Posts Tagged ‘Local H


Lifers Retour 2021

The rumor is we all have a purpose. Not everyone’s is created equal, where some might have a great undertaking, others appear small. But by no means less vital. Leaders seem to be more revered than others. And rightfully so: their responsibilities are great and potentially life-altering for many. This role comes in all forms and looks different depending on the field one leads in. During a global pandemic, one where initially no one knew what to do and what the rules of engagement were, many sat static. But some opted to quickly step up and continue what they do best: ROCK.

A decimation to the live music industry happened. For some, finding an alternative profession was never an option. As desirable and stable as some jobs are, there is a special feeling stepping in front of an audience, plugging in, and having music course through your audience’s body. For Local H, this is their purpose. Amps, drums, and uniquely modified guitars are their tools of choice.

We knew that one of the first artists to announce a national tour would be Local H. Last year’s album debuted a few weeks into the beginning of the pandemic. They took it in stride, knew their fans would be ready when the green light was given for venues to open their doors again. This Fall will mark the point where there is light at the end of this long, infectious tunnel that has been COVID-19 as Chicago’s Local H announce their Lifers Retour. Never one to half-ass anything rock related, the duo has secured 27 dates.


It’s March Plaidness!

64 teams, but only one can be the ultimate victor in a tournament’s bracket. March basketball hosts a major collegiate battle. Equally important, and way less fleeting than a two hour and 15 minute game, where most cease to ever think about again, is March Plaidness. A 64 song bracket of the Grunge Era. A period where many want to forget. But others, are still happily immersed in its sound: cacophonous guitars, quiet/loud/quiet/explosive patterns, sullen lyrical themes, and angst a plenty. Each artist of this period created their own unique story by their recorded output and off stage actions and shenanigans.

Where in basketball the teams are seeded based on talent, winning record, and historical value, this bracket is ranked based on popularity. Of course Pearl Jam, Nirvana, and Alice in Chains are ranked higher than Sunny Day Real Estate, Hum, and Local H. But music is subjective, what you consider brilliant and timeless, I haven’t hit play on since this plaid soaked period. Time can be a bitch on acts of this period, only so much truly holds up. Upsets are inevitable.

This bracket includes play-by-play analysis in the form of an essay for each competitor. Here is where this competition is worth participating in: reading someone else’s interpretation of an artist that’s been essential to your listening canon. Or engaging in a great riff on a single from that period you still can’t hear enough of.

I stumbled upon this greatness care of Local H, where their ’96 “Bound For the Floor” single went face-to-face against Pearl Jam’s “Corduroy” off 94’s Vitalogy. Artists I love, singles I used to adore, and still spin to this day laced up for this battle; Veruca Salt, PJ Harvey, Breeders, Placebo, etc. Advance or go home, who gives a shit. This is the Internet doing good: bringing my favorite musical decade back into the spotlight.


Another February, Another Podcast…

While Chicago is living through a February, they also continue to be immersed within a global pandemic. The latter has decimated live music. With more home time than we care for, many urban folks snow stuck, this might be the opportune period to create a podcast. Many would ask, Another podcast? This format is oversaturated many would state. But if you already have the fan base, and you have something to share, this couldn’t be a more optimal time.

Scott Lucas, front man of innovative rockers Local H, is taking a chance on this format with the Lifers podcast. The man is a self-described Lifer. A Lifer is a person who has skin in the game, has determined that this is the life for them. It doesn’t matter if they’re making it, or can barely piece together enough to keep themselves afloat, this is the path they have chosen to indefinitely follow. This podcast is a deep dive into the why and how of people that continue to persevere in their chosen art; music, film, production, all artistic forms are potential topics. This is a Local H podcast but so much more: never heard stories, unique banter, and an opportunity to hear how these inspiring artists continue to thrive when others fail.

At one point I dismissed podcasts as another thing vying for my attention. Where was I going to find the time to experience a two hour episode? But shit, this medium has endless potential. It’s educational entertainment.

When I want to learn more on a topic I will utilize a podcast. After completing a book, I will search for the author on a podcast. This provides the opportunity to sit with the writer, hear their stories, the why into their project and further understand the material. Today I asked myself why am I not doing the same for artists after they unleash a new record? If Episode 2 of Lifers is any indication, this might be where I look first.


2020’s Top Artists…

This period brings me joy. Best Of lists are popping up and my unique data is unearthed: Spotify Year End stats. Before I dive headfirst, I visualize what the results are. Did a favorite artist release a new record? Was a certain theme running through my life that a specific artist tackles masterly? Or am I as predictable in my middle age as I was a decade ago?

I consider myself strategic with my musical choices. You have to be. I continue to be a front to back album listener. I am true to artists of my past. I have a regular rotation. Spotify is my daily soundtrack.

I updated my account to a Family Plan this year. My wife and I had our own separate accounts. A switch to the Family Plan was common fiscal sense. But I continued to deflect because in my simple mind this would impact my listening stats. Spotify’s Year End Stats are always one of December’s highlights. They must be pure and accurate. If I had a Family Plan, would it display my Top 100 songs; if my daughter plays Taylor Swift, is this skewing my Top Artists? After some doctorate level research and next-level verifying via my Spotify squad, all wonderings led me to my stats staying true.

This plan enabled us to have five logins that would generate five unique year end stats. A peer using Spotify’s freemium option got wind of my upgrade and requested a handout. He wanted to wheel and deal. A Spotify Premium login for HBO GO access. Wait, you want to me to potentially jeopardize my Spotify account so I can view Curb Your Enthusiasm? What if I became blacklisted from my digital record collection? If anything was essential this year, music was it and nothing you can offer me is worth considering.

What’s indicative of this year’s Top Artists are how safe four of the five acts are for all ears. Our family was home a lot. Cooped up together. I opted for headphones when possible. But with kids around, I had to be semi-present. There wasn’t a fear of endlessly blasting these artists with little ears around; sensitive ears were safe around four of the five, too.

All five of these artists released new material. One maybe their greatest output over the course of three decades. Prince’s cavernous vault continues to be explored and excavated for our funky listening pleasure. Sault released a pair of truth telling wake up calls in the form of let’s set aside all the bullshit for a minute while we dance societies’ problems away records. Hawksley Workman is a staple in this home. He’s a game changer, an artist who towed us through 2020’s mucky trenches. Roisin has been whetting our appetite for years with one off singles of laser-heavy disco bliss and 2020 saw the unleashing of the dance floor ready Roisin Machine.

Predictability feels safe, routine makes my days easier than when shit is chaotic. My wife accurately listed four of the five Top Artists when I asked her for my top spots. If at middle age I’m predictable and becoming stuck in my stale ways, I will own that. At least my taste in music continues to be fresh.


Veruca Salt and Local H Visit Guitar World…

When you’re charting, you’re a darling. But if your single doesn’t have wings, you’re a liability and not worth keeping around. Guitar World sat down with Chicago’s Veruca Salt and Local H for a brief history of their major label hits and misses in the 90s. Chicago had a tight-knit scene where the weapon of choice was loud guitars. After Nirvana was signed and exploded, labels craved the next Seattle. Almost overnight, the label reps gravitated to the next gold rush city: Chicago.

Many of my favorites were excavated from the gritty, hole in the wall bars and venues of the city as a potential next big thing. Veruca Salt and Local H both shared enough commercial success to earn gold records. But as they’ve grown wiser, they let Guitar World know they’re glad those moments are behind them. Scott always had a true adoration for the craft and was inevitably going to persevere:

“Quitting never occurred to me. I appreciated being on a major label, but very quickly I said, ‘Time to move on.’ I knew it would be a lot of work, and that we would be doing a lot more of the work, but fuck it, you know? For a brief time we went to Palm Pictures, which was kind of like Island Jr., and we could record with Jack Douglas. 

“After that, you realize your overhead is getting lower and lower, and you’ve got to make adjustments. You tighten the belt – smaller crew, a van instead of a bus… And then not have any crew at all. But you can do it. It’s not impossible.“

While being dropped, shuffled around, and not properly respected, Lucas learned to cut his DIY teeth. Without those experiences and his bootstrapping mentality, H wouldn’t have been able to thrive during this pandemic with their innovative practices. Move after move has proved how creative and committed Local H are as a band who is in it for life.

This scene was cherished because it was happening not far from where I came up. Bands the local radio station played were accessible. It wasn’t impossible to see them live, rub shoulders with them at the merch table, and catch them multiple times in a month. These local acts were friends, bowled together, dated one another, and gratefully, shared the same bills. Seeing bands from the past in today’s print reaffirms how strong of a scene the city of Chicago had.

Hits, misses and major labels: Veruca Salt’s Louise Post and Local H’s Scott Lucas on surviving the ’90s alt-rock boom.


Local H Visits Psychedelic Magazine…

You got a brand new, potentially strongest record of your career. You can’t nationally tour to get the word out. But that won’t deter you from moving forward and continuing to do what you do best: “bashing the shit out of your instrument and screaming your head off”, shares Scott Lucas of Chicago’s Local H as he fields insightful questions from Psychedelic Magazine.

From Led Zepplin’s continued impact on their sound, that smart and deliberate tracklisting, Scott the regurgitator, and H’s purpose for insanely cathartic dynamics. A concise back and forth that further corroborates why this duo is going stronger than ever three decades later.


Daytrotter Sessions

The amount of time we have all lost to mindless Internet browsing is incalculable. Some sessions came away with nothing gained. Others, monumental happy accidents. Defunct bands are born again.

Daytrotter Studios was located in Rock Island, IL, about three hours west of Chicago. A multi-faceted venue: recording studio, live music venue, and a resting spot for musicians passing through the Quad Cities. Come in, stay awhile, in exchange, cut a few songs in our studio. We’ll share them via our website for all to enjoy.

This is a re-discovery. I was privy to this resource in its inception but ceased visiting and forgot about it. Sadly, and today I understand why this became the model, I lost touch with this collection when it became subscription-based. Thankfully an intentional search of an artist recently lead me astray; I plowed headfirst down a rabbit hole and Daytrotter reared it’s beautiful head and sucked me right back in. Hot damn, an almost overwhelming amount of material exists on Daytrotter’s free site, now hosted via Paste’s page.

The collection, which stems from 2006 until present day, hosts 1,000s of acts. From small, I have no idea who the hell you are artists, to favorites of mine, and names your Mom might even know. Many pages have downloadable links to the artist’s in-studio performance, the completist in you may appreciate this.

A few sessions from artists I can’t get enough of:

Bishop Allen 6/2007

Office 11/2007

Rogue Wave 1/2008

Nick Waterhouse 3/2012

John Fullbright 8/2012

sElf 3/2015

Local H 2/2020


Local H’s No Fun E.P. (Draft Resurrection)

A post began in 2014. This EP was sent to me in July of this year after I realized it was missing from my digital collection. The duo never gave up any of their intensity when this pandemic struck. I’d argue they cranked the dial further than they had had it. Chicago’s strongest, most innovative rock duo continues to give me reason to spin their entire discography.

Streaming is overwhelming. Any stream has come from within my tiny mind, there isn’t a shelf showcasing an arsenal of records making suggestions. I have amassed a large collection of albums and don’t have the brainpower to call all of it to my frontal lobe when it’s selection time. Some records will be forgotten.

Local H’s No Fun, a 6 song E.P. from 2003, was lost in the chasm of albums, E.P.s, and singles only available via physical media. This extended play consists of three originals and three reinterpretations. All are loud, full of cathartic and hearty vocals care of Scott Lucas, and brandish an impenetrable arsenal of sound. Scott and Brian flex their newfound prowess as the new iteration of Local H.

On “No Fun” Scott pleads how the charade is up, the band is bullshit and reeks of insincerity and incompetence through powerful instruments of mass destruction; H places themselves as the head of state in “President Forever” as they proclaim their ability to do whatever the hell they want. A song debuted during GWB’s term, though with lyrics like, “I’m President forever/accountable to no one no more”, it screams at our anti-leader. “Fuck Yeah, That Wide” found inspiration within Primal Scream’s “Kill All Hippies” by borrowing and slightly modifying the line, “You got the money, I got the soul!” to create a psychedelic freak-out. “FYTW” at the time was H’s longest song with a running time of nine minutes and 47 seconds.

Scott shares his influences and current listening habits with his live audience. Most live gigs include a cover song. H tackles The Godfathers’ 1988 tell it how it is “Birth, School, Work, Death” through riff-heavy distortion and emphatic proclamations. And the pandemic timely “I Just Want Something To Do” originally penned by The Ramones has Scott and Brian passionately plugged into their thunderous sound begging for some human contact.

St. Clair debuted as the new timekeeper of Local H on their 2002 LP Here Comes the Zoo. This follow-up demonstrates how cohesive of an act they became through a small body of work. With newfound synergy, Scott and Brian masterly tear any skeptic into shreds in 28 minutes.

Local H :: No Fun

Local H :: Cooler Heads

Local H continues moving forward in 2020:

Scott Lucas LIVE from the Empty Bottle’s rooftop during the pandemic

More Upcoming Drive-in Shows

Local H asking you to take action


Local H’s 8:46

Local H continue to smash through barriers. The Chicago-based duo do not idle, they shift the shit of their transmission and get it outta neutral the second they can make themselves useful. Using their instrumental weaponry, a propulsive tribute has been penned, “8:46”, an artistic piece to draw attention to police brutality.

This duration is associated with George Floyd and the police officer who knelt on his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds. Chicago’s most important rock purveyors possess a loyal following, something I do not equally have but that doesn’t excuse in-action.

We all have the ability to be artists. Yes, an artist, one with the ability to change how someone other than us feels. We can improve the status quo, work to humanize the daily experience for all.

We can go out of our way to be different and challenge the norm. Perhaps zig instead of zag, choose to speak up when you’re in a situation of injustice and cruelty towards another. These heightened times have brought light to how chaotic today is. I’m attempting to be better. It’s a daily journey, one that does not have a finish line.

When we sit back and passively accept what is transpiring around us, it’s not others who are the problem, we are equal contributors. Run the Jewel’s Killer Mike eloquently raps on “Walking in the Snow”,

And everyday on evening news they feed you fear for free
And you so numb you watch the cops choke out a man like me
And ’til my voice goes from a shriek to whisper, “I can’t breathe”
And you sit there in the house on couch and watch it on TV
The most you give’s a Twitter rant and call it a tragedy
But truly the travesty, you’ve been robbed of your empathy
Replaced it with apathy…

Creating and sharing a racially-inspired tribute post isn’t making change. It’s the equivalent of a Twitter rant. This pushes me to explore how I can impact change. Maybe you’re equally motivated by this ferocious, awe-inspiring barrage of sound Local H smashes us over the head with. Its intensity forces us to wake up and take a deep, comprehensive self-examination.

This isn’t an obligatory response to protecting the band’s image and insincerely saying they care, too. Local H have survived in this fickle industry by being artists, creators that change how we feel and how we interact with our surroundings. Their “8:46” is now an essential piece of the inspirational playlist canon.


Now I Know to Always Buy the Vinyl

Everyone has a unique creative process. When an artist speaks of their inspiration and thought process behind their art, I listen. Consider yourself blessed if a beloved act is taking the time to explain how a record of theirs came to be. It’s a fascinating journey an artist can take you on.

Scott Lucas, Local H‘s frontman and industry leader in live music during this pandemic, sat down to break down in minute detail how the physical release of the four-act Lifers came to be. Why there is a “beginner” and “pro” side. He explains why the digital and vinyl release possess a two-minute difference in running time; how the vinyl is “uncut” to let the songs be intact with full feedback and guitar; why this release was pressed on 45 RPM; what the “new jacks” require and “hardcore fans” crave. Lucas states this release is the first record of theirs where all songs mention the title of the song within the lyrics.

This thought and detail make you crave the physical release; you’re grateful to grasp something this well-executed. After experiencing this video, it gave me a newfound resurgence for physical media. You should never waffle on purchasing the vinyl because it’s available via Spotify. Support the artist, support brilliance and beauty you can hold in your hands.

Upcoming Shows:


May 2021