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Shawn Campbell writesLocal Community Radio Act Passes Congress

After ten years of effort by low power FM activists, the Local Community Radio Act has passed Congress and goes to President Obama for his signature!

CHIRP volunteers and supporters have worked to pass the Local Community Radio Act since the organization’s founding in 2007. The bill’s passage means that the FCC will be able to license hundreds of new LPFM radio stations – stations licensed at 100 watts or below – nationwide.

What does this mean for CHIRP? The path to a LPFM signal for station hopefuls in the country’s largest markets still will face a tough, but not impossible, road. With the power to license back in the hands of the FCC, the hope is that groups in top five markets like Chicago will be able to use alternative means of finding space on the dial. The FCC has expressed openness to these methods.

Now that the bill has passed, we should learn in coming weeks and months just what new LPFM applicants can expect from the FCC.

Regardless of what the future holds in terms of a broadcast license for CHIRP, this is a tremendous victory for the country’s media democracy movement. We’re so excited to be a part of it, and are optimistic that we can work with the FCC to find a path to a broadcast license.

Thank you so much to all our wonderful supporters and volunteers for all the work you have done over the years, writing letters, making phone calls, and generally spreading the word about this issue. You made this victory possible!

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Categorized: CHIRP Radio News and Info.

Clarence Ewing: The Million Year Trip writesTonight: Beats and Blogs at Subterranean!

Tonight’s the night! CHIRP Radio is pleased to be part of Beats & Blogs: A Musical Hotspot happening tonight at Subterranean! It’s going to be a great night of music from local faves White Mystery, Hollows, Rabble Rabble and Radar Eyes! Be sure to say hi to the CHIRP Radio reps who’ll be there handing out some great CHIRP Radio swag!

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Categorized: Event Previews

Topics: community

Jodi Root writesJodi Root’s Best of 2010

Throughout December CHIRP Radio presents its members' top albums of 2010. The next list is from CHIRP Radio DJ Jodi Root.

(Click here to get the complete list of CHIRP Radio members' picks.)

  1. Beach House – Teen Dream (Sub Pop)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    No other album could possibly come close to the heavy rotation Teen Dream got on my iPod this year. The combination of Victoria Legrand’s lush vocals and dream pop instrumentation is seriously too good to be true. Tracks like the dizzying “Norway,” epic “Zebra” and the surreal “Silver Soul” are twistedly abstract, romantic and damned enchanting.
  2. Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (Def Jam)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    Love him or hate him, Kanye knows how to get your attention. After a pretty rough couple of years, West came hurdling through the haters with his most epic release to date, dropping My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy as his musical redemption. West proves he’s got power with his sleek beats, addicting hooks and rhymes (seriously, who else can get the masses singing toasts to ‘douchebags’?) and featured partners in crime ranging from Elton John, Jay-Z to Bon Iver.
  3. Robyn – Body Talk (Cherry Tree)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    Released just in time to secure a spot on my top 10 of ’10 list, our favorite Swedish pop princess compiled her Body Talk trilogy into one cohesive album. Body Talk as a cumulative whole, vs. the three separate eps, rivals the greatness that was her breakout self-titled 2008 comeback. Dropping dance party anthems like “Hang With Me,” “Dancehall Queen” and “Indestructible,” girlfriend proves she won’t be dancing on her own any longer.
  4. The Arcade Fire – The Suburbs (Merge)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    While we will sadly never again experience the epic greatness of another Funeral, Win Butler and crew made a damned fine attempt with The Suburbs. Blowing away their sophomore release Neon Bible, The Suburbs was one consistently memorable collection of epic instrumentation and overall indie goodness. Tracks such as “Month of May,” “Sprawl II,” “Ready to Start” and “The Suburbs” are undeniable examples of awesomeness.
  5. GAYNGS – Relayted (Jagjaguwar)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    Not such Broken Social Scene has the indie music scene witnessed such a superhero line-up. The debut release from Midwesterners GAYNGS, Relayted is such an irresistible compilation of sleek, synth heavy, 80’s throwback baby making music that George Michael was pretty much forced into retirement. Who knew the dudes from Bon Iver, The Rosebuds and Solid Gold had such a seductive side to ‘em? Burning hot.
  6. Phantogram – Eyelid Movies (Barsuk)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    The majority of male/female duos are shiny, happy pop music. (See YACHT, Mates of State, Matt & Kim, etc). Phantogram is not one of those bands. Sarah Barthel and Josh Carter make musical love into mystery, driven with their synth and bass driven melodies and gaspy, seductive shared vocals. Eyelid Movies is eleven tracks of electronic indie dance bliss.
  7. Gorillaz – Plastic Beach (Virgin)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    Anything Damon Albarn touches turns to gold (or at least it should). Even after just releasing the greatness that is Plastic Beach in 2010, Albarn has already announced his intentions of a follow-up album, which was recorded on their current tour—on an iPad. Not sure how he’ll get guest artists like Snoop Dogg and Lou Reed onboard with this current method, but by now I’m pretty sure whatever Albarn’s got up his sleeve is destined for greatness.
  8. Vampire Weekend – Contra (XL)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    Who knew some random Polaroid photo from the 80’s would blow up into the biggest indie lawsuit of the year? Luckily for the gentlemen of Vampire Weekend, it turns out there’s much more to Contra than their obscure album art. Tracks like “Giving up the Gun,” “Cousins” and “Holiday” are just a few of the album’s upbeat pop ditties, proving these prep rockers are more than a one album success act.
  9. LCD Soundsystem – This is Happening (DFA)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    James Murphy is a pretty righteous dude. This is Happening was one of the year’s biggest hypes, and if you’ve listened to the record, you’ll see why. “You Wanted a Hit,” “Dance Yrself Clean” and “Home” are several exemplifications of how Murphy and co. have raised the bar on electro-indie bangers once again.
  10. Caribou – Swim (Merge)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    Daniel Snaith is a mathematician by trade, but he’s better known to the masses as the indie electro composer Caribou. Swim is his best release to date, bursting with formulaic layers of samples, reverb, synth, bass and whatever other magical components he throws into the mix. Impossible to stand still while listening to, this album is consistently mind bending from start to finish.

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Categorized: Best Albums of the Year

Topics: best of 2010

Billy Kalb writesBilly Kalb’s Best of 2010

Throughout December CHIRP Radio presents its members' top albums of 2010. The next list is from CHIRP Radio DJ amd Music Director Billy Kalb.

(Click here to get the complete list of CHIRP Radio members' picks.)

  1. Four Tet – There Is Love In You (Domino)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    I was wary of Kieren Hebden’s foray into techno with 2007’s Ringer EP, given what a fan I was of his earlier work and his previously glitchy, jazz-inflected sonic palette. But There is Love In You brought me back. Sprawling and ambitious, club-tested at London’s legendary Plastic People, Love in You is a near-perfect album. It’s dark but warm, mechanical and organic all at once, and the reassembled vocal snippets convey a beauty that lyrics could not. Absolutely stunning.
  2. Sam Amidon – I See the Sign (Bedroom Community)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    Almost entirely slept-on despite some decent press, Sam Amidon’s third full-length came to my attention almost by accident and soon became one of my favorites. Amidon is what you might call a folk singer, but he chooses to draw on material that’s often centuries old: immigrant songs, murder ballads, wedding dances. Rather than go the route of stuffy traditionalism, he imbues his versions with cues taken from 20th century classical minimalism, chamber pop and Arthur Russell. They’re old songs, but Amidon makes them glow like new.
  3. Judson Claiborne – Time and Temperature (La Société Expéditionnaire)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    No band this year wrote a better song about cannibalism. Chicago’s own Judson Claiborne put together a fantastic full-length of moody folk-rock in 2010, and if you haven’t heard it, you’re doing yourself a considerable disservice. Sometimes haunting and bible-black, other times bursting with joy, Time and Temperature is one of the most honest, rewarding, and genuinely likeable records I heard this year. Check it out.
  4. The National – High Violet (4AD)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    Tied with...

    The Walkmen – Lisbon (Fat Possum)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    Both the National and the Walkmen mine similar territory; early on, both bands explored the angst of coming to terms with adulthood, wrestling with new responsibilities and figuring out where you belong in this grown-up world. By 2010, both have mellowed a bit, more comfortable in their skin. There’s still plenty of doubt and pain, but it’s been tempered with quiet confidence and an appreciation for the good things. That’s not to say they’ve become boring, however; what they lack in larger-than-life size they more than make up for in ever-increasing depth.
  5. Robyn – Body Talk (Konichiwa)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    Not Part 1, not Part 2. I’m talking about the whole damn thing. Signed to her own label and free to do whatever she likes, Swedish pop sweetheart Robyn released EPs at a furious clip this year, compiling her favorite songs onto a full-length album last month. Part of the joy of Body Talk was hearing what she’d come up with next, from synth-pop ballads to dancefloor ragers to duets with Snoop Dogg. Not everything hit the mark, but there’s enough quality material for a very, very killer iTunes playlist — Robyn gets exactly what being a pop star in the 21st century is all about.
  6. Mount Kimbie – Crooks & Lovers (Hotflush)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    Dubstep has mutated into something…something approachable. Mount Kimbie’s Crooks and Lovers is more than your standard issue dubstep: the rhythmic sensibility is almost the same, but the pop sensibility is off the charts. Which is to say: it’s danceable, but chilled out; it’s abstract, but upfront; it’s hazy, but laser-focused. It’s just right. And even so, it’s totally unexpected – and rarely this well-executed.
  7. Big Boi – Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty (Def Jam)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    Tied with...

    Janelle Monáe – The Archandroid (Atlantic)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    A year after the death of the King of Pop and a thousand media laments of how no one makes big-tent pop albums like Thriller anymore, two wildly creative talents made a couple of big-tent pop albums… and the wider world hardly noticed. A real crime, I promise you, and those who missed it will inevitably come to regret their error. Full-to-the-brim with innovative production and killer hooks, Sir Lucious and The ArchAndroid satisfied the pop itch like few other albums this year could. They just don’t make ‘em like this anymore.
  8. Jason Adasiewicz – Sun Rooms (Delmark)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    With his partners-in-jazz Mike Reed (drums) and Nate McBride (bass), Jason Adasiewicz is busy redefining the role of the vibraphone in the genre. No great surprises here if you’ve heard any of Adasiewicz’s work elsewhere (and considering how prolifically collaborative the dude is, chances are you have), just some wonderful performances and warm, inviting tones (like a sun room, get it?). If jazz isn’t really your thing, this could be the album to change that. And if jazz is your thing, you’re in for a treat.
  9. Dum Dum Girls – I Will Be (HoZac/Sub Pop)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    You know what so much of the current garage-rock revival lacks? Hooks. You know what I Will Be has in abundance? You guessed it. Dum Dum Girls are a melodic steamroller, and nothing will get in their way – not boys, nor rivals, nor rules. Boosted by killer production from Richard Gottehrer (Blondie, The Go-Go’s), singer Dee Dee radiates effortless cool and confidence, and she’s totally earned it: when you can write songs like this, being a total badass should come naturally.
  10. The Arcade Fire – The Suburbs (Merge)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    Like a cinephile going out of his way not to see overt Oscar-bait, I avoided ear contact with the much-hyped third Arcade Fire album as long as possible. But something pulled me in; I’d hear a fantastic song on CHIRP, or I’d be in the car with my girlfriend and she’d put it on. And you know what? Sometimes hype is warranted. This band continues to get better, and fortunately, they’ve also dropped the heavy-handed doom and gloom of Neon Bible in favor of graceful, instantly memorable pop songs. They’re still rallying against the world, of course, but this time around, it’s much easier to join in.

Honorable Mentions

Gold Panda - Lucky Shiner (Ghostly International)
White Hinterland – Kairos (Dead Oceans)
In Tall Buildings - In Tall Buildings (Whistler)
Matthew Dear – Black City (Ghostly International)
Caribou – Swim (Merge)

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Categorized: Best Albums of the Year

Topics: best of 2010

Mike Bennett writesFriday iPod/MP3 Shuffle—Happy Birthday Mike Mills Edition

Mike Mills is often overshadowed by Michael Stipe and Peter Buck in R.E.M., but he’s been a vital component from Day 1. In addition to his steady bass playing, he’s a wonderful harmony singer and even took the lead on the band’s hit cover of The Clique’s “Superman”. To top it all off, he’s a really nice guy. So let’s salute Mike Mills on his birthday by grabbing your iPod or MP3 player, hitting shuffle, and sharing the first 10 songs that come up.

  1. Wilco – Camera (More Like The Moon): This is a fuzzy rocker that sounds like it was recorded around the time of Summerteeth but was deemed too heavy for the album. Or perhaps it was committed to tape during The Ghost Is Born sessions, but somehow didn’t fit. Regardless, this is a sunny pop-rocker with a mix that emphasizes the guitars and bass with Jeff Tweedy’s voice coming from under all this fun noise.
  2. Emitt Rhodes – Holly Park (The Emitt Rhodes Record): This is an Anglophile’s delight, with the cult popper doing a baroque pop number that is pure 1967, even though it was recorded a few years later. This is an immediately appealing song.
  3. Little Richard – Can’t Believe You Wanna Leave (The Georgia Peach): This is a brassy blues number that would be well suited for Nat King Cole or Fats Domino. Little Richard keeps his piano playing in check, but can’t tame his soul shouting. And there’s nothing wrong with that, as it elevates what is otherwise a merely decent song.
  4. Madness – House Of Fun (Ultimate Collection): One of Madness’s all-time great singles, a jaunty number about…buying condoms? Yep, and the band’s use of coded language isn’t sniggering. Instead, it serves to amplify the nervousness of the spotty faced teen protagonist who is at the chemist’s shop asking for a plunker. The carnival style music makes this one of the most creative pop singles of the ‘80s.
  5. Wings – Spin It On (Back to the Egg): Macca wasn’t immune to punk rock and one of his characteristically packed to the gills ‘70s albums, he tipped his hat to this new wave with this speedy pop ditty. The song is so simple and McCartney is having a blast. A hidden gem.
  6. Martin Newell – The Greatest Living Englishman (The Greatest Living Englishman): Newell is an eccentric British pop artist who led the cult bands Cleaners From Venus and The Brotherhood Of Lizards. On this album, he worked with XTC’s Andy Partridge and while this is a low budget affair, Partridge brought out the classic ‘60s foundation in Newell’s writing, and the result sounds like a collaboration between Syd Barrett, The Move and The Kinks. This is a swell album.
  7. Julianna Raye – Tell Me I’m Alright (Something Peculiar): Raye was related to some big wig at Warner Brothers Records. Thus, she got a deal. And thus, she got Jeff Lynne to produce her album. As it turns out, this wasn’t just nepotism in action. Raye has a great smoky baritone voice and penned some swell ‘60s inspired pop songs. Of course, Lynne has a way to make that type of stuff shimmer, and the jangly music is a perfect vehicle for Raye’s wonderful singing.
  8. The Yardbirds – The Nazz Are Blue (Ultimate!): The title might make it seem like this is one of The Yardbirds’ psychedelic forays. However, this is just an oddly named blues rocker with the expected red hot guitar work.
  9. Bad Religion – Hooray For Me (Stranger Than Fiction): A melodic mid-tempo track from a band that is better known for high velocity rock. This song almost has a ‘50s rock foundation and even with a typically declamatory Greg Graffin lead vocal, there’s an uncharacteristic wistfulness underlying this song, even as the lyrics are defiant. Cool track.
  10. Shudder To Think – She Wears He Harem (Get Your Goat): On this album, Shudder To Think double the arty and weird quotient, with the guitars becoming more angular and the bass lines adding to the dissonance. This only encouraged Craig Wedren to stretch his voice to its limits, adding new feats of vocal acrobatics. This is not for everyone, but I like how Shudder To Think underpins everything in basic hard rock sounds, and then messes with conventions, while still creating oddball hooks.

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Categorized: Friday MP3 Shuffle

Topics: ipod, mp3

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