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The CHIRP Blog

KSanders writesMovie Review: “Urgh! A Music War”

written by Kyle Sanders

Earlier this spring, I got the chance to see Grace Jones: Bloodlight & Bami, a candid look into the artistry and personal life of Grace Jones. While the familial moments show a softer, rarely seen side of the iconoclastic singer, it's the inclusion of her live performances in various cities that really sell the documentary (or should I say, "rockumentary"?) about what drives Jones the most: fusing her striking physicality and unusual vocals into performance art.

It showcases both truth in spectacle and soul, the former being what has often defined Jones throughout her career, the latter rarely ever exposed to the public. In other words, there's a context behind the art--what often drives the performer on the stage is something far more persuasive off of it.

Urgh! A Music War on the other hand, does not appear to have any context. A concert film released in 1982, it features over two dozen musical acts widely ranging from punk to reggae, performing around the globe. The lineup is inconsistently arranged, as each artist/group is given one song to perform, aside from The Police (perhaps the most commercially successful of all the acts), who bookend the film with two songs and an encore performance featuring some of the other featured bands.

As far as rockumentaries go, Urgh! doesn't contribute anything new to the medium. There's nothing historically remarkable as compared to the likes of Woodstock, Gimme Shelter, or Monterey Pop. It doesn't provide enough of a showcase for the actual musicians either, unable to flesh out significant artists such as in Stop Making Sense (Talking Heads) or The Last Waltz (The Band). And as pointed out in Jeff Stafford's Streamline article, even the title is a tad confusing, as the so-called "music war" mentioned would suggest a Battle of the Bands-esque event offering some sort of competitive conquest. And while no particular band or artist comes out solely victorious, Urgh! A Music War does triumph in one particular battlefield: nostalgia.

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Categorized: Movies

Topics: urgh a music war

Clarence Ewing: The Million Year Trip writesTONIGHT! CHIRP Radio Local Showcase Series at Bourbon on Division!

You are invited to the beginning of the next CHIRP neighborhood happening as we kick of our new Local Showcase series at Bourbon on Division (2050 W. Division St. 60622). Les Strychnine, Rare Ms Steak, and Protovulcan are the musicial talent sure to provide a memerable night starting at 9:00pm. Tickets are $7 and can be purchased here.

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Categorized: Event Previews

Topics: les strychnine, protovulcan, rare ms. steak

Clarence Ewing: The Million Year Trip writesWorld Premiere Video: “Psycho Crush” by Ovef Ow

Behold the new video by Chicago band Ovef Ow for their song "Psycho Crush" from their 2017 Working EP! Directed by Chiago artist, designer and musician Timothy Breen, whose work with Numero Group has earned him two Gramy nominations, the video dips the band's infectious punky sounds into a pool of psychadelic colors and textures for a satisyfingly cool summertime effect.

Ovef Ow is Marites Velasquez (bass, vocals, and CHIRP volunteer...!), Sarah Braunstein (drums, vocals), Kyla Denham (synth, vocals), and Nick Barnett (guitar). Check out their CHIRP Radio podcast interview. The band will be performing Wednesday August 1 with (ORB) and Sat. Nite Duets at Sleeping Village (3734 W. Belmont) as part of the "In the Pit" Series.

Psycho Crush by Ovef Ow from Ovef Ow on Vimeo.

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Categorized: Event Previews

Topics: ovef ow

Clarence Ewing: The Million Year Trip writes@CHIRPRadio (Week of July 16)

Upcoming Events

  • Monday July 16: CHIRP Radio and The Chicago FIlm Society present Urgh! A Music War at the Music Box Theatre
  • Tuesday, July 17: The CHIRP Radio Local Showcase series premieres at Burbon on Division, featuring Les Strychnine, Rare Ms Steak, and Protovulcan
  • Friday July 20 to Sunday July 22: The Pitchfork Music Festival takes over Union Park for three days of music, food, and fun! CHIRP Radio also hosts the Record Fair and Other Delights.

New Media

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Categorized: Event Previews

Josh Friedberg: Music Historian's Corner writesRediscovering Our Record Collections: “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill”

written by Joshua Friedberg

At Pitchfork this week, Lauryn Hill is expected to give an electric performance of her one solo album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. With the album celebrating its twentieth anniversary, it’s a good time to revisit its success and its meaning to listeners, including me.

Lauryn Hill’s 1998 disc proved to be an instant classic. I remember at ten years old, I heard about this album garnering the kind of critical and industry acclaim that Nirvana’s Nevermind received several years earlier. And though today it appears to have lost some of its critical luster compared to Nevermind and Radiohead’s OK Computer—which today are both in the statistical aggregate acclaimedmusic.net’s list of the top 10 most acclaimed albums of all time, while Miseducation sits at a “measly” #131—it continues to hold a special place in the hearts of fans of many different generations, genders, races, and classes.

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Categorized: Rediscovering Our Record Collections

Topics: lauryn hill

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