Not only does our West Coast sister site have a stylish new look (wow, what a great design...where have I seen that before?), but Joe has rounded up an entirely new crack staff to cover the ever-expanding music scene in Silver Lake, Echo Park and the rest of Los Angeles. Check it all out at: RadioFreeSilverLake.com.
And while we're hyping up the Radio Free empire, be sure to click over to Bangers & Mash today for another trip back to the magical land of early-90s Britpop with a "Flashback Friday" feature on The Candyskins.
While singer Stuart Staples was in town a year or so ago for a solo gig at The Abbey Pub, it's been well over five years since he's toured America as a part of Tindersticks, the beloved cult legends out of the UK famous for their hauntingly beautiful chamber pop anthems. Tonight, undoubtedly making a rare Chicago performance even more memorable, they'll be gracing the stage of the Epiphany Church as a part of an "Empty Bottle presents..." show with Jon Langford and Sally Timms. Unable to resist the opportunity to interview a longtime favorite (and curious what that trademark baritone would sound like over the phone), I caught up with Staples earlier this week to discuss the tour and the current state of the band.
Every new venue I come across overseas, there's always the expectation that it will be as big as the Metro or Riviera given the names on the bill. So with trepidation I entered the Nouveau Casino for Passion Pit's first show in the city. Given the hype following the Massachusetts electro indie pop group in the States, you'd expect nothing but another big venue. Though, like other recent examples here of Alkaline Trio playing a venue smaller than the Fireside and Hold Steady playing somewhere smaller than the Bottom Lounge, there was the astonishment to see Passion Pit playing a 350-400 person venue on a random Monday night.
I blame this on two things, in equal measure: (1) Shuffle (bane of the album and something with me since the PE uniform), and (2) Strattera. "Wait," you may say, skeptical. "You can't mean all instrumental music. Blasphemy!" Oh, but I can-- and I do. Although, in the way of all humans, I can correlate this with a "...mostly."
Conductive Alliance teeter in the happy shade of this "mostly," an elite collective that, if listed, would probably not prove similar to each other at all with the exception that none of them have a human voice. (Who needs vocals when you have a bad ass pump organ?) Conductive Alliance has yet to hit its second birthday but certainly seems to be comfortable in its stride-- each cut of theirs plays like its own universe, reads like its own book. Which is a good analogy for explaining why it is that I, even in my haze of ADHD-riddled prejudice, really like listening to them; their songs never get old, never slow down, never are boring. Between spiraling acoustics, fizzing electronics and the occasional spatter of tom drums, Conductive Alliance manages never to quite repeat themselves, never to drop the impression that they're moving forward. It's what the best symphonies manage to pull, and these are four guys (...with fourteen instruments between them).
The Chicago-ians present me with the perfect example of what Pitch Pile's all about, and why I flip through our inbox every morning with two ears and no plan. Conductive Alliance and its quartet of members are a band I would simply never hear otherwise, and I'd never know to regret it.
Chicagoans are crazy and, by "crazy", I mean awesome! Instead of having a regular canned food drive, we have to make it a party like Halloween in the daytime with a grand old costumed shopping cart race. Of course, we aren't the only city that has this race. Portland, Ann Arbor, Vancouver, NYC, San Francisco, Washington DC, and more have their own races but I'd like to think ours was more fun ;) Participants lined up with their own brand of creatively decorated shopping cart and were released from the beginning station on Ferdinand and Wolcott in groups every fifteen minutes with the accompanying sounds of the marching band, Environmental Encroachment, who at one point even covered Radiohead's "The National Anthem". From the Wizard of Oz to the zombies and the circus freaks, this was my first Chiditarod and I'll likely remember it forever.
In tribute to a great venue going through a bit of Chicago-style zoning politics (ie bullshit). Here is one of my favorite shows that I saw there. This was later (november-ish?) of last year. It was cold out side and the parachute was up so the venue isnt to echoey. We sat on the floor. Everyone was perfectly quiet. Enjoy:
Calm Down It's Monday (Julie on drums/Fred on guitar)
Julie Doiron Solo
Mt Eerie w/Julie and Fred
UPDATE: Greg Kot broke the news late yesterday/early this morning that The Jesus Lizard will be reuniting to play the festival.
The Jesus Lizard will be part of an opening-night festival lineup that also includes Built to Spill, Tortoise and Yo La Tengo. Each of the bands will play a set handpicked by fans. Anyone who buys a ticket starting March 13 will receive an email providing a link to a web page where they can vote on which songs they’d like to hear each band perform. Voting will end June 12.
UPDATE#2: But wait, there's more! Fresh off the newswire we've also got confirms for:
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
Azita (Chicago's Azita Youssefi), you might know her from Scissor Girls or Bride of No No, has just released a third album called How Will You? on Drag City. Azita's prolific solo career has outlived both of her bands. A spin of this new record is a clear indication why: Azita has found her stride, voice and continues to make progress with How Will You? Her vocals are strong with a rasp and a slight warble, melding well with a piano that is somewhat 60's somewhat 90's and instantly heart-wrenching. Check out this video of Azita covering "Don't Let it Bring you Down".
And "prism pop"-- nonexistent review-ism though it may be-- is a pretty sweet way to identify Dimensions, The Lovetones' fourth studio album. Founder and frontman Matthew J Tow (of Brian Jonestown Massacre fame) is clearly drawing on the pop masters of the sixties something powerful, but woven through are countless influences from every decade under the sun: driving guitar riffs, octave-jumping vocal harmonies, rich 5-minute trips that swell and burst with sixties groove but hinge on hooks and melodies that get stuck in the head like a mother and do not leave until you hear the Law and Order theme song four days later. Dimensions smacks of a jigsaw, of a stew, of a prism with every shade distinct, beautiful, full of light, and trippy when stared at against a white wall.