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Erik Roldan writesCHIRP + Coach House Sounds Session with Rabble Rabble

Seeing “Jailbait” and “Bangover” listed as the names of two available singles by Chicago quartet Rabble Rabble, you start to get a sense of their intentions. Low-end Stooges sleeze with a yelpy punker in the front and reverbed psychedelia in the back give this heavy rock a mature swagger.

This summer, Rabble Rabble recorded a session with Coach House Sounds and the result was an amplification of their vinyl-friendly bass, warmth only an analog recording could bring out. The band insisted on democratic answers to my interview questions; below is their group effort.

Rabble Rabble’s CHIRP and Coach House Sounds Live session is streamable at starting Tuesday, November 9th!

What the dumbest thing you’ve ever done in a basement?

We were doing a photo shoot for our album at Ottoman Empire (R.I.P) over the summer and they had a show the previous night so the basement was still pretty trashed. One of the bands that played had a giant cardboard/plastic vagina as a prop that was sitting in a corner and was covered in olive oil (yes, olive oil) to create a “wet” visual effect.

Being the young, innovative, individuals that we are, we all climbed into this giant wet vagina and did a Beatles-esque stack-up. It was pretty gross. Those pictures might not surface for awhile… Also Salvia…

Tell me about a coach you had as a child. What did you learn from them?

Rabble Rabble never went to school. We all coach each other and help each other out when we’re having life or other problems. Got have each others backs in a band like this, you never know when a fight is gonna break out.

For instance, we played at Mortville in January and there were some crust punks that were starting some shit with us. They were trying to grab our microphones and getting all up in our shit when Matt started strangling one of them and fighting him.

Kaylee saw what was going on and got out from behind her drums and started fighting these punks too and then Ralph and Todd joined in. It was an all out Band Vs. Audience brawl for a minute.

What do you like about Chicago, and what makes it special to you?

Chicago is a city of diversity. If you get sick of hanging out in Wicker Park getting wasted at the Flat Iron with a bunch of post-art school cats, then go to Pilsen and get mugged. Now that you don’t have a wallet, go to Lincoln park and peddle outside of the Pita Pit so you can get enough money to catch the 74 bus back to your apartment in Logan Square. Safe and sound!

Never a dull moment. Keeps you tired at the end of every day. Plus the sense of camaraderie and general love that is developing in the music community is a breath of fresh air compared to New York or L.A.

Tell me about your CHS session—what did you like about it? Was there anything that surprised you or was spontaneous that came out in the recording?

We recorded our set sometime in June just before Radar Eyes did. It was brutally hot. In fact it might have been one of the sweatiest one hour periods of our lives, and we have played many a sweaty basement shows. That day was exceptional hot however.

Also, our session includes two songs that at the time happen to be very new. “Why Not” and “Long Hook”. We are quite certain that both songs have grown a lot since then but it’ll be nice to hear the early stages of our first steps into new territory after recording our first LP “Bangover.”

What’s happening? What are your current/upcoming shows or releases?

We are doing a radio program on December 15th for Vocalo 89.5 FM. Then we have the Chicago Music Blogger Showcase at the Sub-T with White Mystery, Hollows and Radar Eyes on December 18th. That’s all that’s confirmed as of now. But we may be doing a few out of town gigs and a DIY space or two. November is gonna be filled with a lot of experimentation and new song writing.

As for releases, we are actually gonna release a full studio-recorded single of those two new songs that are on the CHS session, “Why Not” and “Long Hook” sometime early next year. We are also hard at work on new material for our next album and things are sounding EPIC!

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Categorized: Interviews


Mike Bennett writesFriday iPod/MP3 Shuffle—Happy Birthday Gram Parsons Edition

Some say he’s the father of country rock. He kicked off his career with The International Submarine Band, joined The Byrds and was a major contributor to their classic Sweethearts Of The Rodeo album. After leaving The Byrds, he formed the Flying Burrito Brothers, and was booted from that band, and then made the acclaimed solo albums GP and Grievous Angel, passing away before the latter was released. His influence can be felt to this day with some alt-country artists. In honor of Gram, get out your iPod or MP3 player, hit shuffle and share the first ten tunes that come up.

  1. Nick Lowe — She’s Got Soul (The Convincer): The Convincer is perhaps the best of the recent Nick Lowe albums, now that Basher has reinvented himself as a mellow rock and roll crooner. The songs are so economical and Lowe’s voice may be a limited instrument, but he makes the most of it on this light R & B track. I could here a modern R & B act turning this into a more up tempo cut.
  2. Happy Hate Me Nots — Nothing Short of Paradise (The Good That’s Been Done): An Australian band that followed in the footsteps of The Saints, with a punky sound that is heavily infused with R & B influences. The playing and songwriting is more controlled and anthemic than the early Saints. The HHMNs have an ability to send a song soaring at the drop of a hat. This song relies on the time tested device of moody verses with bright and shiny expansive choruses. Hope their reunion album comes out soon.
  3. Nothing Painted Blue — Go To Waste (Emotional Discipline): An early NPB cut from the odds and ends compilation Emotional Discipline. While you’d never call Nothing Painted Blue a punk band, this song tends in that direction, as the band pushes the pace on a ragged but intent recording. This shows how early on the band’s modus operandi was established — Franklin Bruno fills verses with dense word play that he crams into a melody (when the song is faster) which ends up in a terse refrain that provides a bit of a hook.
  4. The Viscounts — Harlem Nocturne (Loud, Fast & Out of Control): This comes from a great Rhino Records box set of hot early sides from the ’50s. Akin to Rhino’s Nuggets box sets, a few familiar names are surrounded by lesser lights. This song is moody instrumental that is an excuse for a hot sax solo. This is kind of a cool down from all the hot rockabilly on this set.
  5. Splitsville — Dotcom (Repeater): From the band’s third, and most impressive, album. Splitsville were a power pop band that showed a bit of inspiration from Jellyfish and Fountains of Wayne, but certainly had their own direction. Touches of new wave and psychedelia float throughout their songs. This is more on the psychedelic end, an atmospheric mid-tempo number with a great arrangement and a variety of guitar sounds. This song slowly builds to a pretty bravura ending.
  6. Don Byron — Hagalo (Nu Blaxploitation): This is an inventive genre blending jazz album. On most of the tracks, Byron combines jazz and funk. But this song here has more of a Brazilian vibe, with a lively horn section and some percussive piano playing.
  7. Slow Jets — False Alarm (Worm Into Phoenix): A typical arty indie rock song from a band I discovered through Reckless Records. They are certainly influenced by groups like Wire and Pere Ubu, but also have a lot in common with less studied outfits like Archers Of Loaf and The Embarassment. The hooks here are a bit more subtle, but nothing less than satisfying.
  8. The Raspberries — The Party’s Over (Collector’s Series): One of the original power pop bands. As was often the case back in the ’70s, when not trying to emulate The Beach Boys and Beatles, or singing wussy ballads, a band had to have a few standard issue rockers. This is one of the ‘berries’ rockers, working some basic bluesy hard rock, like a lower key Humble Pie. Credible but not their strength.
  9. Arcwelder — I Hear And Obey (Xerxes): This Minnesota band mixed the melodic punk aspects of Husker Du (and their drummer, who wrote and sang about half the songs, sounded a bit like Bob Mould), with some more dissonant guitar sounds, a la Fugazi and Jawbox. They found just the right balance of edginess and catchiness, especially on Xerxes, their third album. This song works off a repeating guitar figure that could have been nicked from Television and hurtles into a passionate chorus. These guys had such a firm grip on song structure that could take detours and not get lost.
  10. Sloan — I Understand (Never Hear The End Of It): This 30 song album is arguably Sloan’s masterwork. Keeping the song structures tight, this Nova Scotia quartet shows its utter command of ’60s and ’70s inspired pop and rock. Their inspirations are often obvious, but the band has developed a distinctive sound. They aren’t imitating their heroes, they are trying to equal them, and they succeed more often than most of their contemporaries. This is wonderful mid-tempo song in the tradition of Badfinger, Paul McCartney and Big Star, without sounding quite like any of them. Marvelous.

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Categorized: Friday MP3 Shuffle


Shawn Campbell writesWhy isn’t the CHIRP Radio Playlist Updating?

The CHIRP studios (and our entire block) are currently without power, apparently due to today’s high winds in Chicago. Because of this, we’re airing backup programming until our power comes back on. That means you won’t see updated playlist information scrolling on We hope to be back live soon, and we appreciate your patience. Until then, please enjoy some great archived CHIRP Radio shows airing now!

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Categorized: CHIRP Radio News and Info.

Mike Bennett writesFriday iPod/MP3 Shuffle—Happy Birthday Stiv Bators Edition

He was one of The Dead Boys, an underrated slab of brute force American punk from Ohio. The band’s first album was Young, Loud and Snotty, and a picture of Stiv from those days would conjure up all three of those words. An expressive front man, he was never a star, but always someone who everyone noticed. After leaving the band, he showed promise as a power pop artist, but never caught on. He then fronted another cool band, the gothy Lords Of The New Church. Sadly, he passed away after being hit by a car. In Stiv’s honor, please grab your iPod or MP3 player, hit shuffle, and share the first ten tunes.

  1. Joy Division — Heart And Soul (Permanent): One of the leading lights of the post-punk era, under the guidance of producer Martin Hannett, Joy Division mastered the use of sonic space on their moody, rhythmic songs that throbbed with tension and menace. On this track, skittish snare fills and Peter Hook’s flowing bass lines keep things grounded, with a measured vocal from Ian Curtis and swirling psychedelic guitars that come in after a couple of minutes.
  2. Rank And File — I Don’t Go Out Much (Sundown): The loping rhythms and twanging guitar signify country music, but there was something different about Rank And File’s take on this classic American style. They did a great job of tipping a hat to tradition while not sounding imitative or slavish. This is a fun little bopper.
  3. Electric Light Orchestra —- Ticket To The Moon (Time): The first line of this song is “Remember the 1980s” which is in keeping with this futuristic sort of concept album from ELO. On this track, Jeff Lynne sings like John Lennon on a Paul McCartney solo track, before the bombastic chorus comes in…bombastically?
  4. Prince — Ronnie, Talk To Russia (Controversy): This is a simplistic new wavey nursery rhyme directed at President Reagan, complete with the sound of rifles in the background. Perhaps this level of political discourse influenced M.I.A. Despite the inanity, this brief ditty fits in well on the second side of Prince’s fourth album.
  5. My Dad Is Dead — Deja Vu (For Richer, For Poorer): There should be a special rock hall of fame for artists who manage to make the most of a limited voice. Mark Edwards would belong on the first ballot. His midwestern sincerity oozes out of every syllable, as he sing-talks his way through his Velvet Underground/Joy Division inspired rockers. Given his limitations, Edwards has found a way to inject a lot of melody into his songs over the years, and this is a very thoughtful tune with typically stellar guitar work.
  6. The Morells — Waitin’ In School (Morells Anthology Live): A basic rockabilly shuffle with D. Clinton Thompson on lead vocals. More importantly, Thompson is also playing guitar and he corks off some really nice solos on this one.
  7. Cliff Hillis — So Much to Tell You (Better Living Through Compression): During the late ’90s, the relative success of Matthew Sweet, The Posies and The Gin Blossoms fueled the dreams of thousands of aspiring power pop acts. A surprisingly substantial percentage of those hopefuls were very good. Hillis, who was in the Baltimore band Starbelly, is a good example of this. This is a very well constructed song, well played and topped off with Hillis’ friendly vocals. This would sound great on the radio, which, without megabucks for promotion, doesn’t mean much.
  8. Eddy Current Suppression Ring — Isn’t It Nice (Rush to Relax): This Australian band flows from a great tradition of in-your-face rock from The Saints and Radio Birdman, to The Scientists and The New Christs and many others. It’s raw guitar rock that sometimes shows off a bit of a blues rock vibe. This short burst of rock could also appeal to fans of Art Brut and The Len Price 3.
  9. The Fall — Why Are People Grudgeful? (The Infotainment Scan): A Fall rarity: a playful ska cover of a Lee Perry tune. The bass playing seems out of place with the rest of the band, who seem to throw themselves fully into the more traditional elements. There are some creative dub touches in the production too. It’s a shame The Fall hasn’t turned to ska or dub more often. The latter would fit well with the band’s Krautrock leanings.
  10. Tommy Keene — You Can’t Wait For Time (Ten Years After): Before there were artists like Cliff Hillis, there were folks like Tommy Keene, keeping power pop viable in the ’80s. This is from his first full length for Matador, which showed that after a bit of a lay off, he still had the chops. This has a 1964 Merseybeat gloss on it.

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Categorized: Friday MP3 Shuffle


Erin Van Ness writes11/26-28: The Chicago Human Rhythm Project “Thanks-4-Giving” Program

With world class performances, as well as education and outreach programs, the Chicago Human Rhythm Project builds community through American tap and contemporary percussive arts. Its “Thanks-4-Giving” program is coming up the weekend after Thanksgiving at Harris Theater.

This is more than just a great cause and a high-energy event—CHIRP is an official partner. For every ticket purchased using our code (CHRP-Radio), CHIRP gets 50% of the sale. Tickets are available for the following performances:
Friday, November 26, 8pm
Saturday, November 27, 3pm and 8pm
Sunday, November 28, 3pm

Tickets are available in five price levels ($15, $25, $35, $45, $55) and can be purchased online at the Chicago Human Rhythm Project website.

To learn more the Chicago Human Rhythm Project and about its “Thanks-4-Giving” Program, visit

Harris Theater for Music and Dance is located at 205 E. Randolph Drive in Chicago.

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Categorized: Community

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