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Erin Van Ness writesHelp CHIRP raise money while checking out a unique performance!

CHIRP is excited to announce our partnership with the Chicago Human Rhythm Project’s Thanks-4-Giving program this year!

Half of the proceeds from tickets purchased to the Step Afrika! show scheduled for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, November 19-21 at the Harris Theatre will be donated back to local charities. To choose CHIRP as your charity of choice, type CHRP-Radio in the promotional code section when checking out. Additionally, by selecting CHIRP as your charity of choice, ticket buyers will get an additional 10% discount off the regular ticket price!

You can buy your tickets to this event by clicking here.

Please visit the Chicago Human Rhythm Project, Step Afrika!, and this year’s Thanks-4-Giving event page for more information or email Erin for questions about how this project benefits CHIRP.

And thanks for giving!

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Categorized: Event Previews

Topics: concerts, fundraiser

Mike Bennett writesiPod/MP3 Friday Shuffle — Happy Birthday Nico Edition

What’s the iPod/MP3 Shuffle? It’s just a way to get people to share music and foster some discussion. I started doing this on my Facebook page a while back and it’s been great seeing friends exchange comments on each others lists. Every Friday, I get out my 120 GB iPod (which has about 24,000 songs now), hit shuffle and write about the first 10 songs that come up. Sometimes the 10 songs are kind of conventional, sometimes there’s a lot of obscure stuff. So check mine out and please add your own shuffle or discuss other people’s shuffles!

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Everybody knows that she was a femme fatale — the late, great Nico, whose model-tastic looks and chilly vocals added a sophisticated yet decadent dimension to the early work of the Velvet Underground. In her honor, let’s celebrate by grabbing your iPod/iTunes/MP3 player, hitting shuffle and sharing the first 10 tunes that come up (no cheating!) with everyone!

  1. Madness — The Sun and the Rain (Ultimate Collection): This is majestic, ’60s Beatles/Kinks/Move inspired Brit-pop balladry at its best.  This came out in America on the Keep Moving album, but I don’t think it was included on the British version.  This is keyed by the piano and is augmented by horns and strings, propelling this song into lush pop heaven.  There isn’t a moment on this song that isn’t melodically appealing and it ranks up there with the best of this brilliant band.
  2. Stevie Wonder — Girl Blue (Music Of My Mind): I’m still in catch up mode on Stevie’s amazing run of ’70s albums.  This song combines a pretty melody that has been stretched out, and has a bit of a psychedelic vibe to it.  Not only is Stevie’s vocal a bit distorted, but he sings over spare ornamentation with lots of creative drumming used to fill in the ample sonic space.  He could have tightened this up into a happy pop song, but instead decided to go for something more textured.
  3. The Model Rockets — The Dress Up Girls (Tell The Kids The Cops Are Here): This Seattle band plays fun jangly pop rock with whimsical lyrics.  This music touches on pub rock, power pop and some of the ’60s British Invasion.  Nothing earth shattering, but it raises a smile.
  4. The Jam — Private Hell (Direction, Reaction, Creation): They started out as a punked up Mod band, and really progressed so much.  This song, originally on Setting Sons, matches classic Townshend/Davies quality pop craft with a doomy, post-punkish approach in the verses.  Rick Buckler lays down a steady beat, Paul Weller plays atmospheric guitar chords, and Bruce Foxton is a bass fiend on this song, providing clever melodic and rhythmic accents.  This is a song The Stone Roses had to have listened to a lot.
  5. The Pointed Sticks — Somebody’s Mom (Waiting For The Real Thing): This late-‘70s Vancouver punk-pop band comes with the endorsement of Jack Rabid of The Big Takeover Magazine.  They offer a different approach than either Buzzcocks or The Undertones, while having similar virtues.  This song is angular and kind of new wavey.  And, compared to a lot of their material, it is in the vein of Buzzcocks and Wire, with the clipped guitar line.
  6. Robyn Hitchcock — The Devil’s Radio (Moss Elixir): Robyn is becoming a shuffle regular.  This is off my favorite of his solo records.  This album isn’t as stripped down as the previous Eye, but it had Robyn going back to the basics, stripping some of the gloss that was on the last couple of albums he did with The Egyptians.  This is simply a very inviting folkie tune, with just the right amount ornamentation to supplement Robyn’s voice and guitar.
  7. Harry Nilsson — Cuddly Toy (Legendary Harry Nilsson): This frothy pop concoction was first recorded by The Monkees, a bouncy ditty that was tailor made for the voice of Davy Jones.  Nilsson’s version isn’t nearly as produced, but the strength of the song is apparent.  The fact that this song is dissing a groupie for having sex with a whole lot of guys is masked by the seemingly innocent metaphors used by Nilsson (“You’re not the only choo choo train/who was left out in the rain/the day after Santa came.”) makes it quite disturbing.
  8. Sparks — Academy Award Performance (Number One In Heaven): This 1979 album is most influential album that nobody has ever heard of.   At an artistic and commercial crossroads, Ron and Russell Mael heard Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love” and immediately sought out the track’s producer, Giorgio Moroder.  The three collaborated on what was an historic electronic dance album.  The combination of sequenced electronics, heavy BPMs and Russell Mael’s soaring falsetto announced the beginning of Hi-NRG dance music and provided inspiration for countless synth-pop duos like Pet Shop Boys and Erasure, and singers like Jimmy Sommerville of Bronski Beat. This pulsating track is about sexual role playing and faking orgasm.  Really.
  9. The Fall — Hey! Student (Middle Class Revolt): This was an old Fall song (1977’s “Hey Fascist”) revived and rewritten a bit for their 1994 Middle Class Revolt album.  This brings back memories of the band’s creaky take on rockabilly, but it’s a little bit faster and a little bit more forceful.  And Mark E. Smith is at the forefront, spitting out the lyrics with his patented sneer.
  10. Ultimate Fakebook — Soaked In Cinnamon (This Will Be Laughing Week): This Kansas band was fun to see live — the singer was a bespectacled geeky looking sort, while the rhythm section looked like the jocks who would have beaten him up freshman year in high school.  This album was released on an indie and got picked up by a major.  I’m sure the thought is that they could tap into the same audience as Weezer.  That’s a facile comparison, but this is a band that is clearly informed by The Replacements and Cheap Trick.  This song has a real strong guitar riff, which combines with a neck snapping stop-start rhythm, with a great melody to boot.

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Categorized: Friday MP3 Shuffle

Topics: ipod, lists

Jenny Lizak writesLocal Community Radio Act Unanimously Passes House Commerce Committee!

CHIRP volunteers are celebrating this morning, as we’ve just received word that the House Commerce Committee has unanimously voted in favor of the Local Community Radio Act, HR 1147. This bipartisan bill, which is supported by thousands of people across the country from a variety of community organizations, churches, artist groups, indigenous tribes, emergency responders and labor organizations, would allow the further expansion of low power FM radio, and would result in many more low power FM radio stations in urban areas. The Act will now go to the floor of the House for a full vote. Efforts are being made to progress the Senate’s version of the bill as well, and we are hopeful that lead co-sponsor Representative Mike Doyle’s prediction that this will be our “Christmas present” will in fact come true, and we’ll see President Obama signing it this year.

While CHIRP will begin to stream a new Chicago community radio station online within a few months, we have always believed that it is important to continue to advocate for the expansion of low power FM broadcast signals in order to fully serve all of the community, particularly those who may not have access to the internet. It is our hope that if this bill passes, we will have the opportunity to apply for a low power FM license to further our mission of serving the Chicago community with a great arts and cultural, locally-focused radio station.

During last spring’s trip to Washington D.C., we met so many people doing wonderful things in their local communities – churches, youth art organizations, farmworker coalitions, independent musicians, just to name a few – and many who hope to build upon their success with the ability to have a low power FM radio station. It is not only because of CHIRP’s own broadcasting dreams, but also because of the great people who we met in DC that we support the expansion of LPFM service across the nation, so these other groups can have the chance to serve their local communities as well.

Today’s great news should be a cause for celebration, but also a time to light the fire under all of us. Please take a moment to ask your legislators to support the Local Community Radio Act by visiting their website

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Categorized: CHIRP Radio News and Info.

Topics: local community radio act

CHIRP DJ writesSide A, Side B: Making the Perfect Mix

With the advent of compact discs, and now MP3s, the cassette tape went the way of the dinosaur. And, with it, went the mixed tape. Made of an “A” side and a “B” side, the mixed tape provided music lovers with the opportunity to create a sonic theater of sentiment complete with an intermission. Having two sides made it possible to fit two themes onto one tape, to make two full acts of music and to draw the crescendo of the tape out in a dramatic way.

It is easier, of course, to make a mix on a cd. All that is needed is a computer and a burner and a mix can be made in less than ten minutes. Tapes required elbow grease. Pulling the tapes you wanted to dub, searching for the tracks. Re-taping it if the sound didn’t come out right the first time, and trying to get the timing just right, so that no songs got cut off but also trying to avoid minutes of blank tape at the end of a side. I have fond memories of spending nights hunched over my tape deck, meticulously making mixes for friends (“Tori Amos Essentials”, “Good Going Out Tape”, “Girls!”) and for partners (“Love/Lust”, “Make Out Mix”, “You, Me, Rock”). Getting a handmade mixed tape was the best gift one could get. There was such an excitement in throwing it in your tape player and putting on your headphones, wondering what the next song, and the next side, would be.

In 2009, it is rare to find someone with a tape player. The last time I made a mixed tape was in 2003, and then subsequently had to buy my boyfriend a tape player to play it on. Cds are the wave of the future, but how can we make them just as good as the old standard, the mixed tape? And what just plain makes a good mix?

  • Shorten the sentiment, or double up: Abbreviate the message that you want to send, or make two discs and emphasize that they should be listened to in succession. After a recent trying time, my best friend made a set, with one disc carrying the theme of heartbreak and sorrow; the other was full of songs about redemption and survival. Trying to fit all of that on one disc could have been too much – the story was better told on “sides”, and it worked perfectly.
  • Know your audience: Even if you are making a mix for a specific occasion, like a holiday or a celebration, pay attention to what your listener likes. If they love noisy rock, dig around for Christmas song covers instead of putting traditional standards on their Xmas Jams 2009 cd. Customize the music to their specific tastes, even if those aren’t necessarily the songs you want to hear. And use caution when making a mix for a new sweetie. Songs that use the words “love” and “forever” could be taken the wrong way. Keeping all of this in mind…
  • Surprise them: Mixes are a great way to expand someone’s musical knowledge. Use the bands you know they love as a spring board for artists they might be unfamiliar with. Throw in a few groups that they know as anchors, but perhaps include b-sides instead of their more popular songs. Don’t forget liner notes so that they know what the wonderful new tunes you gifted them with are!

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Categorized: Post Mix

Topics: lists

DJ Sherbert - Uneasy Listening writesWhat Does Community Radio Mean To Me?

Nobody ever asks me that question. I tend to get more “Do you have a quarter?” and “What are you looking at, man?” Maybe the reason for that is purely geographical. I hail from the southwest corner region of Logan Square. Although maybe it’s more of a corridor than a corner. That’s not important. What is important is the present state of community radio in the neighborhood. Right now it’s fairly limited to the enormous Harley Davidson that likes to swing by blasting AC/DC’s “Back in Black” and MGMT’s “Electric Feel” which rises through my apartment’s floorboards on a regular basis thanks to my downstairs neighbor’s egomaniacal stereo. Don’t get me wrong. I love both those songs and could listen to them all the time. And do. But I yearn for more. Sometimes I get it when the neighbors two doors down pump up their tejano music to set their Friday night garage party in motion. Plus there’s the not-so-faint sounds of electric guitar thrash and reverb that escape the walls of Ronny’s four nights a week. Still, the sound quality is poor. I get better static tuning in an AM station from St. Louis. And so for these reasons and many more, I look forward to the day CHIRP launches and changes what community radio means to me, which is more often than not the neighborhood ice cream truck’s twenty minute rendition of “Pop Goes the Weasel” on calliope

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Categorized: CHIRP Radio News and Info.

Topics: what community radio means to me

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