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The CHIRP Blog

SKaiser writesDon’t Miss Minor Characters Release of Voir Dire

Take a load off at Minor Characters' Voir Dire (hey, that's VWAR DIER) release party this Friday, October 17. They're no strangers to The Hideout or CHIRP Radio, as our own Katie Owens met with them last year.

It'll be a night to remember. Minor Characters smooth style of 60's-love-inducing rock, coupled with a unique edgier side, will leave you melodically transfixed. Take a listen here. The band started in December 2010 and includes Andrew Pelletier (vocals/guitar), Shelby Pollard (guitar/vocals), James Ratke (drums), and Adam Wayne (bass). Each bandmate brings years of experience, lending to the intoxicating elements of the group's sound. You can purchase tickets ($10) here. Doors open at 9:00 PM and the show starts at 10:00 PM. Be there or be square!

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Categorized: Coming Attractions, Community

Tyler Clark writesTop Five: New Pornographers Members, Ranked By Solo Work

If you've listened to CHIRP in the last few months, you've probably heard a track from Brill Bruisers, the latest pop statement piece from the New Pornographers. Since forming in 1999, the Vancouver supergroup has been a critical favorite, and currently holds a 79 average on review aggregator Metacritic. The band's success comes from its ability to weave together the distinct songwriting voices of its members, including AM-radio devotee Carl Newman, experimental pop sorceror Dan Bejar, and alt-country maven Neko Case. Today, however, I'm unraveling that careful musical ecosystem. Not counting their work together, which member of the New Pornographers has produced the best work in solo or side projects? Band harmony be damned: which New Pornographer is the best?

A note on methodology: whenever possible, we list three sets of numbers: the Metacritic Metascore, the Metacritic user average, and an average combining the Metascore and reviews from AllMusic for albums not listed on Metacritic. The Metascore takes precedence, with the user average acting as a tiebreaker. The AllMusic scores are there to provide representation for older albums, and paint a (slightly) more complete picture of each artist. Plus, the more scores we use, the more there is to argue about. 


5) Kathryn Calder

Metacritic Average: n/a
AllMusic Average (Immaculate Machine + solo work): 71.7

Kathryn Calder joined the New Pornographers as a touring member in 2005, and most early coverage of her tenure was preoccupied with a) how much (or little) she sounded like Neko Case and b) the movie-plot story of her life as the niece Carl Newman never knew he had. It also shortchanged the facts of her own career; before signing on with the New Pornographers, Calder was already the successful singer of Immaculate Machine, whose just-the-facts indie pop populated the midsections of many a mix CD in the mid-2000s. More recently, Calder's found more success on the singer-songwriter beat, freeing her voice to lilt and meander over slightly more delicate arrangements.

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Categorized: Top Five

Clarence Ewing - The Million Year Trip writesSongwriter Showcase: Anthony Cozzi of Radar Eyes, Performing this Friday at Uncommon Ground

Anthony Cozzi of Chicago band Radar Eyes will be one of the performers taking the stage at Homeroom Chicago's Songwriter Showcase this Friday at Uncommon Ground to discuss his music and sonwriting process. Billie Howard had a chance to ask Anthony some questions beforehand...

Who were some of your earliest musical influences?

The earliest musical influences I can remember were the first 45's I had as a kid in the mid '80s. Theses included Tom Petty "Dont Do Me Like That," John Fogerty "Centerfield" and Micheal Jackson "Thriller" LP. I would stand on my head in my bedroom and listen to these records over and over. I soon "borrowed" a Beatles greatest hits tape from my Dad and that became a fast favorite. A little later in my early teenage years I traded a couple of my old Beatles/Stones tapes for three albums that I had never heard before but would change the way I listened to music from then on - Minor Threat - "Complete Discography", Jane's Addiction - "Self Titled"(XXX), and Fugazi "13 songs." The Minor Threat album took about ten listens just to understand what was even happening. The recording and performance on the album is so ferocious, I had never heard anything like it. Then I started to read the lyric sheet and discovered there was a community behind the music.

The Fugazi album was a continuation of what Ian started in Minor Threat but with more emotions than anger as well as dynamics in the instrumentation. The Jane's Addiction album was so weird to me at the time Perry's voice wrapped around the amazing rhythm section and Dave Navarro's spacey, melodic, but heavy guitar - it was like alien hippie punk. But, more importantly what this album did was to introduce me to Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground via the cover of "Rock n' Roll." One other album I bought around this time was Ramones "Loco Live," I basically learned to play guitar to this CD.

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Categorized: Coming Attractions, Community

Topics: anthony cozzi, radar eyes, songwriter showcase, uncommon ground

SKaiser writesSongwriter Showcase: James Deia of Blasted Diplomats, Performing this Friday at Uncommon Ground

James Deia of Blasted Diplomats will perform a solo set as part of Homeroom Chicago's Songwriter Showcase. Playing music since high school and a native of Chicago, Deia brings blue-collar rock and roll to life. Head down to Uncommon Ground and check him out this Friday, October 10. In the meantime, here's some Q&A between James Deia and Billie Howard.

1. How did you begin writing songs?

I'd always write riffs on guitar or piano when I was young and would scribble lyrics on napkins or trapper keepers. I had high school bands that never made it out of the basement but shortly before Blasted Diplomats began I was concentrating on completing actual 'songs'. It was nice timing when we started because I had a ton of songs sitting around.

2. How has being in a band (Blasted Diplomats) with other talented songwriters changed your own songs?

We're lucky because we all contribute songs so there's never a shortage of material. If I think something I'm working on is undercooked, someone else can suggest an idea. Then I'll do the opposite of that idea or something. But really, every songwriter should have a sounding board.

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Categorized: Coming Attractions, Community

Topics: blasted diplomats, james deia, songwriter showcase, uncommon ground

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