Chicago

New music video from Ryley Walker: “Roundabout”

Ryley Walker’s latest single, “Roundabout”, is out now with an accompanying music video directed by Joe Martiniz Jr. The track was plucked from Walker’s upcoming record, Golden Sings That Have Been Sung, which is due out August 19th on Dead Oceans and was produced by LeRoy Bach of Wilco. The video depicts a raucus 4th of July celebration in Pilsen in Chicago. Already-deployed fireworks litter the streets while locals clutching a Budweiser and kids under the age of 10 with gas torches continue to improvise what is their explosive and raw attempt at firework show. About the music video, Walker says:

“Fourth of July in Pilsen is the height of summer in Chicago.” He goes on, “Dozens of crews with ad hoc explosives and a beer in hand make for a blitzkrieg celebration. I lived at 21st/Leavitt some years back and got to know this evening first hand very well. Forever my favorite part of summer in the city. This video hopefully captures a few of those moments of joy from the people involved.”

The song itself is gentle and subtle with simple guitar picking, in complete juxtaposition to the chaos of the music video. However, the sentiment behind the video and in Walker’s reflection and connection to the video content flows perfectly with the track.

 

 

Walker will be touring nonstop:

AUGUST
12th      UK       Guildford, St. Mary’s ^
16th      SE        Malmofest, Malmo
18th      PT        Praia do Tabuao, Parades de Coura
19th      UK       London, Rough Trade East instore
20th      UK       Brecon Beacons, Green Man Festival
25th      US       Chicago, IL, Empty Bottle

SEPTEMBER
9th        MX      Mexico City, Foro Indie Rocks
14th      US       Bloomington, IN, The Bishop ^^
15th      US       Nashville, TN, The East End ^^
16th      US       Bristol, VA, Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion
17th      US       Bristol, VA, Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion
18th      US       Bristol, VA, Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion
21st      US       Sonoma, CA, Gundlach Bundschu Winery *
24th      CA       Montreal, QC, Rialto Theatre **
25th      CA       Toronto, ON, The Drake **
26th      US       Pittsburgh, PA, Club Café  **
27th      US       Columbus, OH, Wexner Center @ Ohio State  **
29th      US       Madison, WI, The Frequency  **
30th      US       Minneapolis, MN, 7th Street Entry  **

OCTOBER
1st        US       Des Moines, IA, Vaudeville Mews **
2nd        US       Omaha, NE, Reverb Lounge **
4th        US       Salt Lake CIty, UT, Kilby Court **
5th        US       Boise, ID, Neurolox **
7th        CA       Vancouver, BC, The Fox Cabaret **
8th        US       Seattle, WA, Barboza **
9th        US       Portland, OR, Mississippi Studios **
11th      US       Felton, CA, Don Quixote Music Hall **
12th      US       San Francisco, CA, The Chapel **
13th      US       Los Angeles, CA, The Echo **
14th      US       San Diego, CA, Soda Bar **
15th      US       Joshua Tree, CA, Desert Daze Festival                                                    
16th      US       Phoenix, AZ, Valley Bar **
17th      US       Santa Fe, NM, Meow Wolf **
19th      US       Denton, TX, Dan’s Silverleaf **
20th      US       Austin, TX,      The Mohawk **
22nd      US       Tallahasee, FL, Wolf Den **
24th      US       Athens, GA, Calendonia Lounge **
25th      US       Asheville, NC, The Mothlight **
26th      US       Washington, DC, DC9 **
27th      US       Philadelphia, PA, Boot & Saddle **
28th      US       Hudson, NY, The Half Moon **
29th      US       Northampton, MA, Iron Horse Music Hall **
30th      US       Providence, RI, Columbus Theatre **

NOVEMBER
1st        US       Boston, MA, Cafe 939 **
2nd        US       New Haven, CT, BAR **
3rd        US       Brooklyn, NY, The Market Hotel **
7th        NL       Amsterdam, Paradiso Noord ***
8th        NL       Groningen, Vera ***
9th        FR        Paris, Espace B
10th      BE       Brussels, AB Club ***
11th      BE       Bruge, Cactus ***
12th      NL       Utrecht, Le Guess Who? festival
13th      UK       Brighton, The Haunt ***
14th      UK       Manchester, Ruby Lounge ***
15th      UK       Glasgow, Broadcast ***
17th      UK       London, Islington Assembly Hall ***
20th      ES        Barcelona, Sidecar
21st      ES        Valencia, Loco Club
22nd      ES        Cadiz, Aulario de la Bomba
23rd      ES        Madrid, Siroco
26th      FR        Lyon, Le Sonic
29th      CH       Lausanne, Le Bourg ***
30th      DE       Schorndorf, Manufaktur ***

DECEMBER
1st        DE       Erlangen, E-Werk ***
2nd        DE       Berlin, Kantine am Berghain ***
4th        NO       Oslo, John Dee ***
5th        SE        Stockholm, Bryggarsalen ***
6th        DK       Copenhagen, Pumpehuset ***
7th        DE       Hamburg, Nochtspeicher ***

^          Ryley solo show
^^         with Promise Land Sound
*          supporting Iron & Wine / Sam Beam
**        with Circuit Des Yeux
***      with Itasca

 

Chicago-dream folkers step into the studio for their first full length!

Remember these guys?

Remember how much MFL loved their EP? If you have forgotten, check out the review of their EP, Gardens. 

The fellas are reaching out to the public now to support them on their epic adventure to record their first full length record. The Kickstarter campaign is running until June 2nd and the goal is $8,000! You can support them here.

New track from Chicago rockers, Tuff Slang: “Nothing All the Time”

Hell-bent on meshing southern twang, rock and rhythm n’ soul, Chicago rock trio, Tuff Slang has created a genre all their own. Back in March, Cody Messick (Guitar & Vox), Justin Frederick (Bass & Vox) and Aaron Vincel (Drums) released their latest track, “Nothing All the Time.” It’s a seriously catchy indie rock gem that’s guaranteed to lodge itself between your ears for days (don’t worry, that’s a good thing!). According to the fellas, “Nothing All the Time” was one of the first tracks they wrote during their earliest rehearsals. Good thing they held onto it after all this time! “Nothing All the Time” describes a typical occurrence in relationships of all types. Just listen to the track and you’ll be able to relate.

You can purchase the single on Bandcamp now.

Album announcement from Chicago band, Whitney

Whitney is a most beautiful combination of ex-members of both the Smith Westerns and Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Max Kakacek (ex-Smith Westerns, guitar) and Julien Ehrlich (ex-Unknown Mortal Orchestra, vocals/drums) have come together to create Whitney. The project was created organically during a harsh winter in Chicago after the boys life paths crossed yet again.

Yesterday they announced the release of their debut record as a team,  Light Upon the Lake, which is a result of a high intensity burst of creative energy from the two.

Check the feel good single, “Golden Days”, from Light Upon the Lake which is due out June 3rd on Secretly Canadian:

 

Catch the guys touring this spring:

Sat. Apr. 9 – Bloomington, IN @ Culture Shock – Dunn Meadow – University of Indiana
Tue. Apr. 19 – Los Angeles, CA @ Union
Wed. Apr. 20 – San Diego, CA @ The Casbah w/ Wild Nothing
Thu. Apr. 21 – Santa Ana, CA @ Constellation Room w/ Wild Nothing
Fri. Apr. 22 – San Francisco, CA @ The Independent w/ Wild Nothing
Mon. Apr. 25 – Seattle, WA @ The Crocodile w/ Wild Nothing
Tue. Apr. 26 – Vancouver, BC @ Biltmore Cabaret w/ Wild Nothing
Wed. Apr. 27 – Portland, OR @ Doug Fir Lounge w/ Wild Nothing
Thu. Apr. 28 – Boise, ID @ Neurolux w/ Wild Nothing
Fri. Apr. 29 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Loading Dock w/ Wild Nothing
Mon. May 2 – Minneapolis, MN @ Triple Rock Social Club w/ Wild Nothing
Tue. May 3 – Chicago, IL @ Thalia Hall w/ Wild Nothing
Sat. May 7 – Fort Collins, CO @ Aggie Theatre w/ Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Sun. May 8 – Lincoln, NE @ Vega w/ Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Mon. May 9 – Des Moines, IA @ Wooly’s w/ Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Tue. May 10 – Chicago, IL @ Thalia Hall w/ Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Thu. May 12 – Lawrence, KS @ The Bottleneck w/ Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Fri. May 13 – Memphis, TN @ 1884 Lounge – Minglewood Hall w/ Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Sat. May 14 – Oxford, MS @ Proud Larry’s
Tue. May 17 – Columbus, OH @ Skully’s Music Diner w/ Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Wed. May 18 – Grand Rapids, MI @ The Pyramid Scheme w/ Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Thu. May 19 – Madison, WI @ Majestic Theatre w/ Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Fri. May 20 – Fargo, ND @ The Aquarium (Dempsey’s Upstairs) w/ Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Sat. May 21 – Winnipeg, MB @ West End Culture Centre w/ Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Mon. May 23 – Saskatoon, SK @ Amigos Cantina w/ Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Tue. May 24 – Edmonton, AB @ The Starlite Room w/ Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Wed. May 25 – Calgary, AB @ Commonwealth Bar w/ Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Mon. May 30 – Detroit, MI @ El Club
Tue. May 31 – Cleveland, OH @ Mahalls
Wed. June 1 – Albany, NY @ The Hollow
Fri. June 3 – Brooklyn, NY @ Baby’s All Right
Fri. July 15 – Chicago, IL @ Pitchfork Music Festival

 

 

Album Review: “Ilsa” by Mike Castle

Mike Castle, a Chicago-based singer/songwriter and incredibly talented multi-instrumentalist, recently shared the story, embodiment and tale of his journey through a dark time in his life, in the language of music. This story came to us in a neat package of tracks, a record titled, Ilsa. Unable to bear the constant stimulation of life which came to him in the form of intense anxiety, Castle found himself in a hospital, certain his heart was failing him. From this experience he emerged with a new sense of hope, love, forgiveness and fulfillment. He emerged with a clearer picture of what his life was and what it will be, and that this battle with anxiety will be ongoing, but he can handle it. With this clearer picture, also came the understanding of imperfection and patience with the imperfections of life.

 

Ilsa is decorated with heartbreak, pain and revelation disguised in blues, rock and folk-inspired sounds. Every sound, instrument and voice you hear on this record is Castle himself. He worked tirelessly to create twenty to thirty demos and when it came down to getting into a studio, a collaborator suggested to Castle, he just do it all himself. “Just do it, it won’t sound the same if you don’t do it all,” he said. That was precisely what Castle did. The result was exactly what Castle wanted, a record wrought with subtle flaws and dripping with raw emotion and honesty, the epitome of Castle and his life.

 

It opens with “Trying to Be the Man.” You can hear the struggle instrumentally and lyrically. The struggle of sifting through the mess that one’s thoughts can become. The deep sea of questions, what ifs, why, when and how can be difficult to keep afloat in, to catch a breath when it’s constantly washing over you. The ringing guitar in your ears feels like that constant reminder and tug that anxiety manifests as. At times in the song it’s buried by other instruments, or Castle’s voice but at other times, it’s all you can hear. Within this, is a story, a message from a man who is trying to overcome this all to be a man for someone else. To be a man that exists within himself but is so hard to reach sometimes.

 

 

“Telephone Wire” is a bluesy piano ballad that goes hand in hand with “Trying to Be the Man.” Whether it’s the story of another love or the same love, it ends in pain but this is the kind of pain that’s accepted and resolved. Much of the theme of this record is acceptance of the way things are but knowing that, according to Castle, “love eventually wins.” Other tracks dealing with lost, past or present loves, like “Late Night Girls”, the 6 minute “Lake of Fire” and “Ilsa”, the namesake of the record, are rich with this theme.

 

“Rio Grande” is a short, absolutely rock-inspired track while “The Only Thing I Really Loved” starts sounding like a 60s rock track and when Castle’s vocals are added in, it takes on a more contemporary sound. Ilsa will not age as it incorporates elements of so many decades and styles of music. It’s the kind of record that could be listened to in 20 years’ time and could be placed anywhere in the chronologically organized file cabinet of the last 60 years of music. It’s clear that Castle had fun being creative on this album. No track begins or ends like any other track on the album and he showcases his ability as a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and lyricist/storyteller.

 

“Light” is an undeniably unique track dominated by distorted vocals and ripping guitar. The distorted vocals sound like they’re coming to you through water. They sound like the sun looks when you open your eyes under water and see its light above you, flittering and rippling but irrefutably powerful.

In the darkness, there’s a light.

Keeps me safe and holds me tight.

 

“Light” builds gently until the light pours, explodes and shoots out of every crack, crevice and imperfection, reaching its highest point right when you think the song is going to end. It leaves you on the edge of your seat. This is one of my favorites on Ilsa.

 

 

“Guillotine” brings the record to a close, summarizing and reiterating what Ilsa represents. The perspective that life is so short but is so rich. It’s a decadent experience that can be so incredibly overwhelming at times, hard to deal with, unbearable but beautiful when you let it be beautiful. A line from “Guillotine” summarizes it so perfectly:

In my short time of being here, I have loved, lost, I lied.

Ilsa is available now on Bandcamp and iTunes. You can also find out more about Mike Castle and his music at his website: mikecastlemusic.com

 

Album Review: “Gardens” by Chicago’s own, Sedgewick

So familiar, but so unfamiliar, Sedgewick has honed in on exactly what my ears love: something creative, unique, eccentric and new yet something friendly and recognizable despite the fact that I’d never had the pleasure of allowing their music to grace my ears until recently.

In their music I hear the fantastically rare vocals that remind me of Alt-J, the warm, emotionally drenched lyricism and instrumentation of Horse Feathers and The Oh Hellos and the celebratory pounding and harmonies of Fleet Foxes. I am head over heels for these four unassuming songs that make up Sedgewick’s most recently released EP, Gardens. 

The opening cut, “The World in You”, tenderly draws you in and releases you to the sonic loveliness that Sedgewick has built. The strings and vocal harmonies will melt you:

Following the first track, is “Nostalgia” a raw and beautiful track featuring identifiable sounds from everyone’s childhood: giggles, shouts of joy, and innocent enthusiasm for life.

The only reason I’m not writing about the other two songs on the EP is because I want you to hear and feel them for yourselves. Gardens was released this past spring of 2015 and you can find it on Sedgewick’s Bandcamp page and on iTunes. Additionally, they were featured on Daytrotter where they premiered some new material that we can all look forward to hearing again next year on a new record. Sedgwick is composed of Chicago fellows Sam Brownson, Oliver Horton, and Jake Hawryla.

Silly video from We’re No Heroes with a wonderful message, “Stay Weird”

Do you ever question your bizarre and strange talents? Feel the pressure to give it up and go for a skill more acceptable by the general public? Maybe you have a gift for photographing food like the character Dewi Williams in We’re No Heroes seriously goofy video for their latest single, “Stay Weird”…either way, according to the lyrics in this track:

Let the jungle in your mind go wild

Screw what the general public thinks and stay weird. The catchy guitar riffs dance on the border between rock and funk and the driving drums demand toe tapping. It’s the perfect package to deliver their message.

We’re No Heroes is composed of childhood friends Tom Collins, Luke Llewellyn, and Michael Owen all of whom are from Cardiff in Wales. “Stay Weird” is out officially on November 13th and the double a side single “Stay Weird/Voodoo” is out November 27th on vinyl.