Faronheit | A Chicago Centric Music Blog

The hottest music from Chicago & beyond

Category: music Page 1 of 157

Tuned In: Jen Kirkman

Tuned In is a feature in which special guests from the world of pop culture share a playlist of songs based on a topic or theme of their choice.

Jen Kirkman is not only one of my favorite comedians, but also one of my favorite people. If for some reason you’re not familiar with her stand-up, she’s got two fantastic and hilarious specials available on Netflix called Just Keep Livin’? and I’m Gonna Die Alone (And I Feel Fine). You can also find them on your favorite audio streaming or download service (Spotify, Amazon, Apple) if that’s your preference. Let those serve as an introduction to her unique perspective and a way to inject some much-needed laughter into your life.

In addition to consistently crafting new stand-up material and touring around it, Jen Kirkman has written two very funny and very smart books that made the NY Times bestseller list, has a weekly podcast talking about her life and things happening in the world, spends time writing for the Golden Globe and Emmy-winning Amazon show The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and maintains a strong, bullshit-free social media presence. She’s so hard-working and multi-talented there are definitely other things I’m forgetting too (talk show appearances, Drunk History segments, etc.), so the best way to keep track of everything is by joining her email newsletter.

There’s also Kirkman’s taste in music, which is as delightful and whip-smart as her comedy. She’s gotten downright poetic in the past when talking about the brilliance of David Bowie, Prince, and Morrissey, among others, and has often cited Janis Joplin’s “Piece of My Heart” as her go-to karaoke song. It’s no surprise then that she puts a tremendous amount of care into crafting a pre-show playlist for her tour dates. Here are ten fantastic songs she’s selected that help put her in the right frame of mind before a show. You just might hear some of these before her set at Thalia Hall on Thursday, January 17th. It promises to be a great night kicking off her extensive tour for 2019 with plenty of laughs and brand new material. Plus, she’ll be signing books after. Buy tickets in advance now, because there’s a very good chance this show will sell out!

Jen Kirkman
Thursday, January 17th at Thalia Hall (1807 S. Allport St.)
8PM / $26 / 17+
Buy Tickets

Read More

The Top 50 Albums of 2018

Time to close out 2018 on a high note. While it’s been a pretty rough year overall for a number of different reasons, I’d like to think this was one of the better years in recent memory for quality music. There’s been a really rich array of artists coming into their own by exploring new ideas and sonic territories, while some of the “old guard” either took a break or released material that might best be regarded as sub par. It’s been a thrill watching brilliant songwriters like Mitski and Janelle Monae hit new career highs in terms of acclaim and popularity, while Snail Mail, Soccer Mommy, Noname, Cardi B, and Kali Uchis all came out with strong debut albums that fulfilled their early promise. If you didn’t find a whole lot of new music to love this year, you weren’t looking hard enough. Maybe this list of Top 50 Albums can help! My sincerest hope is that you discover at least one new artist or record below that you hadn’t heard of or listened to before today, but even if you don’t, feel free to hand write me letters about how wrong these rankings are and all the great albums I somehow “missed” this year. Seriously though, I do love your feedback, so feel free to comment, email, or use the old social media to get in touch and share your thoughts! Oh, and before I forget, here’s some other year-end list things you might want to check out:

Honorable Mention: Albums and Songs
The Top 50 Songs of 2018
The Top 10 EPs of 2018

Drumroll please…
Faronheit’s Top 50 Albums of 2018 are:

Read More

The Top 50 Songs of 2018

There were a lot of really great songs released in 2018. Actually, there are a lot of great songs released in any given year, and definitely more than a list of 50 can fully contain. But I’ve got to try anyway. The 50 songs in the list below feel like a relatively comprehensive chronicle of what it was like living through 2018, though I suppose if it were truly accurate there’d be a lot more depressing shit that’d turn most people off. Overall I’d say this is a strong balance of mood, tempo, style, and genre I sincerely hope will leave you feeling satisfied. The most fascinating thing to me about this year’s list is that the top two songs are not currently part of any full-length album. As for the unofficial “rules” behind the selections for the Top 50 Songs, there are only two: the song must have been officially released by an artist or band in 2018, and no artist is allowed to be featured more than once (for diversity’s sake). While there are audio streams and in some cases videos to accompany each song (apologies for the couple of live videos, as album versions were unavailable), you can also stream the entire list (minus one song) via the Spotify embed at the bottom of this post, or by going to this link. Please enjoy these Top 50 Songs of 2018, and feel free to share your favorites in the comments or let me know on social media (@faronheit).

Read More

The Best of 2018: Honorable Mention


Every December brings the near impossible task of trying to assemble a diverse and comprehensive array of “Best of” music lists that properly showcase the immense talents of so many different artists and bands from across the globe. Nobody has the opportunity to hear everything, but I try my best to digest and rank as much of it as humanly possible. There are always outliers – albums and songs that just barely missed the final cut because there are only a finite number of ranking slots on any given list. The official cut off point here at Faronheit is Top 50, and anything beyond that gets placed into the pool for a second category; the Honorable Mention. Below you’ll find 10 albums and 10 songs that I absolutely loved this year, but couldn’t quite find a spot for when push came to shove. Spared from the ranking system, they’re all listed in alphabetical order. Please check them out and give them a listen anyway, as I promise they’re more than worth your time.

Read More

The Ten Best EPs of 2018


In today’s culture of increasingly fractured attention spans, a fair number of people either can’t or won’t devote the time to listen to an entire album from start to finish. As somebody that places a very high value on spending quality time with artists and taking longer musical journeys with them, the recent focus on single songs leaves me just a little bit frustrated. But sitting in that neat little pocket between a single song and an album is the EP, A short (but not too short) statement from an artist just hoping to make an impact early or bide some time until they can do something more expansive, the EP has its merits and flourishes when you’re short on time or attention or both. 2018 saw the rise of some very promising new artists, the debut effort from a supergroup, and some established names trying out some new things – all via the medium of the EP. Here are ten of my absolute favorites, which I hope will lead to some new discoveries that expand your musical palate and strike at your emotional core.

Read More

Show Review: Cloud Nothings + The Courtneys [Thalia Hall; Chicago; 12/14/18]



We’re quickly approaching the two-year anniversary of The Courtneys’ excellent sophomore album II, and they’re still touring in support of it. Their commitment is admirable, and the reward is hopefully a wealth of new fans eager to hear more from the Canadian trio. A stop at Thalia Hall in Chicago on Friday night actually marked the end of their tour with Cloud Nothings, so they celebrated with a wildly fun performance that perfectly balanced their winning charm and sadder sensibilities.

Read More

Show Review: Preoccupations + Protomartyr [Thalia Hall; Chicago; 12/6/18]


“I’m learning to like Chicago,” Protomartyr singer Joe Casey said toward the end of the band’s set at Thalia Hall on Thursday night. Protomartyr hail from Detroit, which has a storied Midwestern rivalry with Chicago, so the minor bit of animus is understandable. He also may have been kidding, but his detached demeanor on stage made it difficult to tell. That’s by design of course, befitting a singer and band that crafts songs so relentless and emotionally intense they often seem on the verge of total collapse. You can’t allow your feelings to become too invested when performing songs about the ails of the world, lest they hold you in a masochistic pit of despair.

Read More

Show Preview: Preoccupations + Protomartyr at Thalia Hall [12/6]


In what should be (but isn’t) called the “PR Nightmare Tour,” two of the finest post-punk bands in recent years, Protomartyr and Preoccupations, are co-headlining dates around the U.S. from late November to mid-December. They’ll be in Chicago on Thursday, December 6th for a show at Thalia Hall, and it promises to be a night you won’t soon forget.

If you’re not already deeply familiar with Protomartyr, here’s a quick primer. Over the course of four excellent LPs and an EP, Protomartyr have distinguished themselves through densely packed arrangements and inspired yet obtuse wordplay. Their songs pound with noise and aggression, but also maintain a distinct air of humility that fits with their Midwestern (Ohio) roots.

This past summer Protomartyr unleashed the Consolation EP, which featured four beautifully destroyed tracks that focused on death and oppression, with some vocal and arrangement assists from Kelley Deal of The Breeders. Sure, it’s not the most upbeat music in the world, but post-punk as a genre very rarely is. The guitars swell into oceans of distortion as Joe Casey’s guttural vocals evoke powerful and poetic scenes of tragedy. This mixture is even more potent on stage, as the physicality of Protomartyr’s songs rise to the forefront and get spit out in fits and spasms. It’s intense, exciting, and cathartic all at the same time, which is one of the primary reasons Protomartyr remains such a worthwhile band in an ever-shifting climate.

Preoccupations have been riding high on a similarly dark and punishing wavelength since their debut EP Cassette back in 2013. Born from the figurative (indefinite hiatus) and literal (RIP Christopher Reimer) ashes of Calgary experimental band Women, they immediately struck a nerve thanks to a confrontational performance style and a so-controversial-it-was-later-changed name Viet Cong. But it was their songs that deserved and ultimately attracted the most attention. Their approach might best be described as angular, because so many of their tracks veer off in compelling and unexpected directions. You’re never allowed to get too comfortable in the world of Preoccupations, and that’s a big part of the fun. Then again, don’t let my use of the word “fun” give you the wrong impression of a band that has been known to cover goth legends Bauhaus and have an 11-minute kick-to-the-face track appropriately titled “Death” as part of their catalog.

A current of nervous yet ferocious and focused energy runs throughout each of Preoccupations’ three albums so far, as they’ve become more confident and detailed with every new release. You can detect subtle nods toward ’80s post-punk and bands like The Jesus and Mary Chain, Echo & The Bunnymen, and The Psychedelic Furs blended seamlessly into many of their recent material, pulling them away from the heavier drones that marked their earliest pieces and into more melodic visions of darkness. It’s been a fascinating transformation, and one that’s enabled them to remain vital since their auspicious beginnings. Their live show is no less impressive, hitting the gas on their Motorik stomp by using noise and passion for fuel. It’s entirely possible you’ll walk away from a Preoccupations show in a daze, unsure of exactly what you just witnessed, but that it was amazing and profound.

If you’re a fan of post-punk and haven’t already made plans to see Protomartyr and Preoccupations on their current tour, do yourself a favor and buy a ticket to one of their shows. As we sink ever deeper into the holiday season amid the extensive retail crowds, the stress of finding that perfect gift for a friend or loved one, and the forced cheer of non-stop parties and get-togethers, here are some live performances that will allow you to lean into the turmoil and (emotionally) exorcise your darkest impulses. Consider it a bit of a reprieve and a way to treat yourself to some music self-care. In Chicago, Thalia Hall next Thursday night. Be there.

Preoccupations / Protomartyr / Rattle
Buy Tickets
Thursday, December 6th
8:30PM / $17 / 17+

Pick Your Poison: Thursday 11-29-18

We’ll finally be getting Alice Merton’s debut album early next year, but to tide us over until then, she’s provided a new song that’s at the top of today’s Pick Your Poison highlights. Because December kicks off on Saturday and we’re officially in the Christmas season, I hope you’ll enjoy The Beths’ take on a festive classic. Plus, Grace Weber managed to recruit Vic Mensa for a pretty fantastic new one as well. Sail beyond the jump, and you’ll find songs from Baby Goth (ft. Trippie Redd & Lil Xan), Cheat Codes (ft. Kim Petras), Elderbrook, Fredfades & Jawn Rice (ft. Lucid Paradise), Murlo, Toby Green, Tony Romiti (ft. Russ), and more!

Alice Merton – Funny Business

The Beths – Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

Grace Weber – Mercy (ft. Vic Mensa)

Read More

Pick Your Poison: Wednesday 11-28-18

It’s been a week since the last edition of Pick Your Poison, and I’m not happy about it. But there’s not a whole lot I can do when the music gods go silent for a period. Call it a consequence of the holidays. Thankfully there are some really great new tracks in this set to help make the wait feel worth it. That includes highlights from Balms, the return of Gesaffelstein, and a white hot cut from Kllo. Cruise on past the jump and you’ll find even more music from Dahlia Sleeps, Henry Jamison, ISLAND, Jake Miller, Kinder, Tanners, Yung Baby Tate, a Skrillex remix of Travis Scott’s latest single, and more!

Balms – Candle

Gesaffelstein – Reset

Kllo – Candid

Read More

Pick Your Poison: Wednesday 11-21-18

It’s a quieter week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, but I wanted to share this collection of tracks to help soundtrack your extended break and time with family. To start, there’s a pretty great remix of Amine’s “Reel It In” with a guest verse from Gucci Mane. Something fresh from Earl Sweatshirt (ft. Navy Blue) teases his new album that’ll be out next Friday. And hey, let’s add a wonderful Shay Lia track as well for good measure. After the jump, you’ll find even more to be thankful for, including songs from Balthazar, Bjarki, Daisy Maybe x Skepta, DJ Nu-Mark (ft. Method Man), FUR, Hajk, Perfect Body, and Silverbacks.

Amine – Reel It In (Remix ft. Gucci Mane)

Earl Sweatshirt – The Mint (ft. Navy Blue)

Shay Lia – The Cycle

Read More

Pick Your Poison: Thursday 11-15-18

Prepare for the weekend with another lovely collection of tracks, including highlights from Girl Crush, the return of Halloween, Alaska, and something new from Max Styler with special guests The Griswolds. There’s even more music to discover after the jump, including songs from Bronze Whale, Danileigh, Diveliner, Fakear, Moon Panda, Party Pupils (ft. Ashe & MAX), Rosie Carney, and Sticky Fingers.

Girl Crush – Radio Silence

Halloween, Alaska – Ginger

Max Styler – Light Me Up (ft. The Griswolds)

Read More

Pick Your Poison: Wednesday 11-14-18

What are your plans for this February? It’s the middle of winter and you’re probably going to be bundled up somewhere avoiding the snow and cold, right? At least that’s likely to be the case if you’re in Chicago or any other chilly region of the world. Well that gets a little boring after awhile, so allow me to recommend an activity. Brand new for 2019, the folks at Pitchfork and the Art Institute of Chicago are putting on a 3-day (thankfully indoor) music and art festival. Appropriately titled Midwinter, it takes place from February 15-17 at the Art Institute of Chicago. The museum will be open with all of the artwork on display, plus all kinds of special installations and live performances to stimulate the senses.

The lineup includes notable names like Slowdive, Kamasi Washington, Panda Bear, Tortoise, Deerhunter, Oneohtrix Point Never, Laurie Anderson, Perfume Genius, Zola Jesus, Joey Purp, Hiss Golden Messenger, and many more. Experimental artist William Basinski will perform his seminal The Disintegration Loops record in collaboration with the Chicago Philharmonic. Plus artists like Haley Fohr (of Circuit des Yeux) and Mary Lattimore will be on hand all three days for some special sets. Then there are the original gallery sound compositions from people like Nico Muhly, Tashi Wada & Julia Holter, Stars of the Lid, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, and Helado Negro that will be playing to accompany some of the artwork and gallery sections. Overall it promises to be a highly creative and sometimes strange experience, so I hope you’ll consider coming out for it.

Get all the lineup details and a schedule by going to the Midwinter site. Tickets go on sale this Friday at 10AM CT, and are $50 for a single day and $128 for a 3-day base ticket. A base ticket provides access to the Art Institute and most of its galleries, plus select performances. Each night also features several “add-on” shows, each costing between $15-30, that will need to be purchased in addition to the base ticket if you want to attend. The whole thing can get a little pricey if you want to go all-out and see most things, but if you do it right I’m convinced it’ll be an unforgettable time.

Now then, about today’s Pick Your Poison. There are some great tracks from Com Truise, actor/writer/director Noel Wells, and Tiny Ruins to kick things off. Skip past the jump for even more music from Anemone, Darci, Escort, Gunnar Gehl, Jesse Jo Stark, Low Tape, mxmtoon, Shadowgraphs, and $uicideboy$.

Com Truise – Kontex

Noel Wells – Sunrise

Tiny Ruins – School of Design

Read More

Pick Your Poison: Monday 11-12-18

Okay, it’s another Monday in Chicago. There is snow on the ground for some reason. Let’s get at this week and remember that we’re only a week and a half from Thanksgiving. Don’t miss downloads in this set from Frances Luke Accord, Jane Frank, Joey Walker, and Sleepspent. In the Soundcloud section after the jump, stream tracks from 88GLAM, Amir Obe, Bernard Jabs, Big Twins (ft. Prodigy), Desiigner (ft. Lil Pump), GOLDHOUSE & Be The Bear, Lennon Stella, Mk.gee, Olivia O’Brien, Ten Fe, WAVEDASH (ft. QUEST), and more!

AKA Block & Tray Haggerty – Souvenir

D.B. Rouse – About the Bite Missing From Your Sandwich

Frances Luke Accord – Honeyguide

Jane Frank – Practical Jackets

Joey Walker – Frank (Single Edit)

Rebel Yell – High Authority (Rework)

Sleepspent – California

viben – Return to Triumphance

Read More

Pick Your Poison: Thursday 11-8-18

Take it from the top, and then move down slowly with this fresh edition of Pick Your Poison. Don’t miss new stuff from Claire George, Julian Lynch, and Murray A. Lightburn (of The Dears). Ride past the jump for even more music thanks to alextbh, Elohim, EMBRZ (ft. Leo Stannard), Harry Hudson (ft. Jaden Smith), Homeshake, The Marias (ft. Triathalon), Public Memory, and Rose Droll.

Claire George – Lonely or Alone

Julian Lynch – Meridian

Murray A. Lightburn – Belleville Blues

Read More

Page 1 of 157

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén