Two Years of Running the Best Music Blog in Chicago: Lil Yachty & Pink Skateboards

About a year ago, my life was turned upside down when the snowball of press & social media attention around my article about harassment in punk culminated in an editorial pick for Best New Music Blogger in The Chicago Reader (#savethereader). I was presented with a new opportunities, some which worked out, some which didn’t. The biggest one was joining the Do312 team. Every time I tell someone the story about how I ran a music blog and show calendar and ended up doing the social media for an event discovery/promotion outfit that throws parties with sloths and bouncy houses, they’re like, “That makes sense.”

At the same time, it’s hard to come home from 9 hours of working on promoting local music for money and sit down to do 4 more hours for free. I’ve shifted from being a music journalist to a copywriter. I spend more time in Facebook Power Editor than green rooms. I’m not drinking right now, and rock and roll is deeply exhausting to me sober. I mostly just go to rap shows where half the attendees have X’s on their hands and impeccable teen streetwear outfits that dunk on my entire life.

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I was shocked recently to find out that Store Brand Soda had won the popular vote for Best Local Music blog in the Reader’s new Best of Chicago issue. Like, Fake Shore Drive is an INSTITUTION.

I’m grateful to my coeditor Emily and our Dead DIY Spaces columnist Eric for keeping this lil punk rock music fanzine alive. I’m touched that people still care; that people stepped in to help fill in our calendar when we got overwhelmed (thank you especially to Eileen Marshall, who recently started writing some incredibly touching essays about her relationship with music and the world). That people wrote in our name to nominate us, then selected us in the final round of voting. That’s huge, and if I’m gonna be real, it gives me the power to keep going.

I don’t know if I’m going to keep writing about music in the same way I always have. But I know I’m not going to stop.

If you miss me talking about noisy rock and garage, I recommend you read this feature I recently published on the paranoid synth punk of Giorgio Murderer over on the new Bandcamp Daily. For now, here’s two music related things I’ve been digging lately.

Lil Yachty – Lil Boat

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My endless Twitter thread about Lil Yachty is a running joke on Twitter that’s gotten more people into this deeply weird mixtape than I can count. “Darnell Boat,” the narrator of the tape’s intro track & interludes, introduces us to the bifurcated personalities of the eighteen year old rapper & singer Miles Parks McCollum.

Lil Boat’s Southern rap flow is boastful and confident, and not without accolades – Chano himself gave him the nod for best feature on Coloring Book, which also featured verses from, you know, Kanye West and Future, who have a few years on the King of the Teenagers.

Darnell describes the little Lil Yachty persona as “a little bit nicer” and “a little more emotional,” with an angelic sing song that tackles the album’s more vulnerable and intimate lyrics. The wavers and warbles in his voice are the cracks in the Liberty Bell; they’re warped rather than polished by Auto Tune and lend an eerie sincerity to the overarching message of positivity and the belief in serendipity.

My friend Tom floated the idea on Twitter that “Lil Boat and Coloring Book are viable treatments for depression and that doctors should study their effects on the human psyche.” When I’m singing along with “We Did It (Outro) *Positivity Song*” every morning while doing my eyeliner, I can’t help but agree.

Club 75 x Vans sneaker collaboration

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I spent 2008 obsessed with Bertrand de Langeron, the art director of Ed Banger Records. He was always there, open shirt and French accent, sleazing in the background of tour photographs from Justice’s whirlwind superstardom in the wake of their single D.A.N.C.E. (he directed the iconic video and their escandaloso documentary) and in Cobra Snake photos of fucking Fool’s Gold parties or whatever. I’ve always loved his palette of bright primary colors and fleshy pinks, endless handlettering finesse, and his ability to elevate a cartoony style that bubbled out of club flyers into a cohesive identity across a record label, web publication, and fashion label.

And now: sneakers! I love this throwback to those all-over print hoodies littered with tiny drawings, this time a souvenir print for an idyllic imaginary French seaside. I’m also digging the “Locals Only” embroidery on the Era iteration.

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Locals Done Good: Dumpster Tapes & Chicago Singles Club Celebrate Landmarks

I couldn’t be prouder of our homegrown scene here in Chicago. Despite major setbacks in the past year (the shuttering of YC & WW not insignificant among them) our creative community keeps evolving and mutating and oozing our sweat and Schlitz all over the midwest if not the world.

Two local outfits especially caught my eye this month; our buddies at cassette-smuggling ring Dumpster Tapes, and Chicago Singles Club, which puts together monthly profiles on local bands complete with slick photos, an exclusive song, a video interview and….lots of Malört.

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Dumpster Tapes has recently put out some pretty sick tapes from the likes of Jollys, Dumpster Babies (no relation), Cass Cwik and more. They’re putting out their second compilation full of local rippers with no repeats from the first tape. You can (and should) stream it here, but if you’re REALLY cool you’ll hand Alex or Ed a cool fiver at the show and get your own monument in magnetic tape.

Dumpster Tapes Release Party
Crosstown, Skip Church, Pink Torpedo, Easy Habits
Cole’s Bar, 2338 N Milwaukee Ave
Sat, April 30, 9pm / 21+ / free

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After three solid years of putting out an immense amount of slick, polished, and perfectly home produced media each month, Chicago Singles Club has to take a step back from their relentless monthly schedule. Dude, who can blame them. You’ll continue seeing the CSC team (Jeff, Kerri, Kevin, Iris, and Kelsie as pictured above, plus former crew Ron, Cassie, and Jordan) at Cole’s Bar every fourth Friday.

If you miss them the rest of the month, there’s always the thirty-six singles and interviews from disparate and innovative Chicago bands over at ChicagoSinglesClub.com to keep you company.

Chicago Singles Club Finale
Grandkids, Oshwa, The Gold Web, The Runnies
The Empty Bottle, 1035 N Western Ave
Mon, May 2, 9pm / 21+ / free

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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!

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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+

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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

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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.

Fantasty
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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SBS Presents A Bake Sale Benefit for Desiree at Bric-a-Brac

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Do you ever wish there was a day kind of like Record Store Day, but where you could buy delicious baked goods instead?

“I love buying an overpriced 180 gram reissue of something I could stream off Spotify,” you think, “just so the four months that all the smaller record labels’ LPs were delayed by a major company’s pointless huge print run won’t be in vain. But, like, I can’t *eat* rare crimson vinyl, bro. And I’m hungry.”

Vegan goodies and positive vibes will abound Saturday, February 6th when the long-suffering owners of the only collectible toy shop and record store that’s basically an all ages venue allow Store Brand Soda to present a unique line-up of flavors both musical and nutritional.

Glamour Hotline: Chicago’s sassiest, sweetest, spookiest three piece trading off songs about girl love and kickflips in sing-songs and screams.

BLOOM: Energetic power pop bass keeps a propulsive rhythm under dreamy, pretty vocals. Blossom with Bloom.

Sam Vicari: Wants to be your boyfriend. Power pop songs that will get you right in the feels.

Swimsuim Addition: Dark, pessimistic pop. Punk rock dressed up in kinderwhore babydoll dresses and a nasty lipstick smirk.

The best thing about this bake sale is that it’s an act of community support for our friend Desiree, who finally has access to gender affirming care she needs. Not to get too heavy, but as fucking weirdo rock-n-roll miscreants with our own identities and intersectional oppressions, we have to stick together. Anyway, it’s not even going to be hard to part with your cash (or credit! we have a Square reader!) for this amazing lineup of snacks:

PIZZA PUFFS: Baked mini-calzones. Available vegan, vegetarian, and omnivore’s delight.

CUPCAKES: Featuring candied Meyer lemon peel sent from a friend in Oakland, where things besides resentment grow in winter.

COOKIES: I make these vegan chewy ginger ones, and other people will bring tons more probably.

There will be even more, I’m sure. For $20, you can fill up a brown paper lunch sack with whatever items you want. Hello, pizza puffs for every meal for the next week and cookies at midnight!

Benefit Bake Sale for Desiree
Glamour Hotline, Bloom, Sam Vicari, Swimsuit Addition
Bric-a-Brac Records & Collectibles, 3156 W Diversey Ave
Sat, February 6, 3 pm / Free / AA / BYOB

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Monthly Agenda: January 2016: New Year, Same Ole Shit

I know it’s really tempting to spend the next three months curled like a cat around a space heater, but if no one fills venues with wet boots and cigarette-scented wool coats the punk rock fairies die. With no applause to sustain them or flying beer droplets to keep them nourished, there’s no belief in rock-n-roll to keep their twinkling lights from dimming.

Here’s my recommendations of some shows to see in January that will keep the magic alive.

The Glyders, Bingers, Soft Candy
Kind of one of those inoffensive 1960s influenced soft and fuzzy-furry rock kind of bills, should be fun.
East Room, 2354 N Milwaukee
Wed, January 6, 9pm / free / 21+

The Malskys, Not For You, Glamour Hotline, Thanks For Coming
I’ve never been to this venue but I’ve previously expressed my love for earnest, unpolished spooky cool band Glamour Hotline and their vulnerable compositions about girl-on-girl admiration and skater rats.
The Keep UPDATE: MOVED TO THE OBSERVATORY
Sat, January 16, 8pm / $5 donation / byob

Negative Scanner, Walking Bicycles, Beat Drun Juel
Donna of Beat Drun Juel’s focused intensity is what takes their sound past a grungy 90s alt-rock sound into howling aggression. She’s a force of nature; I think I saw a picture of her from Ian’s Party this past weekend playing her guitar with garden shears?
The Empty Bottle, 1035 N Western Ave
Wed, January 20, 9pm / 21+ / $5

Protomartyr, Amanda X, Negative Scanner
This was rescheduled after a member of Protomartyr experienced a family emergency, so if you were holding tickets, make sure this is on your calendar. Protomartyr is the perfect post punk to decend into the throes of a bummer with.
Lincoln Hall, 2424 N Lincoln Ave
Sun, January 24, 8pm / $15, 18+

Sleep, Bongripper
Thalia Hall, 1807 S Allport St
Tue, January 26 / 21+ / 17+ / $25 / $30

Sleep, Bongripper
Thalia Hall, 1807 S Allport St
Wed, January 27 / 17+ / $25 / $30

Two nights of doom. Play “who’s vaping weed” on the sidewalk outside between bands.

Chicago Psych Fest VII
I don’t have a ton of knowledge about the more wooly and trippy and noodlier parts of weirdo guitar music, but if you enjoy it, head on over to The Hideout’s website to find out more about the line up of this Chicago tradition.
The Hideout, 1354 W Wabansia Ave
Thu, January 28 through Sat, Jan 30th / 21+ / $10 one night / $25 fest pass

Ne-Hi, Clearance, Dim
This is on my birthday, and you know I ain’t fuck with that Drynuary shit. If the birthday bad bitch deigns to make an appearance please buy them shots.
The Empty Bottle, 1035 N Western Ave
Fri, January 29, 9pm / 21+ / $10

Absolutely Not, Le Tour, Velocicoptor, Strawberry Jacuzzi
Look at all these much loved locals playing a major venue like The Metro together! Cool.
Metro, 3730 N Clark St
Sat, January 30, 8pm $10 Adv. – $12 Day Of / 18+

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5 Queer Albums I Loved in 2015

We’re not big on end-of-the-year lists here at SBS. We don’t do top ten lists, or declare an album of the year.

This isn’t a ranking, or a definitive list. It’s just what the title says – 5 albums, released in 2015, that discuss queer themes, whether they be overtly political (the destruction of the cis-sexist patriarchy) or intimately personal (the near-universal desire to find someone who loves you).

I’m already braced for people to say “Why does it have to be 5 queer artists? All that matters is the music, man.” Privileged groups, who don’t have to do anything to gain acceptance, an audience, and bookings besides strumming a few chords, are threatened when the spotlight swings away from them. And marginalized groups are rightly dissatisfied with being herded into a genre ghetto, lumped in with bands that sound nothing like them based on identity.

I could have made this a stunt, stealth list – just say that it was 5 albums I liked. But I’m aware of how the internet works. I, personally, don’t read every piece of music criticism out there, regardless of headline, to find out if it’s something I’m interested in; there’s only so many hours in the day. Whether we like it or not, we live in a world where people make snap decisions about what to read based on Facebook link previews, and I wanted people who need these albums, who would relate to them, to find them.

This is a celebratory list, with everything on it from twee pop to hardcore punk. Queer and trans artists made some incredible art in 2015. We think you should listen to it.

Kt Spit – Combluotion

KT Spit first came to my attention through her now-deleted Tumblr and the above collaboration with Samuel Shanahoy, the modern-day John Waters and occasional pornographer who made the video for Dreamworld Waiting. In the years after the release of Dreamworld Waiting, she worked alone on producing an album that was starkly different.

Combluotion‘s bedroom-produced vocals are emotive, earnest and sweet, circling cold crystalline synths & fairyland drum machinery, girlishly grieving disappointments and evoking dreamland futures beyond the loneliness and pain.

The unapproachable, FKA Twigs inspired single Come Thru boasts a video full of facial piercing & queer cavorting. I enjoyed the the low key chords and sonic splatter of gross, and the eerie, sweet pop melody Hope St.

Closet Burner – Choose Your Weapon

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Still Broken begins with a broken, fuzzy sample, a common motif in hardcore and d-beat. Sylvia Rivera’s voice rings out, addressing the Christopher Street Liberation Day Rally. “I’ve been trying to get up here all day for your gay brothers and your gay sisters in jail that write me every motherfucking week and ask for your help, and you all don’t do a goddamn thing for them.”

Rivera’s speech (which you can view here) encapsulates a lot of the anger being processed in Closet Burner’s 8 minute and 47 second long album Choose Your Weapon.

When I saw Closet Burner play a benefit show for a local queercore fest in a local pizza shop, their lead singer addressed the crowd, explaining how the tendency of queer activist circles to deliberately repel people who aren’t on the same woke level as them can serve to exclude a lot of queer and trans people who aren’t on that level yet for a variety of wide socioeconomic reasons. I could feel tension in the room.

It’s a fine line between creating acceptance and allowing an “anything goes” culture that pressures marginalized groups to endure outsized aggressions. No one wants to tell deeply invested activists to run their own scene differently. They just going to quietly stop going to events where they don’t feel welcome.

When the song Queer Elite began, with Closet Burner screaming “Nose in the fucking air, you don’t seem to care…reciting all the theories, out of touch with reality,” I clapped along.

Peach Kelli Pop – Peach Kelli Pop III

You can no longer find Peach Kelli Pop’s albums on Bandcamp, after they posted a receipt showing $1.52 taken off a $10 MP3 album to Twitter. Guess you better actually buy their records, or go see them next time you have a chance and buy all the stickers, zines, and tapes you can get your hands on.

Remember when we went to Milwaukee to see these dudes play? That’s the sort of addiction their candy-coated twee love pop inspires. If there’s a Peach Kelli Pop XII, I’ll probably love it.

G.L.O.S.S. – Demo

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Released just two weeks in 2015, G.L.O.S.S.’ manifesto had a whole year to threaten the cis-sexist transphobic punk rock status quo. It ruffled more than a few feathers (puke and eyeroll forever) and inspired a whole new generation to take femininity back with lined lips and spiked bats.

There’s pretty much no way you missed this incendiary firebomb, so I want to make sure you also noticed singer Sadie Switchblade’s solo album under the moniker Dyke Drama. Switchblade’s clever lyrics, which channel rage and trans triumph on the G.L.O.S.S. demo, exhibit emotional depth and frank vulnerability while discussing sobriety, depression, and unhappy sexual encounters.

PWR BTTM – Ugly Cherries

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.

(I can’t recommend John Walker’s excellent piece on PWR BTTM for Fusion highly enough; it’s what made me realize I definitely had to check this album out).

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War on Christmas Fest

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This weekend, HoZac Records is teaming up with DIY space Young Camelot to bring you War on Christmas Fest, a benefit for Chicago Coalition for the Homeless and Greater Chicago Food Depository.

This fest is shaping up to the twinkling star of the holiday season, with two days of stacked line-ups, and higher goals than simple lagered abandon. The $7 ticket price per night is dropped down to $5 if you show up with a canned good, pack of socks, box of tampons, jar of peanut butter, box of pasta, etc.

Each night kicks off at 9pm at Young Camelot. Ask a your local bell-ringer with a mohawk under their Santa cap for the address.

Friday, December 11

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Heavy Times, Indonesian Junk, MAMA, Endless Column, American Breakfast

Don’t chintz out and bring some ancient canned straw mushrooms rescued from a Cold War bomb shelter. Spring for a box of ultra-absorbency tampons, for all those experiencing Heavy Times.

Saturday, December 12th

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The Rubs, Soft Candy, Gross Pointe, The Man, Hawley

War on Christmas Fest continues with an eclectic line-up that includes 60s-pop anachronisms Soft Candy, two flaming tire-fires of garage rock (The Rubs & Grosse Pointe), and The Man’s menacing, no-fucks-given mind-control punk.

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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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Going to Shows Alone: A Roundtable on Living (And Partying) with Social Anxiety

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Lorena Cupcake (Editor of Store Brand Soda / Social Media at Do312): Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me today. Most of the people reading this probably know this, but my name is Cupcake, and I help run Store Brand Soda. I’ve been going to shows since my face got smushed against Courtney Love’s boob at age 11, and I also am diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome and Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

Salvation Emily (Editor of Store Brand Soda): Hey I’m Salvation Emily. I got a late but enthusiastic start on going to shows in my early 20s and have been at it for the last 10 years!

Emily D (Art Director / Designer / Loner at shows): Hey I’m Emily, I’m an art director / designer with social anxiety and a love for live music. I also got a somewhat late start with going to shows (grew up in rural Kansas so not a lot of opportunity) but it’s one of my favorite things to do now.

Lorena Cupcake: I think there’s this common conception of people as either introverts or extroverts. Either you find being in public totally exhausting, or it revitalizes you and is really important to you. For me, I find it’s really a combination; it takes a lot out of me, but I also get a lot out of it.

Read More About Battling Negative Thoughts, Cool Books to Read at Shows, and The Best Corners to Stand In.

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Show Horoscope: October & November 2015

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I really love this time of year. The weather is beautiful; you can ride your bike in shirtsleeves on nice days, but you don’t sweat. My dog looks cute as hell in autumn leaves. And there’s a little desperation to get your yah-yahs out before there’s a wall of snow outside your door.

As always, I’ve got your Show Horoscope right here. Pick your poison; are you a soft grunge bunny, an auteur devoteee, punk as fuck, or the coolest teenager who ever discovered an obscure Chicago music blog?

The Soft Grunge Feels

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I really love the current resurgence of fumbling fuzz, no-fucks percussion & raw vocals that’s creeping through the scene these days. In 2015, there’s more Pulp Girls buttons and summery washes on Instagram photos than than the stalwart flannel-clad archetypes of grunge would recognize, and the influence of heavy metal’s been stowed somewhere in a heart shaped box – though you’ll find one notable exception in these selections.

The dreamy feeling of melting ice cream cones, drinking dollar store soda mixed with slugs from a warm handle of vodka, and faded pink and teal hair hasn’t gone anywhere, and the delayed gratification of teen angst finally finding it’s voice is just as sweet.

Glamour Hotline, The Malskys, La Cosa, Pink Bathroom
Pink Bathroom really makes me feel like I did discovering music that made me ache I connected with it so deeply for the first time.
Eco
Fri, October 16, 7pm

Daymaker, Slayer Kitty, Bunny
Slayer Kitty filter portentous and dark drum and bass doom through a cotton-candy cloud of pink glitter.
The Owl, 2521 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
Mon, October 19, 10pm / free / 21+

Dilly Dally, Ego
Toronto band Dilly Dally doesn’t have a ton of music online, but the singles on their bandcamp are all rad. It’s a kind of fragile, exposed, unpretty grunge pop in the vein of Cherry Glazerr without some of the twee-tween (dolores) haze. Vocalist Katie Monks can unleash a menacing, unrestrained howl that will blow you away.
The Promontory, 5311 South Lake Park Ave West
Wed, October 21, 9pm / $8 adv / 17+

The Auteurs

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There’s some interesting shows coming up driven by iconoclastic and innovative personalities who have defined their own space in music.

Mac Blackout Band, Jollys, Wet Ones, Sh!t Storm
Mark has a million bands, as well as a bustling career as the artist behind everything from bubble-color stump art and boomboxes to intricate album covers. Mac Blackout Band is his star vehicle, which drifts over time between the psych punk of Functional Blackouts to the unabashed glam of Mickey.
Emporium Arcade Bar, 1366 N Milwaukee Ave
Tue, October 20, 8pm / free / 21+

Sweet Spirit, The Mad Doctors, Flesh Panthers, Skip Church
Sweet Spirit shares the incredible vocalist Sabrina Ellis with A Giant Dog, the sick Austin garage band that just got signed to Merge. Sweet Spirits has a more American roots based sound with the punk snottiness dialed back, but it’s still plenty rock-n-roll.
The Empty Bottle, 1035 North Western Avenue
Wed, October 21, 9pm / $5 / 21+

Fred & Toody Cole
The long-married legends, who have lived a whole life together, raising kids, weathering health crises, and collaborating in some great bands like Dead Moon and Pierced Arrows. They’ll be taking the stage at the Bottle for a super early Sunday matinee show that starts right at 5pm.
The Empty Bottle, 1035 N Western Ave
Sat, November 7, 5pm /$15 / 21+

Too Punk to Fuck

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I’ve felt myself absorbed with a sort of benevolent, tolerant love of music lately. For someone who talks a lot of shit, I am loving a huge amount of what I listen to for the first time, and losing a lot of the knee-jerk irritability that has long kept me leashed to a genre bubble. Mostly this resorts in me listening to shit like Billy Squire – Emotions in Motion without a trace of irony, but maybe I need to revisit hardcore and its four thousand derivatives and report back. I dunno.

Gas Chamber, Sea of Shit, Cave State, Sick/Tired, Mellow Harsher, Clotting
House show!
The Mousetrap
Fri, October 16, 6:30pm / $8

O Inimigo, Bruised, Ritalin OD, Tigress
Also a house show!
Rancho Huevos
Wed, October 21, 7pm / email for address if you’re not a cop / $7-$10

Cult Leader, Moral Void, Ikaray, Clotting
Getcher d-beat on, brah. I feel, but cannot verify, that the 6:30 start time is just doors, but don’t trust me, I literally never go to early shows unless they’re instores.¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Subterranean, 2011 W North Ave
Fri, October 23, 6:30pm / $10 / $12 / 17+

Heavy Times, Nones, Make-Overs, Obnox, The Cartoons
Obnox is such ugly weird awesome punk and in their own ways so are Nones and Make-Overs and I’m so stoked for this show. Second-to-last Make-Overs show before they go back to South Africa!
Auxiliary Art Center, 3012 W Belmont Ave
Fri, October 23 / $7 / 21+

Make-Overs, Final Grin, Den, Rash, Latisha’s Skull Drawing
Last Make-Overs show before they go back to South Africa!
New House on the Northside
Sun, October 25, 8:00pm / $7 / msg for address

NOTS, Froth, Gunshy, The Wolfpac
Kinda a weird pairing between the disaffected hipster Los Angeles surf of Froth and the wild techy skronk of noise punks NOTS, but I’m into it. Plus, it’s free, you gonna complain?
The Empty Bottle, 1035 N Western Ave
Mon, November 2 / 21+ / free

Teenage Wasteland

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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. I also HIGHLY recommend the 17+ Dilly Dally show 10/21 at Promontory.

Soddy Daisy, Mr. & Mrs., Wolf Pac, Spike and the Sweet Spots, Clearance
Cassette Store Day is always a blast! We wrote about Clearance’s debut album a minute back, as well as Soddy Daisy’s latest jammer.
Bric-a-Brac Records & Collectibles, 3156 W Diversey Ave
Sat, October 17, 12pm / free / AA / free coffee while it lasts

The Mad Doctors, Swimsuit Addition
Swimsuit Addition is fam! Super cool people who make bummer dark wave dream pop.
Bric-a-Brac Records & Collectibles
Tue, October 20, 5pm / free / AA

The Marshmallow Ghosts, Dreamend
Graveface Autumn Pop-Up! I don’t know anything about these bands, but I love a lot of Graveface bands like Black Moth Super Rainbow and Coffin Girls, so like, I trust their judgement.
The Niche Lab
Fri, October 23, 7pm / AA / donation

The Cut Worms, Wet Wallet
Psst: there’s pretty much like, always free beers at these saki instores. Unless you’re actually a teen! Winners don’t do drugs!!!
saki, 3716 W Fullerton
Sat, October 24, 6pm / free / AA

The Hotelier, Runaway Brother, Oso Oso, The Spirit of the Beehive
I will bow to Salvation Emily’s entry in the calendar for this show, which reads simply “emoooooo.”
Beat Kitchen, 2100 W Belmont Ave
Sat, October 24, 5:30pm / $15, all ages

Cheatahs, Panda Riot
Panda Riot is the twee emotional communion dance party Salvation Emily’s obsessed with. It might be a cult?
Subterranean, 2011 W North Ave
Sat, October 24 / $10, 17+

Shannon and the Clams, Shopping
Did anyone else pick up the recent-ish Guantanamo Baywatch/Shannon and the Clams 7″ off Suicide Squeeze? The Baywatch track, Love Kin, was a country-inflected precursor to their new Darling…It’s Too Late LP, a departure from the acid-soaked surf punk of their debut, Chest Crawl. The Shannon and the Clams track, Mama, on the other hand, is a howling, desperate plea for redemption; the plaintive refrain “Can I come home again?” echoes in my head on the daily.
Subterranean, 2011 West North Avenue
Sat, October 24, 10pm / 17+ / $10 / $12

Ought, Blizzard Babies, Split Feet
Early all ages show with some of Chicago’s raddest bands! Clap some ear protection on your tween, buy them a ginger ale, and prepare for them to come home next week with an alternative lifestyle haircut and detention for the Perfect Pussy patch on their backpack.
Beat Kitchen, 2100 W Belmont Ave
Tue, October 27, 6:30pm / $12 / all age
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The King Khan and BBQ Show, Milk Lines
The caped King Khan brings his solo, Shrines-backed antics to town much more often then he brings longtime collaborator Mark Sultan; don’t miss the rare chance to see the two in tandem.
Subterranean, 2011 West North Avenue
Fri, November 20, 9pm / 17+ / $20

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