Show Horoscope: March & April 2016

Your favorite beer-soaked mystic fires up the lava lamp and a jammer and looks deep into the future to make some killer predictions on what shows you want to see. This go-round we’ve got two months of shows for DIY show rats, noise freaks, tender youths, & daydream believers.

Let’s Fucking Party This Weekend, Dude

If you have it, crush it up and rail it hard this week because it’s an unstoppable vortex of cool shit to leave your house for. Let’s make bad decisions, overdraw our bank accounts, find six-packs in the street and lose our innocence in alleyways. What Would Mean Jeans Do.

Faux Ferocious, Basement Family, Power Haunts
Over on my public liability of a Twitter account, I’ve been participating in journalist Gary Suarez‘s #mwe. I’m planning to include all 29 mini-reviews in an article soon, but here’s a sneak preview. I first saw these guys playing a tiny record store and immediately knew they were the band for me. They generally play everywhere when they’re in town because they’re the most down-to-rock out bluesy psych punks of the century.
The Empty Bottle, 1035 N Western Ave
Thu, March 3, 9pm / $5 / 21+

Flesh Panthers, Honduras, Faux Ferocious (DJ Set)
What did we say about down to party? AFTER the Bottle show, roll through Wally’s hallowed halls for a witching hour rock and roll insomniac freakshow with Flesh Panthers (have you bought their LP on Tall Pat Records yet?)
Wally World
Thu, March 3, Midnight / $5 / 21+ / byob or cheap bar

Poison Boys, American Breakfast, The Glyders
I personally want to die on Friday every time I party on a Thursday, and Cole’s can get real het up on a Friday night, but I caught Poison Boys unapologetically stumbling in studs at a northside DIY spot & immediately fell in love with their glammy, nasty leather pants punk.
Cole’s Bar, 2338 N Milwaukee Ave
Fri, March 4, 10pm / free / 21+

Coneheads, The Bug, Bruised, Tigress, Dagger
Oh my god. You want me to leave the house AGAIN? I woke up covered in blood last night. I’m running on roller dogs from 7-11, generic caffeine pills from CVS, and Coco Cafe. Let me die in peace.
Except Coneheads rule, so…
Weenie Hut Jr’s
Sat, March 5, 7pm / Benefit for ABC & Oso Blanco / $5-7 Donation PWYC / QTIPOC to the front!


Photo of La Luz by Kris Alan Carter.

Sunshine & Lollipops

“Twee” doesn’t do you justice; you radiate kindness and creativity with every tremor of an eyelash. You have a crush on Audrey Tautou and Enid Coleslaw. Your summer plans include laying in a kiddie pool in that Bulls bodysuit from F21 and feeling yourself while fuzzy garage pop tapes play on your pastel boombox.

Your power crystals this month are citrine, rose quartz, and pink lemonade weed popsicles.

LA Witch, Sugar Candy Mountain
LA Witch’s fuzzed out surf pop is maudlin & melodic, with wry and wary vocals, a warning issued over crashing waves of reverb. It’s good for sunny morning nudity in bed over cigarettes and coffee, and should be filed next to the Froth and La Luz in your record collection.
The Empty Bottle, 1035 N Western Ave
Tue, March 8, 9pm / $5 / 21+

Heaters, Shah Jahan
You like 60s psych garage? Cool. You’re gonna like this show.
The Empty Bottle, 1035 N Western Ave
Wed, March 9, 9pm / $10 / 21+

Space Blood, Daymaker, Pussy Foot
Daymaker’s sound ranges from the fuzz of dream pop to the broken glass of experimental poetry.
The Empty Bottle, 1035 N Western Ave
Fri, March 25, 9pm / $5 / 21+

Dressy Bessy, Mope Grooves, The Injured Parties
I’m like 99% sure that hearing “If You Should Try to Kiss Her” turned me gay. Thank you, Dressy Bessy.
The Empty Bottle, 1035 N Western Ave
Fri, March 11, 9pm / $12 ($10 adv) / 21+

Tacocat, Lisa Prank, Swimsuit Addition
We love Tacocat’s cynical, sassy, & sweet homages to everyday bummers, and the members/DNA they share with fellow Seattle band Childbirth. Also, Swimsuit Addition fucking rules and if they’re reading this, I owe you guys one. You know why.
The Empty Bottle, 1035 N Western Ave
Fri, April 8, 9pm / $10 / 21+

La Luz, Sick Sad World
Sick surf riffs and the rising, foamy swell and recess of lovely harmonies; La Luz is a beachside daydream.
Subterranean, West North Avenue
Sun, March 20, 9pm / $12 / 17+


Photo of La Luz by Kris Alan Carter.

For the Rare Heads

You like noise and psych and synths and experimental music. You’ve been to at least 3 shows where someone rolls around in basement filth while a rat king of guitar pedals slowly performs mind control on a crowd dressed in black hoodies, all headbanging in extremely slow motion.

This month you are in danger of falling prey to outside bummer influences. Carry a black crystal such as tourmaline, onyx, or black obsidian either on a necklace or in your pocket. Walk in a long circle around your home sprinkling salt. Take extra time to lay in bed eating pudding cups [editor’s note: substitute whatever food you enjoy as much as Cupcake enjoys pudding cups]. If allergies allow, hug as many dogs as possible.

Potions, King Tuts Tomb, Chicago Jim, Organsm
I saw new wave graveyard freakout King Tuts Tomb in the glass block bubble of Wally World, shaking dusty bones out of closets with post-punk synths. Catch them at the tenth birthday party for Pretty All Right Records.
The Empty Bottle, 1035 N Western Ave
Sun, March 20, 9pm / $5 / 21+

Acid Mothers Temple, Mounds, Plastic Crimewave Syndicate
The ultimate trip. Very heavy indeed. The kind of music that makes you feel weird, physical, phantom sensations in your body.
The Empty Bottle, 1035 N Western Ave
Tue, March 29, 9pm / $12 / 21+

Levitation Chicago
The Chicago outpost of The Fest Formerly Known as Austin Psych Fest takes over Thalia for two days straight.
Thalia Hall, 1807 S Allport S
Fri, March 11 – Sat, March 12 / $40 GA / $300 Opera Box


Store Brand Soda is For the Children

As always, I rounded up my personal picks for shows that allow those below drinking age that didn’t fit in any other area. These are not the only cool all ages shows happening; for that, you gotta check out our full calendar.

For our younger readers, we recommend journaling, forgiving yourself, and the novel The Miseducation of Cameron Post.

Ok, so I am obviously biased because I work for Do312, but this party we’re throwing with experimental creative studio VAM and 4 different DIY houses (YC, Dojo, Dollhouse, & Echo) is going to be LIT. Check out this line-up: Glass Lux, Daryn Alexus, DJ Taye(TEKLIFE), Sirr Tmo (TEKLIFE), Acid Daddy (Jarvi), Daymaker, WITCH HAZEL, The Gnar Wave Rangers, WINGTIPS, Soddy Daisy, Owen Bones. It’s free, it’s 18 and up, the whole space will be filled with exotic art and performances, & the first 100 people get secret presents. Come.
Wesley Kimler Studio, 2046 W Carroll Ave
Sat, March 12, 9pm / RSVP here for free entry / 18+

Los Crudos, MK-Ultra, Spine, Mace
Chicago hardcore legends resurrected.
Beat Kitchen, 2100 W Belmont Ave
Sat, March 26, 6:00pm / AA / $10 adv / $12 door

Ra Ra Riot, PWR BTTM, The Kids
Here’s what we said about PWR BTTM in our 5 QUEER ALBUMS I LOVED IN 2015 article:

PWR BTTM’s drum-and-bass driven Ugly Cherries is less of an album and more of a way of a direct beam into the brains of those gifted with being fluidly genderqueer and floridly queer: you’re not alone. Here are your people. The lyrics beckon in: “We can do our make up in the parking lot…we can drink our beer out of a sippy cup, we can go to Disney Land and fuck shit up.” Once you’re in the slumber party of longing, sex, love, you’re covered in glitter and you’ll never be alone again.

Lincoln Hall, 2424 N Lincoln Ave
Fri, April 8, 9pm / $25 / 18+

All Dogs, Split Feet, Blizzard Babies
Some hella buds. Bought my tix already.
Subterranean, 2011 W North Ave
Sat, April 9, 6:30pm / $10 / AA

Painted Zeros, Izzy True, New Drugs, Hard Femme
Don Giovanni dream pop.
Subterranean, 2011 W North Ave
Tue, April 5, 6:30pm / $8 / 17+

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Entitlement and Economic Injustice: Same Shit, Different Dudes

I’ve spent the past couple days meaning to write a follow-up post to my essay on Calvin Johnson’s shady business dealings/probable personal shadiness. Teenage Hotdog‘s tireless reporting on K Records’ longstanding pattern of ripping off artists had finally gotten the attention of The Stranger, which has since caught the eye of Pitchfork and The AV Club. Melissa’s cool and funny and I’m so proud of her and grateful to have made her acquaintance, so I wanted to say something to congratulate her on talking loud enough for long enough that the menfolk finally listened.

And Here We Are Again

But as I sat down with my half bottle of convenience store wine to pen that article, I caught the post on Facebook saying that Michael Gira (“Oh yeah the dude from Swans”) had raped Larkin Grimm while they worked together on her record in 2008, then had fucking dropped her from his label when she finally called him out on it years later. She hasn’t been able to sign to a new label since, so that’s been awesome for her career.

This, of course, comes on top of last week’s news that Kesha would not be released from her contract with Sony and would have to continue making albums with her rapist or face a financial penalty.

And that’s the point I wish I’d addressed more fully the first time around. When shady-ass dudes control access to money or power or prestige or press in your profession, you are stuck dealing with them on their shady-ass terms. People who are not in positions of power are forced to accommodate people who are. If you don’t go along, you might not work again. If you go along but later speak out, you might not work again. The deck is stacked against you, even without a public eager for a way to prove you’re at fault.

As Jessica Hopper said, people tend to blame the victims in these situations, saying that by not coming forward sooner, they have allowed a cycle to perpetuate. But the cycle perpetuates itself every time we give a shady dude a pass, every time we say “he’s always been nice to me,” every time we decide to keep giving him our money because we really like his work.

Reasoning vs. Reality

As a society, we seem to want to separate social issues and economic ones, but the two are intertwined (Melissa Gira Grant just published an excellent discussion of this idea in the context of feminism). You can’t live a fully actualized life in a capitalist society without some access to money, so any action that causes an economic harm also has potential consequences for a person’s health and well-being, and any fight against injustice that ignores economic reality is failing to see the big picture.

When a man feels entitled to someone else’s labor, money, body, emotions, etc., and when he holds the person’s career hostage in order to get what he wants, an injustice is being done. This person has now been forced to sacrifice their physical, financial, or emotional well-being (often all three) for some dude’s fucked up sense of entitlement. He is benefiting from their labor, while they are subject to increasingly high costs of exiting a situation they never even wanted to be in.

Instead of being sympathetic to people whose livelihoods are threatened, we have a tendency to discount their experiences, believing the situation couldn’t really happen in a just world. Americans tend to equate success with morality, believing the person who has more is more deserving, which makes an uphill battle for anyone facing abuse from someone in a position of relative power or status. And that’s not the only problem. Other research suggests people who regard themselves as being in a position of higher status are actually more likely to do morally questionable things and believe their own actions are justified.

When our brain flips into internet detective mode because “something doesn’t seem right” about a situation that’s terrifyingly common, it may not have anything to do with the situation itself. Instead, it’s the result of underlying psychological assumptions that uphold systems of power and privilege.

Moving Forward

As rational people, we may want a burden of proof or a line in the sand, but too often we are causing actual harm to another human being with these demands. While we wait for enough evidence to justify changing our behaviors or beliefs, a person remains stuck in an untenable situation while we deny support.

We are also perpetuating the cycle, so we can also play a role in stopping it.

Even as accusations of violence, abuse, and economic injustice in the music industry become distressingly common, we can still envision a better world. We can stand up for the humanity of every person in our scene. We can give our money to people who have been disadvantaged by assholes and an uncaring system and we can direct our support away from those who perpetuate injustice.

Thankfully, the initial responses I saw to Larkin’s post about Gira’s abuse were mostly positive. Major music news sources picked up her story and some even related it in a way that suggests they might believe her. The backlash is still unfolding, so I may regret this early optimism. But with the continued pressure to #freekesha and other small gains we’ve seen as of late, maybe the arc of music fandom is finally bending toward justice.

It’s hard to resist the call of a just world where the people who make the things we enjoy always do good. It’s not always practical or easy to vote with our feet and our wallets. But if we believe in making the world better than it is, we can try our best to keep calling out bullshit and keep standing behind the people who do.

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Smokers’ Circles & Squares: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Eve 6

I’ve been spending a lot of time lately building a list of bands I want to see and cool parties I want to attend as I prep for SXSW next month. I’ll be sharing all this on the blog over the next couple weeks, so if you are into standing in a backyard in Texas with a cold beer, rest assured we’ve got you. But all this obsessive planning and feeling kind of on the ball has got me thinking about the way I got into music to begin with, which was decidedly not cool.

One of the things I love about SBS is that we’ve never been about proving we knew everything about punk rock before you first popped Snoopy vs. the Red Baron into your off-brand childhood Walkman. In the spirit of this, I wanted to share a piece I recently read at the “Mixtapes” night of Miss Spoken, Chicago’s decidedly non-dudely live lit event, about discovering the joy of mixtapes and slowly learning to be cool with loving what I love.

I’m 16 years old, leaning forward in the backseat of Lindsey’s extended cab Ford F-150, shouting over the wind and The Bloodhound Gang, hair and sand and cigarette smoke blowing in my face from the lowered front windows as we drive the smokers’ circle. Lindsey teases Amber about hooking up with her boyfriend in Lindsey’s truck outside a high school dance (never leave your car unlocked), Amber teases Kristen about wanting to get with the high school English teacher, and everyone teases me about how the high school English teacher really wants to get with me.

You and me, baby, ain’t nothin’ but mammals

The music sucks and I have dirt in my teeth, but I’m so happy to be along for the ride.

As a self-proclaimed outsider, there aren’t many teen bonding experiences I can fondly recall, having sworn off drinking, smoking, drugs, team sports, and church as early as 8th grade. But circa 2000 in rural North Dakota, driving in a 4-mile square around our hometown offered a temporary escape from its confines, so I constantly found excuses to stay in town after school and drive around listening to mix CDs.

Honestly, I really didn’t even care about making mixes at first. At 15, I’d boldly declared that I “didn’t like music,” meaning I was super into that one Harvey Danger song but it hadn’t occurred to me that the rest of the album might also be good (still one of the biggest regrets of my life).

But gradually, I found myself pulled in, experimenting with loud music in place of booze or drugs or DIY safety pin piercings.

Let’s go, don’t wait, this night’s almost over, honest, let’s make this night last forever

Due to the lack of radio stations or record stores or really anything in western North Dakota, we turned to piracy on our parents’ computers, giant beige boxes barely running Windows 98, pulling songs from Napster or Kazaa on a 56k dial-up connection.

They’d dropped thousands of dollars so we could one day be at the cutting edge of technology with lucrative dot com careers, but instead we trolled Yahoo chat, played virtual pinball, and burned CDs featuring the kinds of alternative radio hits the reservation station sometimes played after 10 pm: stuff like Everclear, Blink 182, and Green Day.

I’m just a teenage dirtbag, baby, like you

Through the teenage dirtbag internet, I found more punk bands, bringing The Ramones, The Misfits, and other such classics into my friends’ mix CD pool. Throw in Nirvana and Weezer (my music nerd friend’s favorite bands), and of course my crush’s favorite band, Rammstein, and you had a passable soundtrack for my fondest high school memories: frantic 100 mph drives down the two-lane highway to Williston (usually for something incredibly dumb, like showing of Joe Dirt), or the time we stuck flavored condoms filled with silly string to our band director’s windshield (in the winter, so they’d freeze), or the trip to Minot where we drove around shouting Du Hast while wielding a piece of rebar out the car window (we’d found it in a junkyard while Lindsey was trying to buy parts for her AMC Javelin from a shirtless dude whose intentions seemed suspect), or all those nights we stayed up until 4 am forming our plans to get out for good.

As anxious as I felt about my lack of musical knowledge or taste in subsequent years, I regarded that time fondly–we’d made the most of what was available and had cobbled together some pretty great times.

Of course, memory is fallible. Nostalgia glosses over the rougher edges of your past, leaving succinct 5-paragraph nuggets of triumph without all the awkwardness of your actual life.

In college, I discovered indie rock (literally by typing it into google), then struck gold with my purchase of Cathy’s Comp Cassette at a thrift store in Bismarck, which caught me up on classics like The Smiths and The Cure. God bless you, Cathy, wherever you are.

Around this time, I came back for Homefest or some summer holiday and completed the familiar ritual of piling into a car with my sister Lisa and her friends, the new keepers of the stoner-nerd alliance we’d formed to make high school bearable for kids who didn’t play sports.

I cringed a little as a Flogging Molly song came out of the speakers and cringed more as the teens started bouncing along. “Oh wow, I haven’t heard this in years,” I said. “Whose CD is this?”

The driver replied, “Oh yeah, Emily, I think this mix is one of yours.”

Not old or new but middle school, fifth grade like junior high

Flogging Molly rolled into Bouncing Souls and NOFX and then two Green Day songs in a row and god knows how much Eve 6. SO MUCH EVE 6. I sank lower into my seat as they quoted lines from Monty Python and the Holy Grail and Fight Club and SLC Punk, air drumming, giggling maniacally, and passing around some new flavor of Mountain Dew–something like Code Red or Live Wire–all red-mouthed and sugar high. Not exactly the crew of badass rebels I remembered us being.

I’d already decided most of my high school experience was garbage. Were my fond memories terrible too?

I wanna publish zines and rage against machines

Fuck a butte Fuck a butte, anyway

Shortly after this visit home, I left North Dakota for good, heading off to grad school in Ohio and then a job in Chicago, expecting to be glad to put the past behind me. An important lesson from English class: Jay Gatsby never went back to North Dakota. You can be the person you want to be as long as you completely bury your past.

Except as stifling and uncool as hometowns can be, now that I’ve left, I find myself looking forward to visits back. My last trip home for the holidays involved getting a group of old friends together for a game night, daring each other to do shots of this disgusting “shimmery liquer” called Viniq, and catching up on the new rounds of local gossip (that English teacher is married now and has a kid). The night ended with the whole group singing Weezer songs in my sister Jamie’s kitchen.

“I’m a lot like you, so please, hello, I’m here, I’m waiting” has unexpected resonance when it comes from someone who used to (completely correctly) rib you for thinking Atlas Shrugged was a really good book.

I think I’d be good for you and you’d be good for me

viniq Robitussin’s glittery cousin

Really, the inside of most of our heads probably resemble Weezer’s garage, full of comic books and role playing games and bad movies and stupid jokes. A realization that can horrify the way Weezer lyrics horrify: I loved this and it’s really, really, really bad. But embracing our whole, dorky, pretentious, clueless, teenage dirtbag selves can be liberating too: who you are and who you used to be don’t have to be secrets to bury. You can be cool without being mysterious, and sometimes the awkward weirdos turn out okay.

Swallow my doubt, turn it inside out, find nothing but faith in nothing

Recently, on a road trip to Memphis, I asked Lisa to put on something fun as we bombed down I-57 in our tiny rental car. So we listened to the first two Eve 6 albums in their entirety. I still knew every word. And, guys, I felt like a total badass.

Check out Miss Spoken the last Wednesday of every month at Gallery Cabaret or visit Check out my twitter feed for an absurd number of Eve 6 references.

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