It’s hard to pinpoint it, but there’s something about Emily Rose and Joe Zeph, the duo behind Zigtebra, that makes them impossible not to admire. They’ve spent the past four months traveling the United States; playing shows, writing songs and producing music videos, yet they bounce into Sip Coffee House with such energy and enthusiasm, you’d never know they’d only just returned to Chicago the day before.
Emily Rose falls onto the plush couch, coffee in hand, apologizing for her mere one-minute lateness as Joe Zeph takes a seat in the armchair across from her. They playfully banter, the admiration between each other evident as they recall their crazy endeavors of the last couple of weeks.
Staying silent during a politically charged state strums many artists as difficult, especially when they view surrounding actions of their government and peers as immoral. After the pipeline crisis in Standing Rock and spending time on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, Chicago-based folk singer Ryan Herrick saw an opportunity in his art; to use his music as a catalyst for change. On Earth Day 2017, Herrick buckled down for a day at Kingsize Sound Labs with engineer John Abbey to record his third album Sagitta, out for release on Friday, September 15 with a show at Edgewater’s Uncommon Ground.
Named after the Latin word for “arrow”, Herrick views the songs making up Sagitta as arrows; arrows of thought to be directed at people in power or people under the illusion that they are in power. Herrick explains that these songs, or arrows, can also be a light on into the world, a moment of intention.
Chicago-based singer songwriter Luke Underhill has partnered with producer Mikal Blue (known for his work with Colbie Callait and Jason Mraz) for his 7-song EP The Left Side, out August 18. The release follows two self-released projects from 2015, Atlas and Atlas Unplugged, along with a 2016 self-produced single, “Too Good for Me”.
The Left Side explores a realm of young love and loss with the 21-one-year old musician delivering fairly simplistic lyrics, yet nonetheless catchy songs. Within each piece, there are moments of artistry embodied with potential that will undoubtedly blossom with age and experience.
Like many up-and-coming bands, Vast Canvas has experienced their fair share of band members; a year of lineup changes that have settled to include drummer Taylor Kreemer, bassist Parker Langvardt, lead guitarist Justin Doebert and the only original member, vocalist and rhythm guitarist Chelsea Foss-Ralston. In October, the four members worked with engineer Josh Stanley to record their 3-song EP Fck Around, out August 14 via Bandcamp, just in time for their August 17 show at Beat Kitchen.
Vast Canvas falls somewhere on the spectrum of DIY. While their sound is more fit for a conventional music venue, they took a hands-on approach to their latest EP, recording it in Foss-Ralston’s Pilsen home, just blocks from The DoJo, one of Chicago’s top DIY houses. It’s in the bright and open living space of this home where Kreemer, Langvardt and Foss-Ralston gather, (along with Uncka, the band’s polar bear pup), to discuss their new music and the ultimate struggle of responding to emails.
August Hotel has released their first single “Michigan Again” from their upcoming EP Charms, which will be available on September 22.
The Chicago-based band describes their new single as upbeat, shimmery, dancey, fun and very different than their previous single “12 am”, which has been streamed nearly 100,000 times since its release last year.
Learn more about the band and their new music by reading our recent Q&A with the indie-pop group.
August Hotel’s next show will be on Wednesday, August 16 at Reggies. The night will also include performances by Glass House Point, Ember Oceans and Friday Pilots Club.
Thanks to Mike Vogus, organizer of the Annual Localpalooza Chicago Showcase, supporting a worthy cause as has never been so easy. Simply show up at Lincoln Hall on Saturday, July 22nd to enjoy seven Chicago bands, great beer and a chance to win kickass prizes. All proceeds from the event will benefit The Patrick Grange Memorial Foundation, a charity for ALS Research organized in the memory of a local college soccer player.
Patrick Grange was a former University of Illinois-Chicago and University of New Mexico soccer player who was diagnosed with ALS, a nervous system disease that weakens muscles and impacts physical function. In November 2010 at age 28, Grange’s diagnosis made him the youngest person to be diagnosed with the disease in his home state of New Mexico. In hopes of subsidizing medical costs, Grange’s teammates held benefits and fundraisers in Grange’s name. After Grange passed in April 2012, his former teammates were inspired to officially launched The Patrick Grange Memorial Foundation in January 2013. Today, the charity hosts a number of events to raise funds for research, awareness and support for families dealing with ALS.
Storytelling and music often go hand in hand. Musicians have a way of turning personal heartbreaks into compelling anecdotes brought to life with vibrant instrumentals and mystic vocals. They craft songs to explore various realms of life, love, and in the case of The Diving Bell, Panama excursions and poisonous frogs.
The alternative folk rock group is headed by husband and wife duo Steve and Clare Hendershot, backed by Charles Murphy, Mike Parton, Graham Gilreath and Jake Gordon (pictured above). Clare and Steve met roughly five years ago during an open mic night at Uncommon Ground and have since worked on a number of creative products in addition to their band, including a multimedia art project and podcast. Even after recently welcoming a new member to their now family of three, the couple shows no signs of stopping. With a new EP expected for release later this year, and a few upcoming shows, Steve and Clare settle onto a couch in their Edgewater home to share how they’re turning art and creativity into a family business.
The members of Church Booty took the stage of Elbo Room on Saturday, July 1st and announced that Church Booty was no more. In the midst of releasing a new EP, expected in August 2017, the band will be operating under a new name that has yet to be announced to the public.
The night’s news called for a celebration, and Church Booty did not disappoint. Their energetic performance covered a number of the band’s past tunes as well as upcoming singles filled with funky beats, electric sax and impressive vocal deliverance. Their sound is mature and songs clearly crafted, but they hold some jam band elements with long instrumental lines and of improvisations. All in all, they’re professionals when it comes to putting on a show, leaving audiences without disappointment as they end their time as Church Booty.
Ratboys’ sophomore album GN (which stands for ‘Good Night’) is the result of a sound instrumental rock band mastering the art of storytelling. Their 10-song compilation, which received an early release on June 27, 2017 from Topshelf Records, encompasses a special mix of personal anecdotes and memories from vocalist Julia Steiner and guitarist David Sagan.
The album begins with eerie vocals speaking over the light finger picking of a guitar, eventually leading to the opening lyrics of “Molly”. The story explores the relationship of two people, one possibly not feeling enough for the other. There are no repeating lyrical lines, yet the underlaying melody is catchily memorable.
A collection of primarily Chicago-based bands gathered on Thursday, June 15 at Elbo Room for a night covering a wide spectrum of rock from alternative to pop punk and metal. The concert featured performances by Broken Cycles, Dig Engine, Tougher Than You Thought and the Moline-based metal band Within the Grey.