ISSUE #39 / decEMBER 13, 2018

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Good Brother

Mark Jaeschke (of The Island of Misfit Toys and Joie De Vivre) has a new project that just dropped its debut record with a release party at The SubT last Saturday. We couldn’t make it, but we were able to snag a listen of Relief and were impressed by the soft-edged indie rock that bordered on so many genres over the course of the album. Leaning emo one minute, hard rock the next, and into folk and pop rock territory at times, the record really displays Jaeschke’s range as a songwriter. Never sounding jumbled together, even though it was written over a five year period; the record was brought together with help from Joram Zbichorski on guitar and keys, Ian Terry on bass, and Sam Brown on drums. A strong debut, from ealy rocker “Sleeping Pills” to the soft touches of “Public Access” to epic closer “Approaching June”, it’s a tight cohesive effort from a young journeyman who is clearly coming into his own.


After their release party last Saturday, they currently don’t have any upcoming dates.


Frames Per Second
Lotus Vibes

Jamtronica is a tricky sound to nail down in the studio. So much depends on the vibe of the night and the crowd response to feed the improv that the musicians live for. One of the best at getting it right in studio is Philly act Lotus, who have been filling shows with eager fans since ‘99. Last week, they dropped a surprise album that perfectly captures their live energy and funky spirit. Their follow up to ‘16’s acclaimed Eat the Light opens with the perfect jam out in the middle of “Cold Facts,” showing off Mike Rempel’s guitar skills while the bass, keys and percussion swirl and sway in the layers underneath in classic Lotus style. Any jam album comes with the caveat of having to see them perform these songs live (some of these tunes they have been performing for years), but that’s where Frames Per Second stands apart. It has the energy and groove of a live Lotus set. Many of their contemporaries (STS9, Disco Biscuits and New Deal, to name a few) have never been able to accomplish this feat, allowing for live releases to take the place of studio records. Lotus surpases them all here by fully exploding through the studio to gift it’s fans with the dance record of the year. Throw Frames Per Second on at your next party, and see if it doesn’t start a dance section in your living room.   


Lotus is hitting Chicago for a two night New Years run at Park West. A two day tix is $70.  December 30th tix is $30. And a New Years tix is $40.


The Missing Man EP
Ex Noctem Nacimer

AFI has been a part of my life since I was in grade school. It still amazes me how they can adapt to time even after a 20+ career in the evolving music scene. Davey’s vocals  and the band’s backup chorus in combination with  guitar chords and a powerful percussion, in the track “Trash Bat,” remind me of an AFI from a time’s past.  The 5 track EP brings back emo/progressive rock that fans old and new can enjoy. Slower songs in the album like, “Break Angels”, “Back Into the Sun”, and “The Missing Man” definitely show maturity in the band. These are not just your typical sad emo love songs. Davey is sans his iconic whining, and the band’s chorus is slower and somber still, showcasing the emotional depth.  The album’s faster rock song, “Get Dark” reminds me of older tracks like, “Dancing Through Sunday,” and “Sacrifice Theory”. Although the band members are at a more mature age than when they started,  and the track doesn’t quite start off that fast, they still know how to rock. AFI continues to make great music for aging fans who still want to rock, and this EP although short, proves the band still contains the love for emo progressive rock they still have when they started in mid 90s.        


AFI is currently not touring.

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State Dogs: Singles 2017-18

Deciding to forgo the traditional album route for the past several years, New Orleans duo Generationals has been slowly releasing songs as singles throughout the past two years, allowing themselves the chance to grow and shape their sound over an extended period instead of concentrating on a large batch. Now available in a combined collection, these singles do have a cohesive feeling and a progression that may speak to how this may be a viable formula for musicians moving forward. The album format existed because it was the cheapest way to provide music in one easy to purchase package; however with streaming services changing the way music is consumed and purchased it only makes sense for the industry to eventually catch up and for the album format to slowly start to loose its importance. It may take a generation (bad pun?), but it will happen. Generationals synth pop is a great medium for this experiment as their formula doesn’t necessarily change from tune to tune and their solid sound, with its catchy hooks and danceable beats, is a surefire way to keep the listener coming back as songs filter out one by one.


The NOLA duo is not on tour at the moment.


Heart To Mouth

Laura Pergolizzi’s noir-pop sound has been captivating fans since her breakout ‘14 album Forever For Now. As a songwriter, music fans have been appreciating her tunes for years before that; she wrote for massive pop acts as varied as Cher, Rihanna, the Backstreet Boys, and Christina Aguilera, but under the name LP she has launched a pop career that has propelled her to a stardom all her own. Long embraced by the LGBTQ community (she recently was engaged to her longtime girlfriend and has long sported a rather androgynous look) her star has been rising in the mainstream as well, and it would be no surprise if Heart to Mouth brings her even more acclaim. It’s a soulful human portrait of a modern women, and the challenges and celebrations that come with that life. Her gorgeous soprano floats above the synth pop base laid down by the band, and has so much swagger and confidence it bursts from the speakers. The closest association would be Florence Welch. She has the same passion and warmth as the English singer, but instead of writing in metaphors, LP’s straight forward lyrics are a no nonsense break in a world where we are drowning in deception.  


Her show at The Vic on February 8th is Sold Out. There are quite a few tix on third market sites if you want to shell out the big bucks.

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Ice Cube
Everythang’s Corrupt
Lench Mob / Interscope

Ice Cube is pissed! He hates Trump, pill poppers, bad cops, corrupt government and cash in bags (give him an envelope, damnit!). He spits about it all on his new record, the first since ‘10’s I Am the West. Still the same old Cube, his distinct flow and lyrical content is all here, but there is maturity and reflectiveness that can only come with age. Who would have thought he would still be rhyming at almost fifty? After a career as a movie star, media mogul, and sports investor, it’s a surprise that his lyrics are still rather down to earth. There’s not much bravado or millionaire bragging (of course there is some) that comes from the generation after his, just honest and angry verses about the life of a middle aged well- off man, and the bullshit he sees in our devolving country.


Cube did a couple West Coast dates but has no plans to play Chicago any time soon.


Bad Vibes Forever / EMPIRE

XXXTentacion received fame from his followers through Soundcloud, and when he passed, fans felt like he was leaving too early with unfinished work. The late rapper left a variety of unfinished music behind, and that unfinished music was made into an album, Skins. The 10-track album showcases the rapper’s continued curiosity to dig into other music genres, like metal, pop and acoustic rock, along with the popular trap genre.  X discussed themes of death, depression, and even the controversy behind his violent past in the songs “Train Food”, “STARING AT THE SKY” and “One Minute”. Kanye West is the only feature rapping over the rock beat of the track “One Minute”; the track discusses being talked about in the media and being in the public eye regarding negativity not only surrounding X but Kanye as well.  At almost 2 minutes on the track, X screams, “One minute, one minute, gone. One minute and the next one’s mine.” It almost foreshadows the short time it took to get popular and how quickly his life was taken away.  In “Train Food”, sound clips of X outside rapping about meeting with a personified “death” character; it’s almost spoken word like, walking with Death and talking about self harm.  Death then knocks out X and leaves him tied on train tracks, and as the train approaches to kill X, he thinks about what he could have done with his life and whether he was going to Heaven or Hell. He also thinks about God and his doubt in faith. It’s also good to hear a rapper dipping his toes into a rock genre, whether soft or hard. “STARTING AT THE SKY” reminds me of bands I got into while growing up. Although sounding unfinished and raw, the track “difference (interlude)” is a softer and possibly changed side of the artist. Committing himself to loving a woman, though the public sees him differently, X’s acoustic guitar and intimate vocals create sincerity and love.  The final track, “what are you so afraid of”, is a bone chilling song, considering the artist’s tragic death. The song’s lyrics repeat, “What are you so afraid of? Is it love or wasting your time?”. Hearing X’s monotone voice with an eerie acoustic in the background give fans something to think about considering his circumstances.    

Kanye West was at Art Basel performing the “One Minute” collab.  X’s will be featured on Kanye West’s new album Yandhi.


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Various Artists
Feelin’ Right Saturday Night: The Ric & Ron Anthology
Craft / Concord

A collection put together to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Ric Records, the legendary New Orleans R&B label, and its sister label Ron Records who is celebrating its own diamond anniversary next year. Chock full of classics from the Crescent City with a variety of acts including Professor Longhair’s “Go To The Mardi Gras” and a demo of “Tipitina;” “You Done Me Wrong” and “Carnival Time” from the venerable Al Johnson; Irma Thomas’ “Don’t Mess With My Man;” and of course The Velvetiers “Feelin’ Right Saturday, Night,” (plus an hour more). The whole collection is worth a listen to anyone that loves classic R&B from a time when it was fresh and scandalous. It’s available on streaming services, so even if you just enjoy the oldies, throw this one on and it’ll get you grooving no matter what you’re doing.