Instore Galore: Vacation, Earth Girls, Bow & Spear, Spirit of the Beehive, Carbonleak


Is there some sort of Power Pop University where young musicians go to learn the art of the art of the addictive guitar riff? Do students brainstorm hooks and scribble lyrics in Lisa Frank notebooks over peanut butter sandwiches and ramen? Is this possibly what was going on at Bill and Ted University in the beginning of Bogus Journey?

If such a learning institution existed, Cincinnati band Vacation would have graduated summa cum laude. The tightly-knit four-piece opened for Don Giovanni label mates Screaming Females last night at The Empty Bottle, barely exchanging glances in the brief pauses between songs before ripping into another perfect song with just the right interplay between guitars, crunch, and punk aggression.
Missed the show last night? Luckily for you, they’re playing TWICE today: once in just a few hours at Bric-a-Brac with locals Earth Girls (who COMPLETELY RULE and don’t play very often) and Bow and Spear. They’re also playing later tonight with Screaming Females at Sub-T, giving the 17+ crowd a chance to join in the fun.


Have plans already for today, maybe for the Dick Dale show, or checking out what kind of band names themselves Bukkake Moms over at Emporium? You can get your in-store fill tomorrow over at saki, where Spirit of the Beehive and Carbonleak are playing. I can’t tell y’all how important instores are to me, and how cool it is that we’re so blessed with so many supportive record stores here in Chicago. Bring a beer, listen to some free music, pick up some 7″s or earplugs or whatever.

Bow & Spear, Vacation, Earth Girls
Bric-a-Brac Records & Collectibles, 3156 West Diversey Avenue
5:30pm on Wed, July 29/ AA / free

Screaming Females, Vacation
Subterranean, 2011 West North Avenue
8:30pm on Wed, July 29/ $14 / 17+

Spirit of the Beehive, Carbonleak
saki, 3716 West Fullerton Avenue
6:00pm on Thu, July 30 / AA / free

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Best of the Fests: Bitchfest, Chicago Summer Psych, and Black & Brown Punk Show

We’re deep into festival season, struggling to keep our heads about an endless sea of body chains, matching crop-top-and-shorts-sets, sole-sucking fields of mud, blurry tattoos, overpriced beers, and nineteen year olds on molly. Over here at the old soda mines, we’re free to train our eye on some of the more unusual and underground festivals that are taking place this summer.



Bitchfest aims to celebrate women and their work, but is inclusive of “all Chicago’s brilliant and resilient artists, musicians and writers who tirelessly use creative mediums to express what it means to live in this beautifully fucked-up world.” More than just a stacked bill of not-all-dudes bands, DIY space Young Camelot aims to offer a film program, live screenprinting, zines, murals, and art. Daily schedules have not yet been finalized, so keep an eye on the Facebook event for more specifics.

Yoko and the Oh No’s, The Iceberg, Strawberry Jacuzzi, She Speaks In Tongues, Bruiser Queen, Oshwa, Beat Drun Juel, Mr. Ma’am, Brenda, WAD, Not For You, BLOOM, Impulsive Hearts, DEADBEAT, The Baby Magic, Night & Gale
Friday August 7th – Saturday August 8th
Young Camelot (ask a punk)

Chicago Summer Psych Fest


If you read enough of this website, you’ve probably gleaned that I have a weakness for good ole three-chords-and-two-toms rock’n’roll. This is because I am dumb and I have bad taste. However, perhaps you have more sophisticated tastes: a palate that can accommodate gauzy shoegaze guitar, krauty synths, and meandering prog. If that’s the case, my dear, you’re in luck: for the seventh year running, the Hideout is bringing you Chicago Summer Psych Fest, with some superstars and heavy hitters in the line-up.

Chicago Summer Psych Fest – Friday
Djin Aquarian with Plastic Crimewave Syndicate, Vyto B, Shah Jahan, Hands Of Hydra, DJ Psychedalex
9pm on Friday August 14th
The Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia Ave
21+ / $10 advance tickets / $18 at the door

Chicago Summer Psych Fest – Saturday
Psychedelic Supersession with special guests, Chicago Triangle, VCSR featuring Bil Vermette, Moss Folk, Carbonleak
9pm on Saturday August 15th
The Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia Ave
21+ / $10 advance tickets / $18 at the door

Black and Brown Punk Show


Black and Brown Punk Show is an annual festival highlighting the black and brown, queer and trans DIY punk scene in Chicago. The collective wants to create a safer space to push back against oppression, bond over a shared sense of struggle, and celebrate the creativity of black and brown musicians, artists, and educators.

Black and Brown Punk Show – Friday
Black Bandits and the Stickups, Vagabon, Moor Mother Goddess, Yva Las Vegas, Bruised, Tigress, Crude Humor, TBA
6pm on Friday, August 28th
Location TBA

Black and Brown Punk Show – Saturday
Kris de la Rash, Aye Nako, L(a)kras, The Breathing Light, Ono, La Armada, Through and Through, The Kominas, Huasipungo, R-Tronika
5pm on Saturday, August 29th
ChiTown Futbol, 2255 South Throop Street

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Punk or Bunk #1 Answers & Winner!

Congratulations to Jessica for winning our very first Punk or Bunk trivia challenge! It turns out that NO ONE got the answer right, so we’re giving the tickets to you for being the first to email.

For those playing along at home, here’s the answers:

1. Peggy O’Neill and Danny Kroha of The Gories met when they developed mutual crushes on each other in high school.

TRUE. As revealed in the recent Detroit Punks documentary on The Gories, Peg was obsessed with The Who and mod culture as a teenager, and Danny was running around on a scooter with a fishtail parka. They met through their similar interests, and briefly dated – a relationship that dissolved long before The Gories did.

This was actually our readers’ #1 Guess for which one was a lie! Sometimes the truth is strange, y’all.

2. Lester Bangs once published a piece that claimed to expose the “rock culture FAGGOT MAFIA” in Creem magazine.

FALSE. Ok, so this is from the era of swaggering macho rock journalism that I couldn’t care less about, but it’s linked to early transgender punk pioneer Jayne County, which is how I know about it. Inspired by an infamous incident where Jayne County tried to brain Handsome Dick Manitoba of The Dictators with a mic stand when he heckled her at CBGB’s, Bangs wrote a rambling, incoherent screed that did in fact threaten to expose the “rock culture FAGGOT MAFIA.” However, it was slated for the pages of Punk Magazine, and Bangs requested that they not run it, worried that it would hurt his freelance career, something I can totally identify with as a fellow freelancer, albeit one who can edit myself a little better.

3. Iggy Pop’s favorite drink is Kahlua and milk.

TRUE. Iggy’s preference for hard drugs and weak drinks is mentioned several times in the classic oral history of early punk, Please Kill Me.

“We’d get to Memphis, the newspaper has my picture on the paper, with the headline ‘Vice Squad to Attend Concert Tonight.” I get to my hotel, I’m nervous, so I take all my per diems and buy twenty Kahlua and milks, because I’m nervous, but I only like pussy drinks, right?”

-Iggy Pop

Even if you didn’t win, you can try your wits next time, and you can still go see the show for a measly $7! It’s way cooler than Pitchfork, and I’ll be there, swigging from a pitcher and doing really pathetic bowling moves.

Blizzard Babies, Squish, Boots, Pink Bathroom
Fireside Bowl, 2648 West Fullerton Avenue
17+ / $7

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Punk or Bunk: Win Tickets to see Blizzard Babies, Squish, Boots, & Pink Bathroom!

We’re introducing a brand new feature on Store Brand Soda called Punk or Bunk. Based on the old party game Two Truths and a Lie, we present you with three punk rock history facts, with one little detail – one of them is made up. The first person to email with the correct answer on which “fact” is really fiction wins tickets to a SBS-approved show.

You’re extra lucky this round, because the prize for being the first person to email us the correct answer is two tickets to see Blizzard Babies, Squish, Boots, & Pink Bathroom at The Fireside Bowl on Sunday, July 19th. This is going to be an awesome show with some of our favorite babes in the city. You can bowl beforehand, or take your 17 year old sister and blow her mind with a whole new world of rock-n-roll possibilities.

Ready to get started? Here’s your three statements:

1. Peggy O’Neill and Danny Kroha of The Gories met when they developed mutual crushes on each other in high school.

3.. Lester Bangs once published a piece that claimed to expose the “rock culture FAGGOT MAFIA” in Creem magazine.

3. Iggy Pop’s favorite drink is Kahlua and milk.

Got your answer? Email ASAP and you might be the winner! Comments, Facebook messages, etc don’t count: you have to email us. We’ll announce the winners on Wednesday.

And if you’re stumped? We’ll announce the answers then, as well. Good luck and godspeed!

Blizzard Babies, Squish, Boots, Pink Bathroom
Fireside Bowl, 2648 West Fullerton Avenue
17+ / $7

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Brisbane Noise Punks Sewers Play Last-Minute Show Tonight

Antipodean punks Sewers have used the Coriolis effect to their advantage, swirling counter-clockwise down a filthy dive bar toilet and surfacing clockwise here in Chicago covered in grime, gore, and black blood. They lurched, Creature-from-the-Black-Lagoon style, into Permanent Records yesterday, completely obliterating the sparse crowd with their nasty swamp sludge.

Too tight for the skronky post-punks and too full of wild abandon for the math-rock nerds, Sewers is the evil, abrasive thudding squall you’ve been looking for to rip you away from your boring life and everything you hold dear and deposit you in the bowels of a waste treatment plant.

They were supposed to play last night at The Burlington, but apparently a local band they were going to play with dropped out and the show was cancelled. The whole thing seems pretty sus to me – do you know how hard getting 5 visas for traveling musicians is? – but thankfully Aaron Dexter, booker for The Owl and label head over at Automatic Recordings, pulled through and they were able to jump on the bill with Whitney (ex-Smith-Westerns) for tonight. Hopefully he doesn’t mind me telling you all who “the special guest” is a bit early. Go buy a record from him so he doesn’t get mad at me for blowing up his spot.

There’s other weird free noise rock shows tonight, which you know because you check our calendar every morning, but let’s be real, Toupee plays all the time. You’re lucky to get another chance to see Sewers; I suggest you take it.

Whitney, Sewers
The Owl, 2521 North Milwaukee Avenue
10pm / free / 21+

Ono, Hums + Haws, Toupee, Richard Album
The Empty Bottle, 1035 North Western Avenue
9pm / free / 21+

Wildhoney, Carbonleak, Population
Rancho Huevos
8pm / ask a punk / $6-$8

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Getting Randy for Randy Records

If Randy Records was a person, they’d be like seven feet tall, with perma-stoned eyes going off two different directions, wearing a greasy leather jacket and playing the organ effortlessly with one hand while casually drinking a beer with the other.

Wait; that actually sounds like someone I know.


I’m just going to call him Randy Rexington, as per his Instagram, because homie shows the magic wonder of mathematics to impressionable youth as a day job and I’m not trying to help any Google-happy superintendents figure out that their teachers might have a life beyond the schoolyard.

Anyway, Mr. Rexington, divider of fractions and presser of records, singer in The Yolks and organ-stroker in Uh Bones, dropped me a line to share a special fancy treat for Store Brand Soda readers: preview tracks off the two new albums on Randy Records.

eric gage


Eric Gage, front dude of The Memories has to be one of the best connected dudes out there. He’s in White Fang, performs solo as Free Weed, and founded Gnar Tapes, a cassette label that recently traded daps with quasi-independent garage giant Burger Records on the opening of their new joint-venture record store Gnar Burger in a run down, middle-of-nowhere stretch of Los Angeles neighborhood Cypress Park. Last time I was there it took me like twenty minutes to check out because the extremely stoned dude at the counter needed change; Gage himself emerged from the back to pull some money out of his wallet.

Anyway, The Memories have never been one of my favorite bands; their simplistic take on summer psychedelia seems more suited for messy-bearded bros in tie-dye shirts covered in Dorito crumbs. Also, last time I saw them on tour one of their roadies/back-home-buddies made me cry, ha ha ha. Anyway, if YOU have never personally been driven to tears in the back room of The Burlington by someone associated with The Memories, go ahead and give these preview tracks a listen; you can also listen to the full album over on Soundcloud.



Ah, that’s better. So, as hinted above, Randy Rexington himself is in longtime local lovers-of-loudness Uh Bones. You’ve probably thrown beer cans at them at Wally World or whatever, so I’m not sure I have to describe them, but they take the sweet, classic rhythm-n-blues jams of The Yolks and flesh them out into something more howling and rollicking and weird. It’s Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music, but by “modern” I mean you’re double-fisting thirty-twos and have nineteen tattoos and your shorts don’t cover your butt all the way.

There’s even more reason for you to ACT NOW, OPERATORS ARE STANDING BY: both these jammers are getting pressed to white vinyl for the first sure-to-sell-out 100, so if like your record collection to coordinate with your yayo, you should act quickly. Uh Bones is touring this summer, and getting familiar with their songs now is a great way to impress all your friends as you casually mouth all the words in whatever dive bar or DIY venue in your town is lucky enough to host them.

You can preorder The Memories and Uh Bones LPs over on the Randy Records site, and keep that shit bookmarked; later this summer, they’re putting out the debut album from Spike and the Sweet Spots and a new Yolks 7″.

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