August 26, 2014

photos by Brigid Gallagher

Robyn at Pritzker Pavilion

Dance-pop ambassadors Robyn and Royksopp brought their international tour through Chicago for a sold-out show at Pritzker Pavilion on Sunday night (8/24). The two acts delivered separate sets before coming together for a collaborative performance in support of their recently released mini LP. Pictures from the Pritzker Pavilion show are in this post. More below...

Continue reading "Robyn & Royksopp played Pritzker Pavilion (pics)"

August 21, 2014

photos by James Richards IV

Jacco Gardner // Bare Mutants

Dutch wunderkind Jacco Gardner brought his summer North American tour through Chicago for a show at the Empty Bottle on Monday night (8/18). Local crew Bare Mutants and ...Trail of Dead related project Midnight Masses got things started, and pictures from the Empty Bottle are in this post (none of Midnight Masses, unfortunately). More below...

Continue reading "Jacco Gardner, Bare Mutants & Midnight Masses played the Empty Bottle (pics)"

The Presets @ Terminal 5 in 2012 (more by Diana Wong)

The Check Yo Ponytail tour is back for a 2014 edition, featuring Aussie synth pop headliners The Presets with rotating support from hip hop experimentalists Antwon and Le1f. Look for The Presets to tag Chicago for a show at the Vic Theatre on October 28 with support from Antwon, Chela, and Franki Chan. Tickets go on sale this Friday (8/22) at 10AM CST.

All CYP dates, a tour poster, and promo video lie after the jump...

Continue reading "The Presets, Antwon & others playing the Vic on 2014 Check Yo Ponytail tour"

Hot Water Music @ Metro, January 2013 (more by Zach Pollack)

Gainesville, FL's storied Hot Water Music are set to celebrate their 20th anniversary as an outfit with a fall US tour. That tour features support from Dave Hause and The Flatliners, and is slated to begin in early-November. You can look for the three acts to tag Chicago on November 5 for a show at Metro. Tickets go on sale this Friday (8/22) at noon CST. Presale tickets for the entire tour are available now.

All Hot Water Music dates and some videos lie after the jump...

Continue reading "Hot Water Music celebrating 20th anniversary, playing Metro on fall US tour w/ Dave Hause & The Flatliners"

Ab-Soul @ Williamsburg Park in 2013 (more by Amanda Hatfield)

Ab-Soul has announced that he'll be embarking on a fall North American tour in support of his recently released LP These Days. That tour begins in mid-September and includes a show at the Bottom Lounge on September 28. Advance tickets for the Chicago show are on sale now.

All Ab-Soul dates and a stream of the These Days cut "Gods Reign" lie after the jump...

Continue reading "Ab-Soul playing Bottom Lounge on fall North American tour"

August 20, 2014


The Smokers Club has announced their 5th annual US tour, which is dubbed World Wide Rollers this time around. "The world's largest hot-box" will be headlined by duo // Wu-Tang Clan members Method Man and Redman, with support from Cypress Hill's B-Real, Taylor Gang's Berner, and Chicago upstart Mick Jenkins. That tour stretches from mid-October to late-November, and includes a show at the Concord Music Hall on October 23. Advance tickets for the Chicago show are on sale now. VIP packages are available for each date on the tour.

All Smokers Club dates and some videos lie after the jump...

Continue reading "Smokers Club Tour 2014 (Method Man + Redman, B-Real, Berner & Mick Jenkins) coming to Concord Music Hall"


"Doom soul" singer Cold Specks (aka Al Spx) is slated to welcome her new album, titled Neuroplasticity, on August 26 via Mute Records // Arts & Crafts. The LP cut "Exit Plan" features Swans leader Michael Gira -- Spx contributed background vocals on the To Be Kind track ""Bring the Sun" -- and you can take a listen to that and seven other songs from the LP at the bottom of this post. Neuroplasticity will be streamed in its entirety via Cold Specks' website on Friday, August 22.

Al Spx and co. will be embarking on a November/December North American tour in support of Neuroplasticity. That tour includes a show at Schubas on December 3. Tickets for the Chicago show go on sale this Friday (8/22) at noon CST.

All known Cold Specks dates and those song streams lie after the jump...

Continue reading "Cold Specks releasing new LP, playing Schubas on fall tour (dates, song streams)"

interior of the Congress Theater (more by Chase Turner)

As part of a new plan of operation for the embattled Congress Theater, DNAinfo points out that one of its stipulations is an official ban on EDM for the venue. The agreement was signed by venue owner Eddie Carranza and City of Chicago local liquor commissioner Gregory Steadman in late-July. The conditions of the plan of operation (EDM ban included) apply to current and future owners, "the business address, the licensee, and to all officers, managers, partners, and direct or indirect owners of the licensed entity." The Congress lost its liquor license in May of 2013.

EDM, as defined by the City of Chicago, is "music created by a DJ or multiple DJs primarily using specialized equipment and software instead of traditional instruments." "... And an EDM performance shall be defined as a performance of Electronic Dance Music or any performance by a DJ or multiple DJs featured the playing of prerecorded music. Performers that incorporate electronic beats or prerecorded music in their acts shall be allowed, provided those performers either sing vocals or play an instrument(s) (or do both) during their performance." Alderman Joe Moreno (1st Ward) offered, "It's not the genre, it's the way the owner handles the genre." "I don't blame the genre or the artists, it's the operator who has to be able to handle the crowd. Unfortunately, the Congress has a history of not being able to manage certain types of crowds." Carranza declined to comment about the agreement.

August 19, 2014


Lavender Country, the pseudonym of Washington state singer/songwriter Patrick Haggerty, released what's widely recognized -- by institutions like the Country Music Hall of Fame and CMT -- as the first openly gay country music album in 1973. The self-titled LP sees Haggerty and co. drawing from classic country players like Hank Williams and Patsy Cline, but also from the avant-folk movement of the late '50s. Lavender Country was originally re-released in 1999, and was more recently given an overhaul by indie label Paradise of Bachelors in March. You can take a listen to the album cuts "Cryin' these Cocksucking Tears" and "Lavender Country" at the bottom of this post. Lavender Country can be heard in full via Rdio, Spotify. I'm particularly fond of the album's lyrically darker moments like "Georgie Pie," "Back in the Closet Again," and "Straight White Patterns," yet it also holds some more triumphant offerings too.

Lavender Country's bio tells their story best:

The record reflects Haggerty's experiences: his upbringing on a tenant dairy farm in rural Washington, on the Canadian border; his dismissal from the Peace Corps on the spurious grounds of his sexuality; and his righteous struggles as an outraged young gay man navigating the Pacific Northwest in the immediate aftermath of Stonewall. He designed Lavender Country as a vehicle for what he deems "The Information": valid cultural communications intended to resonate with those unable to access similar resources. (Playing "Cryin' These Cocksucking Tears," one of the indisputably great country song titles ever, cost a brave Seattle DJ her FCC license.)
Haggerty and co. will be embarking on a brief Midwest tour in late-November. That tour includes a performance at Lincoln Hall on November 23. Tickets for the Chicago show go on sale this Friday (8/22) at noon CST. This set of dates serves as their second US run since the late reissue, and the band had previously reunited for a brief period in 2000.

All Lavender Country dates and those song streams lie after the jump...

Continue reading "Lavender Country reissued "first openly-gay country music album", touring, playing Lincoln Hall (dates, song streams)"


Their own announcement sums it up nicely:

The Pygmalion Festival, now in its 10th year, is excited to release the official Schedule for the 2014 event, taking place in Champaign-Urbana, IL this September, 25-28, 2014. CHVRCHES will be headlining, along with American Football, with support from Panda Bear, Real Estate, Tycho, Sun Kil Moon, Deafheaven and many more.

Final additions to the line up include comedian NICK THUNE, up and coming indie rockers ALEX G, and the announcement of a CHVRCHES / OWEN DJ Set following their performances on Saturday at Highdive.

The full lineup and schedule can be accessed here.

While there are just a handful of Festival Passes available, tickets remain for many of the single shows, as well. Many shows will not have advance tickets available, and can only be purchased in advance by way of the Festival Pass.

Tickets can be purchased here:

The Pygmalion Festival has a long history in the Midwest, by now. It has grown from a small local event featuring a few rising national artists into one that is now considered part of the national festival circuit, and brings fans from all over the Midwest and beyond. The intimacy of an unassuming but vibrant college town, paired with affordable tickets and limited capacity venues makes for one of the more memorable and fan-friendly festivals in the world. The event, which now has two other festivals running simultaneously - Literary and a Handmade Craft Fair - takes place over 4 days including 2 days of outdoor stages in the heart of bustling Downtown Champaign.

Over more recent years Pygmalion has attracted the likes of Grizzly Bear, Janelle Monae, Explosions in the Sky, Dinosaur Jr., Best Coast, The Head And The Heart, Cut Copy, Major Lazer and dozens and dozens more. The full history of the festival lineups are here:
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