Live Review: Xoe Wise Band/Panic Priest @ Emporium (10/26)

Emporium Arcade Bar in Wicker Park kicked off the Halloween weekend with two solid musical performances on Thursday, October 26. The night included sets from Chicago’s Xoe Wise Band and Panic Priest, both embracing the energy of the holiday with their individual dark takes on pop music.

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Q&A: Namorado

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.

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Q&A: Vast Canvas

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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.

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Q&A: August Hotel

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A year after August Hotel dropped their single “12 am”, which has been listened to nearly 100,000 times across streaming services, the indie pop group has finally put the finishing touches on their 4-song EP Charms. Although the band has a number of tunes available online, Charms will be the first official collection of music released by the current Chicago lineup which includes guitarist Ryan Lammers, bassist Cale Singleton, keyboard player Craig Schwartz, vocalist Joe Padilla and drummer Dean Sinclair.

In preparation for their release, including the single “Michigan Again” available Wednesday, August 9, August Hotel will be closing out the summer with two Chicago shows. The first will be on Tuesday, August 8th at Schubas and the second on Wednesday, August 16th at Reggies.

Lammers, Singleton and Schwartz gather in a studio on Northwestern’s campus in Evanston while Padilla and Sinclair join in on Skype to discuss their new music and semi-concerning band dynamic.

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Album Review: Moonrise Nation- Glamour Child

It’s hard to believe the finely crafted songs on Glamour Child are the debut works from the indie pop trio Moonrise Nation. The band, comprised of Emma McCall on lead vocals and guitar, Arden Baldinger on keyboard and Eva Baldinger on bass and cello, is as talented as writers as they are musicians. Each piece is finely crafted into theatrical displays of artistry that are not only instrumentally pleasing but also lyrically fulfilling.

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Q&A: Sadie and the Stark

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.

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Q&A: The Diving Bell

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.

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