Archive for the 'Prairie Cartel' Category


Chicago’s Caviar…

She got the gold mine; I got the shaft…

This blog is bogus. I proclaim I’m sharing music I truly dig with you. But returning to the archives showcases only a few acts I hope to cheerlead for until my ear drums are blown out. A joke, but there are many acts I’ve held on the highest  pedestal who’ve yet to grace these pages. It’s a jagged peak, one that once is surmounted, opens up all the posts one can generate. Some acts you covet so much you’d hate to butcher their MiS debut.

Caviar, a guitar driven act that gave nods to the modern rock sound of the mid-to late 90s, has never been formally introduced.  Figdish, their predecessor, has been mentioned. What Caviar reincarnated into got a few nods — and they are the best supergroup ever. Caviar’s late 90s’ sound was fresh to me. Yes, they hopped on the electronica sound — without this direction, The Prairie Cartel most likely wouldn’t exist — but used those elements sparingly to channel an amalgamation of the sound of before with a direction that accentuated them well: Multi-layered tracks marinaded in crunchy, hard-hitting guitars with a bright appeal courtesy of keys and perfectly placed samples over witty lyricism.

Take “Goldmine”, an indifferent sounding vocal delivery proclaiming one’s inferiority to an unreachable female prize. With loud, chugging guitar lines, a light sprinkle of piano melody, and a shameless approach to woman and pop music in general, “Goldmine” speaks highly of Caviar’s true character.


Quiet Storm King…

1995. A year a board has been dissecting — the year holds a special place in my rotation.  Figdish, a Chicago-based power pop quartet, one who ultimately helped spawn The Prairie Cartel, only further accentuate why 90s Chicago is a sound I never grow tired of. In true power pop fashion, Quiet Storm King clocks in at under three minutes; past Veruca Salt contributor, Nina Gordon, lends her vocals to bring this upbeat staple to the forefront of my rotation. 16 years later.

Fig Dish :: Quiet Storm King


1/3 into ’11…

Where MiS has been is irrelevant; not where this blog is headed is too important either, but know that music has still been at the forefront around these parts. I no longer believe weak years exist in music — this year has already seen numerous records from past favorites. Oh, the TN popsters Heypenny dropped a monster, too.

The coveted spot in ’09 went to the Belgium act Das Pop. Sometimes I roll back on my choices for best-ofs, especially when Chicago-based acts come into play. Still, Das Pop are an act I continue to return to, and their record, The Game, is one that’s been on repeat. Inevitably, these boys — because the Prairie Cartel has been stagnant — kick off the resurgence of MiS….

Das Pop :: Skip the Rope


12 Months Later…

How relevant is a top 10 list when in reality, you’re only really still listening to a few of last year’s records? As I use this blog as an archive of ’09, I’ve quickly realized a top 5 would have been more appropriate. My list from last year –one I can only get half into a year later – has not held up super great over time. If I’d do it again, I’d take five of those 10 records and accurately place them in spots they’re truly worthy of. I simply take a record and place it into its respective spot based on spins received. My top 5 of ’09 done right in ’10:

#5 Yuksek :: Away From the Sea

#4 Royksöpp :: Junior

#3 Das Pop :: s/t

#2 The Dream :: Love Vs Money

#1 Prairie Cartel :: Where Did All My People Go

When I made my list last year, this record was only two months old. By the time this record was released, I had many of these tracks already as miscellaneous MP3s and had seen Prairie Cartel, according to one, over 100x. I wasn’t in dire need of acquiring this LP. I thought I practically had it on my HDD already. Wrong. Upon hearing this Chicago-based supergroup in proper studio form, I was instantly hooked. Take the elements I loved from their former selves and blend it with beats to create my perfect mix.

Prairie Cartel :: Cracktown

Prairie Cartel :: No Light Escapes Here


Wanna Be My Suitcase Pimp?

I made a mistake when composing my best of ’09 list. Like anyone who listens to many records in the course of 12 months, this end-of-the-year ritual – for some – is a challenge; like a post here, one could always go back and make changes, improve upon a previous draft, per se.

Prairie Cartel,the super group of the past few years – in awesomeness and the makeup of the members – unleashed, after many troubling events, Where Did All My People Go – an amalgamation of their former selves, with a serious, mature evolution of the dance meets spacey enthusiasts this quartet has become. 2009 was no joke when it came to records; but if I had to go in and edit, I’d realize, I made a huge mistake.

Prairie Cartel :: Suitcase Pimp


Hard Times with Prairie Cartel…

If I was ever going to fall for a band before I even heard a note, it was inevitably going to be Prairie Cartel. A Chicago-based, smart, electro-rock act. Sure, the location this trio (ultimately) stemmed from helps; a passion for rock and dance-based music isn’t going to hurt either; but it’s where they really come from that secured a place in my rotation. From the ashes of Fig Dish, a 90s sound, meets power-pop Chicago act; and Caviar, the reincarnation of Fig Dish as a smarter, wittier act, who like its 90s older brother, met their demise because of major label drama. Fine and good, because Blake Smith and Mike Willison, both driving members of both aforementioned acts, teamed up again to found Prairie Cartel.

This 3rd generation Fig Dish does not stop there though – what cemented a fervent interest in this act was when they recruited local Scott Lucas, who receives an occasional head nod over here. Placing these three veterans together churned out, Where Did All My People Go, a serious, potentially party-like record, one that should have ranked higher in ’09.

Recently, the China Shop began an exposé on this Chicago supergroup and its long road to finally recording last year’s dirty rock record. Blake Smith was recruited to report, in narrative form, this long and treacherous journey.

Prairie Cartel :: Jump Like Chemicals

Prairie Cartel :: 10 Feet of Snow


2009 In List Form…

2009, the closing of a decade – this past period of 10 years has given me much time to sway my listening habits: explore new genres, turn my back on others, experience the change of mediums, and continue to revel in the decade before. Like last year, 2009 continued to make listening and discovering new acts easier than ever. But with that, came difficulties, too. In one word: Overwhelming. I, and most likely you, simply do not have the time to begin to sit down with even 25% of the released records each year. I try hard to at least sample recommended records from trusted listeners, spin releases in my preferred genres, and definitely make time for trusted artists.

If you read this blog, you might notice who was left off this list. And then I give a nod, a strong one, to the next-generation R. Kelly. A common theme: most records don’t stem from the states. Hit the jump for 10 LPs spun more heavily than the others…

Continue reading ‘2009 In List Form…’

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