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Dan Rico has gained renown for performing as a part of local acts EGO and MAMA, but last year he released a solo album entitled Endless Love. This month he'll perform at the Empty Bottle on April 11th highlighting tracks from that release alongside fellow local Flesh Panthers and fellow rock-band-member turned soloist Ian Saint Pé (of the Black Lips).
CHIRP volunteer and DJ Amelia Hruby recently caught up with Dan Rico to chat about his solo work and upcoming shows.
AH: After your work with other local bands, what made you decide to record a solo album? How do you think this work stands out from those projects?
DR: Recording a solo album wasn’t so much a decision as it was a discovery. After exploring in the studio for a number of years at a certain point I turned around to find there was plenty of material to put together a cohesive album. Another factor was that I know I'm gonna be making music for a long time. Why not lay the first bricks now for a road I will inevitably travel the rest of my life? In my experience bands come and go-- people quit and move and get married etc—but this way I’ll always have this project to build on.
To answer the second part of your question I’d say Endless Love is a departure toward a more pop-oriented sound (not billboard top 100 type EDM-hop pop but a little more traditional). I grew up listening to pop and as an artist aspire toward a sound that’s universal. Most of the bands I’ve played in have had very niche audiences (hard rock, experimental, etc) and though I’m proud of these projects I want music I can show my parents and friends and kids and have them all enjoy it. Growing up playing in punk bands, I hope to make music that’s still counter-cultural, that confronts norms and encourages critical thinking, but that’s also enchanting, uplifting, harmonious, atmospheric, and accessible. I don’t lnow if "Endless Love" achieves this on all fronts but that’s what I’m working toward.
By crafting an engergetic, funky-dance-politio-RnB style of music nicknamed "post-punk soul," Chicago band JC Brooks (formerlly known as JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound) are one of the hottest acts to emerge from the the city's deep pool of talented musicians. The band has a new album out called The Neon Jungle (their fouth), and they are having a release party tonight at the Neon Jungle to celebrate.
CHIRP Radio volunteer and DJ Jessi D. got a chance to ask JC about the new album and what else he's been up to recently.
JD: Congratulations on the new album release! Do you know why Chop Shop was chosen as the venue for the release?
JC: We chose Chop Shop because the room sounds great and it's a perfect size to feel like there's a capital 'C' crowd but at the same time like you can give an intimate show.
JD: What's the best part of release shows, specifically?
JC: The best part of release shows is...well, the release. The letting go of this thing that you've been so close to for so long. It's like sending your kid to college or something...it's not just yours, it belongs to the world and you make the mental and emotional space to start filling yourself with something new.
Words and Pictures by Layne Lindroth
Despite the chilly Chicago air, fans assembled along the Milwaukee Avenue sidewalk long before doors-open in hopes of snagging a front row spot for The Revivalists. The band’s most dedicated fans—also known as “Revheads”—swapped stories of their favorite encounters with the band and their hopes for the setlist to come. One fan casually mentioned to some first-timers that he’d seen the band over sixty times and still thought each performance was the greatest. A band warranting sixty plus ticket purchases had to be incredible; only a couple hours before we newcomers would find out.
Finally the band—minus one—settled into their positions onstage and played the uptempo opening notes of “Bulletproof”, signaling lead singer David Shaw to center stage. From the second his wireless microphone left its stand Shaw was in perpetual motion: walking through the photography pit, stepping on gear boxes to get closer to fans, and every once in a while, launching his 6’5”-ish self high into the air. The neo-funk rock band makes the Energizer bunny look apathetic. The third song of the set, “Keep Going”, had even the most stoic of concertgoers pumping a fist and shouting the battle cry chorus, “We’ve gotta keep going, keep going, don’t care what anybody say, let the law take us away.”
Shaw continued to weave his way around the stage, riling up the crowd with his bouncing arms and strained, soulful vocals. The funky-groovy arrangement of “Stand Up” successfully institutes timewarp technology, making those not dressed in flare jeans and tie-dye feel out of place at the modern Concord Music Hall. The breezy saxophone, jumpy keys, and of course the lyrics, channel the blue-collar New Orleans roots of The Revivalists.
[photo by Jordan Martins]
Local artist Angela James has accomplished a lot in the past few years. In 2014, she released her first full-length album, Way Down Deep, with the support of the Comfort Station and the Illinois Arts Council. Just over a year later, she released her second record, Time Will Tell, and at the end of 2016 she had her first child.
This month she is returning to performing with a month-long residency sponsored by Middle Brow Brewing at The Hideout. Every Tuesday night in March, James will lead ensembles of local artists, highlighting different concepts and collaborates in week.
CHIRP DJ and Features Co-Director Amelia Hruby recently spoke with Angela about the residency.
AH: When or how did you start planning this residency?
AJ: I started talking to Sully at The Hideout before I gave birth to my daughter. I think I had this fear that I wouldn't have the time or the focus or ability to maintain my creative practice in the way I wanted to after having a child. And in some ways that is definitely the case; for example my ambition is very different now. But in other ways, I find that I am much more focused and creative. So when I reached out to Sully last year, I think it was from a place of anxiety. But I began planning a lot of these ideas a while ago, and now I feel like everything is just a little bit out of my reach. Which for me just means that I'm working really hard on this material, and it feels great to get back to that place.
Have you seen a consent button-making table at a concert recently? Did you read Riot Fest's or Kickstand Production's anti-harassment statement? If you answered yes on either account, you might have run into Our Music My Body.
Our Music My Body is a campaign by local non-profit organizations Between Friends and Rape Victim Advocates that promotes fun and consensual music experiences for all music lovers and concert- and festival-goers in Chicagoland and beyond.
CHIRP volunteer and DJ Amelia Hruby recently met up with Our Music My Body organizaer Matt Walsh to chat about the campaign.
AH: For people who aren't familiar, what is Our Music My Body?
MW: Our Music My Body is a collaborative campaign between Rape Victim Advocates (RVA) and Between Friends. Rape Victim Advocates is a rape crisis center that advocates for survivors of sexual assault in hospitals and court systems and also does education work. Between Friends is a domestic violence agency in Rogers Park that does court advocacy counseling as well as prevention education in middle and high schools.
AH: How did it get started?
MW: So in 2011, when Odd Future played at Pitchfork, Between Friends and RVA came together to protest the group's hateful lyrics. They caused a big storm, and they were given a booth at the festival. And this was the moment when people realized that these things need to be talked about in the non-profit world.
Then a few years passed, and I came onto the Between Friends team and did a small campaign about Riot Fest in 2014 (#GetConsentAtRiotFest). I reached out to RVA and said that I wanted to do this a lot bigger in 2016. I got put in touch with Kat Stuehrk and we started working collaboratively on a campaign that included a Huffington Post article, booths at Pitchfork and Riot Fest, and a panel on safety, sexism, and harassment in the music industry that included Corin Tucker (of Sleater Kinney), Britt Julious, Jes Skolnik, and Monica Trinidad.