Emily’s Weekend Pop Picks: November 20-22

As you can see from the SBS Show Calendar, we’re officially moving into winter and the onslaught of awesome shows to try to shoehorn into your week has slowed a bit. Before you pull out the fuzzy blanket and Remembrance of Things Past (or whatever giant book you’ve been totally meaning to read) to settle in for the whole damn winter, stop and check out all the cool things that are still going down. Like the US Postal Service, neither snow nor sleet nor sold out shows will keep Store Brand Soda from sweating profusely in our parkas in a basement all winter long. I’ve got some show picks for the upcoming weekend here and Cupcake has an abbreviated list of must-see shows for the rest of 2015 over at Do312.

coles flyer


Friday, November 20

Mitski, Palehound, PWR BTTM
I’ve known about tonight’s STACKED lineup at Beat Kitchen forever. I wrote about Mitski at this year’s SXSW and Palehound was also a SXSW discovery a few years ago. But like the US Postal Service, sometimes I’m just super slow at getting to things, so I totally snoozed on tickets. Happily for these 3 kickass bands, the show is now sold out, but maybe you’ve already got tickets or have a friend who is bailing because of a few snowflakes. If you can get into this one, do it. And please have all the feelings for me.
Beat Kitchen, 2100 W Belmont Ave
8:30 pm / $12 adv / 17+ / SOLD OUT

Fuzz, Walter, Oozing Wound
If you read the above description and thought “the opposite of that” then you probably want to be at the show at Thalia Hall tonight. This was probably already on your radar, but just in case it wasn’t, here are some key words: Ty Segall, garage rock, hard rock, metal. Also sold out, but again it’s supposed to start snowing around 9 pm and you know your friends aren’t going to want to go all the way to Pilsen if there’s weather involved. Start tweeting about how you’ll take an extra ticket and just see what happens. No weak pits, okay?
Thalia Hall, 1807 S Allport St
9:00 pm / $15 / 17+ / SOLD OUT

Dumpster Babies, Fuck Knights, Fire Retarded, The Evictions
Speaking of no weak pits, Tall Pat Records dumb punks Dumpster Babies are headlining another stacked bill of local rock ‘n’ roll at The Empty Bottle. To make it even more killer, 3 of tonight’s bands are featured on the latest 4-Way Freakout cassette, celebrating its release at tonight’s show. Plus the Bottle’s got coat hooks so you can bundle as much as you need to heading to this one and still be comfortable and cool when you go to dance.
Empty Bottle, 1035 N Western Ave
9:00 pm (9:30? 10? The Bottle does what it wants) / $5 / 21+

Mauve, Principality, Star Tropics, Pale Spectre
I’ve written about Star Tropics before and they are still one of my favorite Chicago bands/pop bands/things existing in the universe right now. They’re also playing a free show at Cole’s with Mauve, who are doing a really nice psychedelic/electronic thing, and two Minneapolis bands, Principality and Pale Spectre. The song on Principality’s bandcamp is some straight up 80s goth jam so if you’re moping about missing out on Mitski tix, I think this might be your vibe. And it’s free. Hard to argue with free. I will be at this one so come say hi!
Cole’s Bar, 2338 N Milwaukee Ave
9:00 pm (lol probably 10) / Free / 21+

unicorn fest

Saturday, November 21

Beach Slang, Lithuania, Worriers
I’ve seen Worriers 3x this year and I’m not 100% sure we’ve mentioned them yet on Store Brand Soda. Maybe Cupcake fixed this mistake already, but I’ve definitely fucked up. So let there be no doubt: Worriers are awesome. Pop punk for people with feelings and politics and actual complicated lives and stuff. I know that everyone into sad punk is also all over Beach Slang, but Worriers are the band on this bill I am most enthusiastically evangelizing in 2015. Also sold out, so if you have tickets for this one, don’t be a dingus and just see the headliner.
Subterranean, 2011 W North Ave
8:00 pm / $12 adv / 17+ / SOLD OUT 

Peach Fuzz, The Peekaboos, The Landmarks, Electric Sheep, Nomar
There’s a pretty rad show happening over at Club Soda Saturday night with The Landmarks in town from Michigan and locals Peach Fuzz, The Peekaboos, Electric Sheep, and Nomar also on the bill. I have been into The Peekaboos since like 2011 though I haven’t yet seen them with the latest iteration of their lineup. Super fun sloppy shouty, hooky, garagey Chicago punk. I haven’t caught Peach Fuzz yet but lately they’ve been popping up on all kinds of bills I’m into. Based on their Bandcamp, they’re the kind of local rock band I want an infinite supply of. If you’re bummed you missed Friday’s Mitski show, come check these folks out.
Club Soda
7:30 pm (but probably hella punk time) / $5

Pinky Swear Return of the Unicorn Fest
Okay like I’ve been to Pinky Swear and I have literally no idea how seemingly every musician, artist, poet, and performer in the universe is going to fit into that basement, but I’m on board with the process. This all-day event kicks off with some low-key tea-sipping posi vibes and ambient music at 10 am, followed by an increasingly energetic celebration of the unicorn from 2:30-11 pm. Check out the Facebook page for more context. It sounds like an experience.
Pinky Swear
10:00 am / $5-10 

EGO, Jollys
Hey look another local rock show! EGO are newly back from tour and playing a free show at Cafe Mustache with Jollys.
Cafe Mustache, 2313 N Milwaukee Ave
9:00 pm / free / 21+


Sunday, November 22

The Landmarks, Minor Wits
If you liked The Landmarks at Club Soda, you can catch them again at their Bric-a-Brac in-store with Minor Wits, a local power pop/pop punk group I’m just now hearing about but am kind of super into.
Bric-a-Brac, 3156 W Diversey Ave
5:00 pm / free / all ages / BYOB

Hibou, Bloom, Color Card, Jewel Case
I saw Hibou when he came through town a couple years ago and holy fucking shit. If you are into dreamy pop sounds, if you bought my recommendation of Star Tropics, if you have $12 to spend on a show, check out this band. Come early for this one because the supporting bands also rule.
Subterranean, 2011 W North Ave
9:00 pm / $12 / 21+

Outer Minds, Lil Tits, Strawberry Jacuzzi 
Do you like fun? Do you like supporting essential healthcare services? Then you want to be at the SYA773 Fundraiser for Planned Parenthood at The Empty Bottle Sunday night. All ticket sales from this fucking killer lineup of local bands will go to supporting Planned Parenthood, who you may recognize from their low-cost preventative care, birth control, and STI screening services or from some totally bullshit videos Republican lawmakers are obsessed with. Either way, come rock out and feel good about the work you’re supporting.
Empty Bottle, 1035 N Western Ave
9:00 pm / $8 / 21+ 

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Dead DIY Space: Elastic Revolution


A sinewy, grey haired man is sitting on the floor of an old church in Logan Square surrounded by a ring of weird electronics wired together, like a circle of protection cast in a cyberpunk movie about witchcraft. [This movie does not exist but it obviously should]. The boxes are effects pedals wired to effects pedals wired to nothing else. He’s literally playing freak electronic impulses and looping them into an aggressive industrial freakout, pressing buttons and twiddling knobs with a gleeful, maniac look across his face. The man is Dave Purdie, a member of Verbal Abuse, one the first punk bands to form in Chicago, an intense, increasingly avant-garde no-wave act profiled in the documentary You Weren’t There. Other members would go on to found Naked Raygun and Big Black; another will die in a motorcycle chase with the cops. Dave Purdie will become Satan 2000. I’ll get back to him and his surroundings in a minute, but I’d like to wax theoretical for a few.

I used to get mad at the label “Scene” (with a capital S) because it felt so self-aggrandizing, even when used in derision, as though one group could define youth culture. There is no homogenous art or music or DIY scene in Chicago; maybe there is in Terra Haute or Peoria or wherever but probably not there either. Punk and rap and dance music and art fracture into a million subgenres defined by fashion, politics and BPM’s, creating a multiverse of scenes that parallel, intersect, mirror and overlap, loosely connected by people and places. Sometimes it seems as if the places didn’t need to be created by the people inside, but existed only to be filled by art. Buddy becomes Happy Dog becomes No Nation in Wicker Park. The Azone becomes peopleprojects becomes Papal Projects in Logan Square. Weiser House becomes Fort Kakalak and Treasure Town and Mortville in Lawndale.

If you want to get mystical about it (and boy howdy do I always) you can point to the plethora of places where art has been created across the entirety of Milwaukee Avenue. Before the dirt road was paved over with wood and then brick and then asphalt, before Jean Baptiste Point DuSable founded the city in the 1780’s, and centuries before Robert de la Salle transliterated the Miami-Illinois (Algonquin) word “shikaakwa” into “Chicagou” in the 1670’s, what is now known as Milwaukee Avenue had been a route of travel for half a dozen societies of Indigenous Americans for generations before. The word Milwaukee translates from Potawamie and Ojibwe Algonquin to “the Good Land”, but we already know that because Alice Cooper says so in Wayne’s World , and Wayne’s World is a rad fucking Chicago rock’n’roll movie.

I’m not trying to invoke the mystical exoticism some people like to place around indigenous cultures but I would like to talk about Ley Lines, the concept that the natural pathways that pre-industrial societies developed around, that were livable, farmable, and walkable, were preordained, formed almost intentionally by the cosmos, a cooperation of the stars, waterways and tectonic plates to guide humans towards places where they could thrive. The land is imbued with the elements of creation, and just as certain land works better for farmers, artists and thinkers are drawn to the places where they thrive as well.

If you don’t want to get mystical, if you want to be completely practical, the city of Chicago was built around the established paths because they existed. It was easier and made more sense. Milwaukee Avenue was developed in a way where working class people could easily get back and forth from their homes on the outskirts to the factories clustered around the center. Chain-migration would mean tight knit immigrant communities would settle, assimilate and disperse, leaving new room for new tight knit immigrant communities, and a revolving door of artists could take advantage of newly emptied homes at working class prices. De-industrialization would empty the factories for underground galleries and practice spaces and communes.There is no mysticism, musicians need environments where they can make noise unencumbered and be heard, artists need room to fabricate and be seen, and thinkers need space that they can afford, because ‘thinker’ isn’t a fucking job. Like finds like. Communities form. Art gets commodified. People move in and the live/work/play spaces become condos and artisinal doughnut shops.

So it’s real world, non-theoretical 2005. A few blocks away from Milwaukee Avenue, I’m in a shuttered Pentecostal church watching Satan 2000 exorcise noise from the air like an aggro Jon Cage surrounded by people eating mushrooms and drinking out of paper bags. Mystically, the church was built to focus and refine people’s concentrated energy into a joyful noise. Practically, it’s a big acoustically-sound building in a pretty cheap part of an up-and-coming neighborhood with its own garage parking space.

The place is Elastic Revolution, but it’s alternately known as 3030, 3030 Revolution, and Elastic Arts. It’s not a rowdy or aggressive space; its primary focus is jazz, and the traditional, uncomfortable, long wooden pews make the space untenable for dancing, no matter how aggressive the music gets when jazz gives way to experimental noise, or how bouncy the music gets when there’s a funky drummer at the helm. Marvin Tate does a series of poetry readings, the Cucaracha Cabaret hosts a monthly puppetry series, there’s an electronic music night and an improvised music night; if you’re a fan of local jazz stalwart Ken Vandermark but you’re not a fan of jazz clubs, you can see a whole fuckova lot of Ken Vandermark in duos and trios and quartets.

Elastic Revolution wasn’t felled by a show that got out of hand, an outraged community, or a tragic accident. It was taken down by a single neighbor who didn’t like the flow of people entering, exiting, and going outside to smoke. After calling the cops out on numerous noise complaints, often resulting in no action, the CPD eventually sent two undercover cops to a show. They determined that the place money taken at the door did not qualify as a donation and that the venue was not eligible for the PPA loophole (that a place can hold events with live sound/performance without a Public Place of Amusement license if they follow a bunch of good neighbor/not-acting-as-a-taxable-business rules) because of zoning reasons, but they didn’t show up in court and, though the Elastic Arts Foundation couldn’t operate the church as a performance space anymore, I don’t think they weren’t punished further.

There’s a happy ending to this one. The Elastic Arts crew became a legit nonprofit, and Alderman Rey Colon helped them find a legit space in the neighborhood, first above the Friendship Chinese restaurant on Milwaukee, and then in a nondescript office complex just west of Kedzie on Diversey, where they’re still operating, and kicking ass today.

DISCLAIMER: DIY Dead spaces is done with little-to-no research, unless I take Adderall and spend a whole day reading about the history of Chicago street paving, but everything else is true as remembered and experienced. Memory is fallible and experiences vary. Names and dates may be completely off. People who I remember fondly may have been total monsters. People who were dickheads to me might have been perfect angels having a very, bad day when we met.

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Weekly Agenda: Nov 10 – 14th 2015

Dude, have you looked at our calendar? The next few weeks fucking rip. Chicago is not yet content to succumb to the lure of carbs, chenille socks, and clicking “Continue Playing” on Netflix over and over.

Tuesday, November 10th

Free Pizza, Radio Shaq, Bloom, Glamour Hotline
I’m really digging on Spooky Cool Girls, an EP Glamour Hotline just uploaded to Soundcloud like 5 days ago.

Carrie” tells a tale of girl-on-girl longing, idolization & lust. “She is a rebel queen, everyone’s favorite thing,” Hayley Jordanna sings, self-consciously evoking Bikini Kill’s Rebel Girl – again in the lines “I wanna be just like you, wanna do the things that you do.” I’m pretty sure the song’s protagonist also wants to follow Carrie home and try on her clothes. There’s a touch more envy & inadequacy than was cool to share in the ra-ra-riot days; despite the complete lack of sound similarity, it reminded me of the subject matter of Babydoll, Sweet Spirit’s ode to being the girl picked last.

Jordanna’s voice, along with Alex Lukawski and drummer Riley Cavanaugh, warps it’s way around tremulous vulnerabilities, sasses, flirts, and cheerleader-chants. Some the multi-singer back-n-forth & “fuck it, we’re just gonna squeal and swear at you through the mic” vocal styles remind me of Blatz, which is actually a SUPER high compliment from me. That being said, all their songs are mad catchy and SK8R basically sounds like the dream soundtrack to Skate Bitches.
Wally World
$5 / 21+ / byob or cheap bar

BOYTOY, Shah Jahan
BOYTOY has the sunny stoner patina and pure pop tones that seem to be de rigueur in bright young Brooklyn (and Echo Park) bands these days, but that’s not to say I don’t enjoy the effect.
The Empty Bottle, 1035 N Western Ave
Tue, November 10, 9pm / $5, 21+

Beat Drun Juel, Glyders, Ko, Slayerkitty
Not only can you RSVP here for free beer and tokens, the whole night benefits Girls Rock! Chicago, AND it’s free. Best deal in town.
Emporium Arcade Bar, 1366 N Milwaukee Ave
Tue, November 10, 8pm / 21+ / free

Wednesday, November 11th

Vånna Inget, Slopsink
Vanna Inget brought their stormy post-punk/dark pop all the way from Sweden so you will go to both shows, damn it.
Logan Hardware Records, 2532 W Fullerton Ave
Wed, November 11, 7pm/ free / aa / show after at Liar’s Club

Vånna Inget, Rad Payoff, Autonomy, Mystery Actions
Rad Payoff is a punk band that has a song that involves screaming the line “DON’T SHUT MY DICK IN THE CAR DOOR.” I could say more, but that’s basically all you need to know.
Liar’s Club, 1665 W Fullerton Ave
Wed, November 11, 8pm / 21+

Thursday, November 12th

Pink Eyes, Empty Vessels, Ribbonhead
Dude. I’m fucking into Ribbonhead’s new EP. The intensity is relentless, but varied; rather than a monotone slog through homogenous noise, they know when to play up the feedback-on-Mars fuzz, when to highlight a tricky post-punk riff, and when to let loose with a blasting hardcore squall.
Live Wire Lounge, North Milwaukee Avenue
Thu, November 12, 8pm / 21+ / $5

Eight Bit Tiger, Glass Lux
Glass Lux is a Italo Disco informed synth-pop duo that performs with trippy 3D visuals. Should be fun.
The Empty Bottle, 1035 N Western Ave
Thu, November 12, 9pm

Friday, November 13th

Bleach Party, MAMA, Soddy Daisy, The Baby Magic, Rat Hammer
This is the LAST AUXILIARY ART CENTER SHOW EVER, y’all. I think I’m going to cry a little. There’s gonna be tapes of that awesome mix streaming above, so bring some extra cash.
Auxiliary Art Center, 3012 W Belmont Ave
Fri, November 13, 7pm / $7 donation

Uh Bones, The Evictions, Son of a Gun
These fucking guys.
Cole’s Bar, 2338 N Milwaukee Ave
Fri, November 13, 9pm / 21+ / free

Rob Threezy, Gel Set, Aerial Drones, Holy Family
Deadpan, deadspace, disaffected vocals echo over bouncing, clip-clopping synth beats; Gel Set’s tone is as mournful and pervertedly futuristic as the cult classic Liquid Sky.

Holy Family is one of the new projects coming out of Rectal Hygienics. I’m just hoping it’s not the one who wrote their deeply shitty lyrics.
Archer Beach Haus
Fri, November 13, 10pm

Saturday, November 14th

Vånna Inget, The Rubs, BLOOM, The Obleeks
These Swedes again!
Club Soda
Sat, November 14, 8pm

As always, there’s a billion more shows on our calendar.

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