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Jenny Lizak writesCommunity Radio Activists Hula Hoop and Ask the NAB To Stop Making Low Power FM Radio Jump Through 

Executives at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), the lobby group representing large commercial broadcast stations across the United States, were surprised to look out their windows on Monday to see a veritable circus of community radio supporters. Dozens of people hula-hooped, juggled, and asked NAB chief Gordon Smith, former Senator from Oregon, to stop blocking a bill that would expand access to 100-watt low power FM (LPFM) noncommercial community radio stations across the US – the Local Community Radio Act, HR 1147 and SB 592.

They cheered at the NAB, “Stop making us jump through hoops! Support low power FM radio and the Local Community Radio Act!” They also asked their Congressional leaders to pass this widely loved and bipartisan bill before the end of the 111th Congress.

“Low power FM radio stations not only put local music, news, and political debates on the FM dial, they saved lives after Hurricane Katrina because they put up-to-the-minute local information on the air – and they are small and flexible enough to keep running with a car battery when the power goes out,” said Pete Tridish, an organizer with the Prometheus Radio Project, a nonprofit that supports low power FM radio stations nationwide and friend of CHIRP. “By passing this bill today, Congress will be supporting thousands of constituent organizations instead of bowing to one big broadcast lobby’s wishes. Gordon Smith is silencing voices across the country by opposing the expansion of community radio. So we’re here to say: Gordon Smith, don’t make a circus of our democracy – stop making us jump through hoops; work with Congress to pass this bill.”

There are about 800 stations on the air across the US, but thousands of other groups were unable to get licenses when LPFM was established in 2000. The Local Community Radio Act, which would expand LPFM, sailed through the House in 2009, and has broad bipartisan support in the Senate. Unfortunately, new reports showed that NAB CEO and former Senator Gordon Smith is organizing secret Senate holds on the bill to kill it. The NAB claimed that they were working to compromise or negotiate on expanding low power FM radio, but as of Monday the 13th, they had rejected every offer that Senate sponsors and LPFM advocates have brought before them.

Hundreds of diverse groups, including CHIRP, support expanding low power FM radio nationwide, including emergency responders, national civil rights and faith-based organizations, and many others. They have waited years for the opportunity to serve their communities, but the FCC has been unable to give out licenses to them because Congress restricted LPFM.

Now is the time to act! Watch the hula hoopers below, and then send an email to Senator Durbin asking him to help bring the Local Community Radio Act to the floor for a vote.

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Categorized: CHIRP Radio News and Info.


Craig Reptile: Your Sunday Sonic Sundowner writesCraig Reptile’s Best of 2010

Throughout December CHIRP Radio presents its members' top albums of 2010. The next list is from CHIRP Radio DJ Craig Reptile.

(Click here to get the complete list of CHIRP Radio members' picks.)

Craig Reptile's Top 10 of 2010 (in no particular order):

  • Autolux – Transit Transit (tbd)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    Suckers for shoegazer should celebrate this release from Autolux, while those unfamiliar with the genre of fuzzy, woozy guitars and ethereal, wispy vocals should find a compelling and wide-ranging introduction here.
  • Pomegranates – One of Us (Afternoon)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    From sped up tape sounds to ambient guitar squalls, this record never fails to surprise and inspire. If you dig The Jesus and Mary Chain, Blonde Redhead, Animal Collective, Crocodiles, Neon Indian, Serena-Maneesh, Brad Laner, and labelmates The Poison Control Center, you should dig this.
  • Sambassadeur – European (Lubrador)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    Ambassadors of Swedish orch-pop have returned with lush, fully fleshed out instrumentation, featuring melodies that bridge the girl group sound a la Phil Spector and the ambitious approach of 80's post-New Wave anthem producers.
  • Club 8 – The People’s Record (Labrador)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    More Swee, but this time afrobeat and Latin American rhythms and energy dominate each song--like listening to 10,000 Maniacs’ In My Tribe at 78 speed, it’s a rush of rapid rhythms and rumbling bass, with angular latticework guitar parts and soaring soprano singing.
  • The Soviet League – The Soviet League (Angel Oven Records)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    This sounds like Brian Eno and Roy Orbison meeting XTC alteregos Dukes of Stratosphear. Utterly mind-blowing. If this is the future, I want to be a part of it.
  • Belle and Sebastian – Write About Love (Matador)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    I guess twee orch-pop is not for everyone, but I can't imagine anyone not loving this record. But anything's possible. Every cut is a winner in my book (the one I'm writing about love, 'natch).
  • Dreamend – So I Ate Myself Bite By Bite (Graveface)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    A lovely and haunting symphony of banjos and crickets from Ryan Graveface's latest project. It may have been a bad dream, but it sure sounded beautiful to me.
  • Darling – Lights That Last Forever (Cardboard Sangria)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    Try as I might, I could not find a bad song on this Chicago group's first full length release. This is pure power pop for 2010 people, and it's full of anthemically awesome surprises.
  • Azure Ray – Drawing Down the Moon (Saddle Creek)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    I loved the record before seeing this lovely female duo at a sold out Schubas, and love it even more now &ndash never has sad been so beautiful.
  • The Thermals – Personal Life (Kill Rock Stars)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    It may not be their most rocking release, but Hutch's lyrics have never been better or more . . . personal. I still believe he's the Chuck D of indie rock.

5 Favorite EPs of 2010:
California Wives – Affair (Self-Released)
Chaperone – Cripple King (Self-Released)
Verma – Verma (Plustapes)
Pilot Cloud – Diaspora (Acoustic Firework)
Atmosphere – To All My Friends, Blood Makes The Blade Holy: The Atmosphere EP's (Rhymesayers Entertainment)

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Categorized: Best Albums of the Year


Clarence Ewing: The Million Year Trip writesBeats and Blogs: The Video

There's only a few days until Beats and Blogs Featuring White Mystery at Subterranean on December 18th! Join CHIRP Radio and an all-star lineup of other independent Chicago-based music Web sites as we rock out with White Mystery, Hollows, Rabble Rabble and Radar Eyes!

Check out this fantastic video from Betta Promotions, in which they interview the creative minds behind the blogs that will be showcased on the 18th...

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Categorized: Event Previews


Rubbed in Dirt, Dipped in Sugar writesJohn Lombardo’s Best of 2010

Throughout December CHIRP Radio presents its members’ top albums of 2010. The next list is from station volunteer John Lombardo.
(Click here to get the complete list of CHIRP Radio members’ picks.)

  1. 97-Shiki – Showing Teeth is a Good Thing (Self-Released)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    A fierce collision of noise and groove that reminds me of DC’s Metamatics with a smattering of trumpet. This equal parts jarring and catchy EP was released only as a cassette, along with digital download code card. The best of both worlds from these retro-futurists.
  2. Real Estate – Out of Tune (True Panther Sounds)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    Somehow even more remarkable than their self-titled LP, these guys create some of the most reserved and captivating pop songs out there. Insane harmonies pacify stretches of hypnotic jamming, all glued together by relentless hooks.
  3. White Mystery – White Mystery (Self-Released)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    Virtually every one of these songs have become “instant classics” with fans going berserk at live shows at the first hint of Alex’s opening riffs. Along with their break-neck touring pace and penchant for unusual shows (living room record release shows, Halloween celebrations, and restaurant performances), White Mystery have distinguished themselves on this epic full-length which matches the duo’s live greatness.
  4. Surfer Blood – Astro Coast (Kanine)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    Seemingly appearing out of nowhere, this young Florida quartet blend Weezer’s first trips to LA with Pavement just reaching their stride to produce a new strain dreamy pitch-perfect pop. Their vocalist conjures up Morrissey in his tone as well as lyrics. With epic songs like Catholic Pagan entertaining Smiths-esque themes along with the added wit and vigor of a new generation.
  5. Lower Dens – Twin Hand Movement (Gnomonsong)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    In a rare break from her long-running solo career, Jana Hunter departs from her free-folk freak outs, joining forces with a strong group of Baltimore players to create a rock-solid and gripping debut record.
  6. Disappears – Lux (Kranky)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    Layers and layers of reverb peppered with distorted hot lixx. Fantastic songs anchored by Brian Case’s unique vocals. Hazy, swarming guitar-rock that plays smooth start to finish.
  7. Deerhunter – Halcyon Digest (4AD)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    The highly anticipated follow-up to Microcastle truly delivers! Chock full of doubled-vocals and insane pop hooks, this record serves as a beautiful soundtrack for the depressives of the world.
  8. Dag Nasty – Dag With Shawn (Dischord)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    The lost tapes of a 1985 Halloween recording session that would be completely re-recoded and released as the entire album, Can I Say. These songs with legendary wildcard Shawn Brown (“Swiz,” “Sweetbelly Freakdown”) on vocals give a rare glimpse of the band that most people never got a chance to see. Raw and relentless chugging riffs, all held together by Shawn’s patented howl.
  9. Broken Social Scene – Forgiveness Rock Record (Arts & Crafts)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    Recorded in the heart of lovely Wicker Park, this beast of an ensemble record finds local producer and drum wunderkind John McEntire and a slew of other indie rock royalty making guest appearances. High production with catchy songs that will almost make you forget You Forgot It In People.
  10. Bill Callahan – Rough Travel for a Rare Thing (Drag City)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    This live record captures a unique ‘best of’ type of glimpse of (Smog)’s discography that only a handful fans witnessed at a rare Hideout show this year. Callahan’s somber baritone on solo re-workings of classics like “Cold-Blooded Old Times,” “Our Anniversary,” and “Say Valley Maker” affirms and echoes his longevity and success. Great great great!

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Categorized: Best Albums of the Year


CHIRP DJ writesMatt Wenzel’s Best of 2010

Throughout December CHIRP Radio presents its members' top albums of 2010. The next list is from station station volunteer Matt Wenzel.
(Click here to get the complete list of CHIRP Radio members' picks.)

  1. Bird Names – Metabolism: A Salute to the Energy of the Sun (Mosstapes)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    This band has the most creative approach to executing and recording pop music since the Beatles.
  2. The Rebel – The Race Against Time Hots Up (Junior Aspirin)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    Weirdo catchy melodies underlined by freakish sound collages and keyboard beats would not leave my head for weeks.
  3. How To Dress Well – Love Remains (Lefse)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    This was quite possibly the most addicting album I’ve heard in a long time. Chicago Reader’s Miles Raymer put it quite nicely when he suggests that it sounds “like someone erased all the lead instruments from the multitrack recording of a big-budget pop song, leaving just atmospheric layers of textural overdubs, all drenched in reverb.”
  4. We Shave – In The Flesh (Night People)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    A one-man orchestra experimenting with twisting pop, psychedelia, and drone tones to achieve a superb blend of syrupy goodness. On no other album does an artist totally own covers of Faust, Harry Nilsson, and Wagner.
  5. Lazer Zeppelin – American Derivative (People In A Position to Know)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    Don’t be fooled by the name. This basically sounds like a country-fried Velvet Underground jamming with The Fugs circa 1969. I was so tickled when they teased Brand New Key by Melanie!
  6. Fielded – Terrageist (Catholic Tapes)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    Nailing '80s dark wave to the floor of 2010. Haunts me.
  7. RV Paintings – Samoa Highway (Helen Scarsdale Agency)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    Northern California duo droning and collage-ing to the left of the dial. A masterpiece to write final papers by.
  8. Daniel Higgs – Say God (Thrill Jockey)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    Living legend/outsider folk artist Daniel Higgs gives his take on gospel music with a harmonium, banjo, and his unique vocal styling. The imagery created here is just beautiful and stunning. “Hoofprints on the Ceiling of Your Mind.”
  9. Captain Ahab – The End of Irony (Deathbomb Arc)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    Imagine the sound designer for the newest Terminator movie making insane dance music while simultaneously commenting on the hilarity of dance culture. Because that’s exactly what this is.
  10. Various Artists – Field Recordings From Alan Lomax’s “Southern Journey” 1959-1960 (Mississippi)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    In my opinion, Mississippi Records can do no wrong. This 5 LP series showcases some of the best of Lomax’s quintessential work. The great thing about these records is the way the styles vary from song to song so that you don’t get overloaded with a whole album of fiddle music. I found the recordings of Baptist church congregations to be especially intriguing.

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Categorized: Best Albums of the Year


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