JACOB BANKS: Day 23 - 30 Days in Chicago presented by Red Bull Sound Select

reppin: birmingham, uk by way of nigeria // interscope // 2012 - present // 26 years old

sounds like: walking around with crazy cool, mid-evil statues on each side of you buffering you from all the bad

jacob banks | lincoln hall, chicago | 11.22.17 | @thefaakehipster

jacob banks | lincoln hall, chicago | 11.22.17 | @thefaakehipster

latest album drop: the paradox (july 2015)

jacob banks | lincoln hall, chicago | 11.22.17 | @thefaakehipster

jacob banks | lincoln hall, chicago | 11.22.17 | @thefaakehipster

featuring: jacob

Rarely do we come across musicians that belt out truth and honestly like their lives depend on it on stage. There is a fine line when it comes to the difference between putting on a show and pouring your emotions and well being into a performance. Jacob Banks is on the right side of that, the latter of course and he is oh so smooth at doing it. Jacob has started to span the globe with his soulful voice and I have been lucky enough to catch him a few times, including a ridiculous performance at SXSW 2017. Yes, in that specific instance I inhaled some equally ridiculous California home grown bud, but in my defense, it was delicious. Chicago, which was built on blues and soul, was graced with Mr. Banks right before turkey time last week and those who made it to the sold out crowd were not disappointed.

As I mentioned in a previous post of JB, he is here on this marble for one reason: to save soul. His voice is powerful, the scratchiness equates to the passion and truth in what he sings. The band spans the spectrum of rock, blues and r&b, forming a well rounded band that will knock your socks off. Jacob took us from song to song, often breaking with a funny phrase or horrible joke that we all laughed at. One thing is for certain: he commands the stage and gets as close to our hearts as he can. Looking around the audience you could see some kids almost crying and at other moments letting it all go. You sure as hell could not just sit there silently.

Even though Jacob is a soul singer, he looks like a rock star out there, especially when he picks up the axe. His roots in Africa and Europe as shown throughout his tracks and you can feel the culture hit you in the live show. Cait and I were grooving all night and the whole audience was feeling it. No matter where you are located you can expect a show full of feels and musical treats that will leave you satisfied.   

suggested listening experience: making sweet sweet love // cruising along on something with wheels // getting ready for the evening

listens: unholy war // worthy // chainsmoking // silver lining // monster // sink or swim // mercy

jb // spotify // fb // twitter // sc // ig

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

new music: JACOB BANKS

reppin: birmingham, uk by way of nigeria // interscope // 2012 - present // 26 years old

jacob banks | photo cred: next2shine.com

jacob banks | photo cred: next2shine.com

sounds like: walking around with crazy cool, mid-evil statues on each side of you buffering you from all the bad

last album drop: the paradox (july 2015)

jacob banks | sxsw, austin | 3.12.17 | @thefaakehipster

jacob banks | sxsw, austin | 3.12.17 | @thefaakehipster

featuring: jacob

This man is here on this blue and green marble to do one thing: save soul. Without soul we have nothing in music. Jacob Banks hails from Nigeria and scooted over to the UK at the young age of 13 where he explored just about every creative arts form. He can hit the keys, strum the guitar and oh baby, can he get those pipes going. He expanded his gift of belting sounds out to writing songs about six years ago and we should all be thankful someone put him in the studio to do just that. He earned his stripes the hard way too, hitting all the open mics he could back home, something that flourished into a career that has begun to take him around the world. What impresses me about this man is his ability to tell stories with his writing. As he described to Billboard, regarding the music video for his tune “Unholy War,” “This video depicts how the world gives people shit for things that are out of their control and the sacrifices people make to keep their magic alive.”

jacob banks | sxsw, austin | 3.12.17 | @thefaakehipster

jacob banks | sxsw, austin | 3.12.17 | @thefaakehipster

When an individual like Jacob can not only have a commanding vocal presence, the deep ties to society make him even more relevant in my eyes. He has this delicious and nutritious mix of soul, r&b with toppings that include hip-hop and even some good ol’ rock. You can hear the 80s creeping into the 2010s and even some influence form his home country in Africa. This man is only 26 mind you and quite seasoned in the array of styles he can produce. As each song funnels its way into your ears, it will move your body in so many different ways and despite what the lyrics may write out, the sound alone will put smiles on your face.

jacob banks | sxsw, austin | 3.12.17 | @thefaakehipster

jacob banks | sxsw, austin | 3.12.17 | @thefaakehipster

The first time I was fortunate enough to have Mr. Banks grace me with his presence was at a private showcase at SXSW this year. After lighting up a nice J of Cali’s finest with some new homies, we crept to the back of the small crowd and preceded to drop our jaws...and they just would not close shut. He gives you goosebumps with his range of vocals.. His band makes the hairs on your arms stand up straight. The chills are there in all the right ways. While he has only released a few singles on top of his 2015 release, there is no ceiling in sight for this man. His blends of genres and youth of his career can only allow this man to grow musically. Take a seat, throw on his tunes, and melt into that thing because you won’t need to move anytime soon.

suggested listening experience: making sweet sweet love // cruising along on something with wheels // getting ready for the evening

listens: unholy war // worthy // chainsmoking // silver lining // monster // sink or swim // mercy

jb // spotify // fb // twitter // sc // ig

Lollapalooza 2017 - Recommended Up & Comers Based On Your Mood

Wake up. Get a good stretch. Maybe a little work out. Take a shower that won't matter later. Get yourself a hearty breakfast, you'll need it. Strap on those shoes that you are okay getting dirty and get ready for a hell of a 4 days. Lollapalooza 2017 is here to take over Chicago and it is time to strap in and let the good times roll.

Lollapalooza 2016 | @thefaakehipster

Lollapalooza 2016 | @thefaakehipster

where: chicago, usa // grant park

when: august 3 - 6

7 stages // 176 bands..ish

Faake Hipster Lollapalooza 2016 Recommendations

For the second time, Lolla is bringing us 4 great days of music with genres all across the board. How the heck are you going to work out your schedule? Plan as much as you want, but it will probably blow up in your face. Not to worry, I am here to crunch those numbers, travel the vast depths of the internet and streaming services and supply you with the latest in the newest music and best acts. But, I don't just want you to see these acts, I want you to experience them, to feel them. Even if you go one day, it is a long one filled with all types of music. So, whether you want to keep it super chill or maybe get your dancing shoes on, we are going to break down this year's recommendations by mood. Your key:

Rock Out (RO) // get ready to have your face melted

Fuck You, I Just Want To Dance (FUCKDANCE) // Time to sweat your face off

Twist One Up (TOU) // Get ready to have your face lifted

Netflix & Chill (N&C) // I just want to sit down and not do anything with my face

Previously Blogged About (**) // Wrote about their faces earlier

 

THE ROSTER

The Spotify Playlist

white reaper | beat kitchen, chicago | 5.5.17 | @thefaakehipster

white reaper | beat kitchen, chicago | 5.5.17 | @thefaakehipster

Thursday //

Kweku Collins** // White Reaper**  // The O'My's** // Middle Kids // The Drums

Kweku Collins // TOU // evanston, il // 12, Pepsi // sounds like: posting up at a campfire in the middle of the big city

White Reaper // RO // louisville // 12:45, Grant Park // sounds like: rocking out in the basement all night long with your best friends, leaving at sunrise and not having a fucking care in the world

The O'My's // N&C // chicago // 1:50, Pepsi // sounds like: putting on suspenders, a bow tie, a top hat or that vintage 50s dress with your derby hat, then looking in the mirror and saying damnnnn I look good

Middle Kids // N&C // sydney // 2:50, Pepsi // sounds like: walking through the forests in the northern woods of wisconsin 

The Drums // FUCKDANCE // nyc // 3:30, Lake Shore // sounds like: you dancing by yourself in the middle of a disco dance floor and being totally cool with it

 

Friday // 

mondo cozmo | shazam private party, chicago | 4.6.17

mondo cozmo | shazam private party, chicago | 4.6.17

SAINt JHN // San Holo // Mondo Cozmo // PUP // Mura Masa // Whitney**

SAINt JHN // TOU // brooklyn // 12:50, Pepsi // sounds like: taking a glorious, smooth shower in the coolest hotel room in Vegas

San Holo // FUCKDANCE // netherlands // 1:15, Perry's // sounds like: going through one of those installments where mirrors are everywhere reflecting off one another

Mondo Cozmo // RO // philadelphia // 1:50, Pepsi // sounds like: watching a city plant grow in your patio

PUP // RO // toronto // 2, Tito's // sounds like: taping yourself going out the other night and watching it the next day at 10 times to speed

Mura Masa // FUCKDANCE // guernsey // 4, Pepsi // sounds like: walking through a stripped down city in a tropical setting

Whitney // N&C // chicago // 7:45, Pepsi // sounds like: cruising in your cadillac...bright lights, big city and chill - 45ish years ago

 

Saturday //

The Shelters // Ron Gallo** // Jacob Banks // LÉON // Colony House // Royal Blood

the shelters | beat kitchen, chicago | 4.12.17

the shelters | beat kitchen, chicago | 4.12.17

The Shelters // RO // la, usa // 12:45, Grant Park // sounds like: living your life through a classic style microphone 

Ron Gallo // RO // nashville + philadelphia // 2:10, BMI // sounds like: giving the finger to those kids that bullied you later than life with a smile

Jacob Banks // TOU // birmingham, uk // 2:15, Tito's // sounds like: walking around with crazy cool, mid-evil statues on each side of you buffering you from the bad

LÉON // N&C // stockholm // 4, Pepsi // sounds like: laying in the perfectly crafted bed made of clouds and marshmallows

ron gallo | subterranen, chicago | 2.20.17 | @thefaakehipster

ron gallo | subterranen, chicago | 2.20.17 | @thefaakehipster

Colony House // FUCKDANCE // franklin, tennessee // 4, BMI // sounds like:

Royal Blood // RO // brighton, uk // 5:15, lake shore // sounds like: a fight for supremacy among animals in the deep jungles of south america

 

Sunday // 

Grace Mitchell // VANT // Lo Moon // noname // Car Seat Headrest // flor 

Grace Mitchell // RO // portland // 12:15, Tito's // sounds like: your fuzzy night leading into the even more fuzzy morning

VANT // RO // london // 12:45, Grant Park // sounds like:  the soundtrack to looking back on a good day with your friends....all smiles

Lo Moon // N&C // la, usa // 1:50, Pepsi // sounds like: a casual trip into outerspace

noname // TOU // chicago // 2:50, Pepsi // sounds like: the most rocking, soulful lullaby you'll ever need

Car Seat Headrest // RO + N&C // seattle via leesburg // 3, Bud Light // sounds like: a night out in the middle of nowhere america with the sun setting on you

 

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

new music: THE O'MY'S

reppin: chicago, usa // unsigned // 2011 - present

sounds like: putting on suspenders, a bow tie, a top hat or that vintage 50s dress with your derby hat, then looking in the mirror and saying damnnnn I look good

last album drop: a humble masterpiece (2013)

the o'my's | photo cred: upc.fm

the o'my's | photo cred: upc.fm

featuring: maceo haymes - vocals & guitar // nick hennessey- vocals & keyboard // boyang matsapola- bass & vocals // baron golden - drums // erick mateo - tenor sax & guitar

maceo haymes | photo cred: illroots.com

maceo haymes | photo cred: illroots.com

A band that can truly be loved by everyone from your Grandma to your little baby barely being able to stand while dancing. Now that is special. A beautiful blend that constantly changes its core sound...you will get some rock, soul, R&B, hip hop, jazz and funk smacking you in the face before you even know how wide your smile is getting. Since they were born, their roots have been planted in the windy city and have held onto the foundation of music that chicago was built on. You can hear it from the bass line all the way to the soulful lyrics that fill each track. Start with “the wonder year” featuring chance the rapper, who works his flow into a that soul and rock. Chuck Inglish of the Cool Kids joins them on “bout a dolla” a more bouncy hip hop delight. Next, move your way into “the wonder years,” where those vocals really shine. Just from those 3 tracks, you can tell the range of style they can pack in. Once you feel satisfied, run through the 2012 release, “chicago style,” quite arguably one of the best albums to come out of this city over the past five years. Those slow beats will have you swaying back and forth even if you are one of those shy ones and don’t want to.

Ohhhhh and Maceo’s vocals are so delicious and unique it makes you tingle as he works his to the chorus. While these guys may have not done a lot of touring, and I very much think they should be getting out on the road more, they have nailed this sound so good. When you are sitting around wondering why you don’t have a good go to for soulful rock, well don’t you worry no more. If you are in Chicago, keep your eye out for randomly scheduled last minute shows, especially at the Tonic Room...does not get much better than that.

suggested listening experience: getting through the workday // a sunny sunday afternoon outside // when you invite your parents over to your apartment

listens: the wonder years (ft chance the rapper) // bout a dolla (ft chuck inglish) // cough drop // chicken noodle soup // feeling like a king // living wrong

tom // twitter // fb // spotify // sc // ig

new music: WHITNEY

reppin: chicago, usa // secretly canadian records // 2015 - present

sounds like: cruising in your cadillac...bright lights, big city and chill - 45ish years ago

last album drop: light upon the lake (june 2016)

whitney | photo cred: theguardian.com

whitney | photo cred: theguardian.com

featuring: max kakacek // julien ehrlich // josiah marshall // will miller // malcolm brown // print chouteau // charles glanders

julien & max of whitney | photo cred: abglanz.com

julien & max of whitney | photo cred: abglanz.com

I’ll admit it, I get a little teary eyed when bands break up, almost as much as the real deal break up in life with that girl or guy. In the winter of 2011, The Smith Westerns garage rock sound blew up after years in the local scene and almost as quickly broke up. But sometimes, that can bloom into newer things...a brand new sound, style and direction in this situation. It also gets me a little cozy inside knowing the spectrum of genres that influence Chicago musicians. Well hello there Whitney, pleasure to meet you. Versatie and talented musicians, Max and Julien (who was also drummed for the mind-blowing Unknown Mortal Orchestra) were roomies in Chicago when their new baby was born. They combined their songwriting skills with julien taking vocals and their baby immediately grew to an adult and gave birth to the song “no matter where to go” (cause it would be weird if a baby gave birth..that’s just redundant). Last year they mainly played Chicago and a bit beyond while writing and writing. It was then time to hook up with Jonathan Rado (Foxygen) to record their debut, light upon the lake. Kids, this is nothing like the rock they were playing before...again, evolution!

Tracks are usually under 5 minutes for a reason...the attention span of us ever distracting humans, the radio and the good ol’ formula of writing a song. This is not the same under 5 minutes sort of thing in my opinion. Maybe projects before this for these guys were driven for different reasons...when we are young we sure as fuck have no idea what we want. The combination of julien’s light vocals over that bluegrass guitar, brass coming in here and there sprinkled with blues solos...it says more than just a song. This pop, vintage sound rooted in soul and rock may look weird on paper, but it is so uniquely crafted. The album tells a story and it is proof to how quickly they are finding themselves in making music.

suggested listening experience: headin somewhere on any types of wheels // when you are trying to kick it with your dad who only listens to AM radio // early start to the day