music fan who lives it, if your car had an AUX input, you’d know, right? Recently I was out of town and a friend and I needed to borrow a way to drive north. We asked my friend’s sibling if he’d lend us his car. Without hesitation, his response was, “Sure.” Without missing a beat, I fired back to him, “Does your ride have an AUX input?” I was rolling with a friend, one who our conversations could become my soundtrack to this trip; eventually though, things need to be changed up and something has to be on blast to further amp me up for our arrival. The loaner’s response was, “I think I do.” What?

Either this individual is of the odd type, or someone like myself that thinks about access to MY music before anything else, is abnormal. What I’ve come to realize is a lot of people don’t give a damn. The radio is fine. Driving in silence works, too. For me, the radio takes away that freedom we’re provided to spin what we want, when we want, how many times to repeat it, etc. The radio from Chicago to the upper part of Michigan doesn’t meet my approval. But then I’m willing to try the randomnity of digital radio…

Since it’s all quantified and based on some algorithm more complex than trying to fathom not knowing if you have an AUX or not, I’m willing to spend time with Spotify’s radio service. See, it’s based on an artist I dig.  This feature, while not always spot on, has given exposure to artists new to me. It’s made semi-stale genres fresh again. With what I consider eclectic tastes, I can’t always be up on styles I only spin occasionally; in comes Spotify. My experience with Pandora is minimal; from what I remember though, Spotify’s option seems more diverse, meaning I won’t be repeating too many songs, a la Pandora. While spinning Tesla Boy, the Russian innovator of 80s brightness in 2012, Spotify turned me onto a plethora of Junior Jack meets Daft Punk happy house. A truly missing genre from my listening habits.


Digital Harmony…

I have a very large music collection now at my fingertips. Sure, this vast collection, one that almost seems comprehensive at times,  is at yours, too; we all received it last summer. Since moving from a permanent spot and now being in more of a transient mode, my musical collection is entirely digital. Of course I miss the tangible aura of physical media, but for now, placing needle on wax isn’t available to me. Spotify exponentially grew my soundscapes; please note my collection prior to this service was rather impressive; if not that, definitely eclectic. My shuffle transitions still make me smirk today. Since my laptop doesn’t consist of every song and record done by everybody, I have fallen — hard know — for this service. Though my HDD is rather complete to my liking, I almost on a daily basis realize what wasn’t transferred into my digital universe. Today’s epiphany…

struck when I was pedaling briskly on two wheels. Out of the corner of my eye, I witness a laser-focused older woman stopped in her Corolla. She was simply at an intersection waiting for her opening; though why would I focus on her longer than a glance? A surgical mask graced her face. Yes, you think of SARS when you witness this in public; I recollect how brilliant those first two Clinic albums were, and how they’re lacking from my HDD. Clinic, a quartet outta Liverpool, were always photographed wearing surgical masks; rumored to perform live wearing the same garb, too.

Enter Spotify and a chance to welcome me back to that spooked out punk, meets fuzzy where did that sound come from rock….

I want to thank Molly Mask for making my collection that much better today:


It’s a Miracle…

That this blog has been resuscitated? I suppose its heart did stop beating for over six months’ time. And by no means did music lose its pulse; like the other hiatuses MiS has taken, the music around me didn’t stop piling up, or I didn’t hit the STOP (that still exist?) button. Much has happened in my musical bubble over the course of this time. This art form we’ve chosen to follow, invest our time and money in, and help to add something to our day-to days, never is shut off. Music encompasses everything that I do from day-to-day. On a Friday morning, the soundtrack is upbeat and celebratory after shutting down another week; after a rough day, the dial turns to something carefree, maybe even nostalgic to remember a simpler time. On a random Tuesday, while at work, but really before work, it’s a pulse that amps me up for the day, one that maybe even is uplifting in an inspiring way. Like you, I love creating my original soundtrack on a daily basis. Miracle, a track off Parisian classically trained for the club Yuksek‘s latest, has been electrifying my days, no matter what’s happening around me….

Yuksek :: Miracle


Our Year Featuring Hawksley Workman…

The multi-faceted one-man jam, Hawksley Workman is always keeping me guessing. The Canadian had another eclectic year with his upbeat, electro-rock self and his minimalist piano perfection side, too.

When the Ontarioan makes his voice the forefront of a performance, the outcome is moving. Hawksley pairs up with fellow compatriot by way of Glasgow John McDermott to bring more moving minimalism with Our Year.

The original can be found here; what’s below doesn’t appear too synched up with the audio…


Native Tongues Make Her Move….

It’s unfortunate it takes crossing paths with a member of the Billionaire Boys Club to ignite this blog. Earlier today, while rolling through none other than J. Crew – hey, they’ve stepped up their game – I crossed paths with Pharrell Williams, who I know as a man behind one of, at the time, my favorite records of 2002. Sure, time can be cruel and the rap meets rock thing isn’t as hot; but realize In Search Of occasionally is still spun. And way back when, N*E*R*D was an excellent act live; the Metro in Chicago can definitely attest. To celebrate me locking eyes with Mr. Williams today, I wanted to share a remix of their single from LP #2, She Wants to Move. Where the original was hot, the addition of many more verses care of Mos Def, De La Soul, Common, and Q-Tip help to create five minutes of hard-hitting beats and rhymes.

I regret not shaking the man’s hand.

N*E*R*D :: She Wants to Move (Native Tongues remix)


Rhymefest’s Prosperity….

Chicago-based Rhymefest has a lot to say behind beats and when the needle isn’t down, too. The man is a conscious poet – one who comes across sincerely concerned for what’s happening around him. Recently he sat down with the Chicago Reader and made me respect him that much more.

It’s funny because I live in the hood near Barack, you’d think we’re doing good—but the amount of violence that happens in a ten-mile radius of here, it should be embarrassing to him. He should have more to say about the violence around his hood.
They were fixing things up around here for the Olympics and were going to gentrify the area. I just wonder: How do we get so much money for an Olympic bid, for this Olympic committee, but there is no money for teachers? How is there money for all these new police trucks, money for assault rifles, when we don’t even have enough police in the city? . . .

Chicago Reader interview featuring Rhymefest

And finally, his follow-up to Blue Collar, El Che is upon us. Get funkdafied with his qualms on preying upon the less fortunate on Prosperity


In the Lab With Lidell…

I’m really comfortable now with the idea that I am this many styles….and this many directions….I feel like I can rightfully hold a compass….and feel like I’m not lost; I’m going where I want to be going…..

The soulful German, Jamie Lidell, not scared to experiment with his sound, either on record or in front of a live audience, is preppin’ Compass – his follow up to ’08’s Jim.

If the two tracks below are any indication, we’ll have more slow burners and funky cuts on the blues-tip.

Compass & The Ring

Below, step into the lab for a making and introspective face-time with Jamie, Beck, and Feist as they put it down….

Upcoming Shows:


May 2021