Wye Oak / photo by KPL

Editor's Note
Welcome to issue #12 of Chicago Crowd Surfer! This week we have a lively show review of Wye Oak and Palm at Thalia from LPL and our preview of Summer Camp Music Festival which is downstate this weekend! What a week for indie rock with Courtney Barnett, Parquet Courts, Stephen Malkmus and Chicago’s own Ryley Walker all putting out albums that reflect the times we live in. Last week we  launched our Summer Fest Guide for May and June. Take a look! It has all your lineup and schedule needs for all the street and park fests we think are worth checking out.

Seeing live music gives us joy, and it is our mission, in these trying times, to spread some of that joy to you. We don’t just want to spread it, we want to share it; which is why we are a crowd-sourced publication. We want you to join us: to write about, and share pictures of, the shows you attend, the new albums you love, the bands you adore, and any other thing that has to do with seeing, performing, or experiencing music in Chicago. Please send any submissions to chicago.crowd.surfer@gmail.com. We are now up to eleven contributors and are always looking for more! We may not publish everything we get, and we reserve the right to edit, but will always try and seek the submitters’ approval. Our mission is to be a positive publication, so if you have negative things to say - please look for another forum in which to express that opinion. We aim to wade through the bullshit of this modern life to find what good is left. See you at the show Chicago. 

Keep Seeing Live Music!


wye oak 4.JPG



Thalia Hall

May 17th

Wye Oak / all photos by KPL


Atotonilco added a fish taco, and I couldn’t stop talking about it during and after the show. With a happy belly, KPL and I paid our measly taco tab and strolled over to Thalia for another night of great live music. We arrived shortly after the doors opened and were one of maybe 10 people in the whole room, including the bar staff. Fortunately the business partner’s of Thalia Hall have truly crafted their 4-business building to cater to whatever need arises during your concert experience. So we went downstairs to the basement bar, Punch House,  for a craft cocktail. I read the menu that I now have just about memorized, only to order the same drink. I really intended to branch out, but that Punch House Highball is so frigging good! I mean, tequila, topo chico (whatever that is), lime, salt and pepper tincture, mezcal, tajin (whatever that is). That mixologist must have known this smokey cocktail lover would be there a lot and stopped short of calling this drink the Punch House LPL. I digress, on to the show…

The crowd was still small, but flowing in on a steady trickle. I had brought along my stubby pencil and notebook in case I was inspired to cover the show and well, a few bars in to Palm and I saw what KPL was so excited to see, a calculated dissonance, and slid my archaic tools out of my right rear pocket. Stage left we had Kasra Kurt on guitar and vocals leading the trip, and stage right Eve Alpert on guitars and vocals - a calming force among the intensity. Between them Hugo Stanley and Gerasimos Livitsanos adopt the chords and carry them through heavily disjointed yet complimentary, dare I say harmonious, chords of their own on drums and bass (respectively).  Just when I thought they were going to sync up their sounds and drop into a jam, they slid into another sound entirely. Think hints of Cut Copy layered over the Beatles. As they dropped that homage into my sonic consciousness, I found myself searching for either a hook or a conclusion. Next thing I knew the song ended without making any kind of sonic sense, and I was not bothered. 

Their latest record Rock Island (released Feb 9, 2018) is a welcome work of art, intersplicing familiar rock elements with unpredictable sources of sound. Read the album description on Bandcamp. They did such a great job of explaining what they do and why, I debated plagiarizing the whole thing. Palm has a way of leading you to find bliss within the congestion and confusion, filling me with an inspiration to depart from familiarity and embrace the unknown. And, apparently, so too the pair of fellows behind me. As silence fell, I could hear their pleasantly confused whispers “wow they are really jamming. It is all single notes but so cool. Is it techno?” We don’t know guys, that’s the whole point.

On to a song two. Yep, all that came out of the first song. I highly suggest you check these guys out, but you have to do it both recorded and live to get the full effort. As you will read on their Bandcamp page, they really don’t perform as they record. Their concert is as much a sonic adventure for them as it is for their audience. We are all experiencing this in real time, for the first time. They teased a small jam, my festival bones got excited, and the song ended abruptly. By now the fragments of sounds fell pleasant on my ears as they began their third tune. And then it happened, right there in the middle of a song a heavy 8 count on the tom leads the band to drop in on a jam and KPL and me try to dance along. We tried to dance together, as married music lovers do. We gave this a solid effort trying to sync our bodies to follow each other’s lead, and without speaking just slid apart to nod and bounce along. Without any obvious tone predictability, we were meant to enjoy this group on an individual level. That part is shared, no two people had the same experience here.

Behind Wye Oak hung an enormous scene of a pure blue sky peppered with bright white clouds above bright white pristine sand dunes, save one faint trail of disturbed sand. A peaceful scene. This of course had been hanging the whole time, but somehow was not important to take in until all the stage lights brought it into view. Through the brightness, It was at this point that I realized I had not been seeing the stage. My other senses had been so consumed that my vision fell to a passive existence, staring in front of me but not really seeing. 

After ten years together, Wye Oak welcomed bassist Will Hackney to form a trio, creating sounds you would expect from a 5 piece band plus a few back up singers. As the three laid into it, my eyes began to focus a bit more to see just where all that sound was coming from. Jenn Wasner approached her vocals, guitar, bass, piano, keyboards, programmer (yep, all that) and Andy Stack sat to his spread of drums, guitar, bass, programmer, keyboards, piano, upright bass (yeah, and all of that was played with four limbs going all at once). Wasner’s two guitars both had the same design, a black and white maze of harsh lines in the kind of beauty a type-A person like myself would appreciate, so that when she changed guitars the overall imagery of the performance was not altered.

Ten years in they are still enjoying every minute of their time on stage. At times I felt like this was a living room set among friends. Through the crowd to my right, I could see two gentlemen enjoying themselves along the rail. I recognized the bouncing curls and saw they were the same two guys that KPL and I enjoyed seeing at the Baths show last month. (If you’re reading this, you two have great taste in music and I would love to hear your take on this show!). Just above them was one of the theater boxes. In it sat two more gentlemen, who were also smiling as they witnessed two fans having a great time at a show. Wasner must have seen the whole exchange as well and she put the show on pause to call out one of the guys in the box, especially admiring the tray of popcorn he had acquired from Thalia’s concessions stand. 

After a couple of tunes I had switched to focusing too heavily on the people in the crowd, and was missing Wasner’s lyrics which were my main draw to come to Thalia that night. Sometimes you just want to hear a show and not see. I again gave my vision a rest, and heightened my hearing. It is amazing what you begin to notice more dominantly once you shut your eyes. I carried on this way through their gorgeous set. I did at times open my eyes to see just how much fun they were having up there, and just how coordinated Andy Stack had to be. He really poured every fragment of energy he had into his muscles to command his four limbs to do what he does. The left side of his body controls the keys, while his right side manages the drum kit and programmer. After one particularly impressive feat, he doubled over with a giant exhale. He had been waiting to fully release for some time. As the audience awarded him a long and generous applause, he rebounded and began again. We had all been waiting for the performance of the title track “The Louder I Call The Faster It Runs” and it was a great way to wrap up their set. They loved it, we loved it. They really did not want to leave the stage. We were old friends seeing each other after a long while, yet having to go on our separate ways. Richer for the reunion. 


scamp 2018.png

Summer Camp Music Festival has been rocking Three Sisters Park in Chillicothe, IL for the past seventeen years, and has grown into one of the premiere midwest summer festivals on the jam/electronic circuit. An eight stage bacchanal in the middle of rural Illinois that attracts some of the biggest artists in the scene. Past acts have included Trey Anastasio, The Disco Biscuits, Les Claypool, Medeski Martin & Wood, The Flaming Lips, Willie Nelson, and many more. However, the real draw is the multiple sets (usually five each) by headliners Moe. and Umphrey's McGee, two powerhouse bands who have large fan bases and draw most of the 20,000 plus attendees. 

We have been making the the journey for the past four years and honestly it is a blast. Of course, we do fork over the extra funds for VIP tix, which gets you camping away from the general admission madness, a speedy entrance into the festival after the car line, 24 hour free showers, air conditioned bathrooms, drink discounts at the lounge, and the VIP Lounge Stage with intimate shows from big name artists. A camping fest is the only way we would fork over that kind of money, because you cannot put a value on being able to shower whenever you want, or relieve yourself in a toilet that flushes when you are there for four days in a row. But we digress…

Summer Camp (Scamp to us regular attendees)  is high on our list of suggested festivals, and for those going we will see you there! But for those interested in next year or maybe just want to live a bit of the experience, here is a preview of what we will most likely be checking out while enjoying our time in the sun and under the large southern Illinois night sky! 




lettuce welcome jam set

6PM - VIP Lounge

What better way to start this four day party than with an improv jam by the gods of instrumental funk. There will be special guests for sure and it’ll be time for the drinks to start flowing.

crosseyeD & Phishless

6PM - Starshine Stage

A twist on your typical cover band, these four play songs that Phish has covered. Think Phish’s version of Talking Heads “Cities” or the Rolling Stones “Loving Cup.” If you are looking for a way to start the fest off right, this is it.  

beats antique.jpg


8PM - Starshine Stage

A true musical experience. This trio blends the sounds of eastern music with electronic beats and if you have never heard the results this would be the ideal chance.



kyle hollingsworth.jpg


9PM - Campfire Stage

The String Cheese Incident pianist has a great collection of solo songs and his band always brings it.

Also playing Friday - 2PM - VIP Lounge and 6PM - Campfire Stage



9:30PM - Starshine Stage

The Godfathers of instrumental funk will most certainly break it down for what will probably be the largest crowd of the evening.

Also playing Friday - 5:30PM - Sunshine Stage

keller williams.jpg


11PM - Campfire Stage

The wonder that is Mr. Keller Williams never quits. If you don’t catch this set, make sure to catch one of his others. It seems like he is always on stage just when your ears need to hear a little Keller.

Also playing Friday - 1PM - with the Keels at Sunshine Stage and 3:30PM - VIP Lounge

steady flow.jpg


12pm Camping Stage

Local funk band shows of their stuff at the witching hour from this tiny stage. Walk through the arch of branches and find yourself at a stage surrounded by tents.

Also playing Saturday - 3PM - Starshine Stage

yonder mountain.jpg


1AM - Campfire Stage

What better way to close out the night than with a long set by the good old boys and gal of Yonder. Bluegrass in the early morning. Sold.

Also playing Friday- 4:30PM - Moonshine Stage




moe 2.jpg


2pm - Moonshine Stage

The marquee act of Scamp for 17 years. No better reason to celebrate bassist Rob’s cancer defeat than five sets in three days! They have been playing new songs lately, so it would be no surprise it they have saved a few to debut.

Also playing Friday  - 1AM - Red Barn; Saturday (two sets) - 9PM and 11PM; Sunday (two sets) 10:30PM and 12:30AM - Moonshine Stage




3:30PM - Sunshine Stage

Taking up the mantle of Vermont’s favorite jam band these guys have picked up quite a following in the last several years and their jam heavy, sometimes only  three to four song, sets leave us wanting more.

Also playing Friday - 2:45AM - Red Barn


horseshoes and handgreanades.jpg

horseshoes & Hand grenades

6PM - VIP Lounge

These bluegrass up and comers are worth checking out if you need some shaded relaxation in the lounge before venturing out into the night.

Also playing Friday at 3PM - Campfire Stage


pigeons playing ping pong

7PM - Starshine Stage

Not quite as silly as the name suggests but they sure have a damn fun time onstage and kind of insist you do as well.


umphrey's mcgee

(two sets) 7:45PM and 9:45 - Sunshine Stage

The reason many make this journey is the minimum five sets from these juggernauts of jam. They used to claim Chicago as home, and still try, even though they all now reside in South Bend. If you want to rock, this is where you head.

Also playing Thursday - 11PM - Red Barn; Saturday (two sets) - 10PM and 12:30AM; Sunday - 2PM - Sunshine Stage





12AM - VIP Lounge

The cool jams of Spafford might be what you need after a night of Umph madness. Chill in the lounge and enjoy. Their Spotify bio simply reads “We Jam.”, and they do.  

Also playing Saturday - 2PM - Sunshine Stage



2AM - Campfire Stage

If you feel like checking out the late night scene you can’t go wrong with these boys from Buffalo. Let them groove you towards your sleeping bag. This is only day two, mind you.

Also playing Saturday - 2AM - VIP Lounge



henhouse prowlers.jpg

henhouse prowlers

1PM - Starshine Stage

Chicago’s bluegrass heroes return to Summer Camp for an early afternoon set. Put on your sunscreen kids, got two more days to go.

leftover salmon.jpg

leftover salmon

4PM - Sunshine Stage

The fusion of rock and bluegrass/country is nothing new, but this Colorado mountain band of misfits has perfected it.

Also playing Saturday - 6:30PM - VIP Lounge

action bronson.jpg

action bronson

5:45PM - Sunshine Stage

While there are up and coming hip hop acts and substantial nostalgia acts (Cypress Hill *cough*) on the bill, this is the one not to miss. An eccentric MC that says whatever the hell he wants. And it will be a damn good way to kick off the evening.



9PM - Starshine Stage

More esoteric electronic jam madness. Just stay with it and keep your feet moving, they are the best at it. We promise.



7:45PM - Sunshine Stage

A sunset set at from one of those rare bands that can bond the electronic and jam scenes into one family of dancing, laughing pure joy. This is the “must see” set of the fest.

Also playing Saturday - 1AM - Red Barn



split lip rayfield.jpg

split lip rayfield

10PM- Campfire Stage

Probably the most sentimental act for us on this bill. A non traditional bluegrass trio out of Wichita, KS who we have seen for nearly twenty years now. If you want to see a man play a gas tank bass strung with a weed wacker string, you came to the right place.

the werks.jpg

the werks

2AM - Campfire Stage

Ohio’s pride and joy The Werks always deliver and we trust them to keep the party going at the Campfire Stage till four in the morning!

Also playing Friday - 2AM - VIP Lounge



victor wooten.jpg

victor wooten's nature set

12:30PM - Soulshine Tent

The last time we witnessed one of these he gave a lesson, wrapped in a song, on the beauty of music as language and made the whole crowd tear up.

Also playing as Victor Wooten’s Trio - Sunday - 3:30PM - Moonshine Stage

los lobos.jpg

los lobos

1:30PM - Moonshine Stage

45 years is a long time for a band to have survived and this hybrid of Mexican influenced rock and roll has never grown tired.



4PM - Starshine Stage

This foursome can lay out an instrumental jazzy jam better than any other band on this bill. If you want to dance in the sun or the rain, they have the beats you need.

Also playing Sunday - 7:30PM - VIP Lounge

greensky bluegrass.jpg

greensky bluegrass

4:45PM - Sunshine Stage

The powerhouse of the jamgrass scene returns to Scamp for a mid afternoon session of their signature beauty and melancholy.

phil lesh.jpg

phil lesh and the terrapin family band

(two sets) 7PM and 9PM  - Sunshine Stage

What could be said. Phil Lesh supported by his son and other musicians that has been fostered out of Terrapin Crossroads (Lesh’s venue he opened a couple years ago.) You’ll get plenty of the Dead and most likely a rare cover or two.




10PM - Campfire Stage

Check out Chicago’s own jam band for a chill evening while doing the last of your festival people watching. They can work it out with the best of them.



2AM - VIP Lounge

Sexy, funky, and damn danceable. Come finish the fest with this electro pop duo and drink specials till four am! Then curl up for a couple hours before  getting up and getting the hell out as soon as possible.

Also playing - Sunday - 10PM - Starshine Stage

So we have had our fun and it is time to leave Scamp for the year. We suggest waking up as early as possible on Monday morning and getting your campsite struck, the car loaded and all your trash taken to the appropriate receptacles by mid morning. If you wait any longer the line of cars leaving will be so large it will take an hour just to get out of the parking lot. Please remember this is a park and you should leave it as close to how you found it as possible. If you packed it in, pack it out; or at least make sure it gets to the trash. 

Happy Scamping! See you there Chicago! 



Chicago singer-songwriter, Ryley Walker, has changed sounds on each of his previous albums, and the fourth release, Deafman Glance, is no different. While he started in a fairly traditional, jazz-folk sound, this album brings a musician who is ready to plant a stake in his own territory. He mentioned in a press release that this album was an attempt to move beyond the “jammy acoustic guy,” and I think he’s succeeded with (mostly) great results but certainly won’t be for everyone.

The album opens with a lazy drum rhythm behind a slowly noodling guitar and Ryley’s bummed out confessional lyrics. It moves to psych-inspired jazz that is great for a background to rainy Sundays. The third track, however, is a ballsy left turn with freeform jazz in the style of Sun-Ra or Scott Walker. It’s honestly jarring, and I’m not sure it fits. However, it is well done. I wouldn’t mind seeing him split his ideas into multiple outlets, but that’s probably not going to happen.

“Can’t Ask Why” and “Opposite Middle” are probably my favorite songs on the record. The former benefits from a slow build-up that features wind chimes and Once-soundtrack-style rising and falling melodies, before exploding into ‘60s-era distorted folk-rock. The latter reminds me a lot of The Sea and Cake, but maybe because I spent so much time last week listening to that bands’ recent release. It’s a song to remind the listener Ryley is well versed in his hometown’s post-rock scene.

“Telluride Speed” and “Expired” give even more left turns, that yes – do work – but it’s still jarring. We move from an ambling multi-part prog-pop exercise, featuring some of the most delicate flute playing you’ll hear in 2018, to a song that sounds more like a guy singing lyrics to a different song over another guy warming up his guitar hands before a show.

All the above doesn’t sound like a glowing review, and I don’t mean to give that impression. The whole album has a transitional quality to it, and I think current fans are going to be right at home. For new listeners, don’t expect them all to be zingers.

Only 15 minutes to spar? Check out these 3 tracks.

In Castle Dome
Can’t Ask Why
Opposite Middle

Postscript: The fact is, I’m impressed. Ryley is famous for his unpredictable live shows, and it seems like he captured that in a bottle this time. Now you won’t be too surprised when you see him live.

- JB

Ryley Walker played The Hungry Brain on May 18th. He looks booked full for the rest of the year, but we’ll let you know when he comes back!



Four months after dropping it’s not us, their first album in four years they come right back and surprise us with t’s You; and all of us fans go “ohhh, now it all makes sense.” The preeminent Chicago rockers of the jam scene, who hadn’t released a proper studio record since ‘14’s Similar Skin, pulled a fast one on us and put out a double album, just not all at once. However, it’s not us had months of build up, a crazy release party at Park West (I was lucky enough to attend), and a supporting nationwide tour (not that they ever really stop touring); while this week's release dropped with little fan fair just a week ahead of their seven set marquee festival appearance at Summer Camp Music Festival, which they are calling a weekend long release party. 

This is exactly in line with Umph’s style. They are where they are because of the fans, and they know it. They are all highly skilled musicians who would have had success in any genre, but they chose to jam; and their fans (over thirty shows probably counts me in that number) can never get enough. Many of the songs on both albums they have been playing live for years, they just never laid them down in a studio; but it won’t stop us all from scooping up a physical copy. I’ll probably buy mine this weekend at the SCamp merch tent. 

Well if you have never listened to these “boys” (as their fans refer to them even though they are all in their late thirties and forties and have families of their own), you should check this one out. It is highly accessible, with Jake Cinninger’s shredding kept to a minimum; just solid versions of these tunes that many of us already know and love. 


As mentioned, many places in this issue, they are playing Summer Camp Music Festival this weekend, just a two hour drive downstate. They have no Chicago dates in the near future, but if they are not on tour you can always catch members solo or with their side projects at venues all around the city . Check out their tour dates here for all the shows Non-Umph and Umph!


low cut connie
dirty pictures (part 2)

If you can’t guess, Low Cut Connie’s latest release is from the same recording sessions as Dirty Pictures (Part 1). That said, don’t expect this to be side B. The album blasts open with raucous, piano-and-guitar-driven “All These Kids Are Way Too High.” It’s a wonderfully glam-influenced 50s sound with lyrics lamenting over a scene I’ve witnessed far too often – a disinterested crowd, just standing around, while a band plays their hearts out. Over the course of the album, you realize that Part 2 is where Adam Weiner and company placed some of the more nuanced numbers from the Ardent Studios session.

“Beverly” is a sing-a-long romantic pop tune to 1) get the summer started, 2) ditch the sleazy reputation Low Cut Connie has been slapped with over the years, and 3) prove to listeners that it doesn’t always have to be a bar brawl punk tune. Fans don’t despair, though – Adam still likes vulgar language. “Master Tapes” features a piercing electric piano and the subtle opening line, “Well it’s a god damn, motherfucking, game to you. I don’t wanna play.” Adam uses an analog recording metaphor to bite into a relationship struggle, and it’s this expletive-laden wit that has garnered them the attention they deserve.

Low Cut Connie have spent the last several years pounding the pavement, with seemingly endless tour dates, and it shows on this record. Adam Weiner might be the frontman, but the whole band sounds tight when playing the retro sound that captured the attention of America – seriously, when a president (Obama) puts you on the summer playlist, the country listens. From Dylan (“Hollywood”) to solo-piano blues (“One More Time”) to R&B (“Hey! Little Child”), this is a sequel album that outshines not only it’s companion piece but the rest of the band’s catalog to date.

Only 10 minutes to spar? Check out these 3 tracks.

All These Kids Are Way Too High
Please Do Not Come Home

Postscript: Jerry Lee Lewis meets the New York Dolls. The best description I’ve heard, and I’m excited to see their legendary live show next month.


Low Cut Connie plays the Winnetka Music Festival on Friday, June 15th. It’s a free show, and they go on from 7-8pm


courtney barnett
tell me how you really feel
marathon, mom+pop

When she burst on the scene three years ago with her breakthru album Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit, Courtney Barnett became an overnight indie darling. A label she shrugged off by following it with a collab album/tour with folk rocker Kurt Vile; however,  she returns to her confessional spoken lyrics over bouncy indie rock and shredding guitar with new album Tell Me How You Really Feel. However, where Sometimes was light and airy, full of humorous anecdotes about the laundromat and her roommates eating habits; Tell Me delves into far more serious subject matter. Just take the complicated back to back titles “I’m Not Your Mother, I’m Not Your Bitch,” and “Crippling Self Doubt And A General Lack Of Self Confidence” and you start to get the picture.

This record is full of how Barnett sees the world at this moment, and it is not a happy place. From the opening ominous chords in which she mutters “You know what they say, no one’s born to hate. We learn it somewhere along the way.” it is clear this is a different storyteller. She has been around the world in the last three years and has probably done a lot of thinking about her place within it, that much is apparent. There are tunes here about what it is like being a woman walking through a park alone (“Nameless, Faceless”),  a failed relationship that doesn't know it is over (“Sunday Roast”), and returning home to find it isn’t quite the same as when you left (“City Looks Pretty”).

Did fame jade Barnett’s particular brand of wisdom? I don’t think so. In fact, I think it sharpened it to a fine edge. Each song here has its own life, its own breath. There is something real and tangible. You can’t say that about every artist. It is what makes her stand out, what makes her strong, what makes this Aussie with a guitar reach icon status.


Courtney Barnett is played a sold out show at the Chicago Cultural Center on Monday but don’t fret she will be back to play Friday night of Pitchfork on July 20th


parquet courts
wide awake!
rough trade

“Violence is daily life!” chants the band as bass, keys and guitar all jumble up behind the chorus, never quite finding their place together until the song goes right into the next without pause; just like we come to accept the violence in our lives and move on after what seems like a moment. This is just one of the examples of metaphorical genius on Parquet Courts new record Wide Awake!. The prolific, Brooklyn by way of Texas, foursome has outdone themselves with their best album since their debut, Light Up Gold. This collection of thirteen songs (you think that’s an accident? I doubt it) shines a bright light on societies foibles, deceptions and quirks, while rocking out all along the way.

It is no accident that this isn’t the only indie rock album to start to embrace the darkness that is starting to envelope everyday life in this country.  As A. Savage says in one of the rare moments the music pauses; “If it stops I’m having an unshakable nightmare.” Which is how most of us feel lately. This a special album. One that captures this moment of doubt and self reflection that each of us must deal with on a daily basis. We live in turbulent times, we’re just lucky bands like Parquet Courts are there to guide us through to the other side.


Unfortunately we are not getting a show on this tour, unless it still hasn’t been announced. They have been through quite a few times in the past four years, but we still hope to see them this Fall!



A garage rock anthem for the summer of ‘18 from this Berlin duo who have been putting out quality rock for a couple years now.

They are hitting all the German and UK fests this summer; hopefully they will visit the states in the fall.


Lindsey Jordan just hasn’t stopped releasing singles from upcoming album Lush, due out June 8th. This is the third and probably last, and the best in our opinion; a little ballad of a tune exploring the death of a relationship. Keep in mind she is only 18. So much potential here.

She is playing the Sub T on June 16th and it is Sold Out. We got tix and you’ll be reading all about it.


Joshua Karpah, aka Cautious Clay, is as smooth as the name suggests. Some of the best indie R&B to come out this year.

He has yet to play Chicago. We’ll let you know when he comes around.


Only in Brooklyn could a band like this take form. An amalgam of bhangra, jazz, funk, and garage rock that has to be as exciting to see as it is to hear.

They are playing Madison on August 17th as part of the Central Park Sessions a free concert series. Might be worth a road trip.


A rolling little indie number about taking a trip up the coast by bus. Greyhound, duh . . . anyway, they finally released the last single before dropping debut EP Scout on June 15th. Oh now we get it, Calpurnia and Scout. How clever teenagers can be.

No dates here for Finn Wolfhard, Ayla Tesler-Mabe and company. Well, to be fair, they are still in highschool.



  • No Joy - Hawaii
  • Joshua Radin - A World To Explore
  • Durand Jones & The Indications - You and Me
  • Ty Segall - Good Boy
  • Devendra Barnhardt - Shown and Told
  • The Mighty Mighty Bosstones - Wonderful Day for the Race



Our vote for album of the week. The Pavement guitarist and singer releases his fourth studio effort with backing band The Jicks and it is as beautiful as it is thoughtful.

They are dropping by Thalia Hall on June 3rd and it is sold out.



Folk rocker who may have tired of his same old sound stretches his legs with this one venturing into psych folk territory with impressive results.

Mr. LaMontagne is playing Northerly Island with Neko Case in support on Saturday June 16th at 7:30PM - $25 and up.



After graduating college and moving to Philly, this pop punk foursome dropped their moniker Sports and picked up as Remember Sports. The name change doesn’t really matter because they still know how to capture the hopes and disappointments of young life.

They are playing downstairs at the Sub T on June 30th at 8:30PM for $8.



Impressive indie pop from sisters Asy and Chloe Saavedra who went by Smoosh at age 15 but became Chaos Chaos in 2012 and have self released music ever since. This marks their first proper studio album and we love it from start to finish.

They are playing Schubas this Friday at 7PM for $12.



Folk the way it was meant to be. A man and a guitar. Craigie’s howl of a voice adds every layer you need.

He is playing this weekend at Summer Camp but has no Chicago dates as of now.




Solid house producer releases what we guess counts as a mixtape in the electronic world and it caught our ear. Great beats here.  

He was here in March at Sound-Bar but hopefully he’ll be back in the fall.


Hiss Golden Messenger touring guitarist Ryan Gustafson releases this third album under The Dead Tongues moniker and it is just as atmospheric and beautiful as what he gets to play on tour.

He is currently over in Europe touring as Dead Tongues, but hopefully he makes it back to the states and to Chicago soon.


A sought after studio harpist who as also been creating gorgeous albums of her own for many years now. This is before bed relaxation therapy music.

She is playing the Cactus Club in Milwaukee on June 20th but she is not stopping here. Bummer.


Blues prodigy (he’s 41, but has been playing pro since he was 12) puts out a killer live album that we had to listen to twice in a row. If you love blues rock as much as we do, put this on right now.

It looks like he skips over us on this years tour, and the last time he was here was in March 2017. What gives Joe?


Infectious pop that just grabs you and won’t let go. We didn’t want to like it, but couldn’t help ourselves.

He is coming to the Aragon on October 1st, tix are going for $37.50.


Sexy and downright cool. If you are looking for this week’s making babies record, look no further.

He is currently on tour opening for Logic but they don’t have a Chicago date.  


  • Logan Square Arts Fest released their lineup on Tuesday and it is rather killer. We can’t wait to see Priests, No Age, Flint Eastwood and more under the monument in the center of the square! 

  • Spring Awakening announced their after party schedule and it’s a doozy! With a few headliners playing shows at smaller venues. Here is the full after party schedule, tix go on sale Thursday 5/24 at 10AM!

Thursday June 7th: 
Official Pre-Party with Borgore - The Mid


Friday June 8th: 
Tchami & Mercer - Concord
Zeds Dead - The Mid
Tiesto - Prysm
Gareth Emery - Sound-Bar

Saturday June 9th: 
NGHTMRE - Concord
Carnage - The Mid
Hardwell - Prysm
Big Gigantic - The Vic
Deorro - Sound-Bar
Cash Cash - Electric Hotel

Sunday June 10th: 
deadmau5 - Concord
Kaskade (redux set) - The Mid
Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike - Prysm
Seven Lions - Sound-Bar
Baauer - Electric Hotel


Monday June 11th: 
Official Closing Party with Figure + Doom Music Takeover - The Mid

That is it for this week Surfers! See you next week with our full report on SCamp and all the new releases and jams we can pack in. 

Till then . . . . 
See you at the show Chicago! 

Been inspired by a recent musical experience? Excited about an upcoming show? shoot us an email to GET STARTED.

Being a contributor has never been easier. All you have to do is enjoy music, have a good time and tell others about it. We are a community sourced web mag, that means our experts are music lovers in your community. Yes, you are an expert music lover. (We know because you are reading this site) Our goal here is to encourage people to see live music, and have a good time doing it. Get clever with how you would like to contribute, but here are some ideas:

  • See a show and write about what made it great for you (and snap a couple pics)
  • Tell people about CCS
  • Listen to a new album and write a review
  • Share the weekly issue post
  • Buy us a ticket to see a show - we will try to cover the show if you can’t go!
  • Post to our social media sites about news in the local music scene 
  • Help us make a connection to acquire:
    • Press passes
    • Photo passes
    • Promo materials (buttons, stickers, gear, flyers…)

With any contribution, we request email submissions by the following Wednesday morning  (ex. If you see a Friday show, submit 4 days later; ex. Listen to a new album on Tuesday, submit the next day). Please let us know that you want to contribute so we can get you into that week’s issue. You can totally submit a review later than Wednesday, and we may include it. Not to put the pressure on, but we are a weekly mag so we like to keep content current.


P.S. If you want a little extra confidence, we really do want to hear from you and expand our community. I am not a trained writer, and personally think my reviews need a good deal of improvement. I keep writing to get better, and people are still reading it!