Icelandic musical oddity Sigur Rós is bringing their spine-tingling brand of dreamy rock music to Chicago Theatre on Friday, September 30 , and we hope you’ll join us! The volcano-hot (Iceland reference!) tickets are available here! Sigur Rós, the biggest novelty out of Iceland after those weird, aircraft-grounding ash clouds and Björk (who incidentally is in the news this week with her announcement of plans to release a “songbook“), has the rare distinction of being a virtually genre-less Grammy-nominated act. The band is spearheaded by original member and frontman Jón Þór Birgisson, whose spellbinding vocals have guided the band through uncharted sonic waters for nearly two decades (with several band members falling overboard during this journey and being promptly replaced).
Known for their minimalist, yet somehow grand, productions, and gibberish-y swooning, Sigur Rós’ last album Kveikur (fuse), was released in 2013 to generally-positive reviews, with AllMusic stamping it with an 8 out of 10. Since that point, the band has been relatively low-key, resurfacing earlier this summer with a clandestine cluster-bomb-of-a-music-video, seemingly disconnected from any cohesive recording effort. The music video in question was for a song titled “Óveður,” with visuals and a narrative – true to Sigur Rós form – defying any logical interpretation.
A Sigur Rós’ performance is truly a rarefied experience. We hope to see you on September 30!
On Saturday, September 17, Echo and The Bunnymen (Ian Mcculloch and Will Sergeant) will be careening into Metro (tickets here) as part of a mostly-kinda-sorta-US-only-tour . The post-punk collective, which cut its teeth in Liverpool in the late 1970s, makes its way to Chicago as something of a shell of its former self, having undergone more studio band/touring band configurations than could be reasonably (or reliably) relayed here.
Echo and The Bunnymen’s new wave/shoe-gazey sound, unique even for a genre that basks in its own novelty, saw them reaping comparable levels of of critical – though not necessarily commercial – praise as their contemporaries (Joy Division, The Smiths, etc.). Whatever their counterparts laid claim to in stature, Echo and The Bunnymen made up for in having, objectively, the best name out of the bunch. And they have this shirt that we expect (and dearly hope) to see at least two dozen people wearing on show night. We can’t say we were fawning over their most recent album, Meteorites (2014), but we do remember the good times, and you can expect many of their classics to be blaring throughout Metro on September 17:
And we’ll be there – but likely san those shirts. Will you join us? Come on down!
Come out for indie duo Wye Oak on Wednesday, August 3rd at Thalia Hall (tickets are $18-23 here) featuring the deeply danceable Tuskha. Doors open at 7:30PM and the show starts at 8:30PM.
Wye Oak’s breakout record, 2011’s Civilian, featured folk rock that wasn’t afraid to get loud and had a title track that found its way into plenty of TV shows that year (if you’re a Walking Dead fan, this should ring some bells). They could have played it safe with their 2014 follow-up Shriek, but frontwoman Jenn Wasner traded her guitar for a bass and wrote some stellar synthpop instead.
Now they’re back with Tween, a reimagining of outtakes from their past two albums, and it really feels like the best of both worlds. It’s dreamy, noisy, and always catchy, and the band’s recent setlists show they’ve really embraced their whole catalog. Take a look at the delightfully weird music video for the single Watching the Waiting below.
Tuskha, the upbeat pop project of Phil Moore from the folksy Bowerbirds, is right at home with Wye Oak’s broad influences. If you’re familiar with the Bowerbirds’ guitar-and-accordion sound, then definitely check out Tuskha’s video for The Program, because it’s a big departure and a successful one at that.
Even if you’ve never thought to pair hot sauce with punk music, be sure to check out the Soothsayer Hot Sauce release party for Dollar Signs (Tickets are $8 here) at Subterranean on July 29th, featuring local staples Dog & Wolf and Otto Mann. Soothsayer, a Chicago-based small batch hot sauce company, makes custom sauces named for bands who share its DIY spirit and celebrates their releases with a punk show. This time, it’s Dollar Signs that’s getting their name on the bottle.
Hailing from Charlotte, NC, Dollar Signs play blunt, clever folk punk (though they also call it “student loan-core”) that’s always self-aware but never self-pitying. There Bandcamp is here, and to watch them play and feed animals (not at the same time), check out this video:
Dog & Wolf have been a part of the scene since 2011, and they sound like a band that knows what they’re doing. Committing to melody even when they’re at their most abrasive, they’ve got punk’s energy along with some serious songwriting chops. Listen to them here.
Otto Mann is another Chicago favorite, playing polished pop punk that covers a wide range of emotion and a wider range of guitar effects. See their Bandcamp for their EP and their Tumblr for pictures from their recording sessions.
Lindy Hop, a globally-loved variant of swing dance that has taken on an aura and vitality completely of its own, is coming to Detroit this October with 2016’s official American Lindy Hop Championships! This longstanding annual event’s programming promises to be its most interactive and provocative yet, with swing laureates and diverse visitors from around-the-world convening for hours of hip-to-hip dancing, learning, contests, dining, and chit-chatting!
For years consuming the fancies of men and women of all ages and ethnicities, Lindy Hop is a distinctive, liberating form of dance that is truly trans-cultural in appeal. Complex, but intuitive, that name “Lindy Hop” probably rings a few bells – you’ve heard it before, but have you seen it in-person? Have you danced it?!
This three-day series for the American Lindy Hop Championships (or “ALHC” for the cool kids) – taking place Friday, October 28 through Sunday, October 30 at the Crowne Plaza in Novi – fuses all of the showmanship, quirks, and nostalgia of the famed swing dance tradition in one crackling space.
Like years past, this year’s ALHC will have a heavy focus on actually learning dance (so don’t worry if “you can’t dance”!), with appearances by swing’s effervescent ambassador, the ageless Norma Miller (who you can also dine and converse with!), and a cache of other swing stalwarts, including So You Think You Can Dance alum Carla Heiney and contemporary dance choreographer Moncell Durden.
A variety of passes are available to meet your desires.
This first day of the ALHC, October 28, introduces you to the roots of Lindy Hop, featuring a Cabaret Showcase, dancing contests (email the ALHC folks here if you want to enter!), live music, drinks, and mingling. For those looking to stay overnight, there are reduced rates available at Crowne Plaza Novi.
A worthy departure from typical L’MAD events, we are proud to support this unique, once-a-year event, and hope all fellow L’MAD fans join us there in October!
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us!
— ALHCLindyHop (@ALHCLindyHop) July 30, 2016
Saturday, October 29th marks the second day of the three-day American Lindy Hop Championships soirée, where Lindy Hop, even more hands-on dancing classes, live music, food, and you, take center stage. You’ll want to bring a friend (or a few) for this one, along with a pair of dancing shoes (or a few)!
At the helm on Saturday will be Lindy Hop empress Norma Miller, who will be putting on an exclusive, genuinely historic performance of her famous (or infamous) swing-era nightclub act, which will be capped by dinner, drinks and intimate conversations with Ms. Miller.
How deep of a hold has Harlem-bred dance maven Norma had on the American zeitgeist? A wunderkind of sorts, she was one of the featured dancers in the Marx Brothers’ iconic 1930’s slapstick comedy, “A Day At The Races,” and partnered with the likes of curmudgeonly funnyman Redd Foxx (Sanford and Sons) through the 60’s and 70’s, all while establishing a solo career that rivaled and exceeded that of her black-and white-dancing peers in Hollywood.
Whether you’re a casual or lifelong fan of swing dance, general dance, jazz music, or the like, Saturday’s event has fragments of everything that we love about art and the loveliness of experiencing art together!
The last day of the American Lindy Hop Championships, Sunday, October 30, finds us brunching with one another and Norma Miller over a palette-pleasing menu at one of Crowne Plaza’s most charming banquet halls.
This brunch will be an opportunity to soak up screenings of several acclaimed dance films, over yummy food and drinks. (Just what the doctor ordered for a hoofer exhausted from two consecutive nights of swing dancing!) Afterwards, there will be a full-throated Q&A with Norma and other Lindy Hop dabblers, as well as time to mingle and plan for future dance and music get-togethers and adventures!
One of my personal favorites, West Coast rapper and epic smack-talker Murs (Living Legends), will be performing live at Subterranean, in Chicago, on Friday, July 15, and the next day at The Shelter, in Detroit, as part of his Unlimited Up tour with Propaganda. You can cop the tickets here!
Murs, a South Central native, stormed the hip hop frontier with his all-too-short EP with North Carolina producer 9th Wonder (Little Brother, Jay-Z), Murs 3:16. The 2004 independent release showcased a barrage of lyrically ferocious, but conceptually playful songs, invoking the rare case of a West Coast rapper meeting success while straying from the ratified G-funk sound of Cali (see Kendrick Lamar, The Game).
Murs, a 20-year hip hop vet, has had a rather wide-ranging and head-scratching career, perhaps first really being brought into public consciousness with his 2003 “H-U-S-T-L-E” anthem, where he boasted of his efforts to, should we say, keep it real, without it going wrong? The song, which got a surreal treatment by WWE’s John Cena (not on the album), cemented Murs’ place as a top-tier storyteller (with a message) and lifted him from the weed-driven haze of underground West Coast rap. Take a look below at the music video for one of his many breakup ballads, “Remember 2 Forget”.
Murs’ outspoken support of gay rights (peep his video “Animal Style”) managed to thoroughly confuse old hip hop fans and spur a legion of new ones. And in-between his flirtations with contentious politics, he embarked on a bizarre relationship with porn star Roxy Reynolds. That part of his catalogue made for some really distinguished (?) music.
We’ll see you there!
Proto punk rock outfit, The Julie Ruin, will be coming to Pilsen’s Thalia Hall on July 14 (tickets here)! Will you join us there? The Julie Ruin, perhaps best known for its tribal song Ha Ha Ha (off the LP Run Fast), hails from Brooklyn, and is led by activist-vocalist Kathleen Hanna, a punk scene staple since the mid-1990s (Bikini Kill/Le Tigre); she also happens to be married to Beastie Boy’s Adam Horovitz. Here goes an illuminating piece that was published on Kathleen in Pitchfork: http://pitchfork.com/features/interview/9658-feeling-myself-kathleen-hanna-gets-back-to-work/
The Julie Ruin’s Chicago stop is one of several dozen others planned across the globe to mark the release of The Julie Ruin’s new album “Hit Reset” which lands in stores on July 8, through indie imprint Hardly Art.
Peep this link for a lyric video for The Julie Ruin’s new song “I Decide”, one of thirteen tracks from the upcoming “Hit Reset”:
We’ll be there at the Thalia Hall on July 14 – we hope you join us! You can grab your tickets here!
~Eropium (poster by host Marcelo Biott)
Indie pop siren Zella Day will be front-and-center on Sunday, June 26 (7PM) at The Shelter in Detroit – and we’ll be there! The shrewd singer-songwriter flirts with a variety of genres, creating daring soundscapes that overlay noted Southwest music-making traditions (she’s an Arizonan) with more modern pop sensibilities.
Zella’s first full-length album, “Kicker,” came on the heels of “Sacrifice,” a song featured in the Divergent series that brought Zella swiftly (but perhaps reluctantly) into the limelight. One of several Midwest stops, this show at The Shelter is going to be an awesome show, with punk trio The Dreamers opening.
Take a gander here at Zella’s cryptic new music video for “Mustang Kids”… which also showcases some of Zella’s acting chops:
Electro-swing band, Caravan Palace is truly a mark of our age in time. With roots in swing and jazz, its swarming infusion of electro-pop lends this seven-piece ensemble a unique sound that is ideal for dancing. Here go some visuals from their latest single, “Lone Digger”:
Based out of the City of Light, Caravan Palace delivers a full-bodied fun, creating a mood that could be compared to that of a Golden Age party – and later this month, these Parisians will be helping recreate that spirit in both Chicago and Detroit. Whether you’re into jazz or house electronic, swing or dance disco, this band will meet you where you are, spin you around, and lift you into a beautiful song.
Chicago (House of Blues) – Saturday, June 18
Detroit (Crofoot Ballroom) – Monday, June 20
The Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD) is hosting a fine evening of artistic pontification with its latest Artist Talk entry, How I Wrecked a Painting, featuring fabled Guggenheim fellow and Detroit-to New York-to Detroit artist Nancy Mitchnick. (We were just intrigued by the talk’s title.)
And what says the event’s Facebook page: Nancy Mitchnick gets brutally honest about the unseen struggle to make a good work of art by sharing painfully humorous tales of her personal painting failures. How does an artist know when a work of art is finished? And how do they know if it is good or bad?
This is a free event. Yes, free – but a donation is requested.
You can RSVP here: https://www.facebook.com/events/119610968451370/
Come explore the emotions that put you down with Adult Mom (Steph Knipe) at Subterranean on Friday, May 27th (doors open at 8pm)! This project is mostly by Ms. Knipe–deemed an Artist to Watch by Stereogum–who peels off any lids on intimate subjects like sadness and lost love. If you like reading Sylvia Plath and listening to Mitski, you will enjoy this show! Tickets are just $12. Also on the bill are Forth Wanderers (a Jersey band) and Emily Jane Powers (a Chicago poptress).
You can check out Adult Mom’s song “Survival” here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pr6YgkdRKBk