Thursday, December 31, 2009

Best Of 2009 Playlist

To close out 2009, I thought it was appropriate to pick a bakers dozen worth of the best songs of the year that you probably haven't heard yet. Grab these and give them a listen.

in alphabetical order

Bad Veins - "Crosseyed" This soaring, heartfelt confession of love is the best track off an incredibly impressive debut from this Ohio-based orchestral indie pop duo.

David Bazan - "When We Fell" Ex-Pedro The Lion frontman, David Bazan's first solo outing, a soul-baring look at his fallout with religion, is one of the most brilliant albums of 2009.

Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears - "Get Yo Shit" The raw voice of Lewis delivers the goods in the emotional hook, as he pleads his case to stay in the house after a late night of drinking. Horns ablaze, a funky blues riff, and a great sense of humor make this one of the best surprises of 2009.

Company Of Thieves - "The Fire Song" With all due respect to XRT, Chicago's finest rock right now is Company Of Thieves. In a great year for new bands, their January release of their debut album stood head and shoulders above the rest. It is an album where your favorite track can easily change every time you put it on - at the moment, this is mine.

Kinch - "Carolina Cannonball" More great, under appreciated Arizona rock. Impossible to listen to just once.

Pablo - "By Up I Mean" I adore Pablo, and this restless acoustic number off their sophomore set shows off front man Paul Schalda's vocal charms like nothing else.

Phantogram - "Mouthful Of Diamonds" This trance-ish pop outfit out of New York is not likely to remain unknown for long. Recently signed to Barsuk Records, their label debut should land sometime in 2010, with this irresistible blipping tune off their self-released EP a great indication of their talents.

Portual. The Man - "Guns And Dogs" Soul and classic rock come together for something brilliant here. It doesn't hurt that they also put on the most memorable live show I attended in 2009, rocketing them just below The Cat Empire on my list of must-see bands.

Ramona Falls - "I Say Fever" A shaggy fever dream of a song, as strummy and acoustic as it is lush and orchestral. The vocals hit as hard as the stomping beat. I'm not saying we don't need another Menomena album, but some more Ramona Falls first would not be a bad thing.

Reubens Accomplice - "No Motion" I really wish we got the new Reubens Accomplice album this year, but the kick-ass EP they delivered did just fine. This ode to their hometown, comparing Phoenix to New York and Los Angeles, is a great listen.

Jonah Smith - "Open Up The Door" This jangling piano rocker is just one of the many charms on this singer-songwriter's latest.

The Starlight Mints - "Black Champagne" This bubbly track is the most accessible on an otherwise wonderfully strange album. As an added bonus, it seems appropriate to ring in the new year.

Wallpaper. - "Celebrity" The whole album is hilarious, but this Kevin Federline-esque jam, about gaining fame by sleeping with someone famous, is a funky pop treat whose music is just as enjoyable as the lyrics.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Chicago's Own Canasta Gives It Up For Free

If you can brave the cold and additional snow this weekend, local Chicago favorites, Canasta are playing two FREE hour-long sets at Simon's Tavern this Sunday (1/4). The first set is at 9, with another following at 10:30. Not only will you have more money in your pocket for the bar's solid beer offerings, but the band's email states they will be playing most of their newly titled next album, The Fakeout, The Tease And The Breather. If it is half as good as their debut, this freebie at a smallish bar will be a rarity soon enough - and you'd be one of the cool kids that saw them 'when'.

In site news, we are still working out the kinks and getting back into the groove after the holidays. Rest assured, there will be a podcast shortly (at least one in January) along with more regular site updates so you don't miss out on great bands like Cansta.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Equal Vision Records 12 Days Of Christmas

The fine folks at Equal Vision Records are getting in the holiday spirit with a great December promotion called '12 Days Of Christmas'. Each day, you can head over to each day to get the daily offering for whatever price you choose. The albums will cover the recent releases and some back catalog goodies. Today's album is the fantastic First Temple from Australia's Closure In Moscow. It's been a great year for the label, so there's plenty to enjoy. Keep your eyes open for Dear & The Headlights and Portugal. The Man albums.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Whigs To Release In The Dark March 2nd

Athens, GA's finest band since R.E.M. announced a release date for their follow-up to 2008's Mission Control.  ATO Records will release the album on March 2nd.  Those who cannot wait a few months to get their ears on the new material can either head to to grab free downloads of "In The Dark" and "Hundred/Million" from the band directly, or just head out to one of their December dates below:

December 4 - The Variety Playhouse - Atlanta, Georgia

December 5 - Rhythm & Brews - Chattanooga, Tennessee

December 8 - Visulite - Charlotte, North Carolina

December 10 - Black Cat - Washington, DC, Washington DC

December 11 - The Fillmore @ Irving Plaza - New York, New York

December 12 - North Star - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

December 14 - Local 506 - Chapel Hill, North Carolina

December 15 - Pour House - Charleston, South Carolina
With The Features (the first band signed to Kings Of Leon's new imprint label) lending support for these shows, seems like a safe bet!  One listen to their ode to the working man, "The Temporary Blues", and you will know why we are so upset they are not hitting Chicago. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Editors Reveal US Headlining Tour Dates

Soon enough, you will know what a departure Editors third release is from their previous two albums.  Released in October in the UK, the album has recived rave reviews for the band's brave new direction toward a more synth-oriented sound.  We are still chewing on just how much 'different' we can take, but it is at the very least an improvement from the sophomoric An End Has A Start.  Tom Smith's commanding vocals in front of the chilled synth is quite a bit different than the brooding rock of their debut.  We recommend breaking in easy with blipping ballad "The Boxer" or the soaring "Bricks And Mortar".  You can get your hands on it when it is released in the US on January 19th.  If you like what you hear, the band will be stateside for the following dates:

Feb 05 - Seattle, WA -Showbox at the Market

Feb 06 - Vancouver, BC -Commodore Ballroom

Feb 08 - San Francisco, CA - The Warfield Theatre

Feb 09 - San Diego, CA - House of Blues

Feb 11 - Los Angeles, CA - The Wiltern

Feb 13 - Denver, CO - Ogden Theatre

Feb 15 - Chicago, IL - Victoria Theatre

Feb 16 - Toronto, ON - Phoenix Concert Theatre

Feb 18 - Boston, MA - House of Blues

Feb 19 - New York, NY - Terminal 5

Feb 20 - Philadelphia, PA - Trocadero

Feb 21 - Washington, DC - 9:30 Club

Should be intersting to see how the new material meshes with the old. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Upcoming Shows - Week ending December 6th

Until we get the podcast up and running, we'll try to keep you updated with at least weekly posts regarding upcoming shows you should have on your radar.  Two shows caught our attention this week, including one tonight. 

Tuesday, December 1st - Empty Bottle - All Creatures Of The Sea, Conductive Alliance, Winter Gloves - 9:30pm - $3 advance, $8 at door

Never heard the openers, but for $3, how can you resist the antsy electro-pop of Canada's Winter Gloves?  Their debut, About A Girl, is one of the best surprises of 2009.  Give the hazy synth a chance to win you over on the twitchy "Invisible". 

Saturday, December 5th - Beat Kitchen - Canasta, Sleep Out, Field Music - 9pm - $12

We learned of this one from Chicago's own Canasta, who serves up the opening sonic bliss.  Having discovered them at a dive bar opening for 2 AM Radio a few years ago, they are a constant reminder to never be late for a show.  For every horrible opening band that sends you packing to the bar to get out of earshot, there is a band like Canasta that you will be glad you stood around early for.  The little we've heard of Field Music sounds as if they are a good match for Canasta's killer brand of orchestral indie pop.  If you have not yet heard "Slow Down Chicago", stop reading now and go find it!