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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

Topics: community

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

Topics: best of 2010

Mike Bennett writesFriday iPod/MP3 Shuffle—Happy Birthday J. Mascis Edition

He’s an alt-rock guitar hero who bridged the gap between Neil Young and Husker Du. J. Mascis turns 45 years old today! Dinosaur Jr. remains a powerful rock force, and an inspiration to indie bands everywhere. The old saw goes, “If it’s too loud, you’re too old” and Mascis defies that maxim every time he takes the stage, as he still plays some of the loudest concerts anywhere. In honor of Mr. Mascis, please get your iPod or MP3 player, hit shuffle, and share the first ten songs that come up.

  1. Steve Wynn — Believe in Yourself (Crossing Dragon Bridge): The former leader of Dream Syndicate is more known for rocking stuff. But for this 2008 album, he recorded some spare guitar songs and then traveled to Serbia, where his producer figured out what pieces to fit around the songs. The album was decidedly more intimate than anything Wynn had recorded, showing new facets to this outstanding artist. This song is minimally augmented — it’s really just a good folky song and a nice bit of affirmation.
  2. The Original Sins — Rather Be Sad (The Hardest Way): This underrated late-‘80s garage band featuring John (Brother JT) Terlinsky mixed barn burners with more paisley flavored ’60s-isms, drenched in rocking guitars. This is one of their best ever songs, a paean to wanting to feel pain. Masochistic, yes. But if you’ve ever wallowed in a funk and taken a perverse pride in it, this song is for you.
  3. Wax — Snappin’ Away (What Else Can We Do): A nice dose of punk-pop from this L.A. band with substantial Chicago roots. One thing that made Wax stand out is that they made sure the basic elements of their songs were simple, but creatively played with arrangements and tempos, without ever destroying the essential catchiness of their music. On this song, they use dynamics and tempo changes to build anticipation, with the song finally exploding enough to justify the wait.
  4. Ronnie Dawson — Rockin’ Bones (Loud, Fast & Out of Control): Not so much rockabilly as a hillbilly jump blues song with Dawson’s extremely nasal vocals. This song makes a great use of sonic space to emphasize the bouncy percussion that makes it perfect for sock hop jitterbugging.
  5. Fleet Foxes — White Winter Hymnal (Fleet Foxes): A perfect song for this time of year. When the Foxes became famous, they often garnered Beach Boys comparisons for their elaborate harmony vocals. But the Fleet ones really have more of a church choir type vibe to their harmonies, appropriate for a hymnal that starts out with a “Row Row Row Your Boat” type choral intro. This pastoral album has aged well and set the bar high for their 2011 follow up album.
  6. Stan Ridgway — Walking Home Alone (The Big Heat): Ridgway’s first solo album didn’t just go in the direction of Wall Of Voodoo, while maintaining the cinematic vibe of that band. Ridgway established himself as a great storyteller who could meld his music to fit the lyrics. This song has the mood of a ’50s Sinatra classic, mixing electronic instruments with the “sad trombone” he references in the lyrics. And Stan even credibly sings on the killer middle eight. I would love to hear a traditional crooner take this on with a retro arrangement.
  7. The Rolling Stones — You Can’t Always Get What You Want (Let It Bleed): This classic, from one of the Stones’ best LPs, was (and might still be) overplayed. Of course, it gets so much play because it is a striking song, from the children’s chorus intro to memorable opening words to the way the song builds to epic heights.
  8. Sloan — C’mon C’mon (We’re Gonna Get It Started) (Navy Blues): A wonderful ’70s inspired pop piece from the pride of Nova Scotia. This sounds like it was made to fit in between Stealer’s Wheel and Todd Rundgren on some great AM radio station, not only with it’s piano pop bounce, but with the compressed production that gives the track an older feel. This song has a gigantic hook and an awesome middle eight with spectacular harmony vocals.
  9. Outkast — Spaghetti Junction (Stankonia): A nice mid-tempo slice of funky hip-hop. This song is interesting because of how Big Boi and Andre 3000 trade off within the verses, sometimes with one or the other rapping under the other.
  10. The Fleshtones — The Girl From Baltimore (Up-Front): This song appeared on the band’s first EP for IRS Records and it’s a great garage rock tune, perfect for doing all of the classic ’60s dances that are mentioned in the song. Keith Streng’s twanging guitar sounds like it was borrowed from a B-52’s record. This song quickly established that the ‘tones had mastered R & B flavored rock that is perfect for parties.

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Categorized: Friday MP3 Shuffle

Topics: ipod, mp3

Erik Roldan writesCHIRP + Coach House Sounds Session with Love of Everything

Over the summer, Chicago duo Love of Everything went over to Coach House Sounds and recorded what would be a marker in the band’s career. I sat in on the session but couldn’t have been aware of the tension between the two members.

To me, the songs they played seemed to land hard – they had worked a lot on the tracks and there were hints that they were still working through them.

Throughout, the delicate pop that Love of Everything crafts was apparent, but surely I couldn’t have known what was happening beneath the surface. It wasn’t until Bobby Burg answered my pre–set e–mail interview questions with surprising honesty that I figured out what was going on.

The Love of Everything Coach House Sounds session will be released on 12/14 over at – listen to all week for a preview of this amazing time stamp in a young band’s career.

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

I licked this toy transformer tank that had fallen into the sump pump. That specific taste haunts me to this day.

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

I learned that i wasn’t interested in sports from seeing the football coach at my high school go absolutely berserk during a mandatory pep rally.

Describe a scenario where Love of Everything could be someone’s life coach and the top 2 life lessons you’d teach them.

I could see myself teaching a younger band about how to eat right on while on tour.

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

Chicago is great for playing in a band and seeing live music. It’s flat, so its good for riding bikes. I have a 15 year relationship with Chicago.

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?

I didn’t know this at the time but recording that session was the last time Elisse and I would ever play music together.

You’re a coupled, married duo, right? How long has that been the case and how does that factor into the music you make?

We were doing that for 2 years, but now we are getting divorced unfortunately. It totally did effect it, I think the songs I was writing got better as the marriage got worse.

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

Loads is happening! Love of Everything’s new drummer will be Tim Kinsella who I play in Joan of Arc with. Our two bands are going on a 3 week European tour together. Love of Everything’s Best in Tensions album came out this month on CD in Europe on the label Seayou Records.

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Categorized: Interviews

Topics: artist spotlight

Stephen Dobek writesStephen Dobek’s Best of 2010

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

  1. Beach House – Teen Dream (Sub Pop)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    When it comes down to my favorite album of any given year, it’s all about staying power. Teen Dream was released in the first month of 2010, but its impact was felt by my iTunes long after that. Already the authors of two albums I’m fond of, Teen Dream isn’t a drastic departure from the band’s sound, they are simply good at what they do, and here they are near perfect, especially Victoria Legrand’s voice. It isn’t often that every song on an album warrants five stars, but for me, this is one of those rare instances.

    There were songs that hit me hard in the spring, lifted me up during the summer, have helped me to prepare for the brunt of another Chicago winter, but never any songs that wore out their welcome. Teen Dream is a fully realized vision, an album that will stick with me for years to come, and reason enough to look back at the music of 2010 and smile.
  2. Emeralds – Does It Look Like I’m Here? (Editions Mego)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    When I think of Cleveland I think of bad sports teams and even worse weather, but now, thanks to Emeralds, I think of mind-bending electronic music as well. These prolific Ohioans have released a lot of material in their short existence, and for the most part their songs were sprawling, ambient affairs. With Does It Look Like I’m Here they take a more concise approach. Songs materialize faster, and when they do they burn hotter than anything else the band has released. The payoff on ‘Candy Shoppe’ is something to behold, and is easily my favorite sonic moment of the entire year.

    From beginning to end the album is mesmerizing, synths and guitar twirling together to create a sound that harkens back to the German ‘Kosmische’ movement, but is almost without equal in modern music.
  3. Small Black – New Chain (Jagjaguwar)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    Some albums grow on you after repeat listens, while others grab you immediately and don’t let go. For me, New Chain is one of the latter, from the opening bars of ‘Camouflage’ I was hooked. With greater production value Small Black leave the bedroom sound of their earlier work behind. Each song on the album evokes a big, nostalgic response, and while their contemporaries are numerous they never sound like they’re copying anyone, rather they are making the chintzy sounds of the past into their own new dynamic thing. New Chain is an album that keeps its focus on the future by remembering the sounds of parties long gone.
  4. Mogwai – Special Moves (Rock Action)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    Live albums aren’t something I’m often excited for, so the fact that Special Moves makes my list is a surprise. Through the years Mogwai have proven themselves to be one of the most fearsome forces in the world of post-rock, even though their recent work may have missed the mark. Thankfully this career-spanning look back hits the pleasure center over and over again. Songs like ‘Hunted By A Freak’ and ‘Mogwai Fear Satan’ are given new life, and likewise, the band sounds re-energized and on top of their game rather than past their prime. Special Moves works so well because it recalls past greatness while also providing a burst of hope for the band’s future.
  5. Blue Hawaii – Blooming Summer (Arbutus)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    Blue Hawaii are part of a robust music scene in Montreal that is producing some very interesting material. Blooming Summer is billed as an EP, but these eight songs feel more like a full statement. While many artists of a similar thread look fondly upon the past Blue Hawaii’s lyrics focus on the heartbreak and lost love of yesteryear. They may share an aesthetic with others, but this brand of electronic pop is also uniquely their own. Blooming Summer showcases a band that is versatile and highly skilled, it leaves me eagerly awaiting a proper full-length release.
  6. Working For A Nuclear Free City – Jojo Burger Tempest (Melodic)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    Recapturing the sound of Madchester is not easily done, but WFANFC gave it their all, creating something wonderful that yields countless twists and turns. Jojo Burger Tempest is genre hopping on the highest level; many different influences are brought together but the seemingly natural balance between everything is what makes the album so special. It’s an ambitious undertaking for sure (It’s split between two discs, one containing 17 individual licks, and the second containing a single 33 minute romp), but giving it an honest listen will pay big dividends.
  7. Jónsi – Go (XL)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    When I discovered that Jónsi Birgisson was striking out on his own I became very excited. His vocal prowess as part of Sigur Rós has been nothing short of monumental, so the sky was literally the limit. He did not disappoint. With powerful percussion, intense buildups and of course beautiful vocals now bigger than ever Go soars to amazing heights. Songs like ‘Go Do’ and ‘Animal Arithmetic’ are epic, even by Jónsi standards. This album also makes my list because I saw it played live at The Vic on my birthday and essentially had my face melted off by a complete multimedia sensory overload.
  8. Sam Prekop – Old Punch Card (Thrill Jockey)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    Sharing nothing in common with his full time band The Sea and Cake, or any of his previous solo work, Old Punch Card is Sam Prekop’s initial foray into electronic music. If there is any structure to this album it’s hard to find, Prekop essentially tries out different sounds until he finds something he likes and lets that play out. While it may not grab you in an instant, over time the beauty of Prekop’s experimentation bubbles to the surface, revealing something truly unique.
  9. Candy Claws – Hidden Lands (Twosyllable)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    There is dream pop, and then there is the music that Candy Claws create, a sort of narcotic induced coma pop. The pastoral sounds of Hidden Lands were composed primarily on keyboards the band had no idea how to play, and perhaps that is why unexpected moments pop up all over the place. With lyrics that never rise above a whisper and melodies that echo the most sun kissed moments of the Beach Boys, Hidden Lands is strangely hard to place and strangely addicting.
  10. Mimicking Birds – Mimicking Birds (Glacial Pace)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    Mimicking Birds’ Nate Lacy is able to achieve a striking level of ambiance while sticking to a fairly sparse set up. With a production assist from Isaac Brock of Modest Mouse, he created an album that sounds like it was recorded at a remote point in outer space. Lacy’s guitar work is something to behold, throughout the album he fingerpicks his way into hypnotic riffs, especially on ‘The Loop’, that ad to the atmosphere and the allure of Mimicking Birds.

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Categorized: Best Albums of the Year

Topics: best of 2010

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