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The CHIRP Blog

Mike Bennett writesFriday iPod/MP3 Shuffle—Happy Birthday M.I.A. Edition

Today, one of more talked about recording artists of recent times, M.I.A., turns 39 years old. Mathangi Arulpragasm was born in London of Sri Lankan decent. Her family moved to Sri Lanka where, according to M.I.A., her father was part of the rebel Tamil Tigers insurgency. Life in Sri Lanka with a rebel father was unusual, with constant threats, and eventually, her family, minus her father, came back to London. She first pursued visual arts, and only in 2001, with encouragement of Peaches, did M.I.A. start making music. Using basic drum machines, she cut her first demo, and eventually met up with Diplo and releasing the Piracy Funds Terrorism mixtape, which introduced a larger audience to M.I.A.’s multi-cultural music with some hip-hop aspects and sloganeering lyrics. This was a precursor to the more polished debut album, Arular, named after her father. With songs like “Bucky Done Gun” and “Sunshowers”, she established herself as a major new artist. The follow up, Kala, founder her expanding her artistry further, but the divisive Maya album, with radically altered song structures, stalled her momentum, along with controversies surrounding her authenticity as a politically motivated artists and stupid Super Bowl hi-jinks. She regained some artistic footing with last year’s Matangi album, as she still stands as someone who is imitated. In honor of M.I.A., please grab your iPod or MP3 player, hit shuffle and share the first 10 songs that come up.

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Share July 18, 2014 http://chrp.at/1uZE Share on Facebook Tweet This!

Categorized: Friday MP3 Shuffle

Topics: ipod, m.i.a., mp3

Mike Bennett writesFriday iPod/MP3 Shuffle—Happy Birthday Andrew Bird Edition

Today is the birthday of a Chicago original. Andrew Bird went to high school in Lake Forest and got his degree in violin performance at Northwestern. After releasing a solo album, he spent some time working with The Squirrel Nut Zippers before forming his Bowl of Fire band. Their records were acclaimed, but they never broke through. Bird went back to solo work and his multi-genre stew and unique lyrics and melodies gradually gained an audience. Bird has certainly staked out his own turf and stayed true to the city, playing multiple show stands fairly regularly. Let’s pay tribute to the skinny whistling violinist by grabbing your iPod or MP3 player, hitting shuffle and sharing the first 10 songs that come up.

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Share July 11, 2014 http://chrp.at/1uUN Share on Facebook Tweet This!

Categorized: Friday MP3 Shuffle

Topics: andrew bird, ipod, mp3

Falyn writesTour de Fat: New Belgium and West Town Bikes Give Back to Chicago

By Falyn Freyman

When music, bicycles, and beer come together, it's summertime bliss. When you add philanthropy into the mix, it' even better.

Colorado-based New Belgium Brewing is known for its delicious craft beers and generally rad approach to sustainability, community-building, and giving back. Their annual Tour de Fat returns to Chicago this year for another free, daylong festival featuring a costumed bike parade, live bands and performers, contests, and of course, beer, with all proceeds and donations directly benefiting Humboldt Park non-profit West Town Bikes.

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Share July 8, 2014 http://chrp.at/1vnu Share on Facebook Tweet This!

Categorized: Community

Topics: tour de fat

Mike Bennett writesFriday iPod/MP3 Shuffle—Happy Birthday Jeffrey Lee Pierce Edition

In a parallel universe, Jeffrey Lee Pierce didn’t die young, he made more great records, got the recognition he deserved belatedly and headlined the Pitchfork festival as a legacy act. Well, some of those things haven’t come true, but the frontman of The Gun Club deserves a further look by current music fans. Pierce and company looked at blues rock through a post-punk lens and produced great album after great album, all of which still hold up to this day. Perhaps the closest contemporary may have been X, as both bands were rooted in certain rock traditions, but added something different to the mix. Pierce also put out a terrific solo album, Wildweed, that showed he could thrive outside the band format and how much depth and dimension he possessed. The late ‘80s and early ‘90s were rough for Pierce, as drugs and other problems really took their toll, likely contributing to his death at age 37 in 1996. In honor of Pierce’s birthday, please grab your iPod or MP3 player, hit shuffle and share the first 10 songs that come up.

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Share June 27, 2014 http://chrp.at/1uVV Share on Facebook Tweet This!

Categorized: Friday MP3 Shuffle

Topics: ipod, jeffrey lee pierce, mp3

Mike Bennett writesFriday iPod/MP3 Shuffle—Happy Birthday Brian Wilson Edition

He was two years old when he heard “Rhapsody in Blue”, and it resonated with him. This toddler with sophisticated taste soon joined family members in creating the most commercially successful American rock ‘n’ roll band, The Beach Boys. Brian Wilson got the songwriting bug early on, co-writing the first Beach Boys hit, “Surfin’”, in 1961. He grew by leaps and bounds as a composer, producer and arranger. In 1962, he wrote the sublime “Surfer Girl” and with each Beach Boys album, and they were quite prolific, he mixed old time rock ‘n’ roll, California style with introspective songs with increasingly complex structures. This culminated in one of the signature moments in pop music, the Pet Sounds album. Perhaps no album creates such emotional resonance just with the music, with lyrics just adding to what Wilson had brilliantly portrayed in sound. After Pet Sounds, Brian was still capable of brilliant work and he has had a new career touring with his band. This led to the actual completion of his other masterwork Smile. I saw Wilson on that tour at the Auditorium Theater, and it is certainly one of the best concerts I have ever attended. In honor of this musical genius, please grab your iPod or MP3 player, hit shuffle, and share the first 10 songs that come up.

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Share June 20, 2014 http://chrp.at/1uVX Share on Facebook Tweet This!

Categorized: Friday MP3 Shuffle

Topics: brian wilson, ipod, mp3

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