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Imagine a resurgence in your musical past after your one and only hit made it on American Bandstand in the '80s. This is what Julian Leal from Romeoville, IL experienced when he was approached from HoZac Records to re-release an archive of his songs after a group of avid record collectors dug deep into record bins looking for his debut material or any 45s of his made available in store or online. Julian Leal self-titled debut album came out in 1985 and quivers with the kind of power pop craze that followed the height of new wave.This archive features his debut album and rarities that focuses on the teenage crush vibe with songs as “Catch Her Trill”, “ Roller Skates” and “ Mad About You.” Taking a listen to this album will have you reminiscing of carefree and wholesome times.
The Alibis (local Chicago folk-duo of singer/songwriters Eric Quigley and Daniel Robbins) offer their debut album Bloom with eleven tracks of upbeat, poppy folk to accompany a mid-afternoon hike or drive on a warm day with a cool breeze. Definitely an Iron & Wine/Calexico vibe throughout the record, with arrangements including acoustic guitars, banjo, harmonica, maracas, piano, violin (not fiddle), and often-harmonic vocals.
"Bittersweet" is anchored by a hypnotic guitar line that's accompanied by vocals that are grounded during the verses but soar into the choruses. "The Mournful Sound" includes claps and a subtle slide guitar to build a droning rhythm over which the two singers harmonize. Every aspect comes together most hauntingly and beautifully on "City Lights" which is anchored by a pretty, finger-picked guitar. Thematically, just about every song seems to balance a failed relationship with what is perhaps a one-night stand (possibly with the ex-love). Every track coheres to the overall sound but the varied instrumentation throughout allows each song its unique feel.
This weekend, we're having ribs. CHIRP Radio is proud to partner with RibFest Chicago, voted Chicago's Best Food Fest, for another weekend of BBQ, music, and fun! Bring your appetite to Lincoln Avenue from Irving Park to Berteau (4000 N to 4165 N) - Festival hours are Friday, 5-10 PM; Saturday, Noon-10 PM; and Sunday, Noon-10 PM. A full lineup of live music including The Coathangers, San Cisco, and Post Animal will keep you entertained while you sample the fare of 27 food vendors cooking up the best BBQ in the midwest. VIP passes are also available. Click here for more information, and make sure to stop by the CHIRP Radio table to say hello!
If only we could all be as cool as Kim Deal. Black Francis be damned, when I saw The Pixies in Davenport, Iowa in January 1992, the highlight of the show was Deal’s lead vocal on “Gigantic.” I had a “big big love” for Deal right then for sure. I didn’t know it at the time, but Deal had formed The Breeders in 1989 with Slint’s drummer, bassist Josephine Wiggs (Perfect Disaster) and Tanya Donnelly (a former Throwing Muse and future Belly frontperson) and released thier debut album Pod in 1990.
While Donnelly’s tenure was short-lived, the blueprint was in place-- girl group harmonies, muscular sixties power chords (their rendition of The Who’s “So Sad About Us” is still a classic) and thumping bass lines. Throughout The Breeders recordings, a wicked sense of humor and giddiness pervaded through the darkness of their debut Pod (you can hear Deal’s own version of “loud-quiet-loud” that The Pixies preached and Nirvana perfected on “Iris” and I’d forgotten about their amazing cover of The Beatles’ “Happiness Is A Warm Gun”) to their classic sophomore full-length.
Last Splash is stellar end to end with Kim Deal’s unaffected plainspoken Dayton Ohio alto dominating, but the breakthrough cut and MTV buzz bin vibration was “Cannonball” with its musical bass line the through line, vocals that alternated between distorted screaming and sweetly singing, a stagger-stop rhythm part and chainsaw guitar parts suitable for sawing apart kittens.
Short of being as cool as Kim Deal, or at least cloning her, Kim realized that the next best thing would be drafting her twin sister Kelly to join The Breeders, and despite Kelly never having played guitar or sung in a band, she proceeded to do both, at first with an anticipated level of amateurishness and then after a few records and tours, with aplomb, if never with a Hendrix-level of expertise. I’ve never bought a ring tone for my phone yet, but might have to just to purchase “Wait In The Car” so I can hear Kelly’s husky Peppermint Patti “Good Morning” yell for my alarm clock ring tone.
But legendary guitar fretboard gymnastics is not what you want from The Breeders. You want lovely girl-group harmonies, a bleak world view and a sly winking sense of humor. While they have yet to equal the effervescence of Last Splash, the latest record “All Nerve” has some truly rocking moments, leaving behind the hesitancy that seemed to hold back their return “Title TK” and the transitional “Mountain Battles,” the latter being more of an acoustic and meditative affair.
Kim and Kelly just celebrated their 52nd birthday on June 10, believe it or not (Kelly is technically a few minutes older than Kim), but The Breeders won’t be seen driving in the slow lane in a red convertible with their toupees blowing in the wind, channeling a typical mid-life crisis. Instead I’m willing to bet they’ll be rolling like a cannonball down the fast lane and won’t stop for anyone.
The Breeders play at House of Vans Chicago (113 N Elizabeth St. 60607) on Saturday, June 15. Also on the bill are Divino Niño and Palehound, whose new record was just added to CHIRP Radio’s rotation this week. Toast and Jam and CHIRP DJ Mary Nisi will spin records to kick off the night and between bands.
The show is free with RSVP here. If you RSVP, you can line up to get in but are not guaranteed entry. You can enter to win “guaranteed entry” passes via Do312 here or listen this week to CHIRP for giveaways! #houseofvans.