Indie Fantasy

March 26, 2009

With Fantasy Football a long ways away, and with Fantasy everything else sucking, we have created the obvious next step in “fantasy gaming”…. Fantasy Indie Rock.

Is there any better way to monitor the commodity that has become “indie” than by drafting artists as properties and tallying points?  I don’t think so.  It’s a simple formula:  Their name gets mentioned on Pitchfork or Stereogum news, you get a point. Simple as that.

So me, Curran, Kenny, Matt and Rob sat down and did our inaugural “Indie Rock Draft” this week, and began tallying points.  The scoreboard is on a Google cloud spreadsheet so everyone can make changes and update their rosters as need be.

I’ll keep you updated on it’s progress, but for your enjoyment (and so I can tag the shit out of this post), here’s how the draft went (please note, Matt came late):

Round 1

  1. Curran    Kanye West
  2. Kenny    Wilco
  3. Rob    Animal Collective
  4. Brian    Colin Meloy

Round 2

  1. Brian    M.I.A.
  2. Rob    Lily Allen
  3. Kenny    Radiohead
  4. Curran    The Decemberists

Round 3

  1. Curran    Neko Case
  2. Kenny    U2
  3. Kroll    Conor Oberst
  4. Rob    Girltalk
  5. Brian    Death Cab For Cutie

Round 4

  1. Brian    Peter, Bjorn & John
  2. Rob    Sigur Ros
  3. Kroll    Ladyhawke
  4. Kenny    Andrew Bird
  5. Curran    Grizzly Bear

Round 5

  1. Curran    Jane’s Addiction
  2. Kenny    Bruce Springsteen
  3. Matt   Jesus Lizard
  4. Rob    Dangermouse
  5. Brian    No Age

Supplemental Draft

  1. Matt    Crystal Stilts
  2. Matt    Pains of Being Pure At Heart

The strategies were interesting… do you draft small-time bands with their SXSW stock rising, do you try to take a big guess on who’s going to be announced at Lollapalooza (or the billion of other festivals doing press releases),  do you risk taking the frontman of a band in the hopes you can double-up on points for their solo AND group material, or pick-up a producer who has his hands in a LOT of recordings but sometimes isn’t mentioned in shorter news articles.  Ohhhh, strategery.

If you’re curious, here are the top-5 scorers as of yesterday, 3/25:

1. Animal Collective – 6
2. Dinosaur Jr – 5
3. Death Cab For Cutie (tie) – 4
3. Passion Pit (tie) – 4
5. *13 bands tied with 3 points each* Beach House, Billy Corrigan, Black Lips, Conor Oberst, Department of Eagles, Dirty Projectors, Grizzly Bear, Jimmy Chamberlin, Kanye West, No Age, Soundgarden, Vivian Girls, Yeah Yeah Yeahs


Yo Cubs, Yo

October 3, 2008

Despite this comic making 0 sense, I had to post it. (Found it on The Barnacle Press comic archive).

 

I digress.  By now I think even Cubs fans can admit that the “Go Cubs Go” theme is getting a bit obnoxious.    Recently, Eddie Vedder’s Cubs tribute, “Someday We’ll Go All the Way” was all the rage, but as Chicago radio played that one into the ground, North and Southsiders alike are likely to groan when it comes on.

Anyway, hip-hopper Verbal Kent felt that perhaps it was his time to throw his Cubs ode into the ring.  Not particularly bad, not particularly good, and suspiciously leaking online in early October.  Check it on GoWhereHipHop.

Also, since Baseball and Mixtapes go together like, um, A.J. Pierzynski and anyone else, Greg Kot has put togther a playlist for both the White Sox and the Cubs playoff seasons on his Trib page: http://leisureblogs.chicagotribune.com/turn_it_up/2008/09/sox-and-cubs-in.html

 

North Side:

  • “For the Love of Ivy,” Gun Club: Wonder if singer Jeffrey Pierce ever visited Wrigley?
  • “One Hundred Years,” the Cure: Even Robert Smith realizes 1908 was a long time ago.
  • “Trail of Tears,” Guadalcanal Diary: How else to explain the last 99 years?
  • “Break the Curse,” Iron Savior: German metal band tries to break the “Billy Goat” hex cast in 1945.
  • “Waiting for an Alibi,” Thin Lizzy: In 2003 it was Steve Bartman, in 2008 it will be …
  • “A Dying Cub Fan’s Last Request,” Steve Goodman: One for the diehards.
  • “My Wasted Friends,” Ike Reilly: One for the Bleacher Bums.
  • “Even the Losers,” Tom Petty: “… get lucky sometime.”
  • “Louie Louie,” the Kingsmen: Bet it wouldn’t be difficult to persuade Piniella to lift a cold one while this one is blaring from the P.A. after the North Siders win.
  • “Four Horsemen,” The Clash: The Cubs win the World Series? Surely the Apocalypse would be next.

 

South Side:

  • “Winning Ugly,” the Rolling Stones: The Tony LaRussa-era motto still applies.
  • “Godzilla,” Blue Oyster Cult: For the big mashers – Thome, Quentin, Junior, Dye, Konerko.
  • “Have a Drink on Me,” AC/DC: A blue-collar song for a blue-collar ‘hood.
  • “Dead End Street,” Lou Rawls:  Should be Ken “Hawk” Harrelson’s theme song —
  • “They call it the Windy City because of the Hawk, the almighty Hawk.”
  • “The Yankee Flipper,” the Baseball Project: An homage to ex-Sox pitcher “BlackJack” McDowell, as sung by rocker Steve Wynn.
  • “Bark at the Moon,” Ozzy Osbourne: From one Oz to another.
  • “My Big Mouth,” Oasis: About Ozzie? About Sox hater Jay Mariotti? You decide.
  • “My Fist, Your Face,” Aerosmith: A.J. has a way of stirring up harsh feelings in the opposition; just ask Michael Barrett.
  • “Stronger,” Kanye West: A South Sider’s song of celebration.
  • “Twistin’ the Night Away,” Sam Cooke:  And another one.

While it looks less-and-less likely that a “Redline” cross-town series is likely, I’ll leave you with a little preview of what to expect in the Second City if that does, indeed, happen.


Notes on the Pitchfork Music Fest

July 22, 2008

Nick Zinner of !!!, doing what Nick Zinner does.

I’m currently working on my annual “trend spotting” type list of what I saw at this weekend’s festivities. (You can check out last year’s here.) If you are not aware, Pitchfork is a festival that brings local, national and international talent together, so they can all look at how each other are dressing. Oh yeah, there’s music there too.

It was a pretty good year, actually, but I was hoping for more in the “style” department, not sure why. It could be for anyone of these three reasons:

  1. As Pitchfork notoriety has grown in the last three years, perhaps the fest’s “edgy” feel has worn off a bit, and with that, it’s forward-dressing attendees have diluted.
  2. My disillusionment and unending distaste for anything new or old
  3. I am WAY ahead of all trends now.

Bradford James Cox of Deerhuner and Mark Sultan of King Kahn attempt to entertain impatient Cut Copy fans. “A” for effort.

The feast was actually really fun. !!! killed, which is no surprise. Les Savy Fav was awesome, also no surprises there. Biggest issue with the event was actually Cut Copy’s failure to make it from the airport in time for their closing set. Though that’s no fault of their own, it’s still supremely disappointing. In what allotted time was left, they made the most of it, banging out both crowd-bouncers “Light & Music”, and “Hearts on Fire” to an enthused (but obviously peeved) crowd. Those that stuck around to see the hyper-abbreviated set worked very hard for an encore which didn’t come — chanting “Five More Songs, Five More Songs” probably didn’t help.

Before I write about “trend spotting” thing, which I’ll post about tomorrow probably, I wanted to mention things I didn’t see but expected to…

  • Party-Rappers: I saw very few nu-rave/b-boy kids. There were a few zany fluorescent windbreakers in the crowd, but surprisingly few retina-burning limited-edition hightops, Kanye-esque Venitian blind sunglasses, and “crosscolor” wear.
  • American Apparel Smack Girls: Emaciated heroin-chic AmAp mannequins, looking like the Olsen twins on a budget, did not take over the fest. I’m not particularly against American Apparel at all, but sometimes their style and color-choices are very disturbing. Just because you bought your entire outfit at the same store does NOT mean that it will automatically go together. They should put that as a disclaimer on the bag.
  • The Unapologetic Prep: With XRT-approved artists Vampire Weekend and Spoon both playing, and with coverage from outlets like Chicago rag The Red Eye, I anticipated seeing a lot more Chad/Trixie presence. V.W. especially, whose style is particularly “high-prep” did not bring out the J. Crew slew. Surprisingly, the most evidence I saw of this was on Friday during Public Enemy!(?) Who woulda’ thunk it? While Chuck D was talking about war, racism, Darfur, etc., there was a dude next to us going on a tirade about Chicago’s 10.25% sales tax. When Chuck was talking about the drug trade and Big Pharm, this guy started screaming about how much money he lost with his Pfizer stock last week. I’m NOT making this up.
  • Mud People: I’m am SO impressed with the lack of Mud People over the weekend. The hippie count, though present at the fest, was still at very low levels. Very few idiots thought it a good idea to douse themselves completely in mud. Yes, L.S.V. did it, but they’re on a stage — you are not.

Check back soon for a quick overview of what was stylin’ this year, and what you will soon see in your local bar if your local bar has Yo La Tengo on the juke box.

Oh, and just to streamline the process, here’s all the missed connections posted from this weekend so far. You’re welcome:

Jul 21 – My new friend from the East Coast – w4m – 29 – (Pitchfork)

Jul 21 – Pitchfork — the draw of the music kept me from stopping to chat – m4w – 30 – (Pitchfork)

Jul 21 – Broken arm dude at pitchfork – w4m – 22 – (pitchfork)

Jul 21 – giant camera lense and gray cut off jeans boy – w4m –

Jul 21 – To all the beautiful women at pitchfork that I missed (and still miss) – m4w – 28 – (Union Park)

Jul 21 – I saw you yesterday, but we still haven’t seen Of Montreal – m4w – 22 – (pitchfork)

Jul 21 – you asked if i’d blow the next hit in your mouth – m4w – 25 – (pitchfork animal collective)

Jul 21 – Rae…Ghost…Empty Cups…Backpacks – m4w – (pitchfork)

Jul 21 – your friends called you caleb – 25 – (pitchfork)

Jul 21 – Pitchfork: owl belt buckle both days – m4w – 26 – (union park)

Jul 21 – To The Hula Hoop Chick From Pitchfork (Saturday Night) – m4w – (Pitchfork)

Jul 21 – Can I see you again? – m4w – 28 – (Pitchfork) pic

Jul 21 – Hey, another pitchfork post – m4w – 24 – (The pitch)

Jul 21 – pitchforked – m4w –

Jul 21 – Pitchfork’s No. 1 Boobs – m4w – 27 – (Pitchfork Music Fest)

Jul 21 – Pitchfork glance – m4w – 26 – (Pitchfork)

Jul 20 – pitchfork guy at cut copy – w4m – 21 – (pitchfork)

Jul 20 – pitchfork – w4m – 24 –

Jul 20 – Brad on the No. 9 to Pitchfork – w4m – 25 – (Ashland to Lake St.)

Jul 20 – tennessee and pitchfork boy – w4m –

Jul 20 – Cute girl at the Museum of Contemporary Art on Saturday – m4w – 26 – (Chicago)

Jul 20 – Pitchfork — Throwing up near the entrance – w4m – 21 – (Union Park)

Jul 20 – saw you at the art museum AND pitchfork –

Jul 19 – Katie, this is Alex from Pitchfork – m4w – 22 – (Union Park)

Jul 19 – Pitchfork–your friend asked to unzip my shirt – w4m – 25 –

Jul 19 – you were working by the jewlry – w4w – (pitchfork)

Jul 19 – pitchfork – (indielove)

Jul 19 – Pitchfork Fest – 25 – (Union Park)

Jul 19 – pitchfork girl with guy’s face tattooed on left arm – m4w – 27 – (grant park)

Jul 18 – Pitchfork Cutie – Blue Cubs Hat and Glasses – m4m – 33 – (Pitchfork)


The “Iron Chef” Mix Challenge

July 8, 2008

This is actually an OLD (and perhaps) never posted blog I found while cleaning out my “My Documents” folder.  It’s an oldie but goodie…

The IRON CHEF MIX CHALLENGE!

Concept: Make something beautiful out of something baffling

Background: Owning an iPod seems to be a necessity these days, and, if your friend has a 600-gig iPod of music plugged directly into their car stereo, it can make road-trips torture. Fortunately most drivers are willing to pass their iPod around so passengers can take advantage of the Gigantor iPod Saving Grace: The On-The-Go Playlist.  Regardless of their ‘pod contents; dated tastes, odd music fetishes, the Creed catalog, it’s actually fun to try to make a bumpin’ bouillbesse out of an iPod full of stinky fish guts.

The challenge: Take your friends’ iPod (the stranger taste in music the better) and make of it a thing of mixtape beauty. The glory being, it’s THEIR musical palate through your tune choices put up against the car’s collective ear drums.

My pal, who shall forever remain nameless* has a particular brand of musical torture – a hilariously “eclectic” iPod.  Here’s a quick list of music I heard on recent road trips; Big & Rich, Snap!, The Back To the Future soundtrack, O.A.R., Dave Matthews Band, 311, Garden State, John Mayer Trio, and of course the aforementioned Creed.

I gladly took up their offer to put together a playlist, and I think I did alright.  This is all from memory, but it went with something like:

  • Phil Collins, “In The Air Tonight” (which was labeled as “Genesis – ‘feel it coming in the air of tonight’ ”)
  • Chicago, “Does Anyone Really Know What Time It Is?”
  • Survivor (Ides of March), “Vehicle”
  • Cameo, “Word Up”
  • Kanye West, “Keep Em High”
  • Jurassic 5, “Freedom”
  • Cardigans, “Lovefool”
  • Deee-Lite, “Groove is in the Heart”
  • Nickelcreek, “Spit On a Stranger”
  • John Mayer, “Kid A” (Radiohead Cover)
  • Rod Stewart, “Maggie May”
  • Spoon, “You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb”
  • Coldplay, “Green Eyes”
  • Dave Matthews Band, “Spoon”
  • Phish, “You Enjoy Myself”
  • Flaming Lips, “Bad Days”

Let’s hear your O.T.G. Playlist successes!

*Person may, as a narrative tool, be a combination of a number of people I know.


Study: There’s money in Chicago Music. Hood Internet: Chicago Music is money.

June 2, 2008

Originaly posted on UR Chicago Here

A joint effort by the Chicago Music Commission and the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Cultural Policy, found both encouraging and not-so-surprising news about the local music biz. Firstly, Chicago “ranks third among metropolitan areas in the overall size of its music industry” behind, surprise-surprise; Los Angeles and New York. Chicago also had lower total revenue (meaning cheaper ticket prices for us, yay.)

The more-interesting news, fleshed out well by Chicago Innerview, is that Chicago books better bands, more often, for (relatively) cheaper ticket prices than any other American city:

…Researchers looked at the number of performances from Billboard magazine’s “Top 100 Artists” and the “Top 100 Artists” from the Village Voice Critics Poll and found that in 2004, Chicago had about 10 more such concerts than New York City. “There’s no other city where those critically acclaimed shows make up a bigger percentage of the total revenue generated,” the study’s co-author Dan Silver states. “So Chicago is really the center of high critical taste.”

A study quantifying the awesomeness of Chicago Music is nice to have, but there’s another way of celebrating the diversity of music in this city, and no, it’s not to re-name streets as Honorable Peter Cetera Parkway, and OkGo Boulevard.

It’s an all-city mashup mixtape of course! Courtesy of The Hood Internet. Though it doesn’t delve too far into the Blues and Gospel history of Chicago, lots of tunes from multiple decades are represented here and pack a serious punch–Twista rhyming over The Sea & Cake, Diverse with Andrew Bird, Dude N Nem N OFFICE, The Cool Kids party-rappin’ over house legend Frankie Knuckles–it’s all here. It’s a tight mix. My personal fav has to be the ’85 Bears shuffling alongside Kanye and Wilco. -Brian


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”