ISSUE #74 / august 29, 2019

Hood Smoke
Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Wallace
Hood Smoke

In a hyper-specific world, it’s refreshing to run across a band that bridges so many styles within an aesthetic. Classical and jazz bassist Bryan Doherty has formed a truly interesting outfit for his pop music project Hood Smoke. Enlisting the likes of producer/composer Michael Caskey on drums, jazz guitarists Jim Tashjian and Matt Gold, modern organist Rob Clearfield, music teacher-turned-performer Allison Orobia of The Oh Yeahs providing vocal support, and sought-after producer/engineer Anthony Gravino behind the board, Doherty has collected an all-star Chicago ensemble to back his mellow collection of folky indie rock that doesn’t ever settle into itself. A complement given that most acts in the genre begin to drone on halfway through a record, Hood Smoke finds a way to keep it fresh with the nu jazz repetitive intonations of “What’s Fair Maire,” the classic loungey groove of “Astraea,” or soul-styled vibes of “Flown.” Given the accomplishments of the individuals involved, Doherty included, it’s no wonder Hood Smoke has produced such an eclectic and satisfying effort with Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Wallace.  


They just had their album release at The Hungry Brain last weekend and currently have no other shows booked. We’ll keep our ear to the ground and let you know when and where they’ll pop up next. 


Exposure Therapy

All hail ‘80s nostalgia. From the synthesizers and drum beats, to the high pitched vocals, the ‘80s-inspired Chicago-born band Wingtips blesses listeners with new album, Exposure Therapy.  This 10-track record transitions from very up-front rolling drum beats and synthesizers playing drastically, to songs where lead singer Vincent Segretario sings in a dream-like tone over a dark background of electronic melody.  Full of inspirations from older bands such as The Cure and Tears For Fears play in the mind while somber songs such as “Hear and Now”echo through the ears. The lower beat and melody gleam in the background while Segretario croons, and as the melody adds in another instrument, they recede back when the vocals return.  Some really fun songs to listen to add to your ‘80s throwback playlist are “Ghosted,” “Eintrot,” and “After the Storm.” These tunes are more upbeat dance hits brought back from a time’s past; given for younger generations to learn, and those who lived it to appreciate.   


Wingtips will be at the Metro opening for legends Nitzer Ebb on September 20th. Tickets are $45, but they are sold out. Good luck on that secondary market Surfers! 


Hell Is Here

Art should never be a comfortable experience, and Chicago duo HIDE are professionals at producing electronic industrial protest records that aim for the gut and rip out every ounce of pain and anxiety. Each of their releases has focused on a particular form of social or political unrest, and with Hell Is Here, Heather Gabel and Seth Sher are grappling with the “depersonalization of others” and the “absurd and animalistic nature” of humans within modern society. Through their dark raptures of electro-drum beats, samples, and Gabel’s methodical speak-sing scream, they capture a compelling visage of utter uncertainty and the foreboding loneliness within our current social fabric. With little to reconcile or resolve in the end, we are all still living through this wreck of an endeavor, with no solutions in sight.     


HIDE has no upcoming shows after their album release last week at The Empty Bottle. 


Roc Nation

How could I not be immediately enamoured with 93Punx?? "definition of a fuck-boi" opens with a stellar sample inciting an audience to yell, "punk bitch." That sample immediately brings a hip-hop flavor to a song that breaks into perfectly pop-punk fun. Fuck-bois are definitely an easy target for shade and derision. We all have some fuck-bois in our lives that could use excorcising through a little musical expression. Vic Mensa has a deft grasp on how to use punk music for exactly what it does so perfectly. Catharsis. It allows us to yell out all our frustrations and feel them vibrate through our bodies as we do. That sense of cleansing that can come when a song perfectly voices what about life sucks. “3 Years Sober” turns the lens inward, as punk often does, examining the inner struggle with life. That line... “sober for three years and still hungover.” Damn. That expression of struggle is what hip-hop and punk have in common. “Fistfight!” is seamlessly rap and thrash, and I love every second of it. It's the commonality in anger and protest. Speaking of protest, you can’t get more violently direct as "United States of Evil" than the screaming distorted chant, "let that bitch burn, burn down the White House."  They take us from that complete burn it down, fuck you, to "Goodbye 2 Heartbreak." The song is trying to rid us of the ills of the world. Maybe when we say goodbye, we will find a healed heart. A less fucked-up sense of self. 


There are no shows planned  for 93PUNX at the moment.


Now Is The Time For Loving Me, Yourself & Everyone Else
Good Eye

Curt Kiser has composed a stellar debut with Now Is The Time For Loving Me, Yourself & Everyone Else. A lush, swirling guitar record that launches Carriers into the indie rock echelon that contains acts like The National, The War On Drugs, Phosphorescent, and Kurt Vile. It’s no surprise that Kiser enlisted fellow Cincinnati artists Bryan Devendorf (The National) and John Curley (The Afghan Whigs) to help flush out his sonic portrait of self-analysis and passionate examinations. With “Daily Battle,” he seeks to cleanse himself of the anxiety and doubt that gnaws everyday; in the epic “Make It Right” the struggle to carry on, day to day, living your best life is clear, and for “Not This Way” he fully documents a side of haunting depression that affects so many. All set to a glorious soundscape of golden guitars and lush orchestrations perfectly suited to the inner explorations Kiser so expertly embodies.   


Carriers will be at Schubas on November 16th opening for Rooke and Sun Seeker. Tix are $12


Them Coulee Boys
Die Happy
Them Coulee Boys

With bluegrass harmonies, folk ballad tendencies, and a pop sensibility, Eau Claire, Wisconsin quartet Them Coulee Boys are set to hit it big with the instant classic Die Happy. In the same way peers like The Avett Brothers, Trampled By Turtles, and Old Crow Medicine Show have passed into the mainstream, Them Coulee Boys have produced a record that should catapult them into the conversation. From catchy alt-love songs “5’6” Monument” and “Evangelina,” to introspective ballads “Find Your Muse” and “My Anxiety & Me,” to the epic “Hand of God, Pts. 1, 2 & 3,” Them Coulee Boys have found their groove. When they drop into straight vocal harmony mid “Evangelina” it will send chills through even the coldest of hearts. Say what you want about the mainstream appropriation of bluegrass and Americana, these four from up North are doing it just right. 


Unfortunately Them Coulee Boys have no Chicago dates planned.


Esther Rose
You Made It This Far

You Made It This Far is the second album from country singer Esther Rose, which is full of relatable tales of growing up in a small town. From being in love with a handyman, driving on country roads, being the middle child, and hanging out at the VFW hall, these relatable scenarios draw you into the album even more as Rose’s alluring voice reminds you of those memories about growing up in the country you thought you’d left behind. These inspirations come through on “Handyman” and “Sex and Magic,” primarily in the latter. “Handyman” was released a year early on GemsOnVHS YouTube page and served as an early taste of what Rose had in store. Rose continued to release a few more songs off the album through GemsOnVHS leading up to the album drop date. “Only Loving You” is another one of those relatable times Rose sings about spending time waiting on your lover to pick you up knowing that time could be spent doing something else more productive but you are so giddy that you just can’t. “Three” can be a relatable song for even those who didn’t grow up a middle child. It’s more about looking up to your older sibling and pestering them while still loving one another. 


Esther Rose will be playing at Space in Evanston on 10-10. Tix are $17.


Clive Tanaka y su Orquesta
Pre-Sunrise Authority
Friends of Friends

It’s easy to get caught up in the hype of searching for information on electronic music producer Clive Tanaka. The recluse is hard to find despite his wonderful electronic music. (He was also apparently ripped off by Nicki Minaj.) Back when the lawsuit was happening in 2011, not even Tanaka’s lawyer knew of his whereabouts and was acting on his behalf. Interestingly enough, a small piece of information that did make it back in 2011, was that Tanaka claimed an address on the West Side of Chicago. Tanaka released an EP earlier this year, Deep, Deep, Deep, Deep, and Pre-Sunrise Authority is the first album made by Tanaka in eight years. Pre-Sunrise Authority is more of a lo-fi electronic chill album to lounge around to. With airy vocals from guest appearances to round out the Su Orquesta portion of the group, the album moves away from the more of the dance feel in Tanaka’s first album Jet Set Siempre No. 1. 


Clive Tanaka y su Orquesta do not have any upcoming show. 


Tropical Fuck Storm
Joyful Noise , Tropical Fuck Storm

Twenty-first century rock has come to roost in Australia, and Tropical Fuck Storm are the harbingers. With their sophomore full-length, Braindrops, this Melbourne quartet has taken the formula and thrown it over a cliff to shatter into a million pieces. Digging deep into a satchel of weird with twists of post-punk and a handful of prog jazz ‘a la Zappa, Gareth Liddiard, Fiona Kitschin, Lauren Hammel, and Erica Dunn are producing some of the most compelling anti-rock tunes out there. Digging it isn’t an option; this is the future, and it is inevitable. Tropical Fuck Storm is going to take over the world.  


They’ll capture Chicago on September 14th at The Empty Bottle. Tix are $15.


Jay Som
Anak Ko

A deeply personal and reflective record from Melina Duterte, who adopted the moniker Jay Som in 2015 and has been steadily producing solid indie rock ever since. Anak Ko takes its name from the Tagalog phrase for “my child;” a term her Mother, a Filipino immigrant, affectionately uses to refer to Duterte. The L.A. via Bay Area musician enlisted a who’s who of indie rock, along with her touring band, to produce this spacey dream pop opus that collects influences from the realm of 80s alt pop (single “Tenderness”), 90s alternative (“Superbike”), and 00’s americana (“Nighttime Drive”) all while carrying a distinct feel of originality that Duterte has carefully orchestrated to tie a bow around the entire record.    

Jay Som will be at Lincoln Hall on October 18th with Gia Margaret and Boy Scouts. How has this show not sold out yet Chicago! Tix are $17, and it is ALL AGES!