On Monday editions of Pick Your Poison, I typically like to regale you with tales of interesting or important shows in and around the Chicagoland area that are worth your time seeking out. That is, if you live here of course. Today is a particularly special edition of that, because the two shows I’m going to mention are Chicago-centric in every way possible. Quintessential Chicago is what I’d call them, so if you’re interested in learning more about the city and its music scene, go see these bands play or at the very least listen to the music samples I’m providing to you below.

First of all, if you don’t know the Waco Brothers, you don’t know country music and you don’t know Chicago. Ok, so Chicago isn’t nearly Nashville or Dallas when it comes to country, but that doesn’t mean great country music can’t be made here. Of course it’s anything but traditional country, and the Waco Brothers have achieved something of a legendary status for their crazy live shows that are more punk rock in style than anything else. For their new record Great Chicago Fire, they’ve collaborated with Nashville legend and auteur Paul Burch. If the title track is any indication of what to expect from the entire album, it’s going to be a real treat when it’s released next Tuesday 4/24. In celebration of that, the Waco Brothers and Paul Burch will be playing a record release show next Thursday, April 26th at FitzGerald’s in Berwyn. The show time is 8:30PM and tickets are $15. Buy tickets here.

Secondly, I hope you’ve heard of JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound. If there’s one Chicago band that’s truly breaking out in 2012, it’s these guys. They unleashed their latest album Want More last fall to critical acclaim, and have been touring almost nonstop since then. They played nearly a dozen shows at SXSW this year, and I feel privileged to have seen the very last one, taking place at 1AM on a Saturday night. The crowd was completely worn down. The band was completely worn down too, as it comes with the territory of playing 3-4 shows a day for 3-4 days in a row. Yet everyone persevered and summoned up the energy for one last hour of pure musical enjoyment. There was magic in that show, in part because there’s magic in this band. They’re soulful, funky and fun, quickly on their way to becoming not only a Chicago treasure, but an American one too. On Friday, April 27th, they’ll be rolling through town for one of their biggest shows to date – headlining at Metro. It’s an all-Chicago bill that night too, in the best way possible as rising stars Gold Motel and Blah Blah Blah will be opening. Soul Summit DJs will be spinning in between sets as well, to keep the party going. And what a party it will be. Having looked over the full concert calendar for that day, I will officially guarantee you there will not be a better show happening in Chicago that Friday night. If you’re around and need something to do that night, come on out and we’ll have some serious fun. Have a listen to the latest JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound single “Sister Ray Charles” to help push you in the right direction. Or watch the video for the song. Perhaps their dynamic cover of Wilco’s “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart” will be more your speed. The show on the 27th starts at 8PM and tickets are only $12. Buy tickets here.

As for today’s Pick Your Poison, I’m pleased to recommend tracks from Air Traffic Controller, The Bombay Royale, Higgins, Co Pilots’ remix of The Naked and Famous, Old Bricks, School Knights, What Hearts and Wymond Miles. In the Soundcloud section, don’t miss streaming songs from Royal Headache, Supreme Cuts, Tim Hecker, Yuck and SBTRKT’s remix of Frank Ocean.

Air Traffic Controller – Blame

The Bombay Royale – You Me Bullets Love

Higgins – Easy Thing

Johnny Headband – Over There

Nadia Kazmi – I’m Your Man

The Naked and Famous – No Way (Co-Pilots Remix)

Nouela – Fight

Old Bricks – Anthem

Prison For Kids – Suggestion

School Knights – Present Tense

Sci-Fi Romance – Broken World

Souldrop – Movement

Warning Light – Slept on the Shore All Morning Again

What Hearts – Do It in the Day

Wymond Miles – Pale Moon


Frank Ocean – Whip Appeal (SBTRKT Edit)

Niki & The Dove – Tomorrow

Royal Headache – Psychotic Episode

Supreme Cuts – Sherm

Tim Hecker – Suffocation Raga for John Cale

Yuck – Chew