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.
Newly-founded Chicago group Stampy is running full speed right out of the gate. The band had already started tracking its debut LP before it even took the stage for the very first time February 6th at Double Door. The quintet’s first time gracing the stage was eclectic. Stampy’s original music appears to derive influence from across the musical spectrum. Progressive rock and blues are apparent, with tastes of soul throughout to soothe the pallet.
Below is a video, courtesy of gigity.tv, of Stampy performing a sweet-sounding original tune called “Drop of Rain” at the band’s debut performance. Enjoy!
Stampy’s debut LP is expect to drop by Summer 2016.
Let’s face it: If you could wear pajamas out on a Saturday night, you probably would. The only reason you don’t is because you don’t want to be the only person at the bar wearing flannels and a big, baggy t-shirt.
You’re not an outlier though. There’s a thriving community of pajama enthusiasts, as evident by the Subterranean‘s Pajamuary event at Saturday, January 16th, featuring local acts Bronson Rock, Mungion and EGI. It was $5 off for anyone wearing PJs. Just wearing flannels qualified for discounted admission, but a surprising number of people went above and beyond, sporting giant animal-themed onesies. It was very rock and roll.
Chicago based artist D-Win has broken his near year long silence with his latest concept EP Kubrick; exploring racism, police brutality and manipulative media. A collaborative effort with Chicago producer Tek X, Kubrick was created, according to a press release, to “enlighten and inspire those who are seeking a shift in the right direction”.
The EP opens with the title track, an introduction into mastermind Stanley Kubrick; a filmmaker most know for his controversial works such as A Clockwork Orange and Lolita. From this first track, the tone is set with a heavy bass backing the opening lyrics “I was being misguided so I decided I wasn’t going to be silent”.
The opening piece bleeds into “Walking on Water” with a continuous energy as D-Win unapologetically hits hard with his standpoint of media corruption and unjust toward minorities. Underlying the punch of his words is a theatrical choir of strings building into the chorus: “We smell smoke/ running through the fire/ really we should fall/ with every step/ flames all around me and I can’t see through/ but at the end of it all/ it’s like I’m walking on water.”
Funk is just fun, plain and simple. It’s got to be one of the most universally appreciated genres of music. Even the most reserved people seem to struggle resisting the urge to get down and dance when the funk is hot, and some of the hottest funk Chicago has to offer is from Nasty Snacks.
The nine-piece group opened up In The Loop Productions’ Perse as Funk showcase Thursday, December 17th at Martyrs’ with a high-energy set of original music and soul covers of groups like Earth, Wind and Fire and Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings. Christmas lights and decorations lined Martyrs’ spacious interior, and Nasty Snacks played a perfect song for the occasion. Christmas songs can be sort of sappy, but the band did a rendition of Vulfpeck’s “Christmas in L.A.” that spread holiday cheer without breaking the upbeat mold cast by the rest of the set.
For the third year running, Tall Pat Records has joined forces with the Empty Bottle to bring local Chicago acts to the stage for Cuddlestock: a showcase of Tall Pat Records’ pride and joys. Around 8 p.m. on Friday, December 4, there was a severe lack of cuddling, but after midnight, it was a body-to-body lovefest. If you were there, you saw Tall Pat, the near-seven-foot guy drunkenly declaring his love to his blushing newlywed wife from onstage before announcing each band.
Glyders took the stage to open the show and the mellow mood of the crowd blended with the warm-up act. Glyders have a lofi beach-punk sound with a slow country-rolling flare. All the vocals were double-layered through the mic, even when the band was addressing the crowd. It was a chilled-out, trippy vibe that warmed up what little crowd had gathered at the start.
Chicago is known as the home of jazz, punk and hip hop, but the Americana talent in this city is just as strong and well-developed of a genre. This notion was apparent through the performances of three semi-local bands at Subterranean on December 10th during a night of folk and Americana presented by Harmonica Dunn.
Thursday night’s show opened with Chicago folk band Midwest. Aesthetically the band was a picture perfect model of folk, filling out the stage with orchestral strings, acoustic guitars and an occasional tambourine (not to mention the physical adorableness of each member). Their hauntingly beautiful lullabies showcased the near pitch perfect harmonies between vocalists Heather Bodie and Nicolette Fendon. Paired with the violin, upright bass and pared-down drums, the music had a rustic element, perking the ear for a backwoods sound.
A few well-established members of Chicago’s budding music scene have released a new album that is, at times, light-hearted and upbeat, yet dark and menacing. Marrow’s debut album The Gold Standard frequently adjusts your headspace, solidifying it as an extremely well-rounded rock album.
Marrow was created from the backbone of Kids These Days, a purebred Chicago rock/rap group that split in 2013. In Kids These Days, guitarist Liam Kazar, keyboardist Macie Stewart and bassist Lane Beckstrom primarily provided the framework for now Roc-A-Fella Records recording artist Vic Mensa to rap over. But in Marrow, Kazar, Stewart and Beckstrom now have the opportunity to shine under “The Gold Standard.” Add drummer Matt Carroll to the mix, and Marrow is a group of old and new faces showing off diverse songwriting that perhaps has been bottled up for quite some time.