JUNGLE: Day 27 - 30 Days in Chicago presented by Red Bull Sound Select

reppin: london, uk // XL Recordings // 2013 - present

sounds like: walking upside-down in a disco ball in the middle of...you guessed it, a jungle

jungle | metro, chicago | day 27 - 30 days in chicago | 11.27.17 | @thefaakehipster

jungle | metro, chicago | day 27 - 30 days in chicago | 11.27.17 | @thefaakehipster

latest album drop: jungle (july 2014)

featuring: josh // tom // fraser // george // dominic // andro // rudi

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Landing at the Metro the other night was not your typical winter walk into the venue. Jungle was in town as the last gigs of 30 Days in Chicago were coming to an end and it was indeed a jungle in there. Plants, trees, lights and more set the vibe as we walked up the stairs to another sold out night. This band knows how to get you in the mood, put you in there world. And if you let it happen make sure you stretch because there is no way you are not moving during a set with Jungle. After the openers took the stage, the lights dimmed and it was time to grab someone and throw your hands in the air.

Jungle lands between funky disco and far-out rock. They move so fluidly from song to song as you can clearly tell how much fun they are having onstage. That energy is clearly pouring into the people. Any way you look the smiles are on faces and the feet are moving. Jungle consists of 7 members, each of which is one a mission to come together as one. And it is pretty sweet...they all sound like one big cohesive melodic setup, all knowing what they have to do. Hailing from London, you can hear bits of that England psychedelic rock, but what shines is the disco-funk and tropical beats. They are just enough disco to make it their own though, curating a solid, modern sound.

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The four that front the group on-stage all sound like once voice singing in unison, it really is something to see. They move together, hitting each note and blanket the crowd with their voices over the funky beat. As 30 Days comes to a close tonight, it is pretty unreal to look back and see what has been accomplished here. This wasn’t a month of rock or hip hop, it was a month of feels, experiences and reasons to want to live. When you look at how the crowd responded to every show I was at, look at the band, the atmosphere was contagious and the vibes were about togetherness. It was a damn good month.

suggested listening experience: party grooving with your friends // late night hangs // early morning commutes 

listens: busy earnin' // time // the heat // drops // julia // lucky i got what i want     

jungle // fb // ig // spotify // sc 

AMINÉ & PELL: Day 18 - 30 Days in Chicago presented by Red Bull Sound Select

reppin: amine - portland // republic records // 2014 - present //// pell - nola, usa // independent // 2013 - present

pell | metro, chicago | 30 days in chicago | 11.18.20 | @thefaakehipster

pell | metro, chicago | 30 days in chicago | 11.18.20 | @thefaakehipster

sounds like: amine - a bubble bath in the middle of a clam city intersection // pell - the smartest kid in the classroom who's into the coolest tunes and then snatches your girl

last albums drop: amine - good for you (july 2017) // pell - LIMBO EP (nov 2015)

featuring: amine - adam // pell - jared

you’re beautiful...i know!

The chanting back and forth between the hyped Amine and engaging crowd was almost a euphoria of what a concert should entail. The Sound Select scene was in full force again at the Metro and it is safe to say that the energy in both the performers and diverse crowd was on top display. Another sold out house of all ages just ready to dance their faces off all night. It was not just a show about the hip hop sound, but infused with jazz, rock, soul, funk and much more. Cait and I just arrived in time to see Pell take the stage as you could feel the crowd was ready to bust out their dancing feet and let the good times roll.

amine | metro, chicago | 30 days in chicago | 11.18.20 | @thefaakehipster

amine | metro, chicago | 30 days in chicago | 11.18.20 | @thefaakehipster

First up was up and comer Pell who is the perfect example of how you mix hip hop with the sounds of your hometown. The foundation of his music spans the spectrum in what New Orleans music has to offer and when he put his flow on top of it, it is quite salivating. Having bused out into the scene in 2014 with an incredible album, “floating while dreaming,” he has since dropped track after track that make you move in different ways. There is one theme to it all...the positive energy, no matter what the lyrics, are spun into an energetic and close-knit kinda set. Whether it was his new track “chirpin,” the dancy and funky “queso,” or the poplar “Eleven:11,” he nails every note as he runs side to side on stage. Not many artists can command a stage as he does with just a drummer. Jared is truly a young, unique musician with a ton in front of him and my favorite part about him is that he is always level with his fans, feeding off their energy.

No matter how you try to pronounce Amine, he is still going to blow your ears away with his unique style, stage presence and ability to get a crowd moving. Much like Pell, being hip hop first, there is so much more in types of sound beneath the surface. His honest and happy vibes can be felt throughout and it is so apparent how much the crowd responds to each one of this tracks. If you can tell how much fun that artist or band is having up there, then it is almost impossible for the audience to not match that. Backed by a DJ, drummer, guitarist and keyboardist, Amine takes you on a honest journey through honest and confident lyrics. At one moment you think it is a Sublime cover as his guitarist adds a whole other dimension, but then the next he goes R&B and starts belting out those high notes. A true rapper and singer, he’ll keep you on your toes dancing. You can tell that everyone in that building was surrounded by the emotion of his tracks the whole set. One of the better nights of 30 Days so far.

suggested listening experience: party down time // road tripping with friends // weekday pick me up

listens: amine - caroline // spice girls // veggies // yellow // wedding crashers // heebiejeebies // squeeze //// pell - eleven:11 // got it like that (remix) // queso // basic beach // chirpin’ // patience // monday morning

amine // fb // spotify // sc // ig // twitter //// pell // fb // spotify // sc // ig // twitter

wtfaylttg (Why The Fuck Aren't You Listening To These Guys): DOOMTREE

*a new feature giving you the legends who have been doing there thing for awhile, better than most*

reppin: minneapolis, mn // doomtree records // 2007 - present

sounds like: a rare and hard to find roller coaster theme park misplaced in the flatlands of the midwest

doomtree | photo cred: kelly loverud

doomtree | photo cred: kelly loverud

discography: false hopes (2007) // doomtree (2008) // FH:XV (2009) // No Kings (2011) // All Hands (2015)

featuring: P.O.S // Cecil Otter // SIMS // Dessa // Mike Mictlan // Lazerbeak // Paper Tiger

THE OVERVIEW

doomtree | chicago | 2.20.15 | @thefaakehipster

doomtree | chicago | 2.20.15 | @thefaakehipster

The beautiful, poetic history of hip-hop has taken twists and turns over the decades, sprouting into sub-genres and extending the boundaries of how we take in a beat. Within that, artists from their respective cities are always holding their region close while expanding their minds as they work with others across the globe. With all the members of Doomtree hailing from the land of Minneapolis, I have never come across a group of individuals who can combine their styles, flow and personalities to spit out some of the most unique hip hop your ears will come across. They lay their foundation with the electronic production of Paper Tiger and Lazerbeak, constantly pushing the envelope of creating holistic tracks with so many flavors. While we see most artists in this genre couple off for a song or an album, there is a supremely special asset to what makes these humans go: consistency. Each of their solo careers has allowed them to come together collectively and keep chugging along, working to outdo what they did last.

THE HISTORY

The story begins in the upper north with a bunch of kids just fucking around in school, not knowing what the future holds. There was talent swirling around the group, a group that favored different genres and clashed in style. Whether it was playing in a punk band, listening to jazz and funk of getting down with blues, rock and soul, they sprinkled a bit of everything in the mix. That didn’t matter to them, they loved it. Once the tracks started coming off the tongues and table tops, they started booking the local shows. The friends showed up at first, then word spread and the live sets got bigger and bigger. How the heck can 7 people continue to make a little cash to keep themselves going? So, they turned their group into a business, churning out merchandise, creating a lifestyle….all out of a mother’s basement. Not only were they pushing Doomtree, they started releasing their own records, to this date over 50 in total. They’ve conquered a DIY attitude, finding the right people to work with and creating something from nothing when needed. While all the Doomtreers are constantly touring and putting out new music, whenever they all come together for shows and tours, they sell that place out with dedicated fans who want to pour their hearts our with them.

doomtree | chicago | 2.20.15 | @thefaakehipster

doomtree | chicago | 2.20.15 | @thefaakehipster

THE FIRST BIG MOMENT

After taking some time for the group to settle in on its final members, it did not take long for Doomtree to branch outside of their hometown. That third record, “No Kings” is what really put them on the map in my opinion. With bumping joints like “No Way,” “Team The Best Team,” “Little Mercy,” and their anthem, “Bangarang,” fans knew it wouldn’t be long until the secret got out. Just about every track on that album creates a unique flow with ever changing rhythms and beats that mold to whoever is rapping. And it is not just me. The album received critical acclaim and started appearing on “top lists” as the next best groups to come. We saw some great music come from the members for their solo projects as well, giving further proof to them growing separately and coming together as a group. When they take the stage at whatever venue they are rocking, the crowd goes nuts, sings along and the energy and vibe reaches all time highs. You can tell how much fun they are having on stage and it spreads like a virus across the room.

THE SUSTAINED SUCCESS

doomtree | photo cred: ben lafond

doomtree | photo cred: ben lafond

Looping back to that word, consistency, with this crew gives me all the confirmation that Doomtree is here to stay. Not only do they have a rap group, but a record label, a press label, international distribution...a foundation that will lead to bigger and better things in the future. They can spit about anything from love, loss and friends to video games and good times, they have lyrics with purpose. They are never pushing to get their tracks on the radio, but separate themselves from the pack and continue to win fans over one at a time. The raddest part...they are so good and true to their fans. If you catch them walking down the street or having a beer, they’ll kick it with you. Never seeing themselves above anyone, the authenticity of not only their sound, but them as humans, is really rare with such talented artists.

WHAT'S NEXT

It has been a few years since “All Hands,” their latest release in 2015 filled with special treats like “Final Boss,” “Gray Duck,” “Generator,” and “Heavy Rescue.” The fact that they may be awhile off their next release is not a bad thing. The members are pushing along, hitting the road and striving to open up new doors in both opportunities and music exploration. P.O.S will be hitting the entire country this fall and winter while Dessa will be rocking out at Riot Fest. While they all have their solo careers, it is so clear that their individual growth has led to each album topping the last.

suggested listening experience: cruising in your ride // party time // getting hot and heavy

listens: bangarang // slow burn // final boss // team the best team // no way // bolt cutter // spill me up // gray duck // heavy rescue // little mercy

dt // spotfiy // ig // twitter // fb // sc

concert shenanigans: NAUGHTY PROFESSOR & BASSEL AND THE SUPERNATURALS @ Taste of Randolph

reppin: np - new orleans, usa // 2011 - present //  b&ts - chicago, usa // 2008 - present

sounds like: np - a monster truck gracefully crashing into something. You can appreciate the beauty of it

b&ts - we are the movie Wet Hot American Summer on repeat. Constant trolling and very animated bunch. Good times and good vibes

last/upcoming album drop: np - identity (june 2017) // b&ts - elements (feb 2017)

naughty professor | taste of randolph, chicago | 6.17.17 | @thefaakehipster

naughty professor | taste of randolph, chicago | 6.17.17 | @thefaakehipster

featuring: np - ian // (tenor sax) // john (trumpet) // bill (guitar) // nick (alto and baritone sax) // sam (drums) // noah (bass) 

b&ts - bassel // brandon // philip // stevenson //  mason // caleb // thomas // corbin //  sean // juan // leslie

Taste of Randolph - Chicago

What they say about summertime Chi is true, it really does not get much better in this country. The beach (there is even a freaking festival on the beach now), street festivals, music everywhere, big festivals and more. A staple has landed right at the beginning of the summer madness and they call it, The Taste of Randolph. Located in the heart of the West Loop, it was first known as the place to flock towards to get the best eats in the city….all of those glorious tacos and sausages. Now, it has become clear that music is the leading force of this ginormous street fest, gathering some musically talented bands and acts from across the states. A clear winner and up there with West Fest, Green Fest, Wicker Park and DoDivision...let’s not forget Logan Square Arts Festival as well.

The year 2017 featured the likes of rock/almost jam band Moon Taxi, Here Come The Mummies (a collection of talented studio musicians who yes, dress as mummies), electronic bossman Robert DeLong, the chill of the chilliest Slow Magic and dance kings !!! (Chk Chk Chk) as well as some smaller known acts. I got to kick it with two in particular: Soulfunk act, Bassel and the Supernaturals as well as jazzy “future-funk” outfit, Naughty Professor. Ladies and gentleman, these are two ridiculously musically technical acts that make jaws drop as you stand in place just observing the ear awesomeness. No, you will not hear them in the latest top 40 rotation, but they are the types of bands needed to progress and push out the borders of music. First up, Ohio born, Chicago living and Syrian raised, Mr. Bassel:

Bassel and the Supernaturals

Lets first focus on your unique sound and vibes that Bassel and Supernaturals is. What past experiences in music brought you to create this soulful funky sound?

bassel & the supernaturals | taste of randolph, chicago | 6.16.17 | @thefaakehipster

bassel & the supernaturals | taste of randolph, chicago | 6.16.17 | @thefaakehipster

We play like a neo-soul type of music. I was a drummer, playing violin in the indie rock music scene in Ohio. I was into a lot of forms of indie rocks. Denali, Mile Marker, a lot of early Death Cab for Cutie. I moved to Chicago seven years ago and that is where I started getting into more of the soul music. I got really deep into Andrew Bird and Sufjan Stevens beforehand and when I got to Chicago and it was a really good time to reflect on what I thought what made music timeless and what resonated with me. It all came back to that soulful connection to the music. I got really hooked on Otis Reading in particular and that led me down a whole path: Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, you name it. What all these artists have in common is that emotional connection to the music and their ability to tell a story doing it. Their music, tone, lyrics, everything, you just feel so connected to it. And it was very powerful for me. It taught me to find an emotional element to everything I was doing. It was less about writing soul music, but writing music from the soul. It is also just a ton of fun to play as well.

A lot of bands are always striving to be unique - live show, sound, promo, etc. You guys have a positive twist on it. I take it you are from Syria...which i think turns heads given the political climate now. What do you want to teach your fans about why you do what you do?

More than anything it is about people getting really nervous confronting the issues in Syria, being all political. What is so powerful about music is that ability for music to break down that wall and make that connection to those types of issues. The personal connection that we have to this issue has been unbelievably powerful. Beyond just festivals and clubs we play colleges and cultural centers, churches that are more focused on creating a conversation around this. And what is a common thread in so many of these spaces is that so many people have cared about this issues but they feel nervous about how little they know or don’t know different organizations. By creating a space where we can be open about that and not force any issues down anyone’s throat and just tell a story and talk about the organizations that who are doing good work and find that connection and personalize it. Not as a far away distance issues and it is something that affects us all.

The lyrics...real life situations, love, losing those close to you. How do you want your fans to take in your words and react to them?

We get a lot of questions if lyrics are specific to a person or friend or whatever. It is about emotions that connect to different experiences, that is how I enjoy writing. Love or loss...loss of a friend, dear item, that emotion that brings those experiences together. Being able to personalize those emotions and you feel the colors and the songs and you can interpret that with your own environment and who you are.

Y’all are about to go hit the stage on a nice summer day. What is the mission of your live set. When you make eye contact with a fan or are trying to make new fans...what do you want the audience to get out of it?

It’s creating an infectious energy on the stage, more than anything it starts there. I mean, it is great when you make eye contact with somebody and you know they are feeling it. I love to just energize my band. The more fun we are having on stage, the more fun everyone will have. I’ve learned to spend more time doing that and less time focusing on this person and that person. It has to translate to the audience

I always use funny metaphors to describe bands and artists i write about, what would you use?

We are the movie Wet Hot American Summer on repeat. Constant trolling and very animated bunch. Good times and good vibes.

Naughty Professor

How did you guys land on your sound, being a larger group with some diverse personalities?

So, we all met in music school in New Orleans and at a time when we were all checking a lot of different music out and growing as musicians...currently we are all between 25-28. So, we all met around 7 years ago. Over the course of the first year or two, we kind of landed on this sound...pretty bombastic and aggressive and still somewhat dynamic with some jazz sensibilities. We def leave space for every member to take a solo and guide the band one way or another.

So live, do you all do a lot of interpretation on your set?

Most of what we do is planned out, but we do leave space for a solo section so we can change it up a bit.

naughty professor | taste of randolph, chicago | 6.17.17 | @thefaakehipster

naughty professor | taste of randolph, chicago | 6.17.17 | @thefaakehipster

Me: That is refreshing to hear, being away from the mainstream genres, but you all aren’t afraid to be different among the general audience.

There are some lyrics involved, are there any stories and personal experiences involved with that? Or is more about the music and the solos you want fans to engage with?

So the band has usually been instrumental until this new album we are putting out next week actually. We decided to recruit seven singers and have five instrumental tracks. Until recently we never performed with a vocalist. Now, we have lyrics, but we did not actually write any of the lyrics. We sent the tracks to vocalists we liked and asked them to pick songs they like and write their take on it. It is a collaborative process, which I like, but none of us in the band are really singers or strong lyrical writers. We let the professionals write that.

While lyrics a central component for you, I’m sure the live show is where you focus on gaining those new fans. When you play live, what is your goal at the end of the day.

That’s a good question. Some things that set us apart from other groups are the amount of energy we have performing and just how much fun we are having on stage. There is some room to improvise our sets so it makes it a bit more free flowing, interact with one another. People have told me that they don’t really pay attention to the genre of music we play, but because of how we are on-stage, they are now believers. It really brings it home for them. I know there are some people that are jazz nerds like us and those nerding out...then there is the common music fan, and this is the perfect place to play.

I always use funny metaphors to describe bands and artists i write about, what would you use?

Ahhhh put me on the spot a little bit haha. I would hope we sound like a monster truck gracefully crashing into something. You can appreciate the beauty of it.

np // spotify // fb // twitter // ig // sc

b&ts // spotify // fb // twitter // ig // sc

concert shenanigans: ESCORT

reppin: brooklyn, usa // escort records // 2006 - present

sounds like: being up all night and having a story to tell at each place you land at

escort | 6.12.17 | the empty bottle, chicago | @thefaakehipster

escort | 6.12.17 | the empty bottle, chicago | @thefaakehipster

last album drop: animal nature (oct 2015)

featuring: adeline // dan // eugene

escort | 6.12.17 | the empty bottle, chicago | @thefaakehipster

escort | 6.12.17 | the empty bottle, chicago | @thefaakehipster

Got your dancing shoes on? Okay, good. These funky dance warriors have been killing it for over 10 years now and at first sight of them live, your feet will move. They have no choice to even if your brain says no. A delicious blend of funk, pop, soul and just good ol’ beats, Escort is a plate of dancy good times that don’t stop. Back in the early 2000s, Dan and Eugene were rocking out to some house samples when they decided to start making some records with the spirit of those samples. While certainly floating in that “disco” territory, there is a fresh, new vibe with them that destroys any “old feels.” There sound is current while throwing a variety of slow and upbeat jams in your face. Popping them in your ears, gives you an immediate sense of confidence and feeling that you want to dance like nobody's watching...and trust me because I have been caught doing it.

escort | 6.12.17 | the empty bottle, chicago | @thefaakehipster

escort | 6.12.17 | the empty bottle, chicago | @thefaakehipster

Let’s scoot back in time just a few days as they took the Empty Bottle stage on a hot ass Monday night. It did not stop the humans from piling in as well. Their presence was immediately felt as the bass line kicked in, the sequenced dancing ensued and it was just a straight up party from there. For a little over an hour, the heat continued to build, the sweat poured off everyone, but no one seemed to care. Arms flailing about and smiles all around as they moved from track to track. When a band can grab an audience like that, you can see the look in everyone’s eyes and the connection is felt. While Escort does not land in the category of new music, they are a go to in any sort of “i just want to dance” situation. Real humans playing real instruments that make you want to get groovy.

suggested listening experience: any and all dance parties // any and all after parties // walking down the sidewalk like no one's watching

listens: cocaine blues // body talk // actor out of work // animal nature // if you say so // barbarians // starlight

escort // fb // spotify // sc // twitter // ig