Emily Kempf of Dehd / photo by KPL

Editor's Note

Welcome to issue #6 of Chicago Crowd Surfer.  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 ten 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!


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Thalia Hall

Apr. 6th

Drive By Truckers / photo by KPL

The Truckers are another of those bands that have been there for so long, it’s hard to remember when I first saw or heard them, it was probably the late 90’s, and I think we journeyed to the Bottleneck in Lawrence, KS to see ‘em. This was all twenty years ago so it’s a bit foggy. However, they have been there in the background those 20 years. A southern rock stalwart with some great tunes. Then two years ago they released American Band, and I couldn’t get enough of that album. Last year I took in both Chicago shows months apart and couldn’t wait to catch em again. Lucky me that they booked a two night run at Thalia Hall last weekend which promptly sold out. They brought along another figure of my musical past, Erika Wennerstrom, the frontwoman of Cincy’s own The Heartless Bastards,  on her first solo tour following releasing her album two weeks ago.

First off, I have never seen the age bracket at Thalia so high. It was kind of nice to feel a bit young at a show again. LPL and I arrived when doors opened to find a line closer to our parents age than ours, and once upstairs it became clear that this was not your typical Thalia Hall crowd. Many people had journeyed to be here, and that just goes to show the dedication of the Truckers’ fans. We met people from Georgia, Kansas City, and New York; and I’m sure there were many more towns and states represented.

Erika Wennerstrom

Wennerstrom and her band strolled onstage and began the sonic journey that is here solo material. Did I mention she wrote this album after an ayahuasca retreat? Yeah, it’s like that. Layers of guitar and vocals; fuzzy and warm and as mystically meaningful as rock can get. She has tunes about feeling great being alone, and to “open up and let the good things come.” I hope she comes back around for a headlining tour or a street fest later this summer. They sure had LPL in their hands, she dug every moment.

Club shows have spoiled me to the large change overs of theatre shows, but after a good half an hour the Truckers came onstage to riotous applause.  Without a word, Patterson Hood, Mike Cooley and company launched into “Guns of Umpqua” right into “Roman Casiano” both off American Band, and I was in southern rock heaven as Hood and Cooley traded songs back and forth, as usual, and they swept us thru the entirety of their catalog. They went through at least one song from each album. A nearly two and half hour, twenty six song set, that left us still wanting more.

Some highlights included a cover of the Boss’ “State Trooper,” rarely performed “The Southern Thing,” “Runaway Train” (not that one, but a cover of Hood and Cooley’s first band Adam’s House Cat: they recently found the tapes of the album they recorded under this moniker and will be putting it out later this year) and a rousing “Women Without Whiskey.”

But the climax of the evening came with “What it Means,” a protest song written by Hood in ‘16 about the state of gun violence and disparity that this country is spiraling in. If you have never heard it, stop reading this and go listen to it now. In the middle of the tune, he told a story of seeing Patti Smith in Portland on her Horses anniversary tour and how she stopped the show mid song and screamed “Love Each Other, Motherfuckers!” and how it was the greatest rock moment he had ever witnessed, and that is kind of what “What It Means” symbolises.

As the dust settled from that affecting moment they didn’t leave the stage but instead immediately launched into a three song encore that brought the house down. With a great version of “Filthy and Fried” and finishing with classic “Shut Up and Get On The Plane.” It made me wonder what they were going to play for the second night, which sadly sold out before we could scoop up tickets. I am sure it will be another two hour plus of their entire catalog that will leave that crowd as breathless as LPL and I were after this one. Thanks DBT for another amazing evening of southern rock at it’s gritty best.  


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Ty Segall  / Axis: Sova  / The bed band



The Vic

Apr. 8th

Ty Segall/ photo by KPL

It was the kind of deep cold that gets in your bones and you don't feel warm all day no matter how many layers you put on, when winter in Chicago has clearly overstayed its welcome. Yet there stood a half block line of young mop-haired fans standing in front of the tour bus waiting for doors at the Ty Segall show on a grey April 8th at The Vic.

As a garage rock admirer, I've had a peripheral interest and curiosity in Ty Segall for years, owing to the enthusiasm of some buddies whose musical tastes I trust, but had regretfully never given his stuff a close listen or seen a show. That's why I was more than primed to jump at the chance to see him play with LPL and KPL, my sister and brother-in-law.  Part of my reluctance up till this point to get into his work was access. His catalog is intimidating, with 20 plus albums; I didn't know where to start. But now that he's on Spotify, I could start to sink my teeth into his material beginning with Freedom's Goblin (2018) and some of his popularly ranked tracks. Leading up to the show, as a matter of personal preference I confess, I gravitated towards the Velvet Underground -sounding psychedelic rock tunes, like My Lady's On Fire,and apart from the noise and garage rock material like She, but was impressed that the artist had such range. Segall is so chimerical, sometimes I had to double check that spotify wasn't on radio mode; I couldn't believe one song varied so much from the last and I thought it was a different artist altogether.  

As the crowd filled in, first came the under 21 fanboys who went straight to the front rails, as well as the regulars on the Chicago indie rock circuit like our crew who locked in good positions for the show, followed by a young-ish crowd of 20 and 30 something adoring guys and girls from disparate musical allegiances. You could see punks, metalheads, but also a glam contingency. Some of the more fashion forward crowd in all black form fitting rock garb looked as if they just stepped off a plane from LA or South By Southwest.  After graduating in audience demand from previous performances at the Empty Bottle, this show had been originally over-ambitiously booked at the Riv but more appropriately relocated to the Vic in a viewing that felt full, but wasn't quite sold out. Having heard such variety of musical influences in his work, I wasn't sure what genre he would favor live, or what his performance energy would be like.

The first opener Bed Band was part comedy, part Stephen Malkmus-style spoken word / off key singing (though I hesitate to compare him to Malkmus), part karaoke performance. He was instrument-less and with a flannel wrapped around his head and shades propped on his nose. He tore up a set of cardboard mountains through his performance. Although some of the crowd looked at one another wondering if this were a joke, his billing as opener for a Ty Segall show caused the crowd to give him a chance, and he killed the crowd with kindness, calling us beautiful, and letting us know repeatedly how excited he was to be here. Some couldn't quite buy the shtick with some mild heckling, but most of us were amused and gave him points for creativity.

Chicago act Axis: Sova, the second opener, came out like a lion in an opening track of cascading, competing speed guitars that got the blood pumping and heads nodding in the room. These guys can shred and they clearly have all mastered the Dragonforce track on guitar hero. But as the performance went on, the guitars lost their synchronicity and it became a bit disjointed, feeling like a power struggle onstage for best guitar solo, and could have better benefited from cohesion and each other's support.  

However, man did Ty Segall show up. His energy was infectious and my preconceptions about his work became irrelevant -- he and The Freedom Band sold me on all of it. They played like they wanted to be there and had a bulletproof swagger. They laid it all out there on the line, the bassist air kicking in accompaniment with  profound chords and the drummer bringing his full weight down on his kit so you thought he might smash the set. With wavy long hair and ferocious playing style Ty was off to stage left but was clearly the charismatic driving center force, playing and screaming his heart out.

The crowd reacted appropriately. A mosh pit broke out early on, but found a suffocating response from Vic security. One bespectacled muscular bouncer who hates fun was pulling out rabble rousers and shining a flashlight to pinpoint perpetrators. Eventually, Ty Segall, himself intervened heroically, and to an eruption of cheers from the crowd, tapped the bouncer on the shoulder and must have told him to cut it out because he soon disappeared.

From what I caught, Segall and the Freedom band mostly played songs from Freedom's Goblin with a couple exceptions.  It was telling when the band teased a riff from The Clash's Should I Stay or Should I Go, but then dismissively cut it off. It was as if Segall was saying, "yeah I owe a lot to British punk, but in true punk fashion, you've got to kill your idols."

Spirits were high after a one song encore as the crowd spilled out onto Sheffield and Belmont, ears buzzing from the sheer volume, and a light April snow had begun to fall to the disbelief of the out of town visitors.   


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Kyle Craft / Carriers



Apr. 4th

Kyle Craft  / all photos by JB

Kyle Craft

Kyle Craft’s music is something you need to hear. You can be told that you’re seeing David Bowie front a band that plays the saloon from HBO’s Westworld, but you won’t understand until you press play. Seeing him live is worth it for two reasons: his band is perfectly tight and shockingly balanced for a live setting; and Kyle’s voice is particularly powerful. Even after admitting that he was fighting off a sore throat, and medicating throughout the set with Bud Heavy, he dances between the raspy swagger of Bob Dylan and the grandiose wail of Freddie Mercury. It’s this voice that provides a draw to the band. One might accuse the sound as taking advantage of the retro obsession we’re currently living in, but when it’s so vibrant and energetic – who cares?

The band strutted up promptly, looking like they were picked up on the side of the road in the beatnik era. Wearing leather and denim jackets, complete with turtlenecks and paperboy caps, they crowded onto the tiny Schubas stage and waited for Kyle Craft to join them. It didn’t take long for him to emerge from the back with a weathered leather jacket and his signature unkempt mop of hair, and the band roared into the opening track from his second album, Full Circle Nightmare. The clever lyrics about reflecting upon a woman who isn’t quite what you expected set the mood for the rest of the night – Craft’s lyrics are autobiographical, and primarily about unrequited or disappointing love.

I was most impressed with how fluidly the band switched gears throughout the set. Moving from raucous rockers to southern glam, and from protest songs to Patsy Cline covers, it was hard to zone out during from the 70 minute set. Listening to Kyle Craft’s music is strangely like young love, see-sawing between angst and pure joy, and his stage presence perfectly fits this. Bopping back and forth and flinging around the stage, he personifies the rock lifestyle your parents loved when they listened to the Stones before you were even thought of.

Opening band, Carriers, is another I’ll keep an eye out for. Sounding like a spinoff of The War on Drugs that plays Blue Oyster Cult covers, I can see why they were chosen to start the night. The six piece from Cincinnati wasn’t afraid to stretch their songs, and with a drummer laying down an unwavering 4/4 road trip rhythm interspersed with ethereal keyboards – I’d happily score my road trips to them.

- JB

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horse lords / Dehd  / TALsounds


The Hideout

Apr. 5th

Horse Lords  / all photos by KPL

Damn this show was great. An eclectic mix of three very different acts, all excellent. While it misted thru the night outside, The Hideout was roasting inside from the fire these musicians made onstage.


TALsounds is not for the weak of temperament. It is more art than music. The sounds generated by Chicagoan Natalie Chami wash over the listener as she twists knobs, plays the next chord to loop, or kneels in front of her laptop or mixer (I wasn’t able to tell) and half wails into a mic, then loops that as well. She self describes the genre on her website as: “solo explorations in the drone, ambient, and electro-acoustic improv disciplines.” The genre doesn’t really matter here, as this is about reaching into oneself and finding your own film to play in your mind while her songs wash over you. Though on this evening there were visuals provided by @traderjoeslut, which were amazing pieces of collage animation that would make Terry Gilliam take notice. Therefore,the film was provided and all I had to do was soak it in and and let my psyche melt, along with the rest of the crowd.

If you ever get a chance to see TALsounds, take it. Go in with an open mind and let Chami fill it with ethereal bliss.

Dehd was up next. I have taken in their mix of indie, shoegaze, and beach rock several times, and would have to say I am a fan. A very Chicago version of a supergroup made up Jason Balla of Ne-Hi and Emily Kempf of Heavy Dreams and Vail (with an impressive list of recordings, in many bands, under her belt) and Empty Bottle door man Eric McGrady on drums. (well, two drums, but I’ll get to that).


They came to the front of the stage in a line, and ripped thru a good portion of their catalog; with old hits like “Sunburn” and “Tune out” spaced between newer tunes and a few I hadn’t heard before. What really makes them unique, I think, is their willingness to let these tunes breathe at times. Many bands don’t have the patience and skill to pull this off, but the best do, and Dehd is among them. McGrady’s tom and snare set up is so spare that it makes his drumming that much more interesting. As he stares ahead or eyes closed, pounding out the driving rhythm for Balla and Kempf to shout and sing and rip chords over the top. They ended the set way too soon for me, but it was approaching eleven and Horse Lords were still up next.  

As I made my way back into the venue, after a visit to the bar, I couldn’t get any closer than four or five rows back because the crowd had pushed to the stage, and I didn’t feel like ruining anyones evening by putting my 6’4” frame in front of them just to get some photos. So as you’ll see, the photo of Horse Lords has plenty of heads in it, but who cares, cause they were so fucking good.

Post-rock is a genre that scares away most listeners who are not accustomed to the weaving and twisting chords and notes and beats in repetition, till it coalesces in a peak that leaves you breathless. It is either too intense an experience or too boring, depending on the temperment of the person. However, it falls right into my comfort zone and Horse Lords are damn good at it.

This Baltimore act; composed of Owen Gardner on Guitar, Max Eilbacher on bass, Andrew Bernstein on saxophone and percussion and Sam Haberman on drums; took the stage around eleven and played for an hour straight, stopping only three times (They may have only played three tunes, I am not sure) and it seemed like only ten minutes had gone by. That is how transportive this music can be. It just reaches into you and roots its feet into your attention and before you know it the end comes, and you want that feeling back so bad that as soon as you’re in the cab on the way home, you start listening to their latest album on your shitty phone speaker as the misty Chicago night takes you back home to bed.   

-  KPL



If you doubted Cardi B up until now, then well done. You didn’t get eaten up by the hype. Sure “Bodak Yellow” was catchy and had a unique flair, but with a few too many rap tourists on the market in 2017 (“catch me outside” girl), we had to keep our guard up. If Cardi wanted to be taken seriously we needed more than radio play and hype. We needed an Album. Cardi may have taken a long 10 months to answer the challenge, but the album is finally here; and surprisingly, its fantastic. With Invasion Of Privacy Cardi B doubles down on her charm, besting what she has already produced, and cementing herself as one of hip-hop’s new main attractions. 

There was surely no expense spared on making this album. From the beats to the features, Invasion of Privacy is at the highest level of quality. Every beat on this album is an outright jam and Cardi manages not to waste a single one of them. From slow jams to club bangers, this album has it all. One key is the talent she brings along. With features from Migos, SZA, YG, and Chance the Rapper; she has assembled an unstoppable team of hit makers. Impressively, Cardi is never overshadowed. She holds her own on each track, adapting to the style and intensity of each artist. With YG her voice drops down a level and she flows with speed and intensity. With Chance her rhymes are higher and songlike. Cardi fan or not, do not sleep on “Best Life.” Chance does what he does best with a catchy chorus and delivers one of the albums best verses. Showing even more versatility, Cardi plays up her Dominican roots in “I Like it.” The song has a Caribbean beat and features Spanish rapper J Balvin. It’s a nice touch, further highlighting her versatility.      

If I had to be critical, Cardi B probably won’t wow you with the depth of her lyrics. There are no profound metaphors that will have you searching Rap Genius for answers. What she lacks in complexity is easily made up in delivery. Her rhymes are blunt and straightforward like the persona that she has always tried to create. The result is a feeling of authenticity that some, more established artist, lack. Simply put we have our answer, Cardi B can really rap. She has a story to tell, and she sounds good doing it. If you had doubts before consider this your warning: it’s time to get on board with Cardi B, or it will be much harder to swallow a year from now when she’s got that Grammy in her hand.  

- MI

Cardi B is opening for Bruno Mars in St. Paul and Detroit in September but that is closest we are getting. Come on Cardi, come to Chicago again!


The first time I saw Wye Oak was back in ’08 at the Hideout, on their tour in support of their first album. I had just moved to Chicago and my first fall was starting to spread its wings around our metropolis. It was a wonderful venue to see them in, with it’s christmas lights strung from the ceiling, and warm atmosphere in which to take in the duo’s layers of indie rock fuzz. Over the years this city has changed (but the Hideout hasn’t), and Wye Oak is still proving they have my musical heart with The Louder I Call, The Faster It Runs.

This Baltimore duo opens the new album, their sixth in ten years, with synth heavy track, “The Instrument,” that made me wonder if Jenn Wasner (vocals and guitar) is now added more keys to her performances or if Andy Stack, who plays drums with one hand and keyboards with the other, has started looping or pre-recording tracks to help with the live act. Maybe they have added more musicians to the touring act, who knows. However, while the glossy electronic sounds throughout this album do make me miss Wasner’s expert guitar playing, the moments where it does shine through, like on highlight track “Over and Over,” make it all the more thrilling.

Stack’s playing has always left me perplexed. How can he possibly be able to split his mind in two. Keeping the beat with one hand while pounding out a melody or harmonic chords with the other. It is a feat that has left me amazed multiple times and will again next month when they roll through on their current tour.

If this is your first experience with Wye Oak, I suggest checking out their back catalog which is full of expert tunes.

I do extend a warning that this is not a happy record. It is full of songs about getting older, feeling left behind by the world, and wanting to be able to live a full life without the trappings of typical adulthood. Is is, however, a rather gorgeous effort full of bold atmospheric blissfulness that left me in a hazy mood, not quite ready to go back to the real world.


Wye Oak is rolling through Chicago next month at Thalia Hall with alt rockers Palm in support - May 17th - 8PM doors - $20 for floor $30 for balcony.


 Nerdcore Hip Hop is a very narrow genre and no one does it better than MC Chris, in fact he does it so well that he threw off the label for a while and preferred to call his mix of hip hop and nerd culture “MC Chris Music.” Few can compete with his mix of pop culture references and knack for storytelling that makes his tracks so catchy and memorable. Nothing is safe from a send-up on his records and it seems he takes great joy in attributing his distinct flavor to every aspect of nerd pop culture.

Dropping his latest album on Sunday, April 1st, was one of those joys. The April Fools Collection is 9 tracks of pure delicious pop culture meals, each track hits on a different subject: Evil Dead,  Harry Potter, Twin Peaks, Beetlejuice, Quentin Tarantino, My Little Ponies, Clue, Batman, and Deadpool. A different subject for each song. 

As I said, nothing is safe from MC Chris, and with a back history of working on shows like Aqua Teen Hunger Force it is no surprise that he can spin a witty yarn based on the inner workings of these subjects. It makes me wonder what he still has in the tank after all these albums. He has been around for nearly twenty prolific years, he’s come along way from his youth growing up in Libertyville, right down the road.

Not to say there is no substance here; there is a long sample on “Clue” of Edward R. Murrow denouncing McCarthy and his actions. A speech that would fit just as well on a news show in our current climate as it did in the late 50’s. Well done, sir. 

If you are rolling your eyes and saying why would I want to listen to this, hold on a second. These tracks are so inspired and witty, each topping the last that you owe it to yourself to give this one a spin, I promise you won’t regret it.


MC Chris is stopping by Schubas on April 25th - 8PM - $22 ($25 doors) 


West side born and bred rapper Saba has produced a gorgeous album with CARE FOR ME. From low key track “BUSY/SIRENS,” which opens the record to “HEAVEN ALL AROUND ME” which closes it, the beauty and thoughtfulness that went into this project are evident. Last week I complained about the lack of lyrical content in certain hip hop artist's work. Saba represents the exact opposite on that spectrum. With lyrics like: “sometimes I fucking hate Chicago, cause I hate this feeling, innocent niggas get shot at in the broad daylight am.” from “PROM / KING” a tune about his cousin being shot at but living through it (along with many other subjects), that ends with the sung tune: “Just another day in the ghetto, oh the streets bring sorrow, can’t get out today with their schedule, just hope I make it to tomorrow . . . “ I talk alot about confessional indie rock but this is as close to confessional hip hop as you will ever get. You can say rappers lie all you want Jigga but I believe Saba’s stories, as they ring true to the Chicago experience. 

There are several tracks here where he is not afraid to stretch his range and let the tune breath. How many rappers would feature a saxophone solo as a choral chant of “run, run, run, run” breaths onto the listener? Some great features are here as well, with excellent turns from hometown hero Chance the Rapper, along with Chicago performers theMIND and KAINA; keeping it all local, which I highly appreciate

With low key beats that let his lyrics take the forefront, the album has a lazy groove that is perfect for the Chicago summer and the bbqs and street fests where it will shine.


 Saba has a well deserved set at Pitchfork this year. He is up on Friday, July 20th. Look for a feature on him in our Pitchfork preview the week before. 


It seems like every city in the Northeast has birthed it’s own emo punk band, and each carries with it a flavor of their home. You have Bayside from New York, Taking Back Sunday and Brand New from Long Island, Saves the Day from Princeton, Modern Baseball from Philly, The Hotelier from Boston, and so forth. The Wonder Years hail from Philly and their sound is just as gritty and grey as Philly was the last time I was there, but the combination of Dan “Soupy” Campbell’s vocals and the excellent musicianship of the rest of the band always make a The Wonder Years album into more than just another emo record, it is a quality rock band who are at the top of their game. 

As good, if not better, than ‘15’s  No Closer To Heaven, this record reflects on travels, loves lost, and the trappings of life in your twenties and thirties. It is full of high emotional subjects all surrounded by the multiple guitar tracks, staccato drums, and background melodies that are a hallmark of the Northeastern emo sound and they work so well here it gives one chills.

Nothing, however, compares to this music live. A The Wonder Years show is as emotive an experience as one can come to in rock (along with many of the bands at the top of this review). A whole club singing along like their life depends on that next lyric sends shivers and goosebumps through the crowd, and a togetherness develops that is hard to come by in most modern rock.


The Wonder Years are coming to The Concord on June 3rd, with Tiger’s Jaw and Tiny Moving Parts in support. Wow, what a show! And it sold out fast.   


Frances Quinlan and company first caught my attention with their sophomore album several years ago and they continue to impress with their latest: Bark Your Head Off, Dog. This record is full of her stellar vocals and the odd melodies and off kilter guitars that have become a hallmark of Hop Along’s style.

This record is self described to be “considering what it is like to cast off long held and misguided perceptions, yet without the assurance of knowing what new ones will replace them” and this dichotomy shows in tracks like “How You Got Your Limp,” with it’s odd story juxtaposed with a happy whistling. Or happy sounding album opener “How Simple” that really tells a forlorned love story surrounded by what sounds like a hopeful tune but with lyrics that coalesce in : “don’t worry we will both find out, just not together.”

They are not the first indie rock band to use this juxtaposition but they have conquered it so masterfully that it is absolutely seamless.


Hop Along is playing the Metro on June 10th - 8PM - $17


dermot kennedy
mike dean presents: Dermot kennedy

We know we normally do singles here but this is a five song EP, and this was such a big week, give us a break. That said. Go listen to this now. Trust us. If you don’t have twenty three minutes, spare four and listen to “Swim Good.” If it doesn’t affect you, you’re dead inside. 

Kennedy will hopefully be back in the states from his native Ireland in the fall!  

sudan archives
nont for sale

A funky little tune from this twenty three year old singer who produces music with african, electronic and R&B influences. Do yourself a favor. Listen to it

After a great showing at SXSW, she has hit the overseas circuit, but hopefully she’ll be back soon!

shakey graves
mansion door

Folk rock at it’s best. Nuff said there we think. 

They are playing The Vic on May 22nd - 7:30PM and it is unfortunately sold out.

middle kids
on my knees

Fuzzy catchy indie rock that will have you humming these chords for days. 

Lincoln Hall is hosting them on June 9th at 9PM - $15

shapeshifter I: construct

The first part of a continuing series this EP comes from the New York jazz jam greats right before fest season starts. 

Tauk is playing this Friday, April 13th at the Concord. Check it out! Only $16. We’ll be there. What else are you doing on a Friday at 9PM!? And with Steady Flow and EGI opening it works as a primer for SCamp, which is almost a month away! 



  • The Coathangers - Gettin’ Mad And Pumpin’ Iron

  • Beach House - Dark Spring

  • Shallou - Vignette

  • Chromeo feat. DRAM - Must’ve Been

  • Drake - Nice for What

    (Yeah we were surprised by this quality cut from Drake as well.)


Guided By Voices / Space Gun / Guided By Voices

Solid outing from these rock stalwarts. Nothing really new here, just solid music for those that still want the late 90’s back. 

GBV is not hitting Chicago on this tour, or at least a date hasn’t been announced yet. However, they are playing Bloomington, IN on June 16th. If you’re a fan it may be worth the trip! 


Hookworms / Microshift / Domino

Great synth rock album from this act from across the pond. Check it out on your next road trip. 

Doesn’t appear Hookworms is making a trip to the states this summer, and we’re super bummed about it….



Hinds / I Don’t Run / Mom+Pop

A nice easy, perfect for summer, pop record from these indie darlings of Barcelona. It’s a couple months too soon for a summer record but we’ll take it. 

Hinds is playing Lincoln Hall for the second time this year on May 15th - 8PM $16 ($18doors)


Kali Uchis / Isolation / Universal

Smart, sexy, cool and downright funky. We think you should check out this dual citizen of Columbia and Virginia whose new effort explores nearly every genre as it grooves its way into your heart. 

No Chicago dates yet on the summer tour. We’re hoping a high profile street fest or a North Coast spot is in the future. 


Rainbow Kitten Surprise / How to: Friend, Love, Freefall / RKS

This is one gorgeous album. Combine wonderful harmonies, catchy tunes, and some deep lyrical content, and you’ll have us every time. 

RKS is playing The Metro April 21st at 8PM but it is sold out. There is always the third party vendors but beware of rip offs! 


Dark Times / Tell Me What I Need / Sheep Chase

Plug in and prepare for Euro Punk guitar glory. This Oslo trio knows what they are doing with a two guitar and drums set up, channeling so much Northwest Punk from our youth the nostalgia grows as thick as the fuzz emanating from these tunes. 

Dark Times are not making it to the states this summer. We are hoping for a fall tour. Um… Empty Bottle please. 


Goat Girl / Goat Girl / Rough Trade

Impressive debut from this London outfit. If you don’t like your music a bit messy and freeform you should stay away; but, us, we loved every moment. 

They are on tour soon with label mates Parquet Courts and the closest they are coming is St. Louis on June 2nd. Booo…. Although PC is playing Madison on May 30th and Goat Girl isn’t on the bill. Please come and play a show in Chicago! Just saying.



Lisa Hannigan, The Colorist Orchestra / The Colorist Orchestra & Lisa Hannigan / ATO

If you’ve never heard Hannigan’s voice there is no other place to do it. Check this one out. Excellent music from talented musicians. 

She is playing at the MusicNOW Opening Night Celebration in Cincy on April 27th. We wish we were going, but alas….

Underoath / Erase Me / Fearless

Christian metal band takes eight years off and returns with an agnostic bent. Compelling and interesting story to follow. Does the music live up? Well do you like metal? If so, yes, check it out. If no, yeah this is not for you. 

Closest Underoath is coming to Chicago is May 16th at Piere’s in Fort Wayne

Kooley High /  Never Come Down / M.E.C.C.A. 

This hip hop collective out of North Carolina has produced a soulful record that should help to establish them on most best hip hop albums of the year lists! 

No summer tour dates for Kooley High yet.

Kylie Minogue / Golden / Kylie Minogue, Darenote

The Pop songstress wanted something different and traveled to Nashville to get it. What you have is a town that rubbed off and we hope maybe it’s here to stay. A pop and country mishmash that works so well it amazed us on first listen. 

No US dates for Ms. Minogue yet. 

Fenne Lilly / On Hold / Fenne Lilly

Very nice bedroom pop album from this British prospect. Just put it on, sit back and relax….

Touring all over England this spring, we are hoping for any US dates soon  

Unknown Mortal Orchestra / Sex & Food / Jagjaguwar

Synth pop madness from those that do it best! 

UMO is playing The Vic on May 3rd - 8PM - $27.50


  • We are getting excited for Street Fest Season! Those few months when our city becomes a bastion of great music for cheap on the fucking street! (Have we mentioned how much we love Chicago in the summer.) Our guide will be coming out at the beginning of May. Stay tuned Surfers!

  • There may be some action in the way streaming services pay musicians. Which may lead to all of us paying more for our streams, which we support; because these artists got to get paid, yo! We’ll gladly cough up more a month for all the music that these services supply if it means artists are reaping the benefits. Find out more here.

  • Tune in next week for our reviews of Baths, Tauk, Wild Child, and much more; including all of the new music releases that deserve your attention!

Till then . . . See You At the Show Chicago!

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