Welcome back to another insane week full of new music, dear Surfers! Fauvely dropped an EP this week and we were there at The Empty Bottle to help celebrate! TLM hit Schubas for a powerful set from Sego, KPL took in a triple bill of ….And You Will Know us by The Trail of Dead, Protomartyr, and Melkbelly at Logan Square Auditorium, and best of all, we got a chance to support Girls Rock! Chicago at Sleeping Village on Sunday where we took in the marching band grooves of Mucca Pazza and the rocking White Mystery, as well as Baby Money and Half Gringa solo sets. With new singles from V.V. Lightbody and Chance the Rapper and new records from Spencer Radcliffe and Elton John Cena, it all added up to a hefty Chicago release weekend. Even though it may not feel like it, Summer is upon us, and our Summer Fest Guide is starting to churn out all the info you need to make every moment count!
Keep Seeing Live Music!
⬐ SHOWS ⬎
Girls Rock! Chicago Benefit
White Mystery / Half Gringa / Baby Money / Mucca Pazza
📷 : courtesy of Girls Rock! Chicago
Girls Rock! Chicago is an organization founded in 2005 as a summer camp/educational program for girls and transgender and gender non-conforming youth. Their mission is, “Building socially just community with girls, transgender youth, and gender non-conforming youth by developing leadership, fostering self-esteem, and encouraging creative expression through music.” A cause and mission that we support 100%!! So when they threw a benefit carnival and show at Sleeping Village last Sunday, we wouldn’t have missed it for anything. On a night when the righteous White Mystery, moving solo sets from Half Gringa and Baby Money, and a surprise courtyard carnival performance from the one and only Mucca Pazza was the entertainment there was a disappointing turnout due to being scheduled alongside the Game Of Thrones series finale. (We’ll just say that streaming exists for a reason, and leave it at that.)
On the other hand, those that showed early were treated to the stylings of the hipster collective known as Mucca Pazza. Their distinct brand of marching band, comedy heroics, and non-stop entertainment had a full SV courtyard grooving through the evening.
Baby Money (aka Pamela Maurer) has graced our pages several times, and her gorgeous tunes, ranging from heartfelt story tunes to subdued rants on the evils of capitalism, are as killer solo as they are with her band The Down Payments. Check them out at GMAN Tavern on July 5th. It’s only $5, so you have no excuse!
Appearing on the scene five years ago with the excellent Do It Tomorrow EP, Half Gringa (aka Izzy Olive) produces folk rock that is as honest and heart-bearing as it is raw and thought-provoking. Solo she is one of the most affecting stage presences in the city. She’s teaming up with a bandmate for a duo set at The Empty Bottle, opening for Jesse Merchant on June 9th. Tix are $10. She’ll be with the full band at Logan Arts Fest the last weekend in June.
What is there to say about White Mystery that hasn’t been said? Alex and Francis White are a team that can just do no wrong. With ten years of rocking Chicago under their belts, they have only gotten tighter over the years. Their guitar and drum attack only works like gangbusters because of the incredible connection the siblings have and with tunes about Chicago like, “Two Flats,” and straight-up funky party rockers like “Paint Yo’nails,” it’s no wonder they have such a cross-generational appeal. Their next show is at Ravenswood On Tap June 22nd and 23rd! But you can catch Alex DJ’ing all over town.
With this level of entertainment, Girls Rock! Chicago deserved a better turn out. (We’ll save the who cares about GOT lecture for another time.) But if you weren’t able to make it and want more info or to volunteer or donate, check out the links and do what you can to help out this important organization.
Fauvely (EP Release) / Uma Bloo / Star Tropics
Fauvely / 📷 : KPL
A full evening of dream-pop wonder greeted local music fans at this week's Free Monday at The Empty Bottle. It was a night to celebrate, as Fauvely released their latest effort, This Is What The Living Do, a five song EP from local imprint Diversion Records. Our friends from Midwest Action on hand, and plenty of other supporters and musicians came out to help salute the local shoegaze talent that filled the iconic venue with a hazy joy that sent waves of warmth through the sun-deprived May crowd. (Seriously, when is Spring going to show up?!)
With jangly melodies and a duet vocal quality from Molly Cleary and bassist Loren Vanderbilt III, Star Tropics is a throwback dream-pop act that reflects the gorgeous sounds of ‘90s influences from across the pond such as the Cocteau Twins or Lush with elements that compare to contemporaries of the genre. It’s a classic sound that perfectly captures the lush movement that all dream-pop should contain. Head-bobbing rhythms accompany a glowing mellow vibe that just doesn’t let go. They impressed with new single, “The Other Side Of Midnight” back in February, and hopefully we get some more new tunes soon.
Uma Bloo took the stage next with her free-wheeling style that is as uncontrolled as the normally subdued genre can stretch. Clearly having a blast performing, Molly Madden has an infectious quality that draws you in and doesn’t give up. Joined onstage by bassist Mike Altergott, lead guitar Adam Karstens, and drummer Alex Kociper, Madden connects with the crowd through sheer force of will and skill combined with some killer genre-bending tunes. With only a few released tracks under their belt, Uma Bloo has plenty of promise. This year’s newest single “All For You” shows just how much. You can check them out at Hungry Brain on June 20th with Rose Hotel. Tix are $10.
Sophie Brochu came to music in her 20’s after feeling that her chosen craft of fiction writing was too limited and needed another outlet. Thus was born Fauvely, a spectral layer of sound that serves as Brochu’s compass when examining herself and the world around her. Bringing along Dale Price (guitar, vocals), Scott Cortez (multi-instrument noise), Dave Piscotti (drums), and Chace Wall (bass), she has captured gorgeous melodies inside a cocoon of dreamy resonance that can burst forth as a butterfly in tunes like “Fall Asleep to Tv,” where she came alive with the lyric, “I’m so fucking crazy” over and over again till she was belting it at the peak of her power. This is Chicago dream-pop at its most transcendent. If you missed it, you can catch Fauvely at Logan Square Arts Festival’s Battle of the Bands at Sleeping Village on May 26th. It’s FREE!
Sego / Nectar
Sego / 📷 : TLM
Schubas slowly filled in while Nectar hit us with their bouncy pop punk tunes. Hailing from Champaign, IL, they were pretty close to being a local band. They started strong with “Smile”- one of quite a few catchy tunes on their recently released first album, Knocking at the Door. The vinyl is pink, because why not? It is lead singer, Kamila Glowacki's favorite color. She stood on her toes as she sang into the mic, “Do you even notice, do you even care…” I was not the only one excited when they kicked into “Change Your Mind.” The guitarist, Aaron Shutls, swayed and swiveled as he played. Isabel Skidmore on bass, rocked forward and back. Jake Mott's drumming had real power and confidence. When they played “Slouch,” he put his chin in the air and sang along. That song kicked off the best part of their set. They seamlessly rolled through a few songs in a row. You could see the shift in their energy, they all clicked in together. It brought a looseness to their performance which is exactly right for this kind of young, bouncy, fun music.
The first time I heard L.A. band Sego’s single, “Whatever Forever” off their new album Sego Sucks back in March, I knew I needed to see these guys. That frenetic beat. The driving bass line. The chaotic feedback-heavy guitar. The lyrics so fast I can barely keep up with them. I wanted to get up and dance. The production on the album is expansive, and I wanted to see how it translated. The first note I wrote down at the show was “Holy Fuck.” The band puts it all out there on the stage. The music was dirtier. More immediate. Oh that delicious cowbell! The energy was incredible. All four of them were moving and sweating and perfectly loose performers. They increased in intensity as the set progressed. Alyssa Davey on bass let her head hang and bounced to the beat. Thomas Carroll on drums was wild- so in tune with his kit, he barely need to look at it! He was a blur of flying hair. He crashed into it with such force, he broke off a piece off the cymbol. Brandon McBride on keys and percussion and guitar added many layers to the music, trading between instruments with speed and dexterity and plenty of kick-ass dance moves. He was a one man party, and I couldn’t get enough of it. Spencer Peterson played and moved with his guitar with all the space the small Schubas stage could give him. I loved when he flung aside his guitar in favor of singing. He was not afraid to stop playing and leave space in the music. When he pulled it back to play a chord or a hook, it was more powerful for the empty space it filled.
Sego’s music is carefully orchestrated with plenty of air. Every musician dropped out at times. To give the lyrics or a key part of the music that extra emphasis. There was something so satisfying about it. You can listen to their music and enjoy the delicious beats and hooks. But if you listen closely to the lyrics, they are exploring the excesses and hypocrisy and frustrations of society, set to that music that incites a party. Like “Shame,” with its litany of perceived personal defects. To the politically scalding “Give Me” (and our first spotting of that funky cowbell). But I must admit my favorite of the set was a practically wordless jam on their song, “Once was Lost Now Just Hanging Around." Such a delicious dance tune I wished it would never end. Likewise, when they kicked into “The Fringe” from their first album, the place went nuts!! The Schubas crowd sang along to the chorus, “Everybody at this party is already over it, Everybody at this party is already gone, Everybody at this party is already over it, Everybody at this party is moving on.” I wish we never had to leave that show. Next time Sego comes to town, it is a party you don’t want to miss.
...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead / Protomartyr / Melkbelly
Logan Square Auditorium
…And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead / 📷 : MAT
Album anniversary shows have become a normality over the last decade. Nostalgia is translating into big bucks for the music industry, which can use as much help as it can get with the advent of streaming. Why not celebrate an achievement when a milestone anniversary date comes for a classic record? It’s been twenty years since prog punk masters ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead released their major label debut Madonna on indie powerhouse Merge, and it was time for a tour to toast two decades of one of the influential masterpieces of indie rock.
Logan Square Auditorium played host to the Austin, Texas outfit who brought along Detroit powerhouses Protomartyr and preeminent local noise rockers Melkbelly (for their final show before guitarist/singer Miranda Winters gives birth to what is sure to be one rocking baby). It was a warm spring evening in the old hall, and the crowd sweat it out to the screaming riffs of Melkbelly, who treated the fans to quite a few new tunes from the record they have just finished recording. Protomartyr were their normal intense selves with Joe Casey lumbering around the stage ranting and raving into the mic between swills of beer while the band raged behind him. A special band doing their thing to perfection. Playing Madonna in its entirety, front to back, was a feat for ...And You Will Know Us, as they commented several times about not playing some of the tunes for years before this tour, but they never showed it as they ripped through the classics and added on a few later hits for an encore. It was a night to remember, that will never be repeated.
NEWS & NOTES
Our Summer Festival Guide is here!
Lots of SOLD OUT shows this week that are not included here
^ All Ages
THURSDAY May 23rd
+ Chicago House Music Conference & Festival @ Chicago Cultural Center 6PM FREE
+Ester / Emma Lee Toyoda / Izzy True / Henry Hank @ Empty Bottle 8:30PM doors $8
+ bluefront (Record Release) / Nicholas Tremulis @ Beat Kitchen 7:30PM $10
+ David Quinn @ California Clipper 9:30PM $5 cover
The Rad Trads / Holly @ Schubas 8PM $10 ($12 doors)
Andy Jenkins / Dogs at Large @ The Hideout 9PM $10
Austin Lucas (full band) / The Family Gold / Joe Wortell & The Natural Law / Sparkle Carcass / Dj Lawrence Peters @ Chop Shop 8PM $10 ($13 doors)
Andrew Belle / William Wild @ Lincoln Hall 8PM $22 ($25 doors)
Jim James / Amo Amo @ The Vic 7:30PM $41
FRIDAY May 24th
Chicago House Music Conference & Festival @ Millennium Park 6:30 PM FREE
Shortly / Small Talks / + Elton John Cena / + Kathy Patino (Girl K solo) @ Schubas $10 ($12 doors)
Camp Cope / An Horse / Oceanator @ Subterranean 8PM $18
^ Worriers / Awakebutstillinbed / Pity Party @ Cobra Lounge 6PM $10
Basement & Nothing / Gouge Away @ Metro 7PM $20
Rodrigo Y Gabriela @ The Chicago Theatre 8PM $42.29
SATURDAY May 25th
Belmont Sheffield Music Fest - see our Summer Fest Guide for more info.
Chicago House Music Conference & Festival @ Millennium Park 2PM FREE
+ ONO /Buck Gooter/Lilac @The Hideout 9PM $10
+ The Belvederes (CD Release) / Bart Alonzo @ Fitzgerald’s 9PM $10
The 220.127.116.11's / John Paul Keith / Old Grand Dad @ Reggies 8PM $20
The Jungle Giants / Side Hug @ Schubas 9PM $15 ($18 doors)
Serenata / Rai / French Police / Avantist / Gabacho / Caro Arroba @ Subterranean 10PM $10
SUNDAY May 26th
Belmont Sheffield Music Fest - see our Summer Fest Guide for more info.
+ Hoist Fest: Rich Jones / Brasstax / Jordanna / Family Reunion / White PPL / Jovan Landry and more @ Subterranean 4PM $15
+ Logan Square Arts Fest Battle of the Bands with Ode / Fauvely / Holly & Perro Feo @ Sleeping Village 8PM FREE
Lincoln Durham/Melody Angel @Schubas 8PM $13
^ The Dangerous Summer / Have Mercy / Modern Chemistry @ Cobra Lounge 6PM $17
The Murder Junkies / Busby Death Chair / The Evil Engine / RealBadRealFast / Bloodman @ Reggies 7:30PM $10 ($12 doors)
MONDAY May 27th
+ The Sueves / The Woolly Bushmen / James Swanberg @ Empty Bottle 8:30PM doors FREE
+ Retirement Party / Macseal / I'm Glad It's You / Mt Pocono @ Beat Kitchen 8PM $10
Brendan Bennett / Oston / Golds / Shi La Rosa @ Schubas 8PM FREE
Bear’s Den / Vera Sola @ Thalia Hall 7:30PM $20
TUESDAY May 28th
+ Saltwater Tap / Poor Calvin @ Uncommon Ground 8PM $10 table
+ Daydream Review / Toebow / Claude @ Schubas 8PM FREE
+ (A Very Special) Beginning / Middle / End (the last night of Anna Holmquist’s residency) @ The Hideout 9PM $8
Caleb Willitz / Gone Valley / Seven Houses @ Empty Bottle 8:30PM doors $10
Operators / Doomsquad / Solipse @ Lincoln Hall 8:30PM $16 ($18 doors)
WEDNESDAY May 30th
+ Diagonal / Protovulcan / Speed Babes @ Emporium - Wicker Park 8PM FREE
+ Rebecca Rego and the Trainmen (CD Release) / Minor Moon / Adam Remnant @ Schubas 8PM $10 ($12 doors)
Laura Stevenson / See Through Dresses / Completions @ Beat Kitchen 8PM $15
Nick Murphy fka Chet Faker / Beacon @ Metro 9PM $29
FRENSHIP @ Thalia Hall 6:30PM doors $18
See you at the show Chicago!