new releases

ISSUE #56 / april 18, 2019


Blankenberge / More / Blankenberge

Russian shoegaze/dream pop out of Saint Petersburg that is as compelling as it sounds. Blakenberge gives the royalty of the genre a run for their money with the explosive More.


Bars of Gold / Shelters / Equal Visions

Born in the clubs of Detroit, Bars of Gold’s blend of post punk and noise rock feels right coming from Motor City. Shelters hits all the right chords and propels them into cult status.

Beat Kitchen is playing host to them on June 29th. Tix are $12.


Intellexual / Intellexual / Fantasy , Concord


The project of Chicago native Nico Segal (formally Donnie Trumpet) and fellow producer/performer Nate Fox, Intellexual is a stunning mixture of the two’s aesthetics and a genre blending adventure of a record.


Emily Reo /Only You Can See It / Carpark

Brooklyn indie pop rocker Emily Reo has done it again with the symphonic Only You Can See It. As addictive as albums get, she is has always been a solid revelation.

She’ll be at The Hideout on April 30th. Tix are $8.


Damien Jurado / In The Shape of a Storm / Mama Bird

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The master of consistency, Damien Jurado has been producing folk masterpieces for years now, so it’s no surprise that In The Shape of a Storm is a beautifully distinct record.


Teen Body / Dreamo / Broken Circles

Like sunlight through gauze, the dreamy sounds of Brooklyn’s Teen Body permeates sophomore effort Dreamo. A solid effort from the shoegaze influenced quartet.

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Dani Bander / Blackout / Cleopatra

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Attempting to take the mariachi out of the rancheras genre, Dani Bander successfully blends rock and country with the distinct brand of the mariachi on the excellent Blackout.


Chris Forsyth / All Time Present / No Quarter

Possibly the pinnacle of a long and grinding career, All Time Present is an excellent record from journeyman Chris Forsyth.  

He will be rolling through The Hideout on July 13th. Tix are $12.

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Earthquake Lights / Distress Signals / Earthquake Lights

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Gorgeous genre blending tunes from this NYC based quintet makes Distress Signals one of this week’s best debuts. Earthquake Lights is an act to put on your radar.


Lowly / Hifalutin / Bella Union

This Copenhagen dream pop collective sophomore effort Hifalutin is stunningly gorgeous. Lowly should be on every must listen list.

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The Gluts / Dengue Fever Hypnotic Trip / Fuzz Club

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Terrifying punk rock from the streets of Milan. The Gluts have struck fuzz filled gold with their third effort Dengue Fever Hypnotic Trip.


Melby / None of this makes me worry / Rama Lama

An excellent full length debut from this Stockholm psych pop quartet. None of this makes me worry establishes Melby as one of the acts to watch in 2019.



Andy Bell / Torsten in Queereteria / Strike Force

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As one half of Erasure, Andy Bell has had a storied career, and his Torsten concept series now has it’s third entry with Torsten in Queeretreria.


Diego Trip / Al Espacio / Diego Paolo Zelada Cornejo

Expansive psych pop from this Spanish language act. Diego Trip make their full length debut Al Espacio into a trip of a record.  

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The Black Tones / Cobain and Cornbread / Reptar

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Twins Eva and Cedric David’s Southern blues infused, post grunge, drum and guitar duo The Black Tones named their full length debut after the most commonly asked question: “What does your band sound like?” Well, like Cobain and Cornbread, of course.  


Escort / City Life / Escort

Contemporary disco at it’s finest, City Life is a testament to Escort’s longevity. Throw this one on at your next party and watch the dance floor light the hell up!



Native Harrow / Happier Now / Native Harrow

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Making throwback folk that harkens to the days of Laurel Canyon, Devin Tuel has been using the moniker Native Harrow for years now, and Happier Now is a testament to the singer/songwriters longevity.  


Gretchen Pleuss / Daughter of the Broader Skies / Sun Pedal

A dynamic singer/songwriter out of our fellow midwest state of Ohio, Gretchen Pleuss has an infectious quality that makes Daughter of the Broader Skies into one of this week’s must listens.

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Bill Frisell & Thomas Morgan / Equistrophy / ECM , Deutsche Grammophon

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Bill Frisell and Thomas Morgan played the Village Vanguard back in 2016. The live sessions resulted in 2017's Small Town. The album offered was a wonderfully intimate expose of jazz and folk, with some pop thrown in for good measure. They had enough material, however, to release another fully formed album in this year’s Epistrophy. Visiting the same subjects of folk and jazz, but throwing in some movie themes as well, the two show that they may be one of the more powerful live recording artists in modern jazz. Flipping between a famous Drifters cover, a track from a 1939 musical, two Thelonious Monk covers, and a freaking James Bond theme, Frisell’s relaxed guitar work and Morgan’s harmonic and rhythmic relationship with the former is a wonder to behold. It’s a fun album at the forefront, but the whispered and intimate live environment create a true masterpiece. I’m usually not one for live albums, but these guys set the bar with this one.



Shovels & Rope / By Blood / Dualtone

By Blood is, by far, the most brash album to date for the Charleston husband and wife duo of Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst, better known by Shovels & Rope. “I’m Coming Out” is an absolute perfect opener, pulsating through the seams with fuzzed-to-the-max vocals and drenched with blistering guitar solos. It’s a stark departure from their earlier, brooding, work, but the thundering drums and harmonizing in “Mississippi Nuthin’” doesn’t make miss the more contemplative folk-country one bit. “Twisted Sisters” uses a simple, repeating piano note as the crust for a pie built with about-to-burst vocals and a sneaky trumpet in the periphery. In just 38 minutes, these two lovebirds completely changed what I thought Shovels & Rope were or even could be. They’ve always been great performers, but the songs themselves were always lacking for me. That’s clearly changing for the better, and maybe all it took was a little blood.


Shovels & Rope doesn’t come to Chicago, but they do make it to Aurora’s RiverEdge Park on Sunday, July 21st. Tickets here.

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The Budos Band / The Budos Band V / Daptone

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Eight bearded, long haired, heavy metal looking dudes walk onto a stage. You would never expect this to come out of them. Funk fueled, afrobeat influenced instrumental jams outs that put most other live acts to shame. The Budos Band has been surprising for fifteen years and their fifth studio record, unceremoniously titled The Budos Band V is the same quality seventies action flick quality amazingness they’ve been shovels down our ears for years!


The Chemical Brothers / No Geography / The Chemical Brothers , Universal

Have you ever wondered, “what did JCB listen to during marathon sessions of Halo 2”? Well, dear readers, the playlist leaned heavily on the big beat sounds of Manchester’s The Chemical Brothers. Their latest release, No Geography, is less experimental than the last 9 years of output and more of a classic throwback to the unending barrage of sample-heavy bangers. “Got To Keep On” is a blistering disco inferno, pulling from Peter Brown’s “Dance With Me”. “We’ve Got To Try” is by far my favorite track on the 47 minute FPS soundtrack, which samples the vocals from Hallelujah Chorus’ “I’ve Got To Find A Way”. It’s pure ‘90s Chemical Brothers output – buzzed out beats that have one hell of a drop. “MAH” is a funky penultimate track with a building 4/4 beat, with El Coco’s “Mad As Hell” repeated until the lasers come out and I’m getting flashbacks of running SWAT on the Lockout map. It’s been over a decade since we’ve had a Chemical Brothers album that is front to back killer, and it’s even better that the duo legitimately seem like they’re having a total blast.


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Norah Jones / Begin Again / Capitol , Blue Note

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From a haunting somber first track, to something a similar to her contemporary jazz  and a little of indie rock, singer songwriter Norah Jones releases 7 track album Begin Again. The album feels like seperate songs pieced together to create the album. Songs such as “It Was You” has this slower piano and jazz melody, displays normal musical genre for Jones, mixes with song “My Heart Is Full” a the haunting melody with what sounds like a heartbeat behind Jones’ powerful vocals. Each song gives a new taste for the ear’s palette and creates a new imagery and emotion within each song in the album.



Glen Hansard  / This Wild Willing  / Plateau , Anti

Oh, Glen Hansard. I can’t quit you. I loved the Irish rock of The Frames, Once came out exactly when I needed it to, and 2018’s Between Two Shores was, according to Spotify, one of my most played albums of the year. I had assumed you would make me wait the expected three years for a new set of songs, but here you come with The Wild Willing. Even more of a surprise is the approach on this set. You brought horns and soul on last year’s release, but man – you really pushed the boundaries with this one. Gone is the lovelorn front you’ve worn on your sleeve since the Oscar winning 2007 movie and soundtrack, and back is the worldly rock of The Frames. Utilizing a band of Eastern musicians to give the sound an experimental tone, The Wild Willing is a mostly improvisational collection of dissonant rock. I also really admire you pulling back your craggily voice to a hushed whisper. You may not hit the highs on every track as I’ve come to anticipate, but I think this detour could lead to some real magic on future releases

Glen Hansard swings through Chicago Theater on September 6th. Tickets here.

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other notable releases

The Frights / Live At The Observatory / Epitaph

Adam Carroll / I Walked In Them Shoes / Adam Carroll

Jess Ribeiro / LOVE HATE / Barely Dressed

Dave Hause / Kick / Dave Hause , Rise

Black Flower / Future Flora / Sdban Ultra , N.E.W.S.

Elkhorn / Sun Cycle and Elk Jam / Elkhorn , Feeding Tube

Mark Guiliana / Beat Music! Beat Music! Beat Music! / Motema

Bibio / Ribbons / Warp

Pet Shop Boys / Inner Sanctum: Live at the Royal Opera House / x2

Band of Skulls / Love Is All You Love / SO , Silva Screen

Jack Lewis’ Awkward Energy / Lvov in the Streets / Don Giovanni

Jesse / GARAGEB& / Columbia , Sony
Sub T is hosting this rocker on May 3rd. That show is Sold Out.

Big Business / The Beast You Are / Joyful Noise

Tellavision / Add Land / Bureau B

The Cradle / The Glare of Success / NNA

The Leisure Society / Arrivals & Departures / The Leisure Society

Damhnait Doyle / Liquor Store Flowers / Damhnait Doyle

Cris Jacobs / Color Where You Are / Blue Rose
The Baltimore troubador  is playing the Tonic Room on May 17th. Tix are $10 ($12 door)  

Gone Cosmic / Sideways In Time / Gone Cosmic

The Pinx / Sisters & Brothers / The Pinx

Walking On Cars / Colours / Universal , Virgin

Jens Lekman & Annika Norlin / CORRESPONDENCE / Secretly Canadian , Family Tree

ALL TVVINS / Just To Exist / Faction

Tepr / Technosensible / Parlophone , Warner

Alireza / Endlyss / Earache

Diabolic & Vanderslice / Collusion / Coalmine

Omar Apollo / Friends / Omar Apollo , AWAL
A first generation Mexican American from Indiana is hitting a Lolla Stage this summer!  

Big Search / Slow Fascination / 30th Century

Tom Speight / Collide / Tom Speight , AWAL

Karen Haglof / Tobiano / Karen Haglof

Eli Paperboy Reed / 99 Cent Dreams / Yep Roc
Old school rock makes a return to SPACE in Evanston on May 11th. Tix are $15 - $25.

Minka / Reincarnation / MINKA

MISSIO / The Darker The Weather // The Better The Man / RCA , Sony
These Austin based electro trap duo will be at Metro this weekend, April 20th. Tix are $19.

Sotto Voce / Safety / Makeout Artist

Silverstein / Redux: The First Ten Years / NSEW
They are opening for August Burns Red at House of Blues on July 1st. Tix are $32.50.

Eric Reed / Everybody Gets the Blues / Smoke Sessions

Trey Anastasio / Ghosts of the Forest / Rubber Jungle

T Bone Burnett, Jay Bellerose, and Keefus Ciancia / The Invisible Light: Acoustic Space / Electro Magnetic

PJ Harvey / All About Eve (Original Music) / Lakeshore

Melissa Etheridge / The Medicine Show / MLE , Concord