Deep waves of guitars and rich harmonies await you when listening to UK-born Chicago-based musician James Elkington. His new album Wintres Woma (Paradise of Bachelors) has just been released and is available for listening in rotation and by request on CHIRP Radio.
Chicago indie-pop band Berry has been together since 2002. Since that time the band has separated physically but not musically. While several members have relocated to different cities, the group still makes music together. Their lagtest album Everything, Compromised was recorded in five different states and mixed in at least four different countries..!
Berry is performing tonight at Schubas Tavern (with The Icarians and Kodakrome) to finish up their first tour in seven years. To mark the occasion, Clarence Ewing spoke to Paul Goodenough about the band and what it's like to make music across three different time zones.
Clarence Ewing: Give us a history of Berry from 2007 to now.
Paul Goodenugh: The big obvious theme of the history is that in 2007 we existed as a band in the closest possible quarters--living together, recording constantly, touring intensely. Now we exist in three different time zones. There was a period from 2010-2014 when we had to take some time to focus on family, school, and life adventures. That was right after we released and toured for Blue Sky, Raging Sun (Joyful Noise). Once we settled after that transition period, we got the Berry-ball rolling again, but it took a while to gain momentum. An early collaborator of ours, Paul Klimson, basically kicked our asses and got us serious about recording and releasing music with some semblance of direction. For the last two years, we have been "practicing" weekly via conference call, and we usually spend a week together each summer to either record or tour.
"I think the joke is on... I don’t know who the joke is on, really. I don’t even know if there is a joke."
Who's the arbiter of what constitutes "good" art? Or art, period? You, the reader, probably have better-formed opinions about tunes (this is a CHIRP Radio site, after all), but still, one person's trash is someone else's treasure. There are entire genres of music that I'm unable to digest, but I certainly don't believe that my tastes are any more or less highfalutin' than another's in this regard -- we simply form an immediate physical reaction to the beats and melodies that we hear. Keep in mind that my background in visual arts is pretty rudimentary, but I kinda think this medium works the same way? Most of us simply will know what we like when we see it.
Enter the documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop, a project which originally began as a fly-on-the-wall snapshot of the world of street art by vagabond/vintage-clothing proprietor Thierry Guetta. It then later morphed into a profile of reclusive British graffiti wizard Banksy, but when Banksy couldn't make heads-or-tails of Guetta's finished product (Life Remote Control, which Banksy describes as "an hour and a half of unwatchable nightmare trailers"), Banksy decided to commandeer Guetta's tapes and take a stab at stitching together the film.
The result? A profile of Guetta himself, who runs with Banksy's offhand suggestion of creating his own street art, and sinks his life savings into a gargantuan Los Angeles art exposition -- a warehouse populated with work that was "conceived" by Guetta but actually produced by artists he employed. While much of his "style" seems incredibly derivative (he's basically an Andy Warhol knockoff), Guetta's ability to generate interest creates the perception that this is cutting-edge art, and it sells like hotcakes to wildly-enthusiastic audiences... while Banksy and the street-art community are left horrified at the monster they've created.
Chicago is a city of many mustical styles, including a strong tradition of Country, Folk, and Roots music. Local group Big Sadie is one of the bands contributing to modern Americana with skill and grace. Their debut album Keep Me Waiting has just been released on Spindle Tree Records. Songs frpm this album are available in rotation and by request on CHIRP Radio.