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The CHIRP Blog

Clarence Ewing: The Million Year Trip writesGapers Block and CHIRP Radio Present The Hudson Branch at Metro

Gapers Block & Chirp Radio welcome The Hudson Branch, Camera, Reds and Blue, and My My My
to Metro for an 18+ show at 9:00pm on Sept. 3rd.

Doors open at 8:00pm. Admission is free before 9:00pm or $6 after 9:00pm if you print out a copy of the attached picture and present it at the door OR sign up for text alerts from Metro and show your text message from the blast they will send out before the show.

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Categorized: Event Previews

Clarence Ewing: The Million Year Trip writesFriendly Reminder: King Pignacious at the Viaduct Theatre TONIGHT

Join us for a CHIRP Benefit featuring KING PIGNACIOUS and His Merry Swine, performing the original modern day rock opera A Swine’s Rise to Power. Red Hot Annie’s Burlesque Show opens. One third of all proceeds benefit CHIRP Radio!

The Viaduct Theatre – 3111 N. Western Ave.
Tickets are $10 and the show starts at 10pm. This show is 21+

RSVP online at the King Pignacious Facebook page.

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Categorized: Event Previews

Mike Bennett writesFriday iPod/MP3 Shuffle—Happy Birthday Pee Wee Herman Edition

You say Pee Wee Herman isn’t rock and roll? How can you, after the way he danced to The Champs’ “Tequila” in his movie debut? And who can forget Joeski Love’s hip-hop novelty classic, “Pee Wee’s Dance”? Today is Paul Reubens’ birthday, the man who created Pee Wee. The Pee Wee Herman Saturday morning show is one of the great children’s shows ever, and surely has inspired some of the artists we play on CHIRP. Even if that’s not true, Pee Wee is a lot of fun, which is reason enough to pay tribute to Mr. Reubens. So grab your iPod or MP3 player, hit shuffle and share the first ten tunes that come up!

  1. Ray, Goodman & Brown — Special Lady (Ray, Goodman & Brown): These guys were originally called The Moments, and had a big hit with “Love on a Two Way Street”. But when they wanted to leave their record label, they found that the label owned the name. So they decided to just use their own monikers. They were a classic R & B vocal band, with sterling harmonies. This was their signature hit, a lush ballad that started with a nod to their street corner singing roots. As they harmonize the first chorus, they also “ad lib” advice to each other, to make sure they are in sync. The song is really good, too.
  2. Elton John — This Song Has No Title (Goodbye Yellow Brick Road): Oh how clever Elton John and Bernie Taupin were. It’s the rock equivalent of Rene Magritte’s This Is Not A Pipe painting. But enough about the title. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road is arguably Sir Elton’s best album, and the deep cuts, such as this one, are pretty darn good. This is a melodic mid-tempo song that sounds great, though its hook isn’t as strong as a typical Elton single.
  3. Chitlin’ Fooks — Did It Again (Did It Again): The title cut from the second collaboration between Carolyn Van Dyk of Bettie Serveert and Pascal Deweze of Sukilove. There is a country rock gloss on all of these songs, with bits of steel guitar and other twang showing up. But the songs don’t stray too far from the artful pop of Deweze’s regular gig. This starts off twangin’, and then adds some beefy guitars and horns to make this a very nice hodgepodge.
  4. The Sorrows — Bad Times Good Times (Teenage Heartbreak): This is another skinny tie power pop band that snagged a major label deal in 1980, when everyone was trying to find the next Knack. The Sorrows had more of a traditional rock and roll base than some of the other bands of this stripe, so their songs were more ’60s oriented. Some, like this one, are as much garage rock as power pop. This has an authentic sound, except for the drum sound, which is very late ’70s.
  5. Missy Elliott — Teary Eyed (Respect M.E.): A relatively melodic mid-tempo number from Missy, which showcases her vocal skills more than her rapping. As a result, it doesn’t have the usual attitude one would expect from Ms. Elliott. This could be one of a number of R & B divas. Nevertheless, this is a pretty good song, with typically inventive production.
  6. The Sweet — Daydream (Funny How Sweet Co-Co Can Be): Sweet started out as a bubblegum band. Mike Chapman and Nicky Chinn wrote the Archies-esque A-sides (like “Funny Funny” and “Co-Co”), the band got to release rocking B-sides (which they played on, while the A-sides were performed by session dudes — only the vocals were Sweet). When it came time to make an album, it was padded with more session music, including this sugary cover of The Lovin’ Spoonful’s hit. This is nothing special, but it shows how versatile singer Brian Connolly was. He could sing with great power, or sound like a more manly Davy Jones, as he does on this track.
  7. Sukilove — Woe (You Kill Me): On Sukilove’s second album, the aforementioned Pascal Deweze broke away from the sunnier, Aztec Camera-like surfaces of his band’s earlier work. Some of the strong melodies remained, but there was more aggressive blues-based guitar, often distorted, as the songs became moodier. Actually, maybe bitter would be a good word. On this song, the guitar and a distant drum are eventually met by distant choral vocals that are hard to pick up. In some respects, this conjures up a similar mood to the more paranoid side of Radiohead (is that the only side of Radiohead?), but with a somewhat more organic sound. Sparklehorse might also be a good comparison point.
  8. Rank and File — Coyote (Sundown): After the punk band The Dils dissolved, Chip and Tony Kinman went in a totally different direction, playing a very Everly Brothers-inspired take on cow punk. Their version of twang rock is so unique, both in the spacious way they played it, and how the sweet harmonies were usually contrasted by the distinctive baritone voice of Tony Kinman. How authentic their songs were is open to question, but they certainly had the right feel. This is such a simple composition, with all of the right elements in place.
  9. The Kinks — Johnny Thunder (Village Green Preservation Society): Whether this is the best Kinks album is debatable, but the five album run from Face To Face through Lola, with Village Green falling smack dab in the middle, is about as good as any artist as ever had. This album is the height of the band’s pastoral period, with songs suffused in nostalgia and traditional values. Ray Davies was spinning out classic song structures one after the other. Just from this song, you can hear how it influenced everyone from Bowie to The Smiths to Blur and more.
  10. Chris Isaak — Talk To Me (Silvertone): The first Chris Isaak album was a revelation. The album cover tried to make him look as much like a young Elvis as possible, and the music was steeped in melodramatic ’50s and ’60s balladeering. It sounded like nothing else at the time. This is a very typical track, which starts at a slow burn, with Isaak finding a moment to show off his vocal range and unleashing the anguish that builds up in each verse. He’s spent the rest of his career refining this style, with generally good results. But he will never top this timeless debut.

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Categorized: Friday MP3 Shuffle

Topics: ipod, mp3

Nicole Oppenheim: Ear Candy writesMidwestern Housewife: Dancing with Myself…and Andy Williams

There used to be this commercial on TV from Staples, the office supply store. You know the one: a white, overweight, balding stereotypical “dad” guy dances while pushing a cart full of school supplies. Two tweens, presumably his children, sulk behind him, dragging their feet and looking forlornly from one another to their uber-embarrassing father doing arabesques through the aisles to the tune of Andy Williams’ “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” Then they look at the floor and follow their dad slowly off screen as the week’s sale items are displayed for our viewing pleasure.

As a kid, I hated this commercial. I thought it was lame and overblown. Parents don’t really feel that way. They’re so trapped by their crap jobs and stultifying worldviews, having the kids home would have to be great, right? Everyone knows parents have no desires of their own, because as we all learned from John Hughes movies and Peter Pan, when you grow up, your heart dies. The fun part of your parents’ lives is over! Stupid Staples. Parents don’t dream of their kids going back to school, much less dance through the aisles of a store (in public!) at the mere thought of it. Yes, I actually thought this. Now that I have children, I realize how foolish I was.

My kids were enrolled in camp 5 mornings a week for 7 weeks this summer. Since the kids were born 3.5 years ago, these 7 weeks have been the best part of my life. I had my mornings free! Tuesdays and Thursdays I was free until 1 o’clock! Oh, joy of joys! Free time! I could do whatever I wanted to do! I could even practice ballet moves behind a cart at an office supply store! I didn’t, but I could’ve.

Every morning after I dropped the kids off at camp, I felt like painting half of my face blue and running down State Street in a kilt yelling “FREEDOM!” at the top of my lungs. It was better than the feeling of 3 o’clock on the last day of school before summer break. I could take off the Mommy hat for a few hours and put the Nicole hat back on. The kids were safe. They were happy. And I had time to become myself once again.

And it wasn’t just me who experienced this transformation. All the other moms and even some nannies were so much more themselves once the kids were in the able hands of the preschool teachers. The parental film was blinked away from our eyes. We saw the world anew. We drank coffee together. We talked about things other than children’s shows and potty training and others we knew who were pregnant (suckers!). We swore and told stories about drunken debauchery in college and more recent years. We showed off tattoos and talked about crushes we had on various actors, singers, guitar players. Yes, we devolved. And it was delicious.

We’d all been wearing the mantle of parental responsibility for so long that it felt great to put it down (folded properly, of course) for a while and let our inner giggly girls run free. Except now our giggly girls are much wiser women. We still love to giggle, but it’s giggling with a purpose. Just as giggling at age 12 and 13 helps distance you from your parents, giggling with peers as a thirtysomething helps distance you from your children. It reminds you that not only are you still who you are and who you’ve always been, but also that you’re not in this thing alone. You have your sisters to help you through it. Your girlfriends helped you grow and survive the crazy transition from childhood to adulthood. (Oh, adolescence. So painful, but so necessary.) Your girlfriends will also be there for you in the even crazier transition from non-parenthood to parenthood. I can’t speak for the dads out there, but I’m sure a similar safety net of friends exists for men, too. If not, man, are you guys screwed.

So there I was, happy in my small amount of freedom each day, when the unthinkable happened. Camp ended. It was over July 29th. School doesn’t start up again for the kids until September 15th. That’s 6 whole weeks for those keeping track at home. My initial response was to go out and buy a couple cases of whiskey and Scotch, aka magical mommy juice, that would ensure maximum relaxation for me once the kids went to bed. I didn’t do this. I seriously thought about it, though. But at the last minute I was once again saved by a girlfriend. In this case, it was my own mom who saved the day.

She offered to take the kids back to Ohio for two weeks to give me a break from parenting and to let me work on some non-kid-related projects I’ve started. She even drove out here to pick them up! Who is this woman? How is she possibly the same person who used to yell at me when I’d play my music too loud or nag me incessantly about getting homework done or caution me about the boy I was madly in love with who would only go on to break my heart? She was so clueless and such a bore. How did she become so awesome?

The answer is that she always was. She was simply cloaked in that parental mantle I was talking about, hiding her true self from me. But now that I’m an adult, she can be herself around me. I can join her circle of girlfriends and giggle knowingly about the world. We can all dance together down the aisles of any store, office supply or otherwise, and embarrass the hell out of our children and grandchildren because we know the secret. We know that people never really change. They simply have responsibilities. And when raising a child is their main responsibility, they take it very, very seriously.

This is why you rarely see any holes in the mantle when you’re a kid. It’s because your parents care about you and want you to be safe, happy, and healthy. It’s only when you get older and can take care of yourself that you see who your parents truly are. They are the kind of people who tell dirty jokes, drink too much on occasion, make stupid decisions, and sing along with their favorite songs on the radio. They are people like you. I don’t say this to frighten you. I say this because it’s true. We’re all pretty much the same when you get down to it, we just express ourselves differently. For some, it’s dancing at a store, for others it’s dressing up like an extra from “Braveheart” and running down one of the busiest streets in the world proclaiming your freedom for the world to hear. (I didn’t actually do this, but wouldn’t it be great?) However you choose to express it, express it you must. But I would seriously recommend against dancing to anything sung by Andy Williams. That stuff’s not cool no matter how old you are.

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Categorized: Midwestern Housewife

Topics: midwestern housewife

Bobby Evers writesRediscovering Our Record Collections: Harvey Danger’s “Where Have All the Merrymakers Gone?”

My sister went to California and informed me of a new song I absolutely had to hear. But because we had DirecTV with MTV2 back at Mom and Dad’s, I’d already heard it. I didn’t get the record right away; I borrowed it from a friend and listened to it over and over again before buying it myself. Thankfully I was able to exchange an Everclear CD at K-Mart and traded it for this disc.

Keep Reading…

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Categorized: Rediscovering Our Record Collections

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