CHIRP is thrilled to tell you that we've been awarded a construction permit for a broadcast license from the FCC! Chicagoans, look for CHIRP on your broadcast dial some time in 2015!
by: Jenna Chapman
Whenever I want a friend to check out a band I’m really into, I usually recommend an “access point”: a particular album or song that provides a good introduction to the band’s sound and acts as a gateway to the rest of their work.
Deerhoof is one of those rare acts whose “access point”, in my mind, is their live show. It’s difficult to pick one album - let alone a single track - that captures the eccentricity, energy, and enthusiasm of Deerhoof’s singular sound. All of these traits were on full display last Tuesday night at the Bottom Lounge, and despite a set list that was surprisingly frontloaded with new material, everyone in attendance was undoubtedly along for the ride.
Wind up your generals - Deerhoof are taking over the Bottom Lounge on Veteran's Day! (That's the 11th, by the way.) Satomi and the guys will be bringing their signature blend of multilingual lyrics over raucous guitar riffs in mixed meters to the stage after the opening acts – DC’s Priests and Kentucky trio White Reaper – kick off the show at 9 PM.
As they’re touring in support of their newest album, La Isla Bonita (out November 4th), be prepared to hear some new material mixed in with the old favorites. Lead singer Satomi’s J-Pop-esque dance moves, however, will hopefully still be in full swing!
The show is 17+, so tell your kid sister to skip her morning class at DePaul and check out something a little different. She’ll surprise herself when she’s humming “Basket Ball Get Your Groove Back” on the L ride home! Doors open at 8 PM, tickets are $15. Check out the band at deerhoof.net. The Bottom Lounge is located at 1375 West Lake Street in Chicago.
This Sunday marks 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall, a watershed moment that marked the physical end to a divided city and a symbolic end to the Cold War. Instead of celebrating with yet another spin of David Bowie's Low, I decided to take my headphones to the source. The result? A nearly double-stuffed Top Five of East German bands that helped shape (and reshape) the country during its 41-year existence.
City: East Berlin
Sound Like: Olivia Newton-John being kidnapped and forced to write a Eurovision song
East German Fact: When you're trying to keep the West at bay, start with the language. According to Europopmusic, the band started their life as Familie Silly after East German officials denied their attempt to use an English word for their name.
2) Wolf Biermann
City: East Berlin
Sound Like: The guitar of early Dylan, the populism of Woody Guthrie, the mustache of Sonny Bono
East German Fact: As awareness of Biermann's burgeoning life as a dissident increased in Western folk circles, the singer-songwriter came under close scrutiny from East German officials; according to a 1997 article in German-language publication Cicero, Biermann's declassified Stasi files contained a 20-point plan to smear and discredit his growing reputation.
Sound Like: A Sweet album run through Google Translate
East German Fact: Given the country's tenuous position on the world stage (and artists' troubling predisposition toward getting disappeared by unsmiling men in fur-lined overcoats), the East German government was rightly concerned about defection by its popular artists. The leaders made an exception for Puhdys, which, in 1974, became one of a select few bands from East Germany granted permission to tour in Western Europe. They're still around, too.
City: East Berlin
Sound Like: The opening theme to an unmade John Cusack comedy about being an exchange student
East German Fact: Buoyed by the success of their 1982 record Der Blaue Planet and follow-up Die sieben Wunder der Welt, Karat was awarded the National Prize of East Germany in 1984. They became just the second pop band awarded the honor (after Puhdys in 1982).
5) Klaus Renft Combo
Sound Like: The German Doobie Brothers
East German Fact: The first banned band on the list, the Klaus Renft Combo was unofficially-officially dissolved by the Stasi after their swamp-rock sound made all the kids start growing out their CCR mustaches. Never fear, though; the band reunited in 1990 after the fall of the GDR.
Sounds Like: The punk band that practices in the apartment below you after one too many viewings of The Lives of Others
East German Fact: One of the earliest punk bands in Leipzig, Wutanfall was basically the Minor Threat to L'Attentat's Fugazi. Their repression by Stasi forces had the opposite of the desired effect, drawing attention to the punk cause in the GDR. In English, their name means Tantrum.
Sounds Like: A Sex Pistols album taped off of a Soviet radio
East German Fact: Turns out all of those rumors about Stasi members infiltrating punk bands were totally true. At least, that's the case with L'Attentat (or The Assassination), the band formed from the ashes of Wutanfall's breakup. In addition to turning out some capable punk tunes, L'Attentat fell victim to the authorities with the imprisonment of vocalist Bernd Stracke. The person who ratted on him? Guitarist Imad-Abdul Majid, a veteran of the Leipzig punk scene and paid Stasi informant.
8) Feeling B
City: East Berlin
Sounds Like: An unholy marriage between NOFX and the Scorpions
East German Fact: The East German punk scene would go on to influence Western music in unexpected places. For instance: before scoring their crossover hit with 1997's "Du Hast," Rammstein members Paul Landers, Christoph Schneider, and Christoph Lorenz formed the core of Feeling B, a popular outsider band fronted by the much older Aljosha Rompe. Rammstein singer Till Lindemann was also active in the scene, serving as drummer for the Schwerin-based punk band First Arsch.
9) Herbst In Peking
City: East Berlin
Sounds Like: Billy Idol, if Billy Idol cared about democracy and not just hot ladies
East German Fact: Herbst In Peking became one of the final victims of the GDR's government bans, earning one after lead singer Rex Joswig's protest of the Tiananmen Square Massacre at a concert in Brandenburg in 1989. Working in secret (and occasionally on the run), they recorded their biggest hit, "Bakschischrepublik", just before the wall fell. Heard on radios in both halves of German as the nations swept towards reunification, it represented the work and sacrifice of dissident artists throughout the GDR. Also, there's a sax solo.
CHIRP welcomes a rare solo performance from Stephin Merritt at The Old Town School of Folk Music on November 8th. The prolific songwriter will be performing selections from his back catalogue from the Magnetic Fields as well as solo works.
Merritt’s deep baritone voice sets a somber tone to his direct tongue-and-cheek lyrical style, at least for those in on the joke. With lyrics like “There is no hope of love for me, from here on I go stag / The only girl I'll ever love is Andrew in drag”, no topic is thinly veiled and no venue is off the table, even a mens bathroom. Along with his solo music tour, Merritt is doing a book tour for his recent collaboration with illustrator Roz Chast called 101 Two-Letter Words, a collection of poems and illustrations for each of the 101 two-character phrases permissible in Scrabble. Peter Segal of Wait, Wait… Don’t Tell Me fame is also sitting down with Merritt on November 7th as a part of the Chicago Humanities Festival.
A limited number of tickets are still available for purchase for $30 at the Old Town School of Folk Music website, show begins with special guest Advance Base at 7pm.
Chicagoans, rejoice! On Friday, November 7, world-renowned percussionist and composer Glenn Kotche, also known as the drummer behind a little local band called Wilco, will return to the Old Town School of Folk Music for a special performance that will conclude a four-day residency.
In the days leading up to the concert, Kotche will be hosting workshops at the Old Town School that will cover everything from drum technique to his creative process. Attendees can expect to share a varied and intimate experience with this groundbreaking musician. Kotche has collaborated on over 90 records, not including his own accomplishments as a critically acclaimed solo artist. For old fans and new listeners, here’s a tasty clip to tide you over until the big show.
To learn more about Kotche, visit http://glennkotche.com/. Glenn Kotche will be performing in Maurer Hall 11/07 at 8:00PM. For more information regarding tickets, please visit http://www.oldtownschool.org/.