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The CHIRP Blog

Nicole Oppenheim: Ear Candy writesMidwestern Housewife - Yes, There is an Unspoken Message Here

As many of you already know, I could definitely be described as an unconventional parent. I don’t really care if my kids swear (colorful verbiage is an important part of everyone’s lexicon), I let them eat way too much candy (they both have a sweet tooth the size of Jupiter), and I don’t bathe them every single day like all the parenting books recommend (dirt builds the immune system and prevents allergies, right?). So when my husband asked me what I wanted to do for Mother’s Day this year and my response was, “Get the hell away from all of you crazy people,” his laughter and eye-roll to the ceiling could have been predicted.

I know Mother’s Day was started as a day to honor the woman who changed your diapers, made sure you had clean clothes to wear, carted you around town until you or one of your friends could drive, and then sent you to college and paid for it, but it’s still just as much of a faux holiday as Valentine’s Day. Just as you should celebrate the love you share with your special someone more than one chilly day in mid-February, so too should you remember to show your mom (or grandma, or aunt, or godmother) some gratitude most days of the year for all the things she does for you. And let me tell you a little secret: A mediocre brunch, some flowers, and a mawkish card once a year is not even close to enough. In fact, it so misses the mark that it’s kind of insulting.

Allow me to describe what would be a perfect Mother’s Day for your truly: I wake up to the sound of a silent house. No toddlers screaming. No dog whining to be let out. No husband next to me snoring loud enough to wake the dead. No cat meowing plaintively, waiting for food. Just me, the subtle sounds of a spring morning and muted sunlight coming in through the drawn curtains. sigh Oh, and the all-important smell of freshly-brewed coffee (that was made by someone other than me) is wafting up from the kitchen.

Wearing my comfiest pajamas/slippers combination, I descend the stairs completely refreshed from a full night of sound sleep. I find that when I look around, the house is clean. No toys strewn about. No mystery chunks of what may once have been food stuck to the table and/or walls. No stray coats/socks/shoes/ sweaters littering the floor. All surfaces are neat and dust-free and the rugs have been recently vacuumed. The table is set for one—just me—and is filled with my favorite breakfast foods. My laptop is set up, too, and already displays my favorite website, ready for perusal. As I sit down and begin to eat breakfast, my favorite music begins playing on the stereo. Life is good, indeed.

After my shower, from which I emerge smelling and looking fantastic, I put on some ridiculously comfortable and stylish clothes completely devoid of random stains, rips, and snags that decorate every at-home mom’s wardrobe. A beautiful—and small—handbag waits for me by the door, so unlike the giant backpack I usually use to carry things like blankies, favorite toys, snacks, and sippy cups. Today, Dream Mother’s Day, I carry only what I truly need: my wallet, keys, lipstick, sunglasses, and of course, my iPod. Oh, and did I mention someone has already cleaned up the breakfast dishes?

I leave the house without giving any thought to whether I have brought along every toy that someone might scream for or whether I’ll be gone long enough to need extra diapers or juice. I don’t even worry about whether I’ve packed band-aids and Neosporin, just in case someone falls down at the playground. I just leave.

I drive to my best friend’s house where she and a few other close friends are gathered, waiting for me to pick them up. My car is adorable and totally un-momlike. It’s shiny, fuel-efficient, and small, yet, in my fantasy world, can easily accommodate seven or eight adult women.

We arrive at a very posh spa, where we spend the day getting massaged, waxed, plumped, manicured, and perfumed—all without charge, of course. We emerge even more breathtakingly gorgeous than when we entered (as if that’s possible…) and we walk to a sidewalk café where heartbreakingly attractive men bring us all of our favorite foods and beverages for the duration of the afternoon. Mmmmmm. (eyes glazing over)

Wait. What I was I talking about? Oh, right. Mother’s Day. Ech. I’d completely forgotten about my family there for a minute …and that is EXACTLY what I want for Mother’s Day. All other days of the year, I will submit to the needs of my children—at least while they’re awake. I’ll run the house. I’ll pay the bills on time. I’ll do the laundry and the dishes and all the other thankless tasks that need to be done. I’ll even be sympathetic when my husband complains about his job, which we both know is infinitely easier than what I do everyday. But on Mother’s Day, I just want to be left alone. I want a break. I want to take a vacation day and do what I want to do without my family. Is that so much to ask?

I mean, really. Think about it. On Labor Day, when the country is supposed to celebrate how awesome all the employees of the world are, do you want to hang out with the jackasses you work with? Hell, no. You hang out with your friends and/or family and you engage in activities you enjoy. For at-home moms, Mother’s Day is simply another Labor Day and we don’t want to spend it with the jerks from the office. Yes, we love our particular office jerks unconditionally, but we still want a break from them. I realize I don’t speak for every at-home mom—or working moms for that matter—but I definitely speak for all the moms I like to hang out with.

So, Sweetie, if you’re reading this (which you’d better be if you’d like some “attention” later), please try to make my fantasy Mother’s Day happen. To be honest, I’m not interested in the beautiful clothes, stupid cars, or expensive spa trips described above. Just take the kids and leave me alone for a day. That’s all an overworked mom really wants. Oh, and servants. Every mom deserves silent, compliant servants. Personally, I would love me some robot servants, but as I said, I’m a little unconventional.

Share April 26, 2010 Share on Facebook Tweet This!

Categorized: Midwestern Housewife


Mike Bennett writesipod/MP3 Friday Shuffle — Happy Birthday Roy Orbison Edition

Although the early ’60s is considered by some a somewhat fallow period for rock ‘n’ roll music, Roy Orbison is one of the notables who made that era worthwhile. Behind those shades lurked one of the most stunning voices in rock history. He brought operatic intensity and range to the rock era, with tales of romantic angst and longing that have stood the test of time. His influence has reached vocalists from Chris Isaak to k.d. lang to Glenn Danzig (really). Let’s pay tribute to Roy by grabbing your iPod/MP3 player, hitting shuffle and sharing the first ten songs that come up.

  1. The Guess Who — Baby’s Birthday (Shakin’ All Over): In its early days, The Guess Who were a fairly typical ’60s rock band, playing a mix of garage rock, pop and light psychedelia. This song, off of a cool Sundazed compilation of those early days, sounds a bit like on of Mike Nesmith’s tunes from The Monkees.
  2. Loretta Lynn — You’ve Just Stepped In (From Stepping Out on Me) (All Time Greatest Hits): Doesn’t the title say it all. Another great Lynn wounded woman song, with Lynn telling her straying man that if he doesn’t change his ways, she going to be “stepping out on you someday.” In this song, Lynn hits upon the dilemna of a woman who wants to leave but is scared to.
  3. Guided By Voices — Ester’s Day (Bee Thousand): Like a lot of people, this album was my first exposure to GBV, who were at the forefront of the low fi movement. Of course, this was due to circumstance, not artistic intent. But they learned how to work it to their advantage, especially on the little song fragments that glued together their albums. The lower fidelity gives this track, and many others, a haunting feel.
  4. The dB’s — Love Is For Lovers (Like This): Peter Holsapple, the front man for the latter day dB’s, wrote a great piece on this song for the New York Times. This was it, the perfect hit single. Which never came close to being a hit. He talked about the process and the frustration. And frustrating it had to have been, as this song is awash in hooks, full of twists, and has great lyrics. An awesome tune indeed.
  5. The Boys — Heroine (Alternative Chartbusters): This underrated British ’70s pop-punk band threw a curveball on this slow piano based song. This has a whiff of Beatle-ish psychedelia and arm waving Slade glam balladry. A nice change of pace.
  6. Fools Face — What You Hide (Fools Face): Fools Face are heroes to a select group of power pop fans who have their limited release albums from the ’80s. This Springfield, Missouri band had four equally adept songwriters who mined the best of pop and power pop from the ’60s and ’70s. The band’s 2002 reunion album was a jawdropper, because other than the beefier production (one of the members had gone on to becoming a big time recording engineer), it otherwise picked right up where its 1983 Public Places album had left off. This is a muscular psychedelic rocker that sounds like a less arrogant Oasis.
  7. The Saints — Demoltion Girl (Wild About You: 1976-1978): The Saints are true contemporaries of the Ramones, and they were starting up punk Down Under the way the Ramones did in NYC. Whereas the Ramones revved up classic ’60s pop archtypes like Phil Spector, The Saints were turbo-charging basic R & B. Along with Radio Birdman, The Saints established a special hard edge that is always associated with Aussie punk.
  8. Redd Kross — Secret Life (Show World): Show World was the final Redd Kross album, though there is still a possibility that Steven and Jeffrey McDonald might get another one out. If they don’t, this was quite the finale. After starting out as a teen punk band, Redd Kross settled into classic power pop mode. And with Show World, they perfected their sound. This is a rather powerful soaring ballad that sounds like it was made for ’70s AM radio.
  9. Split Enz — Marooned (Frenzy): This album was the break away from the earlier art-pop of the first three Enz albums into the radio friendly new wavish-pop that made them known around the world. Frenzy was not quite as slick as the subsequent efforts and had an energy befitting the album title. This song sounds like a mid-point between early XTC and Field Music.
  10. k.d. lang — Tickled Pink (A Truly Western Experience): The first k.d. lang effort is a bit uneven, but it established that she loved country music so much that she couldn’t take it too seriously. Thus, she brought a fresh perspective to music that respected traditions, while tweaking them to give it a feel that fit her clever lyrical sensibility. The album also let everyone know that k.d. lang is an amazing singer. This song manages to have a country structure, but also has a bluesy feel, augmented by the use of a Hammond organ. Nice.

Share April 23, 2010 Share on Facebook Tweet This!

Categorized: Friday MP3 Shuffle


Mike Gibson writesUpcoming CHIRP benefit with Jonny Rumble, Detholz! and Honest Engines

CHIRP is pleased to announce our partnership with the Ford Fiesta Benefit at Subterranean featuring Jonny Rumble, the Detholz!, and Honest Engines on Thursday, April 29th. Doors open at 8pm and the show starts at 8:30pm. Tickets are only $5, and all proceeds benefit CHIRP Radio! RSVP in order to receive the free giveaways (like beer, posters, and t-shirts!). Giveaways are only available while supplies last so come early, get free stuff, and support community radio! This show is 21+.

Share April 19, 2010 Share on Facebook Tweet This!

Categorized: Event Previews


Shawn Campbell writesCHIRP loves Record Store Day

As if last weekend’s CHIRP Record Fair & Other Delights hadn’t already enticed you into spending an abundance of your hard-earned cash, this Saturday, there’s no letup for music lovers — it’s Record Store Day, the national holiday for fans of independent music stores across the country.

Record Store Day offers up an abundance of special limited edition releases, live performances, DJ sets, promises of freebies and refreshments, storewide discounts and all sorts of other special goings-on. It’s designed to make shoppers realize the importance of supporting the indies — more than 3000 independent record stores have closed over the past decade, and one of every five albums in America is now sold by Walmart. Record Store Day hopes to help reverse the trend.

So don’t fight it — feel it! Hit your favorite record stores on Saturday, and show them some love in the form of dollars. That’s what we’ll be doing.

Share April 16, 2010 Share on Facebook Tweet This!

Categorized: Community

Shawn Campbell writesIt’s Record Fair Weekend!

Next Saturday might mark Record Store Day (something we heartily support, and hope you do too), but the next two days in Chicago mark Record FAIR Days — in other words, the two days of the annual vinyl extravaganza that is the CHIRP Record Fair & Other Delights !

Plumbers Hall at 1340 W. Washington Street will be filled to the brim with new and used vinyl, CDs, DVDs, posters, crafts, and god knows what else. Live entertainment will be provided by Pretty Good Dance Moves, Coins, Judson Claiborne, and the Loneliest Monk. DJ sets courtesy of Alla, Mannequin Men, Disappears, and Deia Does Dylan. Plastic Crimewave will offer up caricatures, Irazu offers up Costa Rican deliciousness, Goose Island brings the beer. How could your weekend be any better? It couldn’t. That’s why we’ll see you there.

10AM-5PM Saturday and Sunday, April 10th and 11th, $7/$5 with CHIRP Record Fair flyer or ad.

Share April 10, 2010 Share on Facebook Tweet This!

Categorized: Event Previews

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