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The CHIRP Blog

Erik Roldan writesA Conversation With John Bellows

John Bellows is Chicago singer-songwriter working in the Jeff Mangum school of honesty, throwing in some self-deprecating humor to keep him grounded. His MySpace page contains the blurb “In transcendent moments of performance, I give back the energy that the audience gives to me in the flavor of raspberry truffle Godiva ice cream, and everyone in the room eats it up. Except for the people the don’t like ice cream, which is rare.”

While working in humor to his presentation, Bellows is obviously serious about his music – he’s got an LP out on Moniker Records and has two upcoming shows in October – The Turning Fork Supper Club on the 7th and Cafe Mustache on the 15th.

Earlier this Summer, John went over to Coach House Sounds and recorded a live session – CHIRP DJs will be spinning highlights from the session all week in anticipation of its release this coming Tuesday, October 12th, over at

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

Envisioned myself as a famous, revolutionary rock star just for “being myself.” I was alone.

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

I had a coach that looked like Abraham Lincoln in 8th grade. We had to do 40 push ups one day and as I rounded 35, he ran over and cheered me on up to the 40th. I learned that I had endurance in the face of hardship.

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

How to cook your own meals. And once for a week, I “band coached” 5 kids how to play Smells Like Teen Spirit. Those two things did a lot for my life!

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

Da’ Rent! I afford many luxuries in Chicago (groceries, shelter/studio, beer) with very little spending. Plus, it’s flat, and you can easily bike all over.

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 get nervous when I’m being recorded cause it’s a moment set in stone. That’s one reason why I home record so much… so I can capture the appropriate mental state. But the Coach House has a stellar environment with plenty of mood lighting and I think that made for some warm recordings. Then biking on my way home, my pocket called Matt on the phone over 20 times!

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

I just purged 6 angry songs a few days ago. All written on bass guitar. I hope to purge 6 more and make an album called Verse Chorus DIE! Or maybe I could write six happy songs and call it Songs of Love and Hate.

Share October 4, 2010 Share on Facebook Tweet This!

Categorized: Interviews

Topics: interview

Karin Fjellman writesTONIGHT! CHIRP Night at the Whistler with Cathy Santonies & Dumpster Babies!

If the thought of a quiet night at home makes you want to puke at maximum volume in quadraphonic stereo, do yourself a favor and spend tonight with a full-blown ear colonic courtesy of local queens of badassdom The Cathy Santonies and rock hooligans Dumpster Babies at the latest legendary CHIRP Whistler night! There will be raffle prizes, booze and babes! Rock out and drink up them fancy cocktails, because a portion of the bar proceeds benefit CHIRP!

The Cathy Santonies describe themselves as “a subversive mix of riot grrrl & cock rock.” Translation? They’re unafraid to speak their minds like Joan Rivers and shred for days like AC/DC. The Cathy Santonies are Radio Santoni on vocals, Mojo Santoni on lead guitar, Jane Danger on rhythm guitar and they’re looking for a new drummer. So who knows? Maybe you can come out and audition. Their new EP is “I’m Yr Friend! I’m Yr Revolution.” You can hear it at and live at The Whistler Sept 20. Or you can miss it and flog yourself in shame ‘til your arms fall off.

If Dumpster Babies isn’t one of the greatest band names in rock, it’s at least one of the most offensive. God bless America! These four guys hilariously list their sound as “emotronic/Chinese traditional/Crunk.” It’s also poppy, loud and garagey. Dumpster Babies do it with lots of fuzz. They do it with lots of catchy harmonies. And they generally do it in under three minutes. Get a taste at or see them open for The Cathy Santonies at this month’s CHIRP Whistler Night. We want to see you there.

—David Schermer

Share September 20, 2010 Share on Facebook Tweet This!

Categorized: Event Previews



Every music fan knows the importance of the opening track. It grabs your attention. It sets your expectations. And, if it’s good, it excites you for what’s to come. On a record, side one, song one has a big job to do. For a radio station, the same can be said for year one.

The first year at CHIRP has been amazing. We’ve fought on behalf of independent radio stations and played thousands of great songs by countless bands, from around the world and here in Chicago—thanks to the enthusiastic support of listeners and donors like you.

Please help CHIRP Radio continue the work by making a donation today.

CHIRP is 100% run by volunteers. The money raised during our fundraising drives pays for equipment, supplies, lobbying and letter-writing needs, and the rent at our Ravenswood studio. As a donor, you’ll do more than enable CHIRP to stay on the air, play great music and advocate for independent radio—you’ll earn CHIRP gifts we hope you’ll wear and use proudly.

For a $60 pledge: CHIRP travel mug
For a $120 pledge: CHIRP t-shirt
For a $180 pledge: CHIRP travel mug AND t-shirt
For a $240 pledge: CHIRP messenger bag
For a $365 pledge: All three CHIRP gifts

Gifts can also be made in smaller recurring monthly increments (for as little as $10/month). And every donation, no matter the size, is important and appreciated.

2010 is CHIRP’s opening track. You’ve made the first nine months of our Year One incredibly successful. We grabbed attention, built excitement, and started strong. Now we’re counting on your generosity to help deliver what’s next!

Share September 19, 2010 Share on Facebook Tweet This!

Categorized: CHIRP Radio News and Info.

Erik Roldan writesA Conversation With Kid Static

Kid Static (born Moses Harris) recently moved from Chicago to Los Angeles but still maintains the many connections he made while living here. While in the Midwest, he recorded two albums with producer Yea Big and put together a spontaneous, outdoor hip hop party with Mr. Tastees called Pop Up Jam. He recently collaborated with Chicago DJ’s The Hood Internet and released an eponymous single titled The Hood Internet and Kid Static 7” out on Whistler Records.

Kid Static, always busy, always warm and personable, took his loop pedal and rhymes to Coach House Sounds and recorded seven tracks to analog. Read all about the partnership between CHS and CHIRP here, and tune in to CHIRP all week for exclusive preview streams of Kid Static’s CHS session before it goes live at on Tuesday, September 21st.

What the dumbest thing you’ve ever done in a basement?
Define dumbest. I’ve done some pretty crazy things in basements but noone got hurt or died so I’m not sure if the dumb classification fits. I guess setting things on fire in the basement when I was a kid was pretty dumb.

Tell me about a coach you had as a child. What did you learn from them?
In high school I had a swim coach that was way too attractive to be the coach of a boys swim team. What did I learn from her? I learned that teenagers hitting on teachers only works at schools I don’t go to.

Describe a scenario where Kid Static could be someone’s life coach and the top 2 life lessons you’d teach them.
Don’t you have to have your own life figured out before you coach someone else? Cause ummm I don’t really know s**t about s**t. I can’t imagine a situation that would end with me being a life coach.

What’s your favorite of the 5 senses? (touch, smell, hearing, taste, site) When has one of your senses played a joke on you or other wised tripped you up?
By nature of what I do, I’m a really big fan of hearing. My senses are finely tuned instruments, the only time they trip me up is when thouroughly muted with intoxicating beverages. Is balance a sense?

Describe your favorite room in a house and tell me why it’s your favorite.
My living room. That’s where my drums are. I’m a fan of rocking out and watching really bad cinema. I’m talking Conan the Barbarian. I’m talking Tim Allen movies. There is nothing so horrible I won’t watch it.

Share September 16, 2010 Share on Facebook Tweet This!

Categorized: Interviews

Topics: interview

Erik Roldan writesCHIRP Partners With Coach House Sounds

Live sessions are a growing part of the independent music scene, and CHIRP is happy to announce a partnership with a local group of enthusiasts producing this kind of recording.

Hidden in Chicago’s West Lakeview neighborhood, Coach House Sounds is a DIY analog recording studio set up in an actual coach house, and since late 2009 has been inviting local musicians to record an exclusive performance to be streamed online at

Matt Baron, curator of CHS, has a unique take on the live session – album oriented, spontaneous and anything goes, once the tape starts rolling there’s no going back. Literally, it’s tape. Doug Lienen, CHS’s sound engineer records the bands on a reel-to-reel, making overdubs and editing impossible.

Along with photographer Neal Morrison and Mike Mayer, CHS’s videographer, Coach House Sounds has built a substantial catalog of sessions from high profile local bands. Artists ranging from White Mystery, Kid Static, and Daniel Knox are just a few of Chicago artists already recorded, and the upcoming release schedule is full.

To be released on Tuesdays, the fall itinerary has a new CHS session launching every week, with artists like Tyler Jon Tyler, Rabble Rabble and Love of Everything. Sessions are stream-only, and things are still growing—newer sessions now regularly have an accompanying video recording.

Matt Baron hopes to increase the touring musicians coming through the coach house but wants to keep it Chicago-focused. “Most other session sites have the Pitchfork trickle-down artists,” he says. “Pitchfork approves them, and sooner or later they make it onto those sites. I want to keep it Chicago-centric and underground.”

Black Cab Sessions, iTunes and even Pitchfork TV produce their own exclusive live performances from the latest bands, and they are a small handful in a recent wave of companies making this type of content. Baron hopes to set Coach House Sounds apart by keeping it analog—the warmth of the sound matches the informal nature of the recordings. He loves it when a band has an early version of a new song or wants to re-start a song in the middle of the session. “It’s just like a concert, but it’s in my coach house.”

Adding to the DIY charm is the kind, professional attitude of the CHS staff and the casual business model. There is no money exchanged, and bands agree to the licensing of the performance through an electronic hand shake, more or less. CHIRP is proud to partner with Coach House Sounds! Listen for exclusive tracks from past and upcoming CHS releases on as well as casual interviews with CHS performers on the CHIRP Blog.

Share September 13, 2010 Share on Facebook Tweet This!

Categorized: CHIRP Radio News and Info.

Topics: concerts

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