03 May

Pick Your Poison: Tuesday 5-3-16

It’s been five years since we last heard new music from Radiohead, that is if you don’t count the unused “Spectre” theme song they recorded and gave away at the end of last year. But today they officially emerged from their slumber. Following a couple of days in which they completely erased their social media accounts and website, this morning a new music video was suddenly released. “Burn the Witch” is the new track, presumably off their next album which could be released at any time under any title. It’s all a wait and see game with those guys, and honestly if we can wait five years we can probably wait a few weeks longer for the full length. In the meantime why not enjoy some new music as part of Pick Your Poison? There’s some quality downloads in this set from Dirty Squall, Matt Bennett, SHapes On Tape, Shards and Wild Patterns. In the Soundcloud section after the jump, stream songs from A-Trak (ft. Phantogram), FAWNN, Joy Atlas, Laszlo Dancehall, Leena Ojala, Lone, Marissa Nadler, Mitski, The World, Yung and more!

Dirty Squall – Goth With An Ipod

Julian Bachlow – Family Ties

Matt Bennett – Fisher King

Post Death Soundtrack – That Which Is

Shapes On Tape – Fountain of Youth

Shards – If You Wait

Wake The Wild – Touch the Ground

Wild Patterns – Sparks
Read more…

02 May

Show Review: Eleanor Friedberger [Space; Evanston; 4/29/16]

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In many ways, it feels like Eleanor Friedberger has been on tour for almost all of 2016 so far. Indeed, a check of her schedule reveals a virtually nonstop string of dates from February through mid-June. In the span of just over two months she’s now played two shows in and around the Chicagoland area, the second of which took place this past Friday at SPACE in Evanston. I was lucky enough to be on hand for that SPACE show, and am pleased to share some photos as well as a few thoughts on the evening.

Friedberger recorded her latest album New View at a farm in upstate New York with the band Icewater. They’ve joined her for this tour, not only opening shows with their own material but pulling double duty as her backing band. Naturally then, more than half her set was comprised of New View songs. She performed nearly every track on the album, along with recent one-off single “False Alphabet City”. All of the new material sounded great, and retained the classic early 70s vibes of The Band and Harry Nilsson without ever seeming tired or unoriginal. Friedberger has enough personality and lyrical prowess to pull every song into unexpected directions, and that dexterity is invigorating even when she’s aimlessly sauntering around the stage.

Admittedly it was also great to hear some older material too. There seemed to be a somewhat renewed focus on Friedberger’s first solo effort Last Summer, which featured some of her catchiest and funkiest material courtesy of songs like “Roosevelt Island” and “My Mistakes”. While the latter song felt just a touch off without a saxophone to add spice, it was still great to hear as a personal favorite of mine. Speaking of personal, 2013’s Personal Record was least represented overall in the set, though having “Stare at the Sun” pop up during the encore was a great way to end the night. Those electric and energetic anthems were missed, but considering the 90% seated, more middle-aged crowd at SPACE, might not have set the right tone for the show anyways.

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After the show, Friedberger and Icewater stuck around the merch table to sell and sign things, as good artists do. Among the fans and well-wishers was a man with his young daughter, who couldn’t have been more than 10 or 12 years old. The girl talked about how much she loved the show, and asked for a photo. The two of them stood side-by-side and leaned up against a door, striking cool poses. What caught my eye was how Friedberger never stopped staring at this girl, a huge grin on her face the entire time. This is who she makes music for. Maybe one day that young girl will be inspired enough pick up a guitar and start writing songs of her own. One can only hope.

Buy New View on iTunes

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02 May

Pick Your Poison: Monday 5-2-16

Welcome to May! After a week’s worth of illness, I’m nearly back to tip-top shape, which is always a huge plus. Let’s get right into today’s Pick Your Poison, which features some quality downloads from American Monoxide, Cold Blue Kid, Dylan Hill (ft. Eliza Hull) and ISLAND. In the Soundcloud section after the jump, stream songs from Anna Rose, Cerise, Djustin, Max Styler (ft. KARRA), Megafauna, Peach Kelli Pop, Slumberjack (ft. Daniel Johns), Topaz Jones, VERITE, Wildcat! Wildcat! and Young Moon.

American Monoxide – Hot Lava Express

Beyonce – Sorry (Niko Javan Remix)

Cold Blue Kid – Way Out

Dylan Hill – Under the Skin (ft. Eliza Hull)

Former Angels – Evie Pt. 1 (Stevie Wright cover)

Gravy Murphy – Arthur Fuxake (ft. Arvo Tanty)

ISLAND – Lights Go By

Starschreck – The Sinkhole (ft. Gordon Tebo)
Read more…

28 Apr

Pick Your Poison: Thursday 4-26-16

As I continue to battle a nasty cold, please enjoy another edition of Pick Your Poison. Some quality downloads in this set from Frances Luke Accord, OHIOAN, Playing Savage and Young Mister. In the Soundcloud section after the jump, stream songs from Big Thief, Charlotte Day Wilson, Ellie Herring, Elliott Smith, Kedr Livanskiy, Mountains and Rainbows, NOTHING, Sally Shapiro, Shock Machine, Terry and more!

Frances Luke Accord – Something Moving

Ivory Tusk – Where Are You Running Now

Not the 1s – Not the Ones to Be Gamed On

OHIOAN – Workmans Comp

Playing Savage – Bigger

Smino – Oxygen

Surahn – Into the Distance (WEALTH Remix)

Young Mister – Pasadena
Read more…

26 Apr

Show Preview: Cross Record at Schubas [4/30]


Let’s start with the basics. Cross Record is the wife and husband duo of Emily Cross and Dan Duszynski. They are based out of Dripping Springs, Texas (near Austin), where they own and run a ranch and recording studio. It’s where they crafted their latest album Wabi-Sabi, out now on Ba Da Bing! Records. If you’ve not yet heard it, stream “Steady Waves” and “High Rise” to get a better idea of what they’re all about.

The dark-tinged experimental folk that populates the record falls somewhere on the strange spectrum between Cocteau Twins, Sharon Van Etten, Angel Olsen, Mount Eerie, Chelsea Wolfe, PJ Harvey and Here We Go Magic. That may touch on a lot of different sonic markers, but the nebulous nature of their songs defies easy description. Each one is inherently beautiful, yet also raw, obtuse and deeply emotional with a sense of danger or evil lurking just underneath the surface. That’s a large reason why the album’s title is so appropriate, as it’s a Japanese phrase meaning the acceptance of transience and imperfection.

Cross Record’s show at Schubas this Saturday will mark something a homecoming for the duo, as they lived in Chicago until a couple of years ago. Their notoriety has increased considerably since their last visit thanks to the release and critical acclaim of Wabi-Sabi, so it’ll be interesting to see how the new songs shape the overall performance. No matter what, it’s certain to be a special night you’re not going to want to miss.

Cross Record, The Loom and Blind Moon
Buy Tickets
10 PM / $10 ($12 Doors) / 21+

26 Apr

Pick Your Poison: Tuesday 4-26-16

For the first time in over a year, I’ve gotten sick. It’s only a cold, but it’s still frustrating to have to put your life on hold to take care of yourself. It’s another day filled with extra vitamins, hot soup and an early bedtime for me. Still, I’m trying my best to keep up with the site this week. Please enjoy today’s Pick Your Poison, which features some great downloads from Boo Seeka, Land of Leland, The Minders, Mumblr and They Called Him Zone. In the Soundcloud section after the jump, stream songs from Adam Torres, Brigid Mae Power, Conner Youngblood, Dawn Richard, Erin Tobey, Hooded Fang, Odonis Odonis, Roosevelt, Yumi Zouma and more.

Boo Seeka – Kingdom Leader

Jessica Rotter – Open (Rhye cover)

Land of Leland – Clarity

The Minders – Boiling the Ocean

Mumblr – Microwave

Outer Gods – Black Mountain Drone (Edit)

They Called Him Zone – The Rain Comes Down

The Van T’s – 35mm
Read more…

25 Apr

Pick Your Poison: Monday 4-25-16

When life hands you lemons, you make Lemonade. This past weekend, Beyonce dropped a proverbial “bomb” on an unsuspecting public, releasing a new album Lemonade via an HBO special. Much like her last one, this too is a “visual album,” in that there are videos for every single song. So while you can buy just the audio version, there’s also the video option too. No matter your preference, just make sure to give it a try. You can watch on Tidal or download on iTunes at your discretion. Of course you should also give the tracks in today’s Pick Your Poison a try. Don’t miss downloads in this set from Don Tigra, Frail, Jo Passed and Wild Rivers. In the Soundcloud section after the jump, stream songs from Baby In vain, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Hanni El Khatib, The Hotelier, Miracle Sweepstakes, Mocky (ft. Jamie Lidell), Nite Jewel, Sonny & The Sunsets and more.

Adam Cleaver – Narrow Spines

Chymes – Oracle

Don Tigra – How I Used to Try

Frail – Waiting

Jo Passed – Spring

Party of One – Flat-Soled Shoes

Simon Doom – Roseate

Wild Rivers – Wandering Child
Read more…

21 Apr

Pick Your Poison: Thursday 4-21-16

Today was a sad day. We’ve lost another icon. Prince was a true original. His music, fashion and way of life inspired millions of people around the globe. Somehow he was able to take a variety of different genres of music and turn them into something wholly distinctive and fun. Hits like “Let’s Go Crazy,” “1999,” “When Doves Cry,” “Little Red Corvette,” “Raspberry Beret” and “PUrple Rain” have changed the musical landscape over the years, and will continue to do so for decades to come. Here’s what’s even crazier – there’s a massive vault filled with unreleased Prince songs and music videos that he collected over the years. There’s no official word on how much unreleased material he left behind, but it’s probably safe to assume it’s at least enough for 3-4 posthumous albums. That’s just the kind of guy Prince was, continuing to make things on his own terms then choosing to keep it hidden until the right time. Sadly, Prince probably thought there’d be plenty of time to make more. He was only 57, and was thought to be in good health up until last week, when his plane was forced to make an emergency landing due to a medical emergency. His representatives claimed it was due to a bad case of the flu, but there may have been deeper problems we won’t find out about until an official report from the medical examiner.

To attend a Prince show was to attend a gigantic party, or so I was told. One of my greatest regrets is not buying tickets to see Prince perform the last couple of times he came through Chicago. When he played the United Center in September 2012, he was supporting a not-so-great album and the setlists for the tour seemed to largely avoid most of his best material. It didn’t excite me, plus I think I was unemployed at the time and didn’t have the money to spend on an expensive ticket. Just under a year later in June 2013, I received an email stating very plainly that Prince would be performing at the tiny City Winery Chicago that very night, and tickets were on sale. According to reports, someone from Prince’s camp called the venue that morning and said, “Prince would like to perform at your club tonight. Make it happen.” That’s all it took. Sadly, I didn’t check my inbox until 2 hours after the email announcement was sent, and the show was sold out. I then showed up to City Winery on the off chance an extra ticket became available. No dice. Came to find out later that the show didn’t even kick off until about 3AM, and Prince performed for about 2.5 hours. He literally partied until the sun came up. And why not? Somehow his energy, his passion and his desire to live on his own terms contributed to legendary stories and legendary performances. As an added treat, make sure to watch director Kevin Smith’s 30-minute story about the time he helped Prince make a documentary that still hasn’t been released. It’s a very funny tale that speaks to who Prince was and how he operated. So Prince and Bowie. Two of our greatest music legends lost so far in 2016. And we’re not even halfway through the year yet. Please make it stop, my heart hurts too much.

Okay, let’s get to the final edition of Pick Your Poison for the week. There are some great tracks in this set from 2/3 Goat, Boudoir Noir, Japancakes and Wired Minds. In the Soundcloud section after the jump, stream songs from Aloha, Andy Stott, Cerise, Lil Silva (ft. Cosima), Trevor Sensor, Twin River, VHS, Woods and more.

2/3 Goat – Whiskey Sins

Alex Bent + The Emptiness – Blonde American Girl

Allie & Ivy – Get Hi

Boudoir Noir – Wild Valentine

Go Tiger Go – Inhale

Japancakes – We’re in the City

Wired Minds – Where You End and I Begin
Read more…

20 Apr

Pick Your Poison: Wednesday 4-20-16

Happy 4/20 to you and yours, whether you “celebrate” or not. Allow today’s edition of Pick Your Poison to help propel you through the rest of this week. There’s some quality downloads in this set from Harrison (ft. Ryan Hemsworth), Soonbe, Tibet and Vulture Whale. In the Soundcloud section after the jump, stream songs from Baby Alpaca (ft. Theresa Wayman of Warpaint), Casper Skulls, Deerhoof, DJ Shadow (ft. Run the Jewels), iLoveMakonnen, Islands, Joker, Maria Usbeck, Omni, Twin Peaks and Xeno & Oaklander.

d├ęCollage – Better Things Pt. 2

En Canto – Elas

Harrison – Vanilla (ft. Ryan Hemsworth)

The Mud Howlers – Magic Place

Soonbe – Squeeze

Tibet – I’ll Put You in My Pocket

Tom Tyger – House Nation

Vulture Whale – Aluminium
Read more…

19 Apr

Pick Your Poison: Tuesday 4-19-16

The Tuesday edition of Pick Your Poison has yet another collection of strong tracks for your listening enjoyment. Don’t miss downloads in this set from Bad Breeding, Sebastian Janoski, Stevie B Wolf and Tennis Bafra. In the Soundcloud section after the jump, stream songs from Andy Stott, Astronautalis, Beth Orton, Big Black Delta (ft. Kimbra), Cruel Youth, Evans the Death, Kllo, Lisa Prank, Oy, Peach Kelli Pop and Still Parade.

Bad Breeding – Remembering

KCDA – Lands

Polyenso – Where to Grow (Where to Be Born)

Sebastian Janoski – Pure Gold

Sharks in the Deep End – Love In Reverse

Stevie B Wolf – Flights

Tennis Bafra – Boyfriend

Will Stewart – Faultline
Read more…

19 Apr

Show Review: Local H [Metro; Chicago; 4/15/16]

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Local H is a Chicago rock and roll institution. They’ve been making music steadily for more than two decades now, with eight full lengths and a handful of EPs under the name. And that’s not even counting side projects. It’s the sort of work ethic many would call authentically Midwestern, built on the back of strength and perseverance. I call it aspirational. Most bands would kill to have well-respected careers that last half as long. It seems only right that Local H be celebrated for all of their accomplishments so far, with a continued eye on where they’re headed next.

While 2015 marked the band’s 25th anniversary of existence, 2016 marks yet another important milestone – the 20th anniversary of their big breakout record As Good As Dead. You know, the one with classics like “Bound For The Floor,” “High-Fiving MF” and “Eddie Vedder“. It’s remarkable how vital that album continues to sound today, to the point where it fits in nicely with other grunge-era notables like Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Stone Temple Pilots. What’s so impressive (and unique) about Local H is how Scott Lucas and Joe Daniels were able to capture all the noise, fury and hooks of their peers with just a single electric guitar and a set of drums. The ability to do more with less has been a trademark of this band since the beginning, and it continues to this very day.
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In honor of As Good As Dead turning 20, Local H have turned the tables a little and decided more is more for once by embarking on a three month U.S. tour where they’ll play that classic album along with other catalog-spanning cuts. Things officially kicked off this past weekend, with a pair of sold out shows at Chicago’s legendary Metro surrounding the record’s actual release date of April 16th. I was lucky enough to attend Friday’s show (Night 1), which wound up being the perfect showcase for why this band is so special.
Read more…

18 Apr

Pick Your Poison: Monday 4-18-16

Hope your weekend was great. Mine was solid, thanks in no small part to the impressive weather that kept things sunny and in the upper 70s every single day. There’s going to be a small course correction in the coming days, where rain and 50 degree temperatures will return, but the respite was nice and a great reminder of what lies ahead this summer. In the here and now, there’s an all new edition of Pick Your Poison for your enjoyment. Don’t miss downloads in this set from herMajesty, Jason Maek & Zaena, Jessica Audiffred and Stormy Strong. In the Soundcloud section after the jump, stream songs from BRONCHO, Charlotte Day Wilson, Delorean, Fear of Men, J Dilla (ft. Nas), Juliette Lewis, Oscar, Pity Sex, Stephen Steinbrink, Supermoon, Throws and more!

DiZZ – Orange Shoebox

Foals – Birch Tree (Pyramid “Space” Remix)

herMajesty – Dancing Barefoot

(In)Body – A Lonely Body

Jason Maek & Zaena – Birthday

Jessica Audiffred – K.O.

Oscar Vega – Back

Stormy Strong – Sail Away
Read more…

12 Apr

Show Review: Autolux [Empty Bottle; Chicago; 4/9/16]

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If Autolux fans have learned anything about the L.A. trio since their 2004 debut album Future Perfect, it’s that they take their sweet time. In their case, the preferred incremental gap seems to be six years, which embodies the period it takes them to write and record new music, then tour in support of it. The space occurred between Future Perfect and 2010’s Transit Transit, then once more leading up to the just-released Pussy’s Dead, their third full-length in a dozen years. Frustrating as the wait can be sometimes, the time they take to refine and gestate their sound tends to shine through on their recordings. Six years is more than enough of a gap to allow for different genres to grow and decline, so each time Autolux re-emerges from their self-imposed stasis the music landscape is completely different. Yet while their sound continues to evolve from album to album, it is clearly not dictated by trends. Similar to their peers and friends in Radiohead, Portishead and My Bloody Valentine, they follow their own path and wait for the rest of the world to catch up to them.
Read more…

12 Apr

Pick Your Poison: Tuesday 4-12-16

A fresh edition of Pick Your Poison is all set for your browsing. Listener discretion is advised. Don’t miss quality downloads in this set from Acapulco Lips, Land of Leland, Man at War and Snakes. In the Soundcloud section after the jump, stream songs from Anna Wise, Bonzai, BOYBOY, Carlson (ft. Autre Ne Veut), Diarrhea Planet, Ice Cream, Mossy, Weaves, Young Magic, The Young Wild and Yung.

Acapulco Lips – Awkward Waltz

Banana Beach – Antibodies

Greeves – Moving Up

Land of Leland – Daylight Savings

Love Taps – Falling Fast (Durkin Remix)

Man at War – On An Empty Street At Night

Rina Sawayama – Where U Are (salute’s Interstellar Remix)

Snakes – Young American
Read more…

11 Apr

Pick Your Poison: Monday 4-11-16

Oof. I don’t know about you, but it was a rough weekend for me. As you get older, the realization slowly dawns on you that perhaps your body can’t quite handle heavy partying quite like it used to. Suddenly you’ve got body aches and a hangover for two days, and those consequences just aren’t very fun. But we press on, and try to learn from the mistakes. It’s kind of like the foundations behind Pick Your Poison, in the sense that there’s lots of music for your ears to digest, and not all of it might not be to your liking, but over time you get better at filtering out the junk. Allow me to recommend downloads in this set from August and After, Erik Nilsson, Mara Simpson and Mosaics. In the Soundcloud section after the jump, stream songs from Aloha, Britta Phillips, Caveman, Exploded View, Fujiya & Miyagi, Institute (covering The Doors), Jessy Lanza, Julianna Barwick (ft. Mas Ysa), River Tiber, The Loom and This Will Destroy You.

August and After – Wolves

Bad Breeding – Corrupting Fist

Erik Nilsson – Tail Lights

Jimi Tents – Landslide

Mara Simpson – Silent Woman

Mosaics – Year of Valor

Polyenso – I.W.W.I.T.I.W.

Rihanna – Work (Hitmakerchinx Remix)
Read more…