Live Review: Laik/Red Jr/American Cosmonaut/The Dead On/Lost But Happy (2/3) @ Double Door

Like any great Americanized genre, there is no right way to rock. Thanks to its variety of styles, rock music has grown to include elements of punk, folk, metal, pop and so much more. On Friday, February 3, five local bands came together at Double Door and treated audiences to a few of the many different facets of the legendary sound.

The night started with a bit of twangy grunge brought to listeners by the obsolete sounds of Lost But Happy. While they definitely get an A for energy and a strong instrumental presence, the vocal harmonies were a bit shaky. Their set did end on a high note with the tune “Lost But Happy”; a theme song complete with catchy kazoo lines and a bit of banjo (because you really can’t go wrong with a kazoo and banjo).

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Live Review: Fever Queen/ Bestman/ Bardo/ Anti Beyond (12/15) @ Subterranean

Four local bands came together on Thursday, December 15th at Subterranean for the release of Anti/Beyond’s first full-length self-titled album. The brutally cold night was filled with a diverse group of artists exploring various genres ranging from synth pop to hip-hop.

The night opened with the debut performance of the duo Fever Queen made up of Eleanor Rose and Adam Wayne. Their psychedelic rock sound was composed by a blend of bass, keys, guitar and vocals. While Rose’s harsh vocals were definitely on point with feminine grunge, there was something about the live keys that added a bit of 80s pop to the tunes (along with their all white getup). For a first time performance, the band was musically well put together. A bit more work on stage presence and utilizing space and they’ll be sure to draw a loyal following in no time.

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Album Review: Sunjacket – Mantra

Sunjacket takes a solid first step on their way to stardom this week with the release of their debut album Mantra. This exquisitely produced mix of haunting vocals, bold brass, alluring guitars and enchanting synth has set a promising future for the four-piece synth rock band. The album is filled with beautifully crafted pieces making it hard to pull the out favorites with each tune progressing into something equally as appealing as the last.

Over the last few months, Sunjacket has released three singles featured on Mantra. The first single “Not Enough” is an eerie synth tune with airy vocals gracefully accompanying a strong rhythm section. Their next release, “Creepy”, which contrary to the title is not at all ominous but bright like an 80s roller disco jam. The latest single, “No One’s Around You”, which was released late last month, is probably the best of the three; an easy listen with catchy melodic lines and lyrics.

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Album Review: The Peekaboos- Help Stop Decay

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Three summers after their debut release, The Peekaboos have graced audiences with their sophomore album Help Stop Decay. Like any great rock compilation, listeners’ ears are filled with a mix of anti-authoritative lyrics, colorful guitar riffs, punching drums and driving bass lines. Although the album will not officially be released until Saturday, September 17th via DZ Records and Dark Circles Records, it can be heard in its entirety via the bands’ Bandcamp page. Luckily for our readers, Listen Live and Local already took the liberty of listening to The Peekaboos’ latest endeavor and are happy to report the following:

Sit back and get ready to embrace life through a fool’s eyes. Our journey in Help Stop Decay begins with a minute-long piece of dissonance and gongs before bleeding into “Microcosm”, a melodically uplifting tune about, well, microcosms (sharing characteristics or being a part of something larger).  It’s annoyingly catchy with lyrics reminding listeners how they’ll “never find the answer, and death will find [them] anyway” so you might as well go out and do shit.

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Live Review: Golden Boys/ Genome/ Bifunkal (8/3) @ Emporium Arcade Bar

Wander the streets of Chicago on any given night and it’s never hard to find inspiring live music, especially sounds falling along the spectrum of funk, jazz and blues. This past Wednesday, August 3rd was no exception as three Chicago-based bands took the stage for an exhilarating night of funk at Emporium Arcade Bar in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood.

The night’s festivities opened with Bifunkal, a two-piece group made up of drummer Hershyl Edwards and guitarist/vocalist Jesse Cryderman. The two played a solid mix of lyrical and instrumental tunes. While the vocals were decent, it was Cryderman’s catchy guitar riffs along with the impressive vox bass lines from Edwards that stole the set. For only two musicians, the band was able to project a full sound which was later emphasized by accompanying brass during a handful of tunes.

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Live Review: Engine Summer (3/24) @ Quencher’s Saloon

Sometime soon, you’ll be scrolling through Listen Live and Local’s Upcoming Shows page, and you’ll see Engine Summer is gracing the stage somewhere in Chicago that night. When this happens, I strongly advise you to put on your shoes, squad up with your best buds and head to the show.

I know that sometimes recruiting your friends to see unfamiliar bands can be a little nerve-racking. “What if I make them come pay money for this show and they don’t like it?” Oh man, I can feel the anxiety building right now. But I assure you Engine Summer is a safe bet. Even the most casual music fans in your group will get hooked by the band’s catchy riffs, high energy and character. As for the music lovers you’ll bring with you, they’ll be enamored by how a three-piece can create such a unique sound.

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Live Review: Doug Shotwell & The Right Hand Band/ Sweet Mary/ Walsher Clemons (2/12) @ Martyrs’

One of the best things about the Chicago music scene is it isn’t dominated by a single genre. On any given night one can hear the soulful groan of a blues band, the twang of an Americana banjo or the pulse of a hi-hat in a modern jazz tune. And sometimes, one can even hear all those things on the same stage. This was the case (though a different representation of genres) on Friday, February 12th at Martyrs’; a night featuring three local bands with three different sounds.

The night started with some progressive folk rock provided by Doug Shotwell & The Right Hand Band. While Shotwell is a Virginia native his “right hand” men are mainly made up of Chicago jazz, blues and rock musicians. Together the group crafted a sound rooted in soul with smooth slide guitar lines and a constant steady push from the rhythm section. On the surface, the songs felt simple, giving them a laid back, easy-to-listen-to vibe. But underneath there were layers of complexity which helped differentiate the songs from one another. It also helped keep the music from sounding too run-of-the-mill or twangy.

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