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Karin Fjellman writesMONDAY! CHIRP Night at the Whistler with Wumme and Oriental Rugs

It’s President’s Day, and you know what that means — time to [Whig] party! Tonight, come out to the Whistler for a night of rad local music and a chance to support your favorite independent radio station, CHIRP! A portion of the night’s bar sales benefits CHIRP, so drink up while you listen to some great tunes from our friends Wumme (formerly Altered States, ex-Bird Names) and Oriental Rugs. Oh yeah, and it’s FREE to enter! See you there.

Monday, February 21, 2011
Wumme (formerly Altered States, ex-Bird Names)
Oriental Rugs
2421 N. Milwaukee
9:30pm – 2am
No cover

CHIRP DJ Dustin Drase spins before and after bands!
Raffle tickets sold throughout the night — win awesome prizes for cheap!

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Categorized: Event Previews

Mike Bennett writesFriday iPod/MP3 Shuffle—Happy Birthday Andy and Jez Williams

I’m not sure if you could fill out a Jeopardy category based on great musical twins. There was the hip-hop group Twin Hype and Hee Haw regulars The Hagar Twins (neither who were Sammy, BTW). But those are the first two that come to mind. Maybe that’s because twins often seem like a gimmick. That’s not the case with Jez and Andy Williams of England’s oh so wonderful Doves. Jez writes the tunes and plays guitar while Andy plays the drums and they layer wonderful melancholy melodies with a big sound. They don’t exploit their twin-inness, I suppose and just concentrate on making good music. So they deserve a salute. Grab your iPod or MP3 player, hit shuffle and share the first ten tunes that come up.

  1. Leatherface – Fine (The Last): At the time, it seemed, as the album title indicates, that Leatherface was done. And, at the time, they really went out on a high note. The Leatherface formula is simple muscular yet melodic guitars that are powerful and sad. Franklin Stubbs then sings in his ultra sore throated style, which is full of emotion, and every song builds to some sort of release, whether in a chorus or an instrumental break. This is typical of that style and sounds swell.
  2. Maximo Park — A Fortnight’s Time (Our Earthly Pleasures): Lead singer Paul Smith’s recent solo album confirms how much the structure of his lyrics informs the construction of the tunes. At their best, and this is a really nice tune, he engages in serious yet witty wordplay, which resolves itself in a happier chorus. He is the classic smart guy who is dumb when it comes to matters of the heart.
  3. The Beach Boys — At My Window (Sunflower): Bruce Johnston takes the lead vocal on this Brian Wilson/Al Jardine composition off of what many consider to be the second best Beach Boys album after Pet Sounds. Johnston has an airy vocal quality that is well-suited for this soft-pop trifle. A pretty song, but one of the weaker cuts on the album.
  4. The Boys — U.S.I. (Alternative Chartbusters): In 1978, these guys were punk, but in retrospect, they were just a really loud power pop band. I don’t know what U.S.I. stands for, but this song takes a very basic hook and works it for all its worth in less than two minutes.
  5. Bad Religion — Henchman (No Control): Wow, each song is getting shorter. This is a barely over one minute burst from this amazing punk album. Not sure if Bad Religion is heavy enough to really qualify as hardcore, despite their velocity. Their music just soars while Greg Graffin crisply sings more multi-syllabic words than any vocalist in rock history.
  6. The Brothers Johnson — The Devil (Look Out For #1): A moralistic mid-tempo funk song from the debut album of these (non-twin) brothers who had four Top 40 hits in the ’70s and ’80s. George and Louis make it clear that Ol’ Scratch is a bad dude. For some reason, I seem to recall at some point the made a switch to Team Islam, but I may be confusing them with another ’70s R & B band.
  7. The Zombies — Road Runner (Zombie Heaven): This Bo Diddley number was a staple in the repertoire of any self-respecting British beat band circa 1965. While Colin Blunstone is more known for his stately crooning, he was a very credible blues rock vocalist and gives it all on this cover, which stands out due to Rod Argent’s organ playing.
  8. Richard X. Heyman — Anyone Who Tried (Cornerstone): A power pop artist who put out two albums on Sire in the ’80s, Heyman is a one man band. He layers on jangly guitars and harmonizes with himself on uplifting songs. While can be pensive, the bulk of his material is teeming with energy, mixing the jangle with a few power chords and his punchy drumming to make for catchy fun.
  9. The Lemon Pipers — Rice Is Nice (Green Tambourine): One of my favorite bubblegum bands, in part because they were allowed two smoking blues rock songs amongst the juvenile rhyming songs like this one. The rice they are referring to is the rice that gets thrown on a couple after they get married.
  10. The Hold Steady — Stay Positive (Stay Positive): I’m in the minority of folks who liked this album much better than Boys And Girls In America (though I agree their last one sounded like they were running out of gas). I just thought the balance of rockers and slow ones was right, the lyrics were better and there were no duds. Anyway, the title cut is a great mix, with verses that allow Craig Finn to bust out pop culture laced bromides building up to a chorus that is meant for shaking ones fist to and singing along.

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Categorized: Friday MP3 Shuffle

Topics: doves, ipod, mp3

Shawn Campbell writesGet Ready for the CHIRP Singles Mixer/Mix CD Exchange!

We know how inane Valentine’s Day can be. And just because society makes us feel like we need to search for a better half one day a year, we at CHIRP would like to celebrate our appreciation of The Single. Both the carefree, unbound guy or gal who gets your heart a-racin’ — and the standout song that does the same.

And so, for singles and B-sides alike, we’ve put together a post-Valentine’s Day “Singles Mixer” and Mix CD swap on Tuesday, February 15 at Cole’s Bar . (Get it? A mix CD of singles! A “singles mixer!”)

If you’ve got the notion, bring a mix CD (of love songs, or anti-love songs, or love-devoid songs) to exchange with other folks — single or otherwise — and even if you don’t meet Prince or Princess Charming, at least you’ll take home a new mix CD!

Cole’s Bar is located at 2338 N. Milwaukee Ave and entry is free! It all starts at 8pm and the venue is 21 and over.

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Categorized: Event Previews

Mike Bennett writesFriday iPod/MP3 Shuffle—Happy Birthday H.R. Edition

He is the frontman for what many consider the greatest hardcore punk band of all-time. Bad Brains combined lightening speed with incisive songs and a charismatic lead singer. Of course, the band also knew it’s way around a reggae tune. While Bad Brains was never prolific, they inspired legions of bands and fans over the years and continued to shine in concert long after their best recordings had been released. They even provided the title for the great indie rock magazine, The Big Takeover. In honor of H.R., get out your iPod or MP3 player, hit shuffle, and share the first 10 songs that come up.

  1. Dallas Orbiter — Arise (Magnesium Fireflies): I know next to nothing about this band. I was sent this album to review for This song immediately stuck in my head, It is basically the title cut for this solid album of indie pop. The tune starts with the chorus, which is a simple choral singalong with all sorts of guitar and keyboard noise going on underneath. The verses are Neil Young filtered through Britpop with bits of distortion, and do the job of getting back to that awesome chorus.
  2. The Bees — Stand (Octopus): This comes off the third album from this underrated British band. This song navagates a languid ska groove, mixed with the usual psychedelic-pop vibes. So this sounds like The Specials meets the ’60s, on a track dripping with atmosphere. And, damn, the chorus is mega-catchy.
  3. Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band — Best Batch Yet (Doc At Radar Station): After a brief hiatus, Captain Beefhearts final few records moved him away from the mainstream, and into a place where he tried to take the blues meets free jazz approach of Trout Mask Replica and make it a bit more palatable. He did a great job, creating blues based songs with dissonant touches that rocked and challenged a listener equally, as reflected on this song.
  4. Jesus Jones — Song 13 (Liquidizer): I still love this band’s debut album, which was primarily guitar heavy rock with dance beats. Really fast dance beats, along with major hooks on every song. This is a more straightforward rock tune, with heavy guitar and shouted verses, but a sublimely melodic chorus.
  5. The Instant Automations — Scared To Be Alone (Messthetics Greatest Hits): A fuzzy slice of oddball post-punk pop from the excellent Messthetics series. This is a compilation of a compilation, skimming the cream of obscure British singles from the late-‘70s and early-‘80s. This song relies on a very prominent bass and effects laden guitar, with a simple drum machine beneath, while the singer emotes over the collective drone. A saxophone bleats in the background.
  6. The Pipettes — Judy (We Are The Pipettes): This group’s first album is so full of brilliant tracks, taking a modern approach to the classic girl group sound. This really came through in the lyrics, which often were more aggressive than the moony girl group songs of old. This tune is a character study of a girl with a rough exterior, from the position of an empathetic acquaintance. A very mature perspective, well sung and arranged, making for a resonant pop tune.
  7. The Hotrats – E.M.I. (Turn Ons): Here, Gaz and Danny of Supergrass do an acoustic rearrangement of this Sex Pistols’ tune. They make it sound like a peppy Ziggy-era David Bowie track, with no electric guitars — instead acoustic guitars and keyboards dominant. The only element that is true to the original is the chorus. So it’s like taking the song back to about 1974. Clever.
  8. Funkadelic — Comin’ Round The Mountain (Hardcore Jollies): As Funkadelic followed Parliament into major labeldom, their music became less hard edged and rock oriented, but enough of that aspect was left intact to differentiate the two acts. This song melds chanted vocals, some funk guitar and a disco shuffle beat with a bit of a rockier chorus and some meaner guitar. The tune feels like it’s on the verge of exploding throughout, but it basically stays in the pocket, until a wicked solo near the end.
  9. Jerry Lee Lewis — Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On (Live At The Star Club): For one night only, The Killer played the Star Club in Hamburg, backed by Britain’s The Nashville Teens, who had recently backed Jerry Lee for two weeks in the UK. Thank goodness this night was captured on tape, because Lewis was on fire. He drives everything with his forceful piano playing and intense vocals, keeping the energy level high at almost all times, while the Teens try to keep up. Many of the songs are better known by other artists, but The Killer makes them his own. Here, Jerry Lee takes on one of his biggest hits, getting very playful during the breakdown in the middle, and then speeding the song up to punk tempo thereafter. This is likely the greatest live rock ‘n’ roll ever made and a testament to the greatness of Mr. Lewis.
  10. Eagles Of Death Metal — Cheap Thrills (Heart On): I enjoy all three Eagles of Death Metal records, as they keep the notion of big dumb blues rock guitar riffs viable in contemporary music. This song has a bit more of a Queens of the Stone Age vibe than the typical Eagles song, as Josh Homme takes a more prominent vocal role and adds some psychedelic moves that I’d associate more with his main band. This juxtaposes with the trash rock chorus quite well.

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Categorized: Friday MP3 Shuffle

Topics: h.r., ipod, mp3

Jenna Murfin writesParticipate in the Creative Chicago Survey!

Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs is conducting its 2011 Creative Chicago Survey, which invites creative practitioners who live and work in Chicago to describe who they are and what they need to thrive, including specific space and business assistance information.

This information will help the City determine policies and programs to support its Creative Sector, and be shared with interested organizations, research and advocacy efforts. The Creative Chicago Survey is unique because it invites the creative community to opt-in and define itself, rather than working from a pre-determined list.

To have the greatest impact, their goal is to hear from all creative people who live and/or work in Chicago. Who is a creative? An artist or an architect, a chef or DJ, a member of a church choir or a fashion designer, a teaching artist or playwright, an arts administrator or a filmmaker, a knitter or an industrial designer. Not just professional artists, but every person who engages in a creative practice as their job or their hobby is considered “a creative.”

Click here to take the survey, in Spanish or English, from Friday, February 4th to Friday, February 25th.

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Categorized: CHIRP Radio News and Info.

Topics: community

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