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The CHIRP Blog

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

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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

Topics: best of 2010

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

Topics: best of 2010

Clarence Ewing: The Million Year Trip writesGet Ready for Beats and Blogs Featuring White Mystery at Subterranean on December 18th!

On Saturday, December 18th, Betta Promotions, with featured presenter Loud Loop Press, presents a very special showcase at Chicago’s one and only Subterranean. Four exceptionally talented acts will be on display - White Mystery, Hollows, Rabble Rabble and Radar Eyes!

  • Named a "Top Ten Trend-Setting Band" by the Chicago Sun-Times, White Mystery is Chicago’s raucous low-fi sound punk sound propelled by the brother and sister duo of Miss Alex White and Francis White. The tag team plays Chicago and tours the USA in support of a full-length vinyl record, which was recently featured on WBEZ Sound Opinions and Daytrotter. White Mystery demands your attention with a high energy stage show! Listen to the album and watch video at

  • Hollows, from Chicago, are an interesting band of what seems like a dying breed, all-girl rock. A band with several years under their belts that has made a solid fan base in Chicago with the support of a few indie record labels, Hollows has a sound very reminiscent of the 1960’s and it shines through on some of the tracks that can be heard by checking out Hallows' Myspace page.

  • Flower punk rockers Rabble Rabble mix punk, blues and psychedelic rock that can get any crowd dancing, moshing and tripping out in just half an hour. Hailed by Loud Loop Press for their “manic psychedelic freak-outs” and being” all kinetic energy” the quartet bring these same elements to their debut release, Bangover and are prepared to do the same at Subterranean on the 18th.

  • Pulling from influences such as The Velvet Underground and Joy Division, Radar Eyes infuse sleepy, droning vocals with a garage-rock grind, occasional warm harmonies, and bouts of serious jamming soaked in a very Brit-rock sort of melancholy.

The 18th won’t just be the typical Betta Promotions event, though. Betta has joined forces with Loud Loop Press to showcase 17 of Chicago’s local independent Web-focused music blogs to showcase what they do best: find great music and share it with the world.

Taking part in this special event are Chicago’s very own:

BABY, YOU GOT A STEW GOIN'!: A collection of upcoming shows, events, best of lists, mp3’s, and concert photos, features the demands and sayings of Steve Rogovin as he delivers commentary and all around goodness to the unsuspecting people of the web.

CHICAGOVSUNITED: The blog/portfolio of digital media journalist Jaime "Black" de'Medici- producer of Q101.1’s Chicago Music Program Local 101 (Sundays at 10pm) and conductor of">Chicago*unteD, Chicago’s only scene showcase video podcast series.

CHIRP RADIO: The Chicago Independent Radio Project (CHIRP) is dedicated to providing a community radio station that focuses on the goings on of Chicago’s people, events, issues and independent music. In addition to being an Internet radio presence and blog, CHIRP maintains the CHIRPlog in which playlists, news, and staff commentaries are published daily. CHIRP is also working hard at convincing Congress and the FCC to remove the blockade on granting low power FM radio licenses in urban areas.

COACH HOUSE SOUNDS: Bringing unique and personable analog recordings by various local, as well as touring acts to music lovers everywhere, Coach House Sounds also dabbles in hosting events across Chicago. Recording on ¼” analog tape, mixing live, and using no overdubs allows Coach House to embody the true organic quality of live music, something all parties involved feel is important. No money is exchanged and all recordings are available to be heard for free online.

COUNT ME OUT: Run by Chicagoan singer/songwriter Brendan Losch, Count Me Out shares music news, MP3’s, videos and tour dates, as well as reviews for bands Brendan digs, hoping to spread the musical word and bring joy to readers ears.

THE DEAD HUB: Starting out as a hobby for a pair of Columbia College grads, Deadhub has grown to be the online middleman connecting fans to musicians. Offering music news, live reviews, photos and videos from both artists they love and love to hate, Deadhub sees themselves as the unsung heroes of the pit, risking life and limb to deliver the best live coverage possible for Chicago music fans.

DEDICATED EARS: Local Chicago reviews, interviews and concert footage on Indie/Alterntive acts fill the pages of Dedicated Ears, a music blog run by Tony Rusniak, who also maintains a sister site of free, and (more importantly) legal download links, posting 10-12 links a week.

<a href=" >THE DELI CHICAGO</a>: A Midwestern version of website/publication <em>The Deli</em>, The Deli Chicago is an independent website that focuses on local musicians within an emerging music scene. Covering everything from rock to folk, punk to indie pop, and a smattering of hip-hop, The Deli Chicago features upcoming shows, an open blog for readers to contribute to, musician resources, and a running tally of the top 300 bands in the area.<br><br> <a data-cke-saved-href=" http:="""="">FEARLESS RADIO: Based out of Chicago but broadcasting world-wide thanks to the Internet, Fearless has been bringing new music to new ears since 2004, growing to broadcast over 70 hours of live programming a week. In addition to live D.J, comedian and pundit hosted shows, Fearless Radio provides an archive of podcasts for all their shows and invite listener participation through studio phone lines, instant messaging, forums and commentary online.

GIANT SYSTEM: A video based site run by Kyle Obriot and Justin Schmitz, Giant System visits bands in their practice spaces in hopes of capturing the spontaneity of live performance and combining it with the control of a music video.

HEAVE MEDIA: covers everything from the biggest names in the music scene to up and coming acts. Posting multiple times a day, the folks at HEAVEmedia share their finds on the best interviews, album reviews, and indie music news. Additionally, the site features a streaming MP3 player and weekly HD vodcasts. Outside the Internet HEAVEmedia also provides live concerts featuring both local and national acts.

LOST IN CONCERT: A unique music site in that it is centered around not words, but images, Lost in Concert focuses its content on live music photography from a variety of photographers with the goal to capture the experience of a concert with a single shot.

LOUD LOOP PRESS: Catering specifically to Chicagoans with music news that impacts their fair city, Loud Loop Press keeps things as hyper-local as possible with their collection of album reviews, live show reviews, commentaries, and music news.

REVIEWSIC: With the intention of uniting new music with new listeners, Reviewsic is a Chicago based blog that writes album, show, and artist reviews, with daily posts delivering music news and exclusive interviews. Run by Samantha Gordon, former host to 98.3FM’s Jstreet Radio and WRBC’s The Mixtape, Reviewsic has a focus on up and coming Chicago locals, as well as not-so-local international burgeoning bands.

SECRET NOTE: A concert -goers blog that also includes band interviews, weekly show listings and a monthly playlist, Secret note’s meat and potatoes is providing live show reviews for the Chicago music lover.

WINDY CITY ROCK: Showing its namesake lots of love, Windy City Rock focus on the Chicago music scene with local reviews, band profiles, event information, and relevant articles about Chicago music past and present.

YOU ME AND EVERYBODY: A podcast that focuses on Chicago culture, Esmeralda Leon and Brendan Wetherbee are live Monday nights at the Hungry Brain, located at 2319 W Belmont. You, Me, Them, Everybody also features new and old songs from the Windy City on the You, Me, Them, Everybody Chicago Music Podcast, which is available for free on iTunes.

(The above PR was brought you by Betta staff and Sam Gordon of More information about Betta Promotions and this special event can be found at

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Categorized: Event Previews

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James Waiter writesJim Waiter’s Best of 2010

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

  1. Beach House – Teen Dream (Sub Pop)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    This beautiful album curves and swoops, gently and light as a feather, simply gorgeous.
  2. The Fall – Your Future, Our Clutter (Domino)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    Mark Smith's fury, amplified by the pounding grooves, makes for a near perfect rock album. Not to be missed.
  3. Swans – My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky (Young God)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    Michael Gira's latest Swans effort is undeniably more refined than his early Swans releases, but the oppressive, brutal power of the music is still solid. This album is full of intense, brute force. Love it.
  4. The Soundcarriers – Celeste (Melodic)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    Soft-psych grooves, slightly off-key, breathy female vocals, shimmering sunshine pop from the UK. What's not to like here?
  5. Blonde Redhead – Penny Sparkle (4AD)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    These masters of ethereal, swirling New York art-rock try their hand at ethereal, swirling Scandinavian electro, with much success.
  6. LCD Soundsystem – This Is Happening (DFA)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    With a nod to the 1970's Bowie/Eno collaberations, James Murphy makes a dance rock album that is solid from start to finish.
  7. Tame Impala – Innerspeaker (Modular)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    The debut from this Western Australian four-piece is a perfect mix of pychedelic, garage rock and Hendrix inspired guitar riffs.
  8. Bryan Ferry – Olympia (Virgin)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    Bryan's still combining sly humor, sex appeal and lounge singer style, but he's accompanied by a cast of stars including everyone from Scissor Sisters to Jonny Greenwood and three members of Roxy Music (including Brian Eno).
  9. Caribou – Swim (Merge)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    On Swim, Don Snaith showcases a more developed songcraft than is heard on earlier releases.
  10. Grinderman – Grinderman 2 (Mute)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    The second offering from Nick Cave's Grinderman has moments of almost tender introspection, but it's not without the surreally malevolent, galloping hell-hound riffs he summoned in his early years with post-punk legends the Birthday Party. Nice.

Honorable Mentions

Dungen – Skit i Allt
Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti – Before Today
Stereolab – Not Music
Deerhunter – Halcyon Digest
Tobacco – Maniac Meat

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Categorized: Best Albums of the Year

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