The “ah-ha” moment: for a band, it’s a time when everything comes together. It’s when all the struggles from nights of pouring over lyrics, drafting guitar riffs and the countless auditions are all justified. For The Flips, that “ah-ha” was the reaction from their 2015 album Better Days, a raw record exploring the struggles of mental health, depression and suicide. The songs are darkly beautiful conversation starters, drawing audiences to connect with the band on personal levels.
The new year has only just begun, but Zoofunkyou has already entered 2018 in full swing. On January 19th, the Chicago-based jam band will be embarking on their first extended tour starting with a hometown show at Chop Shop. The tour covers most of the Midwest and a number of funk-infused cities across the south and follows their first 2018 release; a live album recorded during their October 27th show at Bottom Lounge.
Vocalist and guitarist Derek Dare, guitarist Bryan Scheinkopf, bass guitarist Matthew Coglianese & the band’s manager Andy Boyd gathered in their practice space at Kildare Studios to share their tour details and to discuss the rest of their plans for 2018.
Only two years of writing songs together and the trio behind The Shades have already established an impressive musical resume. Their song “Take You Home” has been featured in American Songwriter Magazine and was chosen as one of ten finalists in NewSong Music’s International Songwriting Competition. They’ve performed on local morning shows such as WGN and have even gained national recognition when vocalist Andrew DeMuro was selected as a member of Adam Levine’s team on the eleventh season of NBC’s “The Voice”.
Now, after spending time perfecting their acoustic pop sound built on 3-part vocal harmonies and rhythmic guitar lines, The Shades will be able to add an official release to their list of accomplishments with their debut EP out Thursday, October 5th after their release show at The Elbo Room.
If the four faces behind Chicago’s Namorado look familiar, you may have caught them onstage during their Urbana-Champaign college days as A Cool Hand. Although, now nearly two years into their new formation, the faces of lead guitarist/vocalist Mike Altergott, drummer Charlier McCarthy, guitarist/vocalist Jack Keating and bassist/vocalist Adam Howarter may be the only things to spark familiarity.
After moving to the city of Chicago, the four bandmates had a serious discussion about the evolution of their songs from standard indie rock to well-composed music built on guitar riffs and vocal harmonies. With a new EP in the works, set for release in early 2018, Altergott and Howarter gathered at their Avondale rehearsal space to share the ins and outs of their latest endeavors and what it’s like as a band maneuvering through the Chicago music scene.
Vocalist Sadie Rogers, of Sadie and the Stark, admits the name and concept behind her experimental fantasy band may seem like a joke, but promises the music created by herself, guitarist John Tweedie, drummer Tom Stukel and bassist Anthony Johnson, is anything but. Their dedication to each others’ creative visions in their 2017 EP Ghosts proves commitment and seriousness. The songs may be full of sci-fi lyrics and mystical themes, but there’s an artistic energy within each melodic and instrumental line.
In preparation for their upcoming show on Sunday, July 16 at Quenchers Saloon, the foursome gathers in their rehearsal space to discuss new music, dream venues and live show expectations.
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.
Imagine performing as a solo hip-hop artist, relying on nothing but vocals and backing tracks, when suddenly the show promoter announces the backing tracks have failed. At this point, there’s two options: walk on the show or recruit musicians from the night’s bill to back the performance.
Nearly six years ago when this situation happened to emcee Dhan Dee, he choose the latter; opting to share the stage with guitarist Chad Wynes and drummer Kyle Voivodas. Artistically, Dee had nothing in common with Wynes’ and Voivodas’ band. Dhan Dee was a poet, rapper and lyrist. Waynes and Voivodas were folk rock instrumentalist. Having never met or rehearsed, the three musicians took advantage of the serendipitous moment, having no idea it would lead to the creation of one of Chicago’s leading genre-mashing projects; Chicago Loud 9.
On May 26, Secret Bad Boy played their first hometown show at The Empty Bottle, opening for Chicago’s Parent and London’s Happyness. The Chicago stop took place toward the end of their week-long tour in support of their new recordings.
The members of Secret Bad Boy are undeniably talented, featuring a variety of recording members from successful musical groups such as Vulfpeck, Mild High Club and I Fight Dragons. Fronting the electronic punk band on vocals, guitar and keyboard is Chicago’s Ben Joseph of Ezra Furman and His Boyfriends. While the recordings of Secret Band Boy feature a number of musicians, including Ezra Furman, the live trio features drummer Mat Roberts and bassist Paul Cherry, a group of young men whose professionalism and musicianship on stage are equally matched between each member.
Some bands think it’s best to solidify a following in their home city before embarking on a cross-country tour. Other bands find cramming three bandmates, a sound engineer and a considerable amount of musical gear into a van the best way to weed out the weak. The latter explains the mindset of Tony Aguilar, Cody Varga and Steve-o Gonzalez, the trio behind The Wistful Larks, who have recently returned from a twelve city tour less than a year after recording and releasing their debut EP.
Now that they’ve proven they can tolerate each other at each other’s worst, the three are working toward a collection of new goals, including a 6-song EP and more regular shows in their home city of Chicago.
Varga and Aguilar share their story:
Musical medicine is the best cure for an emotional breakup. As a woman, sometimes nothing assists with coping more than good music from a badass woman. This is exactly what Leo Kidd delivers on her debut EP Marion with a blend of powerhouse vocals and charging piano chords. Each song feels full of heartbreak, but also strength and the boldness to move on.
The EP opens with a simple piano melody quickly followed by a steady beat and the theatrical vocals of Leo Kidd in “Fool Me Once”. The song tells the relatable story of learning the true colors of a former mate as the start of the chorus poses the questions, “Who do you think you are?/ What happened to the man I knew?” What makes this song great, from a storytelling standpoint, is the strength of the female character. She is not pleading, but instead asserting confidence with lines such as “Why can’t you see I’m the baddest bitch you’ll ever know.”