Faronheit | A Chicago Centric Music Blog

The hottest music from Chicago & beyond

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Pick Your Poison: Thursday 6-21-18

Happy Summer Solstice! Today marks the official beginning of the summer season, as well as the longest day of sunlight for the year. Unfortunately Chicago is trapped in some severe storms all day, so we won’t get the benefits of the sunshine. It happens. The good news is that there are plenty of songs in this edition of Pick Your Poison to properly channel whatever specific weather event or mood you might be dealing with. Underground legends The Mary Onettes return with a darkly smooth synth-pop single that falls somewhere in the spectrum of The Cure and Depeche Mode. Rising hip hop star MIKE continues his pattern of great releases with his second album in two months. You can stream all 33 minutes of it below. Then there’s multi-instrumentalist Tash Sultana, who’s giving us yet another taste of her forthcoming debut full length album that’s due out at the end of August. She’ll be performing at pretty much every music festival around the world this summer (Lollapalooza included), so make sure to catch her set, as she does incredible, mind-blowing things with looping pedals. Ride on past the jump for more songs from 101, Adron, Dillon Francis (ft. Jarina De Marco), El Ten Eleven, Felicity, Matt Muse (ft. Shawnee Dez), Restorations, Tony Molina, and Tory Lanez (ft. Rich The Kid).

The Mary Onettes – Cola Falls

MIKE – Renaissance Man

Tash Sultana – Salvation

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Pick Your Poison: Tuesday 6-19-18

Rising pop star Colin Magalong has a new single out that showcases his ability to handle some slower, R&B-style vibes, and it turns out well enough to be worth highlighting as part of today’s Pick Your Poison. Local Chicago artist to watch Gia Margaret also has a quieter song in this set, and it’s so intricately composed and lush in its arrangement that the mixture of synths, guitars, and powerful drums is completely spellbinding. The boost of energy you’re looking for can be found in Zeds Dead’s collaboration with Redman and Jayceeoh, which is about what you’d expect when EDM and hip hop collide. If you’re up for exploring past the jump, there’s some other tracks in this set from Clans, Cocoa Futures, FRND, Gallant x A$AP Ferg, Joell, KOLE, Madge, Riley, and more!

Colin Magalong – After Hours

Gia Margaret – Birthday

Zeds Dead x 1000volts (Redman x Jayceeoh) – Kill Em

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Pick Your Poison: Monday 6-18-18

It’s a Monday, it’s so mundane. What exciting things will happen today? How about a fresh, extended edition of Pick Your Poison to get things started on the right foot? Don’t miss downloads in this set from great artists like Darren Jessee, The Eyebrows, Flint Eastwood, and The March Divide. In the Soundcloud section after the jump, stream plenty more music from the likes of 2 Chainz (ft. Drake & Quavo), Alessia Cara, Ariaa, Fizzy Blood, Kamixlo, Kotek, Papadosio, Picture This, Riot Ten & Krimer, Smokescreens, Tropics, and Whethan (ft. Oh Wonder).

Cava Grande – Playing Fields

Darren Jessee – Anything You Need

The Eyebrows – Suicide Love

Flint Eastwood – Real Love

The March Divide – I Don’t Care

Rainstorm Brother – Drivin

Static Diary – UFOs

Yanimal – Spirit Molecule

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Pick Your Poison: Thursday 6-14-18

I’m always intrigued when artists make the conscious decision to make music for children. They Might Be Giants have done that multiple times over the years, and that strategy seems to work well for them. But it also leaves me curious as to why these artists feel the need to move in a more simplistic direction to fully appeal to that younger demographic. Most kids are smart enough to understand and enjoy complex melodies and lyrics, even as toddlers. The Beatles might be one of the best examples of that, and they never made an album targeted at small children. To each their own I guess, and now Best Coast is jumping into that arena. Bethany Cosentino’s songs and lyrics have always leaned on the simpler side of life, so this feels like a natural extension of that, only with less lyrics about getting high or falling in love and more lyrics about pets and such. Get a taste of the upcoming Best Coast kids album below. One of the things I love most about Laurel Halo is her curiosity and willingness to take chances with her music. Case in point, after her excellent experimental pop record Halo from last year, she’s putting out a new mini-album full of ambient, instrumental electronica inspired by some recent soundtrack work. Strap in for the flowing yet ominous vibes of the 10-minute “Raw Silk Uncut Wood”. One of the great, unsung album treasures of the ’80s is The Blue Nile’s Hats. It’s a gorgeous piece of synth-pop that contains some magical qualities that are tough to define, but keep you coming back for more. Pure Bathing Culture have noticed this, and have chosen to cover the album in full for the ongoing Sounds Delicious series for Turntable Kitchen. Because he likes fun things, Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie also contributes vocals to two songs, including “Saturday Night”, which is featured below. Other artists featured in today’s Pick Your Poison include Astronauts, etc., Bugge Wesseltoft & Prins Thomas, Cam Meekins, Sap & Michael Christmas, GODAMN, GoldLink (ft. Miguel), Guts Club, Hosannas, Marquis Hawkes (ft. Ursula Rucker), and Omik.

Best Coast – Cats & Dogs

Laurel Halo – Raw Silk Uncut Wood

Pure Bathing Culture – Saturday Night (The Blue Nile cover ft. Ben Gibbard)

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Pick Your Poison: Tuesday 6-12-18

Really great collection of tracks in today’s Pick Your Poison. That is to say, much better than average. If you’re a fan of The xx and Beach House but aren’t aware of Cigarettes AFter Sex for some reason, get on that train right away. They put out their debut album a year ago, and in celebration of that anniversary have shared an unreleased new song that sounds a whole lot like their other songs. Your excitement level should be determined by how much you enjoy slow burn sexiness. The Australian duo known as Let’s Eat Grandma have given us a couple of fantastic synth-pop tracks over the last couple months, but as we prepare for their new record that’ll be out in a couple weeks they’ve mixed things up a bit with a lovely piano ballad. Then there’s something fresh from Odetta Hartman, who’s got a sound that’s difficult to describe but might fit best into the category of rockabilly. The guitars have a certain twang to them, matched only by her powerful voice, but then there are synths and electronic textures interspersed that provides a modern twist on a classic sound. Reach beyond the jump, and you’ll find more music from artists including Ash (not the British band), Blake Banks, Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, Cumulus, EMBRZ (ft. joan), Hockeysmith, Ovlov, Pat Lok (ft. JONES), and Sean Gast.

Cigarettes After Sex – Crush

Let’s Eat Grandma – Ava

Odetta Hartman – Sweet Teeth

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Pick Your Poison: Monday 6-11-18

Normally I’d wait until I had a few more downloads to share before including them in an extended Monday edition of Pick Your Poison, but I’m feeling saucy today and it’s nice outside and whatever other excuses I need to make to justify this. Ultimately, it doesn’t make much of a difference. You should absolutely check out tracks from Lev Snowe, Lovehoney, and Oh Joy, among others. Then cruise on past the jump into the Soundcloud section for streams from artists like Blaise Moore, Charlotte Lawrence, Dagny, Future Generations, Gorillaz (ft. George Benson), Hotel Mira, StayLoose (ft. Taheran), THEY., UnoTheActivist, Vic Mensa (ft. G-Eazy), and Walton.

Akenda – Inflict Joy

In.Drip. – Titles

Lev Snowe – Could Be

Lovehoney – Open Door

Oh Joy – Cab Sad

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Pick Your Poison: Wednesday 6-6-18

There’s a new solo effort from Cut Copy’s Ben Browning that’ll be out in a couple weeks, but if you’re in the mood for a summery slice of upbeat synth-pop, the title track from that record is available to stream below. We’re just under two months away from a new album by Free Cake for Every Creature, aka Katie Bennett. She’s brought a couple of her band members into the studio this time to fill out her introverted rock songs, and the result is beautiful and more confident than anything she’s done before. Get a taste of what that sounds like in this collection of tracks. The end of August will mark the official return of brilliant psych-pop auteur Wild Nothing (aka Jack Tatum), but if you don’t want to wait that long for a new record, the first single “Letting Go” should hopefully serve as some addictive inspiration. More great music is available after the jump, including tracks from Dinamarca, Echo Courts, Joker, Oklou, Onyx Collective, Pusher (ft. Soren Bryce), So Stressed, Sun June, and Wes Allen.

Ben Browning – Even Though

Free Cake for Every Creature – Around You

Wild Nothing – Letting Go

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Pick Your Poison: Tuesday 6-5-18

Unless you actively know El Ten Eleven’s music and their performance style, you probably would have no idea the post-rock duo tend to use looping techniques and double guitars to craft their epic soundscapes. It’s cool stuff, and you’d be wise to check it out below in advance of their upcoming album that’ll be out this August. Fans of ambient, instrumental electronica will hopefully enjoy a new one-off track from Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith. Her album The Kid was one of my favorites from last year, and “Yugoslavia” below is part of a new compilation for Stadiums & Shrines. Catch her at Pitchfork Music Festival this July! If you’re in the mood for a quick and (sonically) dirty rock song, Valley Queen’s latest should get your energy up in just over two minutes. There’s more killer music available after the jump, including tracks from Appleby, Arp, GANZ (ft. LUNA MAY), HYLLS, Pretty Sister (ft. White Gold), Ruchir (ft. JThaMC), rx Soul, Sakima, and Samaria.

El Ten Eleven – Phenomenal Problems

Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith – Yugoslavia

Valley Queen – Boiling Water

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Pick Your Poison: Monday 6-4-18

Starting out June with an extended edition of Pick Your Poison just feels right. The days are getting longer, and so are the collections of songs! There are some fantastic downloads in this set from Carry Illinois, Claude Munson, Franklin, and Running Red Lights. In the Soundcloud section after the jump, you can stream more music from artists that include Beanpole, Blanco White, Impey, Jalen N’Gonda, Luke James, MadeinTYO (ft. A$AP Ferg), Nessly & Yung Bans, Party Pupils, Reese Laflare, Set Mo, TWOGOOD (ft. Maddy), and Winston.

Carry Illinois – Pushing Sound

Claude Munson – Broken Stairs


Draag – Sorry (Dispensa)

Franklin – Lost Sea

Running Red Lights – Songs of Blue

Trowa Barton – Edvard Munch (Coffin)

XNOVA – All I Know

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Pick Your Poison: Thursday 5-31-18

It’s the end of May, and summer is on the horizon. Let’s get this month finished with a bang. We can start with Chicago’s own Clearance, who in addition to the new song have announced a new album called At Your Leisure that’ll be out at the end of July. At under two minutes, I’d argue this bouncy slice of indie rock is maybe a hair too short, but it’s a delight nevertheless. Also great is a new one from Hana Vu, who’s definitely an artist to watch. This is the first taste of an EP that’ll be out at the end of June, which is sure to be full of cool guitar work. Speaking of artists to watch, Spielbergs put out a fantastic EP just over a month ago, and if you have yet to hear that collection of bright and addictive rock songs, maybe listening to another track from it will inspire you to give it a shot. Slide on past the jump for more new music from BellaBoo, Chantitown, Jvck James, Mind Bath, Otha, RL Grime (ft. Daya), sonn (ft. Ayelle), Tanukichan, and Tony Molina.

Clearance – Had A Fantastic

Hana Vu – Shallow

Spielbergs – Daisy! It’s the New Me

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Pick Your Poison: Tuesday 5-29-18

Hope your Memorial Day was great! Happy to be back in action with another slice of Pick Your Poison for your ears. It’s tempting to compare Freedom Fry to bands like The Lumineers or Of Monsters and Men, but this duo has an alt-folk style all their own, and there’s certainly enough room for it in today’s music landscape. Their latest single “Die Tryin'” is one of their catchiest to date, so give it a shot if you’re so inclined. jade Bird has been making a name for herself so far in 2018, as her single “The Lottery” has been getting plenty of radio airplay as it climbs up the charts. She’s following it up with the sparse acoustic ballad “Furious”, which may not sound like a big hit, but the focus on her vocals and lyrics is powerful and beautiful. Reminds me a bit of Neko Case. Soulful singer Nikki Jean has been making great music for the last decade, much of it in collaboration with Lupe Fiasco. She’s got her own solo thing too, which is more a collection of singles into EPs released a few years back. Thankfully she signed with Rhymesayers Entertainment at the end of last year, with an eye on a new album for 2018. Enjoy “Mr Clean”, which naturally features a guest appearance from…you guessed it, Lupe Fiasco. Sail past the jump if you’re interested in hearing other new songs from great artists like 3LAU + ZAXX (ft. Olivera), Balako, Fabian Mazur & Party Thieves, Jamison Isaak, LH4L (ft. KG Man), Loote (ft. Joe Jonas), Masayoshi Fujita, MUTO (ft. Oliver Dibley), and Plage 84 (ft. Femi Jaye).

Freedom Fry – Die Tryin’

Jade Bird – Furious

Nikki Jean – Mr Clean (ft. Lupe Fiasco)

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Pick Your Poison: Thursday 5-24-18

What’s amazing to me is that there are two entirely different artists making music under the name Belly these days. The “original” Belly, as I like to call them, is an alt-rock band that was started in the early ’90s by Tanya Donelly of Throwing Muses. They had a hit song “Feed the Tree” in 1993 that earned them fame and popularity. They subsequently broke up in 1996. Nearly 10 years later, Canadian (Drake-esque) rapper Belly arrived on the scene, and managed to gain popularity through a couple of mixtapes. He signed to Jay-Z’s label Roc Nation in 2015, and his star continues to rise. One year after that, Belly the band reunited, and earlier this month released their first album since 1995. Are you confused yet? Because I am. Typically in situations like these, one of the artists would be forced to change their name. I guess it’s less of an issue because they sound so different. Still, it makes Pick Your Poison a little challenging when you feature both of them (thankfully never at the same time). Today’s Belly track features The Weeknd, so you can hopefully guess which artist is responsible (hint: not the band). Belly aside, other highlights include a new stunner from James Blake, as well as Lucy Mason’s rather straightforward yet beautiful piano cover of Radiohead’s “High & Dry”. Move on past the jump for more songs from Bluestaeb, Campdogzz, Ella Grace, Farao, G-Eazy (ft. Global Dan), Omar Apollo, PENPALS, viben, and ViVii.

Belly – What You Want (ft. The Weeknd)

James Blake – Don’t Miss It

Lucy Mason – High and Dry (Radiohead cover)

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Pick Your Poison: Tuesday 5-22-18

Today’s Pick Your Poison is overflowing with exceptional songs, which is always a good problem to have. In terms of new artists to discover, Pllush is certainly high on that list, and this track “Big Train” explodes out of the gate while managing to contain some strong advice about loving yourself. We just got a surprise new album from stoner rock legends Sleep last month, but it seems like they held back one epic, 16+ minute track to include as part of Adult Swim’s Singles series. Smoke up and take it all in. Speaking of Adult Swim Singles, there’s also something brand new from Tim Hecker as part of that series. It’s the first thing we’ve heard from him in two years, and the ambient instrumental piles on horns and organs in some sort of wizardly sound collage. Get on it. Keep going past the jump for more music from the likes of A Boogie wit da Hoodie (ft. Davido), Cam Maclean, Coleman Hell, The Cool Kids (ft. Boldy James), Femdot, Highasakite, Kailee Morgue (ft. Whethan), Michael Christmas, and Walton (ft. Riko Dan).

Pllush – Big Train

Sleep – Leagues Beneath

Tim Hecker – Rose Light

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Pick Your Poison: Monday 5-21-18

In my opinion, Aesop Rock is one of the more underrated rappers in music today. He’s had a similar career trajectory to El-P, only without an explosive team-up like Run the Jewels to boost his profile. Give his new single “Klutz” a shot and show him some love. Jenn Champion, who has previously made music with Carissa’s Wierd as well as under the names of Jenn Ghetto and S, has a new solo album coming out in mid-July. The synth-infused pulse of “Time to Regulate” is a great preview of what to expect. And because there’s a little something for everybody in Pick Your Poison, let the heavy waves of guitar wash over you with Ovlov’s latest “Spright”. Plenty more great music to absorb beyond the jump, including songs from American Authors, Deanna Devore, Emilie Levienaaise-Farrouch, Jessie Reyez, Protoje (ft. Chronixx), QUIX & Matroda, Summer Walker, Tiesto & Dzeko (ft. Preme and Post Malone), and Yem Gel.

Aesop Rock – Klutz

Jenn Champion – Time to Regulate

Ovlov – Spright

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Show Review: The Kills [House of Vans; Chicago; 5/19/18]

Photo credit: Daniel Boczarski

It’s equal parts astounding and impressive that The Kills have been around for 15 years. For a band formed on the perilous dynamic of Alison Mosshart’s wildly frenetic, outsized vocalist and Jamie Hince’s ultra-cool, blues-indebted guitar work, one can envision a world where they burn out quickly over two or three impressive records then leave behind a beautiful corpse. Thankfully they’re smarter than that, and their longevity can be credited, at least in part, to their commitment to evolution while still maintaining the core tenets of their sound. No two Kills records sound the same, but you also wouldn’t think any of them were made by a different band.

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