Monday, March 5, 2012

The Wombats Announce Spring Tour Dates

Criminally addictive indie pop trio, The Wombats have announced dates for their triumphant return to the states. Last time the band was here they were relegated to playing the too-small-for-their-fantastic-album Subterranean. This time around, the band is parlaying the sudden success of the latest single, "Jump Into The Fog", into a headlining appearance at Park West. Given how fantastic This Modern Glitch is, we fully expect their leapfrogging to larger venues to continue.

April 21 Jillian’s                                      Albany, NY
April 23 9:30 Club                                  Washington, DC
April 24 Middle East                                Cambridge, MA
April 26 Webster Hall                              New York, NY
April 27 Stage AE                                   Pittsburgh, PA
April 28 A & R Music Bar                         Columbus, OH
April 30 Park West                                 Chicago, IL
May 1   Fine Line Music Cafe                   Minneapolis, MN
May 2   The Beaumont Club                    Kansas City, MO
May 4   The Black Sheep                        Colorado Springs, CO
May 5   Kilby Court                                Salt Lake City, UT
May 7   Great American Music Hall          San Francisco, CA
May 8   El Rey Theatre                           Los Angeles, CA
May 9   The Casbah                               San Diego, CA

Friday, March 2, 2012

The Week In Shows

Here is our weekly list of recommended shows to catch in, and around, the city. We do not take our recommendations lightly, so you can put all of these down as money well spent on great live bands.

Friday - 3/2
The Twilight Sad @ Empty Bottle
$12 - 10pm - Opening: Young Prisms, Michah P Hinson

Late notice, but the Scottish band's sparse, moody new album is sure to sound fantastic here. As much as we love Empty Bottle, this is a band that should definitely be playing on a larger stage. The dramatic, brooding "Sick" and rumbling "Another Bed" are sure to set the room on fire.

Dia Frampton @ Subterranean
$15 - 8pm - Opening: Andrew Allen

If you are looking for something slightly cheerier to do tonight, last year's runner-up from The Voice is playing a set at Subterranean. Chad is a sucker for reality singing competitions, and Frampton (formerly of indie duo Meg & Dia) has a unique voice that should suit the venue nicely.

Saturday - 3/3
Pet Lions @ Subterranean
$10 - 9pm - Opening: Brighton, MA, Briar Rabbit, Ben Keeler

One of our favorite accidental discoveries over the last several years was stumbling across Pet Lions' "Roman History" on Pandora, only to realize that they are a Chicago band. A few shows and a great debut album later, we are fans. One of Chicago's indie outfits just waiting for the world to notice how great they are, you should definitely catch them while they are still playing the city's more quaint venues like this.

Thursday - 3/8
Yellow Ostrich @ Empty Bottle
$8 - 9:30pm - Opening: 1, 2, 3, Tin Tin Can

With a sophomore album, strange land, releasing earlier in the week, we are not quite sure how the Alex Schaaf project is playing at the smallish venue. The band's debut, The Mistress was a mind-blowing solo bedroom recording from Schaaf, achieved with loops of brilliantly layered sound and vocals. if you have somehow missed out, give it a spin - or better yet, trust us that this is a show not to be missed and catch them at Empty Bottle. It is a matter of time for the Barsuk-signed band to be playing to much larger crowds.

Friday - 3/9
Company Of Thieves @ Metro
$15 - 7pm - Opening: Bailiff, Sidewalk Chalk

Anyone that used to listen to our old podcast will not be shocked that we are recommending a Company Of Thieves show. They are easily one of the best live bands going, and it is great to see them playing a larger room. Catch them at Metro before more people figure out how damn great they are and they end up playing even bigger venues.

Maritime @ Empty Bottle
$10 - 10pm - Opening: Panoramic & True, The Minor Leagues

With two openers and Metro's notorious policy of shoving you out the door as quickly as possible once a show ends, you might have a shot to catch both Company Of Thieves and Maritime on Friday night. The Milwaukee band's latest album, Human Hearts was one of our favorite albums of last year. We can only imagine how fantastic the jogging jabs of "Paraphernalia" and raggedly strummed "Annihilation Eyes" will sound at the great venue.

Alabama Shakes @ Lincoln Hall
SOLD OUT - 10pm - Opening: Canasta, Jennifer Castle

Chicago's stellar indie pop outfit, Canasta is what would draw us to this show... if it were not sold out. Keep your eyes peeled here for future shots to catch Canasta's genius live.

Coming Soon
Saturday - 3/10
Adam Krier (AM Taxi) @ Beat Kitchen $10 10pm Opening: swizzlesteve, Kevin Andrew Prchal

Saturday - 3/17
Live Band Karaoke @ Schubas $5 5pm

Monday - 3/19
Fiona Apple @ Lincoln Hall SOLD OUT 8pm

Wednesday - 3/21
A Place To Bury Strangers @ Empty Bottle $12 9:30pm Opening: Apteka, The Big Sleep, DJ bradiy

Thursday - 3/22
Literary Rock & Roll: American Dreamers @ Metro FREE 6:30pm Readings of stories with Canasta providing music

Friday - 3/23
We Were Promised Jetpacks @ Bottom Lounge $15 9pm Opening: Bad Veins, New Cassettes
Delta Spirit @ Metro $17 9pm Opening: Waters (former Port O'Brien)
Rachael Yamagata @ Schubas $15 10pm Opening: Madi Diaz
The Temper Trap @ Lincoln Hall SOLD OUT 10pm

Saturday - 3/24
The Temper Trap @ Lincoln Hall $25 10pm
Rachael Yamagata @ Schubas $15 10pm Opening: Madi Diaz

Sunday - 3/25
Cursive @ Lincoln Hall $18 8pm Opening: Cymbals Eat Guitars, Conduits
Rosie Thomas @ Schubas $13 8pm Opening: Bhi Bhiman

Thursday - 3/29
The Pretty Reckless @ Bottom Lounge $15 6:30pm Opening: The Parlor Mob, The Hollywood Kills

Friday - 3/30
Miniature Tigers @ Schubas $15 8pm Opening: The Chain Gang Of 1974, Geographer, SPEAK

Saturday - 3/31
Ben Kweller @ Lincoln Hall $18 Opening: Sleeper Agent, The Dig

Thursday, March 1, 2012

February Album Of The Month

The year might have started a little slow for indie music, but February took off like a rocket with some fantastic albums we are sure you will still be listening to as the calendar flips to 2013. We imagine Album Of The Month to be a close call each time out, but nearly all of the 'Also Worth A Listen' selections here could have just as easily been the pick this month.

Album Of The Month

Cursive: I Am Gemini
From the playfully taunting strut of "The Sun And Moon" to the devilishly jabbing "Warmer, Warmer", Tim Kasher and crew have a blast crafting the tale of two twins separated at birth on the band's seventh studio album. Shifty time changes and Kasher's uniquely splintered vocal delivery remain, with the creaky stomp of "Double Dead" and buzzsaw guitars of "Wowowow" keeping things plenty strange, but the are flourishes of melody around nearly every corner, as with the rumbling groove of "Twin Dragon/Hello Skeleton", making this strange gem a more welcoming Cursive album than most.

Also Worth A Listen

Bahamas: Barchords
Canadian singer-songwriter, Bahamas made a name for himself with the delightful, if a tad too placid, debut, Pink Strat. Things do not pick up much in tempo this time around, but he feels a bit more comfortable awash in the strummy mellow cool of his music on the lovely "Lost In The Light" , the drippy blues thump of "Never Again", and playfully bouncy "I Got You Babe".

Band Of Skulls: Sweet Sour
The dual vocalist approach of this blues-kissed UK rock trio returns with a spectacular sophomore album. The slithering guitar and menacing beat of the title-track opens the album with a track that pulls you in hard only to punch you in the gut, with the rest of the album finding you questioning how they are not yet a household name. The eerily alluring harmonies of Emma Richardson and Russell Mardsen add a touch of unexpected sweetness to snarling "You're Not Pretty But You Got It Going On" and turn "Bruises" into a heartbreaker. The antsy layers of sound on tracks like dazzling "Wanderluster" only add to the enticing package.

Dr. Dog: Be The Void
The lo-fi bluesy shimmer of opening "Lonesome" and tangled mash of antsy beats and organ on trippy pop tune "That Old Black Hole" pull you into Dr. Dog's latest quickly. The carefree, ramshackle production of these irresistibly catchy tunes works great with their creaky harmonies on tracks like swaying "Get Away" and blippy chimes and naked drums that greet "Heavy Light". If you have never heard of them, but enjoy Wilco's flair for experimental indie pop, you are in for a treat.

fun.: Some Nights
If there is any band in danger of having their harmonies materialize into delicious soft-serve ice cream as they ooze out of the speakers, it is fun. Their sophomore effort again succeeds on the strength of, former The Format frontman, Nate Ruess' vocals, balancing triumph and heartbreak with each soaring note. The steady assault of beats and soaring, gorgeously melodic hooks of tracks like "We Are Young", featured in Chevy's Superbowl commercial this year, is the very definition of power pop. Like their debut, there are a few awkward missteps, but what works here, like the relentlessly cheery title track and the strummy, hopeful stomp of "Carry On", far outweighs what falls flat.

Geographer: Myth
Dream indie popsters, Geographer will melt your soul with their graceful, gorgeous sophomore album. The trio win your heart quickly with the vocals of Michael Deni gracefully oozing through the hypnotic blend of synth and beats on the opening "Life Of Crime", and hold you in breathless anticipation of where they head next with each passing new wave kissed gem. Melodic strummer "The Myth Of Youth", blippy bounce of "Lovers Game", and twirling lead single "Kites" will keep this album in heavy rotation well into Summer.

Heartless Bastards: Arrow
If you like a little country in your rock n roll, or a little rock n roll in your country, the gorgeous fourth album from this fantastic quartet will satisfy your wants. The achy heartbreak in Erika Wennerstrom's vocals weaving through the dancing guitar and bass groove of "Only For You" and the steady cool of "Marathon" show the band's softer side, while the ragged strummer "Parted Ways" and thick swath of guitar on "Late In The Night" show off their more rock edged side. Produced by Spoon drummer Jim Eno, consider this proof that Britt Daniel is not the only member of the legendary indie rock outfit that can produce a kick-ass album.

Ben Kweller: Go Fly A Kite
Folky singer-songwriter, Ben Kweller adds a bit more southern rock twang to his sound this time around, proving a welcome change that flushes out the rocking verses and poppy melodic hook of "Mean To Me" well. The piano he has leaned on in recent albums returns on the jangling classic pop of "Jealous Girl" and boppy "Gossip", but the album succeeds largely on the heavier reliance of guitars lending Kweller a bit more of an edge his feel-good tunes.

Audra Mae and The Almighty Sound: Audra Mae And The Almighty Sound
In some ways the debut from Audra Mae's new band sounds like a more flushed-out, country dipped take on Asteroids Galaxy Tour, but that somehow sells the crackling energy and infectiously swaggering confidence of the album short. One listen to twangy gem "My Friend The Devil" or soulful flickering "The Real Thing" and you will be left wondering where Mae has been your whole life.

Anais Mitchell: Young Man In America
The taut, haunting fifth studio album from, folk singer-songwriter, Anais Mitchell is tough to get out of your ears once you hear it. The restless beauty in the achy vocals twisting through the title track, the delightfully splotchy harmonies and drizzled guitar of "Dyin Day", and casually captivating vibe of "Ships" make this the kind of album that sends you instantly searching for her previous work to catch up on what you have been missing. The loose, rhythmic strut of "Smokin The Boys" and steady step of working man blues "Ne'er Do Wells" round out the vibrant, diverse album well.

Shearwater: Animal Joy
The chilling falsetto of Jonathan Meiburg pairs with sparkling acoustic-based arrangements on the Texas indie outfit's latest offering, making for an intense listening experience that demands your attention with its grace and beauty as often as it does with the uptempo strut of tracks like "Immaculate". The way Meiburg quivers through the quaking backing of "Breaking The Yearlings" and the puffy-chested demand on jangling "You As You Were" makes this a magical, breathtaking album.

Tennis: Young & Old
Husband and wife throwback duo, with drummer James Barone joining on their first tour, Tennis had an awful lot of hype behind them when their debut, Cape Dory hit last year. With The Black Keys' Patrick Carney handling production, their sophomore effort sounds much more capable of reaching the towering heights their debut's hype promised. Alaina Moore's classic pop vocals roaring through the shaggy "It All Feels The Same", jangling piano of "Petition", and boppy, sweet winner "Origins" show that just because you find a band overhyped at first does not mean there is true talent there waiting to deliver the goods.

Rosie Thomas: With Love
It is both appropriate and a shame that this album came out on Valentine's Day. Thomas' latest is so bursting at the seems with love and affection that songs like the fantastically cheery "Over The Moon" are exactly the kind of tunes that induce that ear-to-throat gag reflex in those averse to V-Day. For those not afraid for a little love and hope in their indie, give the tender "2 Birds" and pretty "Where Was I" a shot and see how quickly the album wins you over.

The Twilight Sad: No One Can Ever Know
The third album from Scottish brooding rockers The Twilight Sad places the lads somewhere between The Smiths and Editors with shadowy romantic tunes like "Alphabet" and methodically twittering, sparsely lit "Sick". The album is a stark, mesmerizing listen that is hard to escape, with songs like the murky "Not Sleeping" and humming synth and rumbling bass of "Another Bed" grabbing hold of you tight and refusing to let go.