BPRB: January 23rd Update

January 23, 2009

LOTS of new Chicago concerts listed, including the first May concert date.  ALREADY!  MMMMmmm, I can feel the non-subzero  temperatures already.  Check dates times and ticket costs on the “Bored People Are Boring” Calendar of Events:

January:
Lambchop
Lasers and Fast and Shit
Friendly Foes

February:
Tortoise
Danger
Lazer Crystal
Kid Color
Leo 123
Flosstradamus
Gatekeeper
The Chamber Strings
Kevin Tihista
Lonesome Cougar
The 1900’s
Mazes
Cotton Jones
Headlights
Maserati
The Pomegranates
Oceans

March:
Matthew Dear
Guido Schneider
Frankie Vega
Gianna Hardt
Bonnie “Prince” Billy
Fruit Bats
Disappears
Bishop Allen
 
April:
White Lies
Friendly Fires
Golden Filter
Marah
Simian Mobile Disco
Great Lake Swimmers
Kate Maki
Neko Case

May:
The Books

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Hush Now

January 5, 2009

Rather than just talk about a band I would recommend going to see tomorrow night at Schubas, I asked Michael Hush, lead of pop-rockers Five Foot Nine, to tell me his favorite pop culture tidbits from 2008 (Now that it’s over).

Before I get all list-y, the Five Foot Nine play fresh, clever, well-arranged rock that most immediately reminds me of Brooklyn’s Bishop Allen. Both bands combine tasteful guy/gal harmonies, tight rhythm sections, and great sing-along choruses with charm to spare. Local swaggering glam-punk poppers The Handcuffs are also playing.

MP3: Five Foot Nine, “Back to the Tunnels” (file courtesy of Radio Free Chicago)

Here’s were Mike’s Pop Picks of 2008.

Books: as for fiction… Here are 3 novels that I really admired this year

  • Denis Johnson, “Tree of Smoke”
  • Michael Chabon, “Yiddish Policeman’s Union”
  • The Lazarus Project, “Alexander Hemon”

Movies:

Sally Hawkins in Happy Go Lucky

  • The Visitor
  • Frozen River
  • Happy Go Lucky

Music:

  • Los Campesinos
  • Bonny Prince Billy
  • The Hold Steady

Commercial:

  • Probably Holiday Inn Express spot where the geeky marketing dude displays his dope rhyming skills on the corner in NY…

Pop Culture Moment:

  • got to be Grant Park on election night


Boys & Girls Mix

August 28, 2008

For a while I’ve been wanting to make a mix of bands that swap vocals between guys and gals, but, as I really like that sound, I feel like I have too many songs that fall under that category. Like, ya know, Belle & Sebastian, Stars and half of my itunes.

 

So, for this ‘lil boy/girl mix I was trying to avoid some of the obvious tracks, but they pretty much seeped in anyway. I also tried to stay in the folk/pop vein so you’re going to miss some of those great hip-hop/electro girl/boy vocals, namely: Positive K’s “I Gotta Man”, Human League’s “Don’t You Want Me”, Postal Service’s “Nothing Better”, Streets’ “Get Out of My House”.

 

Because of the inherent drama of boys and girls harmonizing, most of the songs have some “relationship” content, be it lovey-dovey or breakup-y. Also, it makes for a pretty even-keeled, laid-back type mix and one which you should be careful while listening to if you’re driving and feeling a bit sleepy. So, after all that, enjoy!

 

  1. Intro – The Pixies
  2. Handle with Care – Jenny Lewis with the Watson Twins
  3. Two Ways – The 1900s
  4. Honey Child What Can I Do? – Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan
  5. Who Were You Thinkin’ Of? – Biirdie
  6. Secretly Minnesotan – Tullycraft
  7. Death to Los Campesinos! – Los Campesinos!
  8. Say Yes if You Love Me –  Acid House Kings
  9. PS (Interlude) – The Books
  10. Happy New Year – Camera Obscura
  11. Can’t Ever Sleep – Saturday Looks Good To Me
  12. Friday Night – Elephant Parade
  13. Jorge Regula – The Moldy Peaches
  14. Come Back From San Francisco – The Magnetic Fields
  15. Souvenirs – Architecture in Helsinki
  16. You Really Gotta Hold On Me – She & Him
  17. All You Need Is Hate – The Delgados
  18. Know-How – Kings of Convenience
  19. Les Etoiles Secretes – Ida
  20. Ghosts Are Good Company – Bishop Allen
  21. Ice Storn, Big Gust, and You – Tilly & The Wall

The Zipped File & Album Art can be found on Mediafire here:

http://www.mediafire.com/?sharekey=992c799b40f3f811dfbd00fb952479db185df0bdeae2cf0b  

 


Conor Oberst, Christian Rudder: A Comparison

August 23, 2008

I’ve never considered any commonalities between Conor “Bright Eyes” Oberst and Christian “Bishop Allen” Rudder, but now, after growns-up Conor has cultivated a striking resemblance to Rudder (in his new video for “Souled Out” (<– clever spelling!), I may have to re-think things. A quick breakdown:

Name:

  • CR: Christian Rudder
  • CO: Conor Oberst

Hails From:

  • CR: Little Rock, Arkansas
  • CO: Omaha, Nebraska

Current Location:

  • CR: Brooklyn, New York
  • CO: Brooklyn, New York

Occupation:

  • CR: Guitarist / songwriter for Bishop Allen
  • CO: Singer/songwriter who collaborates often, most recently with the Mystic Valley Band but notably with his collective, Bright Eyes, among many other projects.

Bands played in during adolescence:

Secondary Education:

  • CR: Bachelor of Arts, Harvard
  • CO: English Major, University of Nebraska (left to tour with Bright Eyes)

Current Label:

  • CR: Charm School (co-owns)
  • CO: Merge

Former Label(s):

  • CR: Polyvinyl
  • CO: Team Love (owns), Saddle Creek, Barsuk, among others

Indie Film Connections


Did you know…:

  • CR: Writer for now-defunct comedy site TheSpark.com, co-creator of dating site OKCupid.com
  • CO: Sorta smiled in his Jr. High School yearbook picture

Conor Oberst & The Mystic Valley Band – “Souled Out”

Bishop Allen – “Click, Click, Click, Click”


Top 10 Albums of 2007

January 11, 2008

Well. It’s been nearly a year since blizz-ogged on this page. But, I’m inspired by the STiTP/Kerchief Valhalla list, to post my own top 10 of the year. Like I do sometimes, I have to mention albums that are supposedly AWESOME but haven’t got my lazy-ass around to listening to.

Top 10 Albums of 2007

10. Y.A.C.H.T., I Believe in You. Your Magic is Real*
This one needs an asterisk. It took till ’07 for me to find, and fall head-over-heals with the bleeps, bloops and diary entries of The Blow. Early into 2007 Blow’s beatmaker, Jona Bechtolt, marooned singer/songwriter Khaela Maricich to pursue solo work under the name of YACHT. Since then, I’ve been left alone in a corner with no new Blow to enjoy. Bechtolt’s “solo” I Believe in You… consoled me – just like the friend whose consoling words don’t help but you appreciate them anyway.

MP3: “See A Penny (Pick It Up)”

9. Wilco, Sky Blue Sky
One guy calls it “dad rock” and gives it a deece review and suddenly everyone’s off the Wilco wagon. Poppycock! This album is the real deal. In the last decade we’ve seen Tweedy grow from the guy that wrote the couplet “We should take a walk / But you’re such a fast walker, whoa-oh”, to becoming a abstract Dixie Cup Aquarium Drinker, to a Wheel/Bug/Hummingbird, to Jeff Tweedy. After all the band shifts, style shifts (fan base shifts?) Wilco emerged this year, confident in their LP’s, walking softly and carrying a big catalog. Tweedy sings sweetly, simply and directly after a few years of his free-associative and abstract lyrics. The band’s kraut-rock exercises have been distilled into a few efficient jam-outs. There’s just something impressive about Nels Cline, an avant-jazz squall guitarist, reigning in his tendencies enough to play a simple, clean Allman-brothersesque guitar duet. As Lisa Simpson once said – “It’s the notes they’re not playing.”

MP3: “Impossible Germany”

8. Flosstradamus / Kid Sister
Does not releasing a “proper album” mean you can’t get any love on year-end lists anymore? Not in this crazy inter-blag world. Although, technically, there’s no proper album out, DJ/Mash-up kids Flosstradamus and one of the duo’s kid sisters – Kid Sister, are churning out the jams. The bumpin’ beats, hip-hop mashups, old-school rhymes, and indie-happy samples have been Chicago dance/bar favorites for a while now, but it’s time for the big time. SxSW lost their brains for Floss’ remix of Matt & Kim‘s Yea Yeah, meanwhile Kid Sister’s “Pro Nails” found it’s way onto Kanye‘s Can’t Tell Me Nothing mixtape and the rest will be history… by the end of next year. Watch your back though Flossy, The Hood Internet‘s quick on your tail. (Photo Credit: Everyoneisfamous.com)

MP3: Kid Sister “Southside”

MP3: Flosstradamus “Overnight Star”

7. Bishop Allen, The Broken String
It’s been nearly half a decade since Bishop Allen dropped the self-released Charm School LP – an album whose hooks and lines you’d catch yourself singing constantly. The groups ring-leaders, Christian Rudder and Justin Rice, recorded the album with a microphone, a pre-amp, and ProTools while trying hard not to annoy their Bishop Allen Drive neighbors in Cambridge, MA. They’re a dynamic and fairly prolific pair… aside from the band both have cultivated what seems like their own brand — Rudder writing the hilarious entertainment section of the now-defunct SparkNotes.com, and co-creating the equally hilarious dating site (OkCupid) while both Rice & Rudder are pseudo-stars of the burgeoning “Mumblecore” film scene (Rice starring in Mutual Appreciation and Rudder as the love interest in Funny Ha-Ha). The Broken String is a triumph of sorts, a culmination of a plan that started more than a year before its release – to support the band by self-releasing an EP each month for an entire year. Each month was a new surprise – a new track that was a sure-fire hit, and the LP, while lacking some of the DIY charisma of the individual EPs, is an album full of pure pop gold. Bishop Allen are as fun as every, but stretch their creative boundries with a latin-tinged “Like Castanets” and the dramatic flair of “The Monitor”.

MP3: “Rain”

6. Radiohead, In Rainbows
Perfect timing. Every few years people start forgetting about these Oxfordshire lads they come along and blow the lid off of everything. This time it was more context than content, but the album is solid, and exciting. Most exciting, at least to me, is Thom Yorke using the word “I” again. An interesting question to be posed – Is it a coincidence that the most direct, “pop” album Radiohead has put out in a decade is the one that they’re giving away to listeners for whatever they want to pay? I.E., would a challenging album along the lines of Kid A compromise the ultimate commercial success of the album? If so, does operating “free” from the Music Industry effect an artists creative process just as much (or more so) than operating within the system? It’s a temple-tapper.

MP3: “Weird Fishes/Apregi”

5. Kanye West, Graduation
What a hilarious twist. Kanye, throwing fits at MTV Europe Awards about Justice vs. Simian winning Video of the Year, learned a few lessons about Euro Dance Pop. 1) Synths can be cool 2) Pasty White People can be cool 3) Daft Punk is fucking cool.

MP3: “Flashing Lights”

4. Architecture in Helsinki, Places Like This
There were hankerings. After the last few loops around the U.S., AiH had subtly shifted from a twee band you could dance to, to a dance band you could drink chamomile tea to. Half the band disappeared and all of the sudden these Aussie’s were doing fun chant-along world beat tunes. Cameron Bird, who’s vocal stylings on their debut LP Fingers Crossed rarely raised above a childish whisper, now growls and yalps and screams – the fun juvenile spirit is still present in the band but now it’s like their at recess.

MP3: “Heart It Races”

3. LCD Soundsystem, Sound of Silver
Regardless of the criticism that Sound of Silver is nearly a song-for-song repeat of their debut LP, it still sounds better than nearly everything else out there. James Murphy, and his DFA clan can churn out the beats, that much is known. But if S.O.S. is a duplication of LCD Soundsystem it’s its doppelganger – imbedding criticism and actual emotion into dance tracks. Sarcasm and cynicism is a refuge (and a cash crop in Williamsburg) and Murphy trumped expectations by turning the scene’s discoball mirrors back onto themselves.

MP3: “All My Friends”

2. M.I.A., Kala
Dude. This some crazy shit. “Paper Planes” is easily my favorite song of the year — with or without gunshots. I LOVED Arular when it dropped and I’m so pleased that her follow-up is just as bombastic, vaguely political, vaguely danceable, but wholly original. I guess I’m happy we live in a cultural climate that an album as globally scatter-brained as this can find such a wide, receptive audience.

MP3: “Paper Planes”

1. The National, Boxer
I’m not a lyrics man. In fact, I’ll really only pay attention to the lyrics if the song sufficiently interests me. Lucky for The National, the urgent, heavy but not inaccessible sound begs you to read into their lyrics. Boxer’s content, just like its sound, is dark and brooding, but offers glimpses of romance, desperation, charm, and touchstone imagery. Beyond the discussion of the album’s cryptic Willy Loman storyline, what can’t be stressed enough is that the album is a true pleasure to listen to. A great album all the way through, and an LP that begs you replay it as soon as the last measure ends.

MP3: “Green Gloves”


November: Bored People Are Boring – Brian’s Stuff To Do

November 9, 2006

Fri 11/10
Metro 10pm
Hot Chip
London’s Hot Chip is a frontrunner in the dancing-crazy-is-the-new-standing-still rock category. Equal parts digital and organic, the most immediate comparison is with DFA labelmates LCD Soundsystem but while the latter can come off disaffectedly NYC, Hot Chip’s modus operandi is definitely “Get Those Asses Moving”. It’s pop, it’s funk, it’s electronic and it’s just plain fun. Shy Child and Born Ruffians open. (Song Streaming here)

Sat 11/11 12pm to 5pm
SOUTH UNION ARTS MARKET (1352 S. UNION in Chicago)
Do you feel holiday mall shopping sucks the “cool” right out of you. Well, my crafty, “indie”, closet Gilmore Girls fans – I have a solution. Check out the hipper-than-thou S.U.A. Market, which, although still pre-Thanksgiving, is spinning this as a Holiday sales event. Grrrrr. Local vendors will sell a variety of handmade items: clothing, journals, photography, poster art, paper goods and more. Plus some ‘lil sweets sold by TipsyCake. Musical accompaniment by Heligoats, Octagon Island, WE/OR/ME.

Wed 11/15 – 9pm
Subterranean
NORFOLK & WESTERN
Norfolk & Western, the pseudonym of singer/songwriter Adam Selzer, has roped in his amour, Rachel Blumberg (former Decemberists’ drummer), and a handful of other musicians in order to craft intricate, literate arrangements that may rival that of Blumberg’s previous Portland-based “collective”. Chicago-based Darling open.
FREE N&W MP3 here.

Sun 11/19
Beat Kitchen
Bishop Allen
Former Bostonites now Brooklynites, Bishop Allen knows their way around a pop song. Lyrics are clever and sincere, and their sound incorporates early Talking Heads, catchy hooks, sing-songy vocals, Brit-invasion guitar and even a bit of urban twang. 2003’s under-the-radar pop gem Charm School put them on the map, and in the meantime they’ve stayed busy releasing an EP each month this year with what seems like a sure-fire hit on each one. Lots of free tunes on their homepage.

Tue 11/21, 5pm
Val’s Halla Records, Oak Park (239 Harrison St)
Val’s Halla Records Movie Night
This Tuesday, like every Tuesday, is Val’s Halla movie night. The renowned record shop has recently relocated elsewhere in Oak Park to a place that can fit like… more than eight people. Crate dive for some discount vinyl, grab some free promo stickers, and enjoy some music videos and music-themed films. Crank it up to 11.

Fri 11/24, Sat 11/25
Logan Square Auditorium
Andrew Bird
A homecoming of sorts for this original Chicago-bred talent. Logan Square Auditorium hosts a two-night stint for Andrew Bird, known for putting on enthralling and inventive concert performances. Bird’s sets are lush with layered sounds of percussion, orchestral flourishes, his talents on multiple instruments especially the violin, and yes, even his hypnotic whistling skills. All this is complimented by Bird’s penchant for quirky endearing lyricism. His whimsical sound draws easy comparisons to Sufjan Stevens, Rufus Wainwright and Jeff Buckley. There won’t be snacks.