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February 6, 2015

words and photos by Zack Baker

Alex G
Alex G

Alex G brought his pop-minded jams to a sold-out crowd at Beat Kitchen on Saturday (1/31) alongside the killer lineup of recently Run For Cover-signed noise-punks Teen Suicide, New York shred machines LVL UP and local songwriter Spencer Radcliffe.

Even after three changes to the show's kick-off time, Spencer and his newly-formed full band setup ended up going on 30 minutes before the show's advertised 6 PM start time. Any fans hoping to catch the endearingly oddball songwriter were sorely out of luck if they weren't bustling through the doors as they opened. I missed his set, and unfortunately LVL UP's too, but those who did see it seemed to be buzzing about it throughout the night.

Luckily I did make it in time for Teen Suicide. Flippant attitude from their online presence in full force, vocalist/guitarist Sam Ray and guitarist John Toohey were quick to pop out of the high-octane songs right into banter about parents' flights getting sent back because of the snow, the virtues of weed (Sam hollered "Give it up for weed!" intermittently throughout the set) and disparaging remarks to their new boss, Run For Cover head honcho Jeff Cassaza who flew into town for the show.

Teen Suicide had drummer Dexter Loos on loan from Alex G, and were in full-on rockstar mode for their set. Between the constant spins across the stage, monitor mounting and back-to-back shredding it was kind of difficult to remember that their songs are kind of, well, overwhelmingly depressing. The band played songs spanning their discography and also busted out a few new songs including one called "God" and one called "Alex," both of which were a little more mellow than the band's usual fare.

Alex G's set was slightly more tame, but no less entertaining. Alex had apparently discovered and become fascinated with a band who's name I didn't catch but whose catch phrase was evidently, "KABLAM! THEY NUKED MY NIPPLES OFF!" The singer would go into fits between songs, exclaiming it and immediately spiraling into a fit of laughter before launching into his next track.

Where the crowd was content to bob their heads for Teen Suicide, they went absolutely nuts for Alex's jams and antics. The room was a huge, sweaty, human wavepool by the end of his set, topped off with a ceremonially tossed bra which Alex proceeded to pull on and sport for the last two songs of the set. I never really knew I wanted to see Alex G perform DSU's downtrodden "Hollow" and Trick's house-of-cards-fragile "Change" in a hot pink brassiere, but I'm glad I did.

Check out more pictures from Teen Suicide and Alex G's sets as well as Alex G's setlist below...

Continue reading "Alex G & Teen Suicide played Beat Kitchen (pics, review)"

February 5, 2015

photo: Unknown Mortal Orchestra at Desert Daze 2014 (more by Debi Del Grande)
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Unknown Mortal Orchestra will be embarking on a summer North American tour in support of their recently announced LP Multi-Love, out 5/26 via Jagjaguwar. That run includes a show at Lincoln Hall on June 6, and tickets go on sale this Friday (2/6) at noon CST. Check out the album's Supertramp-esque title track at the bottom of this post. All tour dates, LP info., and more can be found over at BrooklynVegan.

Take a listen "Multi-Love" after the jump...

Continue reading "Unknown Mortal Orchestra releasing new LP (hear the title track), playing Lincoln Hall on summer tour"

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Tickets to see Ultimate Painting at the Empty Bottle are on sale now.

Two-day passes for Levitation Chicago at Thalia Hall are on sale now.

Tickets to see Alabama Shakes at The Chicago Theatre go on sale this Friday (2/6) at noon CST. A Jam Productions presale for that show will be active at 10AM today; the password is MUSCLE.

Tickets to see Ice Balloons and Odonis Odonis at the Empty Bottle are on sale now.

Tickets to see Crosby, Stills and Nash at The Chicago Theatre go on sale this Saturday (2/7) at 10AM. A Jam Productions presale for that show will be active on Friday from 10AM to 10PM; the password is CSN2.

Tickets to see San Fermin and Natalie Prass at Lincoln Hall go on sale this Friday at noon.

February 4, 2015

Levitation Fest Chicago

Austin Psych Fest has become one of the most consistently solid festivals over the course of the past few years, and this year's Texas installment goes down in May at the usual spot, Carson Creek Ranch (though they're calling the fest "Levitation" now). Recently the festival has been spreading its reach, like their CMJ showcase in New York last year, and now they're bringing the psych to Chicago.

APF is putting on a smaller two-day Levitation Chicago installment at Thalia Hall on March 13 and 14 with an amazing lineup. They've got veteran post-punks The Pop Group, shoegaze heroes Swervedriver, proggy psych improvisor Oren Ambarchi, crushing post-punks Viet Cong, trippy garage rockers Lumerians, drone-obsessed Mind Over Mirrors, garage partiers Heaters, brooding droners Vision Fortune, ear-shattering shoegazers Christines and more all coming to Chicago for the festival. Two-day passes for the festival are on sale now, and more bands will be announced in the coming weeks.

Stream some music from a bunch of the currently announced bands below...

Continue reading "Austin Psych Fest presenting Levitation Chicago w/ The Pop Group, Swervedriver, Oren Ambarchi, Viet Cong & more"

photo: La Dispute at Riot Fest Chicago 2014 (more by James Richards IV)
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Metro has just announced that it will be hosting an intimate La Dispute matinee show at its fourth floor Top Note Theater on April 4. Tickets for the 12:30PM show are on sale now. This small gig is in addition to their show at Metro proper on April 5 with support from tourmates Title Fight and The Hotelier (tickets).

Metro previously hosted Joy Formidable and Nada Surf at Top Note in 2012.

photo: Alabama Shakes at Firefly 2013 (more by Dana (distortion) Yavin)
Alabama Shakes

Alabama Shakes have a new album coming at some point this year and while we don't know much about that, we do know that the band will be bringing their blues rock on tour this spring with Songhoy Blues. That tour comes to The Chicago Theatre on March 14. Tickets for that show go on internet presale Thursday (2/5) at 10 AM with general on-sale starting Friday (2/6) at noon.

Full tour schedule and more at BrooklynVegan.

January 29, 2015

Liturgy -- The Ark Work LP
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Liturgy will be hitting the road once again in support of their upcoming album The Ark Work, their first full release since 2011's Aesthetica. As they have in the past, Chicago label Thrill Jockey will be handling the release, which is slated for March 24th; keep your eyes peeled for an impending limited edition LP preorder. The band will also be making a quick stop in Chicago at Subterranean on April 10. Tickets for the Chicago show go on sale this Friday (1/30) at 10AM CST. Listen to their new industrial-tinged single "Quetzalcoatl" below. Their full tour routing can be found over at BV, as can tracklisting for The Ark Work.

A stream of "Quetzalcoatl" lies after the jump...

Continue reading "Liturgy playing Subterranean on spring tour, prepping new LP (song stream)"

photo: Torres at NYC's Seaport Music Festival (more by Amanda Hatfield)
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Torres has announced that she'll be embarking on a spring North American tour in support of her second album, Sprinter, which is due out on May 5 via her new label home of Partisan Records. The LP was produced by PJ Harvey collaborator Rob Ellis and features PJ bassist Ian Oliver, as well as Portishead guitarist Adrian Utley. You can get a feel for the album by checking out its lead single // opening cut "Strange Hellos" at the bottom of this post. Another album track called "New Skin," which originally appeared via Weathervane's Shaking Through series is also available to stream.

After a stint at SXSW 2015, Torres and her band will hit the road for a proper tour right after Sprinter's release. That run includes a performance at the Empty Bottle on May 21, and tickets for the Chicago show go on sale this Friday (1/30) at 10AM CST.

All Torres dates, those song streams, and album info. lie after the jump...

Continue reading "Torres releasing new LP 'Sprinter,' playing the Empty Bottle on spring tour (dates, song streams)"

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Tickets to see Purity Ring at the Riv go on sale this Friday (1/30) at 10AM CST.

Tickets to see Sufjan Stevens at The Chicago Theatre go on sale this Friday at 11AM. A JAM Productions presale for the show is currently active, and the password is LOWELL.

Tickets to see Death Cab for Cutie at The Chicago Theatre go on sale this Friday at noon. A JAM Productions presale for the show is currently active, and the password is BLACKSUN.

Tickets to see Cashmere Cat at Lincoln Hall go on sale this Friday at noon.

Tickets to see Hiss Golden Messenger at Schubas go on sale this Friday at noon.

Tickets to see Lady Lamb The Beekeeper at Schubas are on sale now.

Tickets to see Dead Rider at the Empty Bottle are on sale now.

Tickets to see Acid Mothers Temple and the Melting Paraiso U.F.O. at the Empty Bottle go on sale this Friday at 10AM.

January 28, 2015

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It's probably no surprise that anticipation is high for the Grateful Dead reunion shows at Soldier Field (July 3-5) but when they offered the first chance at tickets via the United States Postal Service, they received over 60,000 envelopes with 350,000 ticket requests. Because of that, the presale on Ticketmaster has been canceled and tickets will now go on sale two weeks later than originally announced: February 28 at 10 AM.