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Thursday, October 30

Gapers Block

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Stars Align Thu Oct 30 2014

Stars Align: Mike Maimone and Archie Powell

Frontmen Mike Maimone of MUTTS and Archie Powell of Archie Powell & the Exports are known for their heavy, raucous rock, but they're turning it down from 11 to join forces for one night only.

Archie Powell and Mike Maimone perform at Riot Fest. (Photos: Jim Vondruska and Rob Holysz)

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Mike Ewing / Comments (0)

Preview Thu Oct 30 2014

Stephin Merritt Coming to Chicago for a Rare Solo Performance

Stephin Merritt.jpgStephin Merritt's range as a musical artist knows no bounds. Merritt may be best known for his extensive catalog of magnificent pop music as the head of The Magnetic Fields, but this barely scratches the surface of his work. He has found himself working within musical theater, contributing fantastic original music to audio books, creating film soundtracks, and as part of the multitude of side projects including The Gothic Archies, The 6ths, and Future Bible Heroes. There are very few writers than can be as introspective and genuine as Merritt when it comes to songs about something as delicate as love. Merritt has managed to infuse every project with his lovely and always entertaining songwriting along with his intoxicating bass voice. His prowess doesn't end with his musical talents. He has recently released his first book, 101 Two Letter Words, a collection of poetry accompanied by illustrations by Roz Chast. It would seem as if Merritt's reach knows no bounds, expanding into every realm his vast talents will take him.

Stephin Merritt will in Chicago for two very special events. On Nov. 7 he will be speaking with Peter Segal as part of the Chicago Humanities Festival. Tickets for this event are $12. The following evening, Nov. 8, Merritt will be performing an intimate solo set at the Old Town School of Folk Music. This rare event will have Merritt performing pieces from his massive oeuvre in alphabetical order. Advance Base, a solo project of Owen Ashworth, will be opening for him. Tickets are $30 for the general public, $28 for members.

Julian Ramirez / Comments (0)

Review Wed Oct 29 2014

Hozier Takes Us to Church @ Metro, 10/26

Hozier is a name I've been hearing quite frequently lately, buzzing about my city, and surely beyond. Whether it is hearing his hit song, "Take Me To Church," on radio station after radio station, and music stream after music stream, or talking to my friends about his emotive, expressive rock sound infused with folk, I was overjoyed to see him perform his breakout album live to a sold out crowd at the Metro, with the show opened by the talented James Bay.

James Bay is a new force to be reckoned with. A London-based artist at only 23 years old, he is able to craft effortless folk music that entrances and captivates from the moment he sings his first lyric. He has released two EPs in the past two years, which have allowed him to attract a fan base to his deliberate musical style from both the UK and the US.

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Sarah Brooks / Comments (0)

Contest Wed Oct 29 2014

Preview: Pianos Become the Teeth at Beat Kitchen Nov. 1

photo credit: Evan Dell

I really wanted to see Pianos Become the Teeth when they were in town for Riot Fest. I remember discovering their album "The Lack Long After" a few years ago and spending a few months obsessed with it. It was at a time when I found myself craving something new but similar to bands such Thrice, Silverstein, Boysetsfire, and most of the bands that were all about.

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Justin Freeman / Comments (0)

Preview Wed Oct 29 2014

Tomorrow Never Knows Announces Their 2015 Lineup


Yesterday, the latest iteration of the annual Tomorrow Never Knows festival was announced and it'll take place this upcoming January at venues scattered throughout the city. Tomorrow Never Knows is well regarded for their smart and eclectic booking, with past acts ranging from The Orwells to Oneohtrix Point Never. This year seems to somewhat indie rock-centric but true to form, with Cloud Nothings and Zola Jesus both scheduled as headlining performers.

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Justin Freeman / Comments (0)

Review Sat Oct 25 2014

Open Mike Eagle and Serengeti Elevated Rap at Empty Bottle

openmikeeagle2.jpgThere are many names for alternative rap, the spectrum of hip hop that looks deeper into the craft of the verses and beats. Open Mike Eagle calls his version of the genre Art Rap and I couldn't imagine a better way to describe it. Eagle, along with Serengeti and Jeremiah Jae, create wordy and ultimately more fulfilling tracks, putting emphasis on characters and message while still putting up memorable tracks. Eagle's Dark Comedy and Serengeti's Sisyphus project and his forthcoming Kenny Dennis III are easily shaping up to be the best alternative rap albums of the year. This past week, the three rappers stopped by Empty Bottle and put on a solid rap show.

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Julian Ramirez / Comments (0)

Preview Wed Oct 22 2014

Django Festival All-Stars & Cyrille Aimee to Perform Beautiful Tribute on 10/24

The musical stylings of the legendary Django Reinhardt are unmistakable and extraordinary. One of the finest jazz musicians to emerge from Europe, majorly influencing their musical scene and those throughout the world, he combined the flair of gorgeous, wistful jazz music with the sensibility of big band lyricism. Though his music pervaded the scene with popularity during the 1930s, the mastery with which it has influenced music of our time is rich and unparalleled.

Paying homage to Reinhardt and his irreplaceable musical style will be the Django Festival All-Stars and songstress Cyrille Aimee, sharing a double bill at the Symphony Center this Friday evening, October 24. Drawing inspiration from the legendary musician, the tribute outfit is led by Dorado Schmitt, who learned guitar at the age of seven and has toured his established group around the country since 2002. He even emulates the persona of legendary Reinhard and his quintessential look. The ensemble features bassist Xavier Nikq, violinist Pierre Blanchard, accordion player Ludovic Beier, guitarist Francko Mehrstein, and clarinetist Ken Peplowski, who can be recognized for his works in famous Woody Allen films.

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Sarah Brooks / Comments (0)

Review Tue Oct 21 2014

Schubas Swooned For John Mark Nelson and Kara Laudon

kara loudin.jpgThis past Friday I was supposed to go see Haley Bonar at Schubas. Earlier that morning on her Facebook page she announced that she would not be able to perform that evening due to laryngitis. With an upcoming tour in Europe, it made sense for her to rest up. While such news is usually a downer, Bonar had luckily announced that the show was going to be carried on by her opener John Mark Nelson and Kara Laudon. I was only slightly familiar with Nelson and Laudon's music, but after a second or two of hearing them perform I knew that Bonar had left Chicago in the amazing hands of two wonderful musicians

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Julian Ramirez / Comments (0)

Review Sat Oct 18 2014

Owl John Tugged The Bottom Lounge's Heartstrings

Years ago I was given a copy of Frightened Rabbit's first album Sing the Greys and instantly knew that Scott Hutchison's songs would be something I would want to seek out. When The Midnight Organ Fight was released, it cemented Frightened Rabbit and Hutchison in my mind as one of the best modern bands. Every song simply grabbed me, leaving me aching for the same reason they ached. Hutchison's ability to capture little idiosyncratic moments into a universal understanding is uncanny. This past Wednesday Hutchison performed a lengthy set under his solo moniker Owl John at the Bottom Lounge, further showing his ability to captivate with his songs.

wedding dress.jpgChicago's Wedding Dress opened the night up quite well. The group is a nice collection of other Chicago area band including Maps & Atlases, Joan of Arc, and Suns. Together they create a dreamy indie rock sound that is accented with some interesting features. The slow and atmospheric build up to "Dangerous Living" had an almost post-rock quality to it before it submerged itself into the band's more identifiable sound. That's not to say that their music isn't filled with surprises, though. There is a bit of experimentation happening throughout their songs, particularly in when group blends in some interesting drums and keys into their work. The cover of Wild Beast's "The Devil's Crayon" fit the band quite well, really making it their own especially through Erin Elders vocals. They ended their set with "Simple Cords," which has the band at their most entertainingly folky.

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Julian Ramirez / Comments (0)

Concert Thu Oct 16 2014

Photos/Review: The Districts @ Park West 10-16-14

Gapers Dfix top.jpg

The Districts may have only played 35 minutes in their opening set for Temples Thursday night but it was none stop energy. The Pennsylvanian four piece is composed of two guitarists which helps emphasize the melody lines and enhances the energy of the rifts and pedal effects. Additionally, a bassist, and bombastic drummer add to the overall effect. At any given point, all members except the bassist may be providing vocals but all four seen strongly invested, especially their lead singer, Robby Grote.

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Kirstie Shanley / Comments (0)

Review Thu Oct 16 2014

Shuffling with Bombay Bicycle Club @ Park West, 10/14


Bombay Bicycle Club is a group I've always admired. Though their musical efforts have evolved immensely since their first release, they maintain their initial identity and make music infused with their own unique candor. Tuesday evening brought about a tour de force pairing of musical acts to showcase their unique talents at the intimate Park West venue: Luxley, Milo Greene, and the stars of the show, Bombay Bicycle Club.

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Sarah Brooks / Comments (0)

Concert Wed Oct 15 2014

Photos/Review: Rural Alberta Advantage @ Cabaret Metro 10-14-14

Gapers raa top.jpg

It's no surprise that three piece Canadian trio Rural Alberta Advantage keep playing larger venues. The packed Tuesday night crowd huddled in the rain to gladly see one of their favorite bands again play for a near 90 minute long set. The band's live performance only grows more heightened with a sense of the songs coming into their own greatness with lead singer Nils Edenloff's ability to project his voice even in more expansive spaces increasingly apparent.

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Kirstie Shanley / Comments (0)

Concert Tue Oct 14 2014

Sonic Highways Leading Foo Fighters to Cubby Bear


Hardly ever the type to be conventional, Foo Fighters have announced that they'll play Cubby Bear on Friday, the 17th. The Dave Grohl-directed Sonic Highways series is about to debut on HBO and their new album of the same title comes next month. The band will play after screening the first episode from the series. The new album, which they'll likely play in full on Friday, was recorded over the last year in eight US cities, including Chicago, of course.

Foo Fighters headline Cubby Bear on Friday, October 17. Tickets will be available Wednesday at 10am from here. There's a 2-ticket limit and they're doing everything they can to eliminate a second market. It's 21+ and doors open at 8:30PM. As of Tuesday morning, a price hadn't been announced, but it probably doesn't matter to many people. The Cubby Bear's at Addison & Clark.

James Ziegenfus / Comments (0)

Classical Thu Oct 09 2014

Pulling Strings: For classical music in Chicago, you got a guy - October 2014

"Classical music is dead. Long live classical music!" - The Internet.

The lesson: Read less internet. See more music.

Spektral Quartet: Sampler Pack
If you haven't seen the Spektrals by now, then I just don't know. Do yourself a favor and check out their latest Sampler Pack concert to get a distillation of their entire outlook on music. n one performance, SQ offers small bits of works from Ligeti's manic Quartet No. 2 to Beethoven's melancholic Opus 132; from brooding Philip Glass to nostalgic Dvorak. Hear string players sing and recite poetry while playing during David Reminick's The Ancestral Mousetrap, and hear selections from SQ's Mobile Minis ringtone project. The ever-evolving quartet will welcome violinist Clara Lyon to the group, in place of the departing Aurelien Pederzoli. There will also be alcohol. Tickets are $12. Saturday, October 25, 8pm. Constellation, 3111 N. Western Ave.

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Elliot Mandel / Comments (0)

Concert Wed Oct 08 2014

Lampo says, "Welcome to (Rene) Hell"

Jeff Witscher (Rene Hell)

This Saturday (October 11) at 8 p.m., experimental music organization Lampo begin their Fall 2014 season with the first of four free performances around Chicago. With the help of their long-running collaborators at the Graham Foundation, The Smart Museum of Art, and the Logan Center for the Arts, Chicagoans will have architecturally complimentary environments in which to experience a wide variety of unconventional, often abstract sounds and compositions.

The fall schedule is as follows:
October 11: Rene Hell
November 8: Robert A. A. Lowe
November 22: Lucky Dragons
December 13: Tristan Perich

Saturday's performance (which is free with RSVP, and takes place at the Graham Foundation's Madlener House, 4 W. Burton Pl.) will include a performance of a new composition by Jeff Witscher (aka Rene Hell), titled "Bifurcating a Resounding No!" The piece draws from years of recorded sounds (acoustic instruments, field recordings and voice), collected in cities across the U.S. and shaped with various digital techniques into a new long-form work.

If you don't know Jeff Witscher by name, you may know him by one of many others. From 2004 onward, Witscher has morphed into and between numerous guises and musical approaches, from harsh noise (Impregnable) to forlorn ambient soundscapes (Marble Sky) to anguished power electronics (Secret Abuse), releasing music through his Agents of Chaos label and many others channels. But most revered and, truthfully, the most mysterious of them all is his flagship project, Rene Hell.

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Chris Sienko / Comments (0)

Classical Thu Oct 09 2014

Pulling Strings: For classical music in Chicago, you got a guy - October 2014

By Elliot Mandel

"Classical music is dead. Long live classical music!" - The Internet. The lesson: Read less internet. See more music.

Read this feature »


  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
Country Music Chicago
Cream Team
Dark Jive
The Deli Chicago
Jim DeRogatis
Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
The Hood Internet
Jaded in Chicago
Largehearted Boy
Little White Earbuds
Live Fix Blog
Live Music Blog
Loud Loop Press
Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
Pop Matters
Resident Advisor
Sound Opinions
Sun-Times Music Blog
Theft Liable to Prosecution
Tribune Music
UR Chicago
Victim Of Time
WFMU's Beware of the Blog
Windy City Rock


Abbey Pub
Andy's Jazz Club
Aragon Ballroom
Auditorium Theatre
Beat Kitchen
Bottom Lounge
Buddy Guy's Legends
The Burlington
California Clipper
Concord Music Hall
Congress Theater
Cubby Bear
Double Door
Elbo Room
Empty Bottle
Green Mill
The Hideout
Honky Tonk BBQ
House of Blues
Kingston Mines
Lincoln Hall
Logan Square Auditorium
Mayne Stage
The Mutiny
Old Town School of Folk Music
Park West
The Promontory
Red Line Tap
Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint
The Riviera
Thalia Hall
The Shrine
Symphony Center
Tonic Room
Uncommon Ground
The Vic
The Whistler

  Labels, Promoters
  & Shops:

Alligator Records
Beverly Records
Bloodshot Records
Dave's Records
Delmark Records
Drag City
Dusty Groove
Flameshovel Records
Groove Distribution
He Who Corrupts
Jam Productions
Jazz Record Mart
Kranky Records
Laurie's Planet of Sound
Minty Fresh
Numero Group
mP Shows
Permanent Records
Reckless Records
Smog Veil Records
Southport & Northport Records
Thick Records
Thrill Jockey Records Touch & Go/Quarterstick Records
Victory Records


Thu Oct 30 2014
Smoker @ Empty Bottle

Thu Oct 30 2014
Sidewalk Chalk @ Double Door

Fri Oct 31 2014
Nocturna All Hallow's Eve Ball @ Metro

Fri Oct 31 2014
Rocky Horror Review @ Mayne Stage

Fri Oct 31 2014
Bloodiest, Outer Mind @ Empty Bottle

Sat Nov 1 2014
Pianos Become the Teeth @ Beat Kitchen

Sat Nov 1 2014
Freakeasy's Dead Celebrities @ Metro

Sat Nov 1 2014
Songs of Stephanie Morris @ Hideout

Sat Nov 1 2014
Hood Internet @ Double Door

Sat Nov 1 2014
Chicago Ukulele Cabaret @ Silvie's

Mon Nov 3 2014
Blonde Redhead @ Bottom Lounge

Tue Nov 4 2014
Mark Lanegan Band @ Bottom Lounge

Wed Nov 5 2014
Sound Opinions: The Beatles vs. The Stones @ Old Town School of Folk Music

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Transmission is the music section of Gapers Block. It aims to highlight Chicago music in its many varied forms, as well as cover touring acts performing in the city. More...
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