chicago // SHOWS ON SHOWS ON SHOWS: oct 3 - 15

*a look ahead at some rad shows to kick off october*

explosions in the sky // 10.3 // empty bottle (sold out)

reppin: austin, tx // temporary residence limited // 1999 - present

sounds like: a mural of the world and its secret landscapes that defines us

explosions in the sky | photo cred: rtrfm.com.au

explosions in the sky | photo cred: rtrfm.com.au

A band that has grown from playing small bars and venues to big arenas returns to their roots in Chicago for a special night. A constant evolution of instrumental post-rock, these guys tell a story with every track they write.

listens: your hand in mine // first breath after coma // so long, lonesome

japanese breakfast // 10.4 // subterranean (sold out)

reppin: eugene, or // dead oceans records // 2013 - present

sounds like: walking through a futuristic forest

After spending time in her outfit, Little Big League, Michelle took what she learned from playing and turned into her solo project. Her indie rock/pop sound is a tad on the dark side, yet so fulfilling in an upbeat kind of way. Her latest album, “soft sounds from another planet” has earned her universal acclaim from critics.

listens: everybody wants to love you // road head // diving woman

flor // 10.5 // bottom lounge (tix)

reppin: hood river, or / la, usa // fueled by ramen // 2015 - present

sounds like: sitting down with mother nature and having a deep chat

My ears strongly feel that these kids have put out one of the friendliest sounding debuts in some time. Those vocals, poppy hooks and beats that make you sway will have you loving seeing this band in real life form.

listens: guarded // hold on // warm blood

jr jr // 10.5 // house of blues (interview coming tomorrow) // tix

JR JR | photo cred: Travis Shinn

JR JR | photo cred: Travis Shinn

reppin: detroit, usa // warner // 2010 - present

sounds like: sitting with a group of friends reading an adult children’s book

Sometimes when you are fucking around with friends in a basement, not worrying about what the public thinks...you make music that humans respond to. Easy on the ears, JR JR brings indie pop tunes that make you want to grab onto someone close and hold on tight.

listens: same dark places // gone // if you didn’t see me (then you weren’t on the dance floor)

touche amore // 10.7 // subterranean (tix)

reppin: la, usa // epitaph // 2007 - present

sounds like: a teddy bear shaking you of your fears then holding you close

Lyrics you can hold close to your heart, vocals you can feel in your chest and a post-hardcore that is friendlier on the ears than you may think. Their riffs, energy and emotion have been at the top of their game for nearly ten years now and I cannot wait to see them live again

listens: flowers and you // palm dreams // new halloween

zola jesus // 10.8, thalia hall (tix)

reppin: merrill, wisconsin // sacred bones records // 2006 - present

sounds like: a shark hunting its prey in the depths of the ocean

Nicole has been far and ride and reached deep to bring her tunes to where they are. A voice that haunts you in all the right ways, is just dark enough to keep you hooked and not scare you away...or maybe she will. She is going to light up Thalia

listens: soak // skin // exhumed

zola jesus | photo cred: tunefind.com

zola jesus | photo cred: tunefind.com

conner youngblood // 10.9 // schubas tavern (tix)

reppin: dallas, usa // tunecore // 2012 - present

sounds like: swimming through the air in the middle of a lively forest

conner youngblood | photo cred: stereofox.com

conner youngblood | photo cred: stereofox.com

I had the pleasure of meeting Conner a few years opening for Pell and his ice cream swirl that is ambient and rhythmic pop. For me, it’s a dream, and he can prove it live as he’s put out amazing track after track

listens: australia // everyday // higher

nicolas jaar // 10.10 // concord music hall (tix)

reppin: nyc, usa // other people //2007 - present

sounds like: a safari ride through a disco hall

This dude can make your feet move in a funky way with this out there experimental electronic tracks. Having played the role of DJ, producer, composer and more across soundtracks and explorative concerts. This one should be a good ol’ fun time

listens: mi mujer // el bandino // time for us

yoke lore // 10.10 // lincoln hall (tix)

reppin: Katonah, New York // B3SCI Records // 2013 - present

sounds like: a morning bath in a deep forest spring

Adrian Galvin, formerly of Walk The Moon, throws a stirring style of indie pop into your ears that meets in the middle of true pop and psychedelic. A talented dude who can play all of the instruments with vocals to match, he is amping up the touring.

listens: hold me down // goodpain // only you

r.o.e // 10.12 // emporium arcade wicker park (interview to come) // free show

reppin: brooklyn, usa via chicago // rising over envy music // 2009 - present

sounds like: hanging out in a room with classy carpet on the floor and walls

R.O.E has a flow that immediately stands out from the moment he hits the track. An old school vibe with a new school attitude, you’ll find his smooth flowing raps over soul, R&B, indie and more. Catch him as he returns back home to play some of his latest from “a backpacker named R.O.E”

listens: cruise // good times // the gloves - mathien

rac (remix artist collective) // 10.13 // the metro (tix)

rac | concord music hall, chicago | 11.13.15 | @thefaakehipster

rac | concord music hall, chicago | 11.13.15 | @thefaakehipster

reppin: portland, usa // counter records // 2007 - present

sounds like: having your own personal red carpet runway to do as you please

What started as Andre creating hundreds of remixes across the board of genres has turned into a feel-good dancy project with a tourning band. Mixing in some originals, the dude knows how to make you get up and move while putting a smile on their face. I always have a good time seeing them.

listens: let go // back of the car // i still wanna know

misterwives // 10.15 // the riviera theater (tix)

reppin: grand haven, michigan // interscope // 2010 - present

sounds like: being miniature in a big kids world

Ever since "reflections" dropped this band has been on spanning the spectrum of indie rock and pop. Their latest album, "connect the dots" is ballad after ballad you can easily get up to and sing along with.

listens: reflections // chasing this // our own house

chicago // shows on shows on shows: SEPTEMBER 18 - 30

*a new feature focusing on all the groovy shows coming up in chicago*

naomi punk // the hideout // 9.18 // interview to come!

reppin: olympia, wa // captured tracks records // 2012 - present

sounds like: acid trip jounrneying music (according to travis)

Travis, Neil and Nick like it slow and loud. Crazy song structures, amps that will blow your ears off and attention to detail to boot. These guys want to take you to another dimension.

listens: the spell // cardboard // thru the trees

 

asgeir // bottom lounge // 9.19

reppin: reykjavík, iceland // one little indian // 2012 - present

sounds like: floating on a fluffy bed made of clouds across the ocean

Asgeir follows a trend of delicious voices coming out of the Icelandic region. He mixes bouncy, fun poppy beats into his acoustic goodness that will have you smiling the whole show.

listens: king and cross // unbound // stardust

modern vices // tonic room // 9.20 // interview from april 2017

reppin: chicago, usa // unsigned // 2013 - present

sounds like: crying to the Pet Sounds albums in a moldy basement but at the same time getting off to Joy Division

These dudes are making old school look good these days. Bringing a stylish and unique version of older sounding rock, mixed with pop and killer vocals. This will be as intimate as it gets with them at Tonic Room.

listens: smoke rings // baby // keep me under your arms

modern vices | subterranean & beat kitchen | 2017 | @thefaakehipster

 

el ten eleven // space // 9.21

reppin: la, usa // fake record label // 2002 - present

sounds like:  a collection of waterfalls in the rainforest in the early morning of a summer day

I've been a fan of these two for years as they are one of the most unique bands out there. Doublenbeck and fretless basses, beautiful song structure, crazy loops and no vocals. It is heaven coming out of amps.

listens: fanshawe // my only swerving // bridges

 

kweku collins | the metro, chicago | 3.24.17 | @thefaakehipster

kweku collins | the metro, chicago | 3.24.17 | @thefaakehipster

kweku collins // chop shop // 9.22 // previous story from Oct 2016

reppin: evanston, il // closed sessions // 2015 - present // 19 years old

sounds like: posting up at a campfire in the middle of the big city...the perfect mix of chill, inspiration and the evolving sounds

Not going to beat around the bush here...you need to catch this guy before he jets out of the city around the world. He is next in line to bring a positive flow to hip hop and at such a young age, he has everything in front of him.

listens: international business trip // death of a salesman // vanilla skies

 

davy knowles // space // 9.23

reppin: isle of man (currently resides in chicago) // blix street records // 2007 - present

sounds like:  hanging out in the middle of nowhere with your pickup and dog

davy knowles | space, evanston | 10.21.17 | @thefaakehipster

davy knowles | space, evanston | 10.21.17 | @thefaakehipster

I've said this since the first time I saw this guy shred live...he is easily a one of the best guitariest in the world right now. Both in how he writes and what he can do on the solo side of things. If you like or respect music, you owe it to yourself to see davy live.

listens: ain't no grave // uprising // oxford, ms

 

king gizzard & the lizard wizard // lincoln hall // 9.24 & 25

reppin: melbourne, australia // flightless records // 2010 - present

sounds like: floating through a trippy 3D video of patterns, talking frogs and of course, lizards and wizards

Australian music never ceases to amaze me and at KG&TLW to the list. Killer psychedelic sound to make you groove all night. This seven piece is constantly putting out new music, pushing the envelope as far as what instruments can do. Rule #24: Always see an Aussie band when they are in the states.

listens: work this time // hot wax // sense

 

wild cub // schubas // 9.25

reppin: nashville, usa // mom + pop records // 2011 - present

sounds like: getting in your nicest suit and dancing and sweating like no one is watching 

These brilliant musicians have really nailed a joyous and feel good vibe of indie pop. Having seen them in both the private and festival setting, it is so clear that they can bring you a good time live. Ear friendly sounds for all people!

listens: magic // somewhere // thunder clatter

 

the early november // bottom lounge // 9.26

reppin: hammonton, nj // rise records // 1999 - 2007, 2011 - present

sounds like: having all the fun with that special someone in a pile of leaves on a warm fall day

Yes, these guys are as emo as it gets and maybe they hold a special place in my heart from my high school days. Fuck that. Ace is one of the best songwriters in the game. They continue to evolve their sounds, make beautiful music while still giving you those goosebumps.

listens: boxing timelines // i want to hear you sad // something that produces results // fluxy

 

the california honeydrops // lincoln hall // 9.28

reppin: oakland, ca // tubtone records // 2007 - present

sounds like: that moment you slide under the blanket or hit the shower when it is most needed...instant relief from all of it

With very diverse bandmates from different backgrounds, this soul/R&B/blues group formed with a mission to put smiles on everyone's faces and dance moves in their bodies. Meshing some old school R&B with trendy pop sounds, they are a sight to be seen. Don't miss them.

listens: when it was wrong // brokedown - parts 1 & 2 // crazy girls

 

broken social scene & frightened rabbit // aragon ballroom // 9.29

reppin: bss - toronto, ca // arts & crafts records // 1999 - present //// fr - selkrick, scottland // atlantic records // 2003 - present

sounds like: bss - a time lapse of spring turning to summer in the forest // fr - grabbing your friends, a cigar and sitting around the campfire

While BSS has more band members than most small towns in canada, they have a sound and vibe that is timeless. Only they can combine so many instruments and beautiful voices to make all the sense. Frightened Rabbit makes some of the most beautiful indie rock that you'll put your ears on with lyrics that will make you think in all the right ways. 

listens: bss - anthems for a 17 year old // halfway home //// fr - the woodpile // get out

 

torche // the empty bottle // 9.29

torche | photo cred: bandcamp.torche.com

torche | photo cred: bandcamp.torche.com

reppin: miami, usa // relapse records // 2004 - present

sounds like: a beautiful destruction of an old building turning into a new one

Get ready to bang your head and bring out the metal and stoner rock in you. I've been on these guys for a bit now and they bounce the ping pong ball back and forth between fringe metal and psychedelic rock. On top of it, the vocals just make for such a unique twist...even if you don't enjoy hard rock, I think you will dig these guys given the mesh of sounds.

listens: kicking // loose men // letting go

 

tei shi // lincoln hall // 9.30 // interview to come!

reppin: buenos aires // downtown records // 2013 - present

sounds like: watching flowers bloom in the floweriest of places on this planet

A youngan who has only been at it for a few years has already proved that her voice can take her places over multiple types of genres. And oh man, that voice will just bring you to places in your mind...go check her out and forget about your worries for a bit.

listens: basically // keep running // go slow

 

twinsmith // beat kitchen // 9.30

reppin: omaha, nebraska // saddle creek records // 2012 - present

sounds like:  taking a kayak through a cave with a disco ball

Upbeat, poppy, dancy and friendly kinda vibes these guys give off. There is no shortage of fun when you listen or see them. The beats will make you sway side to side and want to grab on to the person next to you.

listens: you & I // alligator years // matters

concert shenanigans: DUCKTAILS

*guest contributor - tony scianna*

reppin: ridgewood, nj // domino records // 2006 - present

sounds like: the haze near the end of a long road trip as you look out the car window at the state of nothingness.

matt mondaline | photo cred: factmag.com

matt mondaline | photo cred: factmag.com

last album drop: “St. Catherine” (2015) – “Jersey Devil” expected to drop Oct 2017

featuring: matt

ducktails | empty bottle, chicago | 9.8.17 | @tonyscianno

ducktails | empty bottle, chicago | 9.8.17 | @tonyscianno

It was quickly approaching midnight when a tall, hipster-esque, dark haired man with glasses took the stage at The Empty Bottle – a small, yet intimate, indie music venue/bar. His attire was as casual as his demeanor: a plain white t shirt and plain jeans, with a natural saunter. He looked like he could have just been part of the crowd – which he was during the two opening acts, local bands “Dogs at Large” and “Varsity”. It was hard to miss Matt walking around and being social before he took the stage. His presence was undeniable, but it was also natural. He fit in with us as much as we fit in with him. Seeing your favorite musicians casually hanging out like any other person is one of the coolest experiences that comes with seeing indie music live. By time he took the stage it didn’t feel like some bigger than life person was in front of us; it felt like watching your friend, who happens to be incredibly talented, have fun and play music. That is the vibe Matt likes to create at his live shows – something he accomplishes through his presentation as well as his music.

After spending time as the founding guitarist of indie pop powerhouse “Real Estate”, Matt decided to take his dreamy, hypnotic, Jersey jangle pop guitar riffs and venture off on his own. Ducktails is a solo project, something Matt takes to heart with his live performances. Unlike the two opening acts, Matt didn’t have a band playing with him. It was just him and his guitar. But it wasn’t a stripped down, acoustic performance. Matt used a pedal to control pre-recorded bass, drum, and synthesizer tracks while he played electric guitar and sang over the prerecorded tracks. Almost in the same way a DJ will use pre-recorded tracks and scratch or improvise over them. He even comments during the show, saying, “I used to play with a band, now I’m trying this. DJ’s do it, why can’t I?”

ducktails | photo cred: lpr.com

ducktails | photo cred: lpr.com

Ducktails’ music is breezy and hypnotic – it allows you to let go and get lost in your own head. Before you know it, you’re relaxed and not thinking about the trials and tribulations of daily life. It highlights music’s wonderful ability to make you feel like nothing else really matters except for enjoying what is in front of you. Matt wants to keep the good vibes going. He blatantly says that in his biggest hit, “Killin’ the Vibe” when he urges others around him to “don’t go killin’, killin’ the vibe”. Matt wants his shows to be fun and inviting. He invites us to join him on a metaphorical cruise through the jersey shore – soaking in the sun with good friends.

During the show, he had a slideshow of photos playing on a screen in the background. The photos seemed random and obscure – almost as if it was an inside joke. But he explained that they are photos he took as he’s journeyed around the country. The way the photos masked his face and projected over his plain white t shirt presented a beautiful image of unity between his music and his life. He’s showing us who and what he is, all on his own. A mirage of photos, music, and his own vulnerability. And he’s inviting all of us along for the ride.   

suggested listening experience: laying in your bed at the end of a long day // after a hike with your best friends // lazy Sundays at the beach

listens: map to the stars // killin’ the vibe // headbanging in the mirror // light a candle // hamilton road // surreal exposure // ivy covered house // the disney afternoon

dt // spotify // ig // twitter // fb // sc

new music: THE ACADEMIC

reppin: mullingar, ireland // global publishing // 2013 - present

sounds like: getting into one of those ball pits at the discovery zone when you were a kid

last album drop: loose friends (2015 // debut ep)

the academic | photo cred: goldenplec.com

the academic | photo cred: goldenplec.com

featuring: craig fitzgerald (lead vocals + guitar) // matt murtagh (guitar) // stephen murtagh (bass) // dean gavin (drums)

These young millennials are just another reminder of how little I accomplished in life, which sucks for my career, but is awesome for music listening! When a rad band like the academic is getting attention as young as they are, well there is only room for these kids to grow both personally and musically. With just an EP under their belt, having already opened for the likes of The Pixies and Little Green Cars, the story goes back to as far as 2009. Matt, Craig and Stephen had always been jamming and messing around as a band, but things got a bit more serious when dean jumped on board about four years ago. When we are young and stupid, trying to learn and grow, in the moment it doesn’t mean much. As we slowly start to evolve and find the right pieces, all of the sudden that formula of success kicks in earlier than anyone expects. Craig, along with his bandmates, have found that balance of what they like vs. the structure of writing a catchy hook and gaining fans.

the academic | photo cred: nocatgotmytongue.blogspot.com

the academic | photo cred: nocatgotmytongue.blogspot.com

Speaking of finding their sound, this straight up indie rock quartet has some powerful stuff. The track, “different” really got things rolling for them, a song released back in 2015, but written long before that (oh, teenage love). From there, they crushed their debut ep. A fantastic blend of simple builds, rocky riffs and catchy choruses with just enough distortion. You can certainly hear the pop bounce off the indie rock, a pleasing sound that any music fan can really enjoy. Last year, the single “mixtape 2003” came out, proving that there is still some gold in those minds. While there has been a bit of a hiatus in the music last year, I expect some big things for this band. Another year under their belt and the opportunity to continue to evolve and craft their rock/pop sound....stay on these guys.

suggested listening experience: commute to work // hanging with a few friends before heading out to the bars // summertime doing anything

listens: different // sometimes // mixtape 2003 // chasers // thought i told you

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