Exclusive: Stream Bleach Party’s “Single Summer”

Click through to the full post to stream the track, or listen here on Bandcamp.

I have a fictional origin story in my head for the band Bleach Party, modeled after the ersatz John Hughes knockoff high school comedies that proliferated in 1980s cinema. One day in detention, four bored nerds commiserate about they don’t have dates for the upcoming prom, because only popular kids get asked out. “What we need to do is figure out a way to be popular.” Meg notices Kaylee drumming on a Trapper Keeper with a gnawed pencil, and an idea is born.

Following an action-packed monologue of band practice, cymbals being broken, hair being teased, make-up being applied, pizza being eaten, and fingerless gloves being strapped on, spotlights silhouette a four-piece on the stage of Vince Lombardi High School. Girls in one-shoulder dresses squint through their crispy blonde claw-bangs; who are the super cool rockers floating in the mist of a fog machine?

As they play their first song; the crowd goes wild; corsages are thrown, ruffled shirts are ripped off, and the janitor and the math teacher french under the bleachers. Finally the flood lights are thrown, and the students recognize the band that’s melting their faces off as the dweebs they cut in front of in the lunchline last week. Now they’re the most popular kids in school!

Ok, so, maybe that’s not actually how this song came into being. All the same, you should don a confection of taffeta, satin, and poofy sleeves and come party with Bleach Party this Saturday at Young Camelot. Make sure to keep an eye out for the rest of their EP, which will be released sometime this fall.


Meat Wave, ShowYouSuck, VAYA, secret guest
Young Camelot
Sat, August 22, 9pm/ $5 / 18+

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Show Horoscope: August & September 2015

Show Horoscope is our regular feature where I peer deeply into a crystal ball and predict what shows you should go to based on your personality, interests, and identity. It’s also where I make a bunch of dumb jokes and talk about the shows I’m really excited about.

Remember, Chicago Summer Psych Fest and Black and Brown Punk Show are both coming up as well!


bruiser queenImage from the Bruiser Queen “In Your Room” video

Like 60s girl groups rising from the grave cloaked in tattoos and jean vests, contemporary garage groups that spangle classic rhythm-and-blues and doo wop influences with snotty lyrics and guitar pedal fuzz are this generation’s answer to the classic Brill Building sound.

Bruiser Queen, Swimsuit Addition
I caught Bruiser Queen during Bitchfest at Young Camelot last week, and I was shocked that they’re not more well-known or popular. Embodying the same throwback garage pop sound that’s brought moderately-major label success to many of their peers, the relatively under-the-radar St. Louis duo manages to use infectious, relentless energy (and a well-utilized array of pedals) to create a much fuller sound than your usual two-piece. If I had money to bet on a band blowing up, they’d be on my shortlist; take advantage of the opportunity to see them for fairly a low price at a fairly chill venue.
Beat Kitchen, 2100 West Belmont Avenue
Thu, September 3, 9pm / $8 / 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

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


mysteryactionsMystery Actions play Girls Rock! Chicago

Sheer Mag, Royal Headache, Daylight Robbery, Storm Clouds
Remember when we drove up to Milwaukee to see Sheer Mag and their van broke down outside Minneapolis? WE FINALLY GET TO SEE THEM!!!
The Empty Bottle, 1035 North Western Avenue
Sat, August 15, 9pm / $8 / $10 / 21+

UFUX, Veil Vitric, The Coldies
Ufux are abrasive punk weirdos who don’t play that often anymore. Catch this like a cold.
The Mutiny, 2428 North Western Avenue
Sat, August 15, 9pm / free / 21+

Mystery Actions, Dirt Cheap Date, Dumpster Babies
Mystery Actions and Dumpster Babies are both friends of SBS and totally rad! Mystery Actions are the kind of mean-mugging femme punk babes who look like they could kill you with a look, when in fact they’re total dears who once played a bake sale benefit I organized. I also saw them play to a ton of enthusiastic little proto-punks at Girls Rock! Chicago day camp. Dumpster Babies are dippy, sweet, garage punk cuties who love catchy choruses and arguing with each other between songs.
East Room, 2828 West Medill Avenue
Wed, August 19, 9pm / free / 21+

La Luz, Today’s Hits
Sick surf riffs and the rising, foamy swell and recess of lovely harmonies; La Luz is a beachside daydream.
The Empty Bottle, 1035 North Western Avenue
Sat, September 5, 9pm / 21+ / $10

Cococoma, Ultimate Painting
The Empty Bottle, 1035 North Western Avenue
Thu, September 10, 9pm / 21+ / $10


cherrylemonadeCherry Lemonade Split Tape Art by Weston Getto Allen

A buddy of mine recently slid into my DMs to tell me that the Mika Miko song Too Cute to Puke reminded them of me, which is possibly the best compliment I’ve ever received. If you, too, are too cute to puke, you might like some of these shows, which showcase some of the softer and more kawaii side of rock without being completely defanged.

The Peekaboos, Bad Bad Meow, The Bribes, Donkey Hotel
The Peekaboos share singer Shannon Candy with fellow Chicago cuties Strawberry Jacuzzi and they’ve got posi vibes for days. You can read an interview with them over at Loud Loop Press!
The Hideout, 1354 West Wabansia Avenue
Thu, August 13, 9pm / $8 / 21+

Paul Cherry, The Lemons
Chicago’s cuddliest lofi pop cuties are celebrating the release of their limited edition “Cherry Lemonade” tape with a free release show at The Whistler.
The Whistler, 2421 North Milwaukee Avenue
Sun, August 16, 9pm / free / 21+

The Peekaboos, The Avantist, Evasive Backflip
Kitten whiskers! You missed that Peekaboos show at The Hideout! Thankfully, they’re also playing a free Monday at The Bottle.
The Empty Bottle, 1035 North Western Avenue
Mon, August 24, 9pm / 21+ / $5

Glamour Hotline, Not 4 U, Wad, Belly Belt
Pinky Swear is the cutest DIY venue in Chicago, hands down.
Pinky Swear
Fri, August 28, 8pm / bring $ for donation

Fitness, The Please & Thank Yous, Ditch Club
The Please & Thank Yous are a fourth-wave emo band whose videos are full of twinkling Christmas lights. That is cute as fuck, yo.
The Burlington, 3425 West Fullerton Avenue
Fri, September 4, 8:30pm / $5 / 21+


cotillionCotillion EP cover art

You’re broke. You love filth and trash. You come alive in mildewing basements. This isn’t strictly a list of free shows, or DIY shows, or bands playing that have a darker, more discordant edge; it’s a curated collection of all of the above, delivered hot and steaming to your dumpster doorstep.

Nots, Running
This is tonight, and The Reader beat me to writing about it. Y’all like noise punk and free shit? Thought so.
The Owl, 2521 North Milwaukee Avenue
Thu, August 13, 10pm / free / 21+

Burning Ponies, Creature from Dell Pond, Imelda Marcos, The Curls
I had a chance to meet the Dollhouse denizens the other day and they’re great people. Don’t fuck up their living room, trash ball.
The Dollhouse DIY (new location)
Sat, August 15, 8pm

Swells, Cochina, Cotillion, TBA
As Monica from Cochina says, “If you’re into punk and wanna hear me scream in both english and spanish about how much I hate the police and white saviors, you should come out, support us and have a good time!”
Weenie Hut Jr’s
Tue, August 18, 7pm / $5 /no drinking / no drugs / no phobes / email prairiesmokerecords@gmail.com for address

Funerary, Ooze, Disrotted
Sludge and doom metal in a room that generally smells terrible.
The Burlington, 3425 W Fullerton
Wed, August 19, 9pm / 21+ / usually $5 – $10

Baja & the Blasters, Soy Babies, Bitchin Reality
For years now, I’ve been planning to start a band called The Baja Blasts. Our gimmick is that we would throw hardshell tacos and fire sauce packets into the crowd while screaming lyrics about stoner food unintelligibly. This Denton, Texas band has basically laid waste to all those dreams. Now what am I gonna be when I grow up?
Albion Haus
Wed, September 9, 7pm / $5



Being punk is in your heart, not in a number on your birth certificate. These aren’t all the all ages shows happening int he next few months (check our calendar for that), but they’re our top picks.

A quick note: when I was a budding teen punk, mailordering records from the Lookout! Records catalog and obsessing over powerviolence bands on Slap a Ham, fanzines were invaluable to me. There’s no age limit on reading, and they fit neatly into your textbooks. I can’t recommend my buddy Ray Suburbia’s new project No Friends enough, no matter what your age is. You can download Issue 0 for free; and keep an eye out for #1; it should be released soon, and it even comes with a split flexi from Lumpy and the Dumpers/Ausmuteants.

Den, Rumores, Cracked Vessel
Whoa, super loud noise punk and free donuts…in the middle of the day…in a library?!?!? I REALLY LOVE THIS CITY SOMETIMES, Y’ALL. This show is open to everyone, but the organizers have made sure to note that teenagers, who often don’t have access to shows like this, are extra welcome. The library is also fully accessible for those who use mobility devices; you can read a lot more about the importance of accessibility at music venues over at Is This Venue Accessible.
West Town Public Library, 1625 West Chicago Avenue
1:30pm at Sat, August 29 / AA / donations for bands appreciated

Lala Lala, KO
Lala Lala recently got written up in The Tribune. Lucky for you, it hasn’t gone to their heads, and you can still see them play for free at my personal favorite record store for in-stores.
saki, 3716 West Fullerton Avenue
Sat, August 29, 4pm / free / AA

Killer Moon, Vincas
P-Rex just announced a bunch of instores without specifying what time they are, so stay tuned for details!
Permanent Records, 1914 West Chicago Avenue
Sat, September 5 / Time TBA / usually around 2pm or 5pm / free / AA

Crosss, Carbonleak
P-Rex just announced a bunch of instores without specifying what time they are, so stay tuned for details!
Permanent Records, 1914 West Chicago Avenue
Sun, September 13/ Time TBA / usually around 2pm or 5pm / free / AA

The Funs, TBA
P-Rex just announced a bunch of instores without specifying what time they are, so stay tuned for details!
Permanent Records, 1914 West Chicago Avenue
Fri, September 25 / Time TBA / usually 5pm or 6pm / free / AA

Weekend Nachos, Full of Hell, Extortion, Sin Orden, Youth Crisis
This is a particularly small and intimate venue for punk/metal powerviolence powerhouse Weekend Nachos, and they’re letting the kids in to get their smooth, hairless faces melted off. Don’t miss openers Sin Orden, a legendary Latinx hardcore band following in the tradition of Los Crudos.
Township, 2200 North California Avenue
Tue, October 13, 6pm / AA / $10

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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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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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Best New Music Blogger of 2015

We’re incredibly proud to announce that our very own Cupcake was named Best New Music Blogger of 2015 by The Chicago Reader. Music editor Philip Montoro had these kind words to say:

Friendly, playful, and no-bullshit, Cupcake’s posts use a dirt-under-the-fingernails familiarity with Chicago underground rock to convey unpretentious, all-aboard enthusiasm rather than clubhouse exclusivity: “Dem Platinum Boys sound like the kind of old school butt rock that you listen to on a shitty radio in your back yard while drinking Miller Lite in a kiddie pool,” to quote a recent example. Periodic “Show Horoscope” roundups categorize concerts according to imagined subtypes of fan (“You’re a Baby Teen,” “For the Basement Dweller,” “You Just Wanna Fucking Party”), but it’s basically all about dirty weirdos banging on guitars.

“I spend hours a week sifting through show listings, writing up show previews, boosting and promoting the work of my friends. I know that’s seen as inherently less valuable than picking up a bass and being in a band,” Cupcake says. “I strongly believe that people who are willing to do behind-the-scenes work are part of what makes the scene work, and I’m totally fine with most of what I do being out of the spotlight.”

Go read the whole article, if you haven’t already. If the Best Of issue brought you here, welcome!

Our tagline is “dumb punk, cold pizza, and cheap pop” and that pretty much sums us up. We cover Chicago’s garage, punk, lofi pop and indie pop scenes, with a huge emphasis on DIY culture.

Most of our articles are show previews. Emily and Cupcake collaborate on Weekly Agenda, which usually lists 7-10 days of every show (that we would theoretically go to) in Chicago. These don’t come out every week; we’re not paid enough for that.

To cover the gaps, Cupcake writes Your Show Horoscope, which takes aspects of your personality and musical taste and predicts the best shows for you to see in the next month or so. They’re pretty fun to write, and hopefully to read.

We rarely do show recaps; we mostly want you to see shows yourself, not just look at photos some annoying guy with a giant camera took. However, Emily’s Annual SXSW Recaps are hilarious (and usually a good preview of the coming year’s buzz bands), and our post about going to Milwaukee to see Frankie Teardrop, Peach Kelli Pop, and Sheer Mag is the closest you can come to hanging out with us without actually hanging out with us.

While we’re happy to promote bands that probably can’t afford a decent PR team, we also aim for a deeper view on experiencing live music. Punk isn’t just a genre on Bandcamp; it’s a new lens to use to view the world, one that can illuminate injustices and raise our awareness to solutions. We will, humbly, never stop going in. Some of our most acclaimed articles include:

🍕 The Art is Not The Artist: On Holding Abusers Accountable and Enjoying Problematic Media was Store Brand Soda’s first essay. Cupcake explains their thought process when considering the creative output of an abusive individual, and pours forth conflicted feelings about The Beatles, James Brown, Modest Mouse, Drunkdriver, and Pablo Picasso.

🍕 Why We’re Not Boycotting Indiana is Emily’s response to Indiana’s Religious Freedom bill. Sometimes the proper response to oppression is more nuanced than it seems at first glance.

🍕 Imagining a Safer Space: Building Community and Ending Harassment in Punk is, to date, the most popular article we’ve ever published. It uses the framework of an experience Cupcake had at a bar in Austin to examine the larger issue about how abuse in punk is often tolerated due to a lack of concrete policies and staff training at venues and a lack of social consequences for abusing women and queer people within scenes.

You can submit shows to storebrandsoda@gmail.com. Cupcake freelances, writing about music as well as other issues; you can check out their freelance portfolio and email them if you feel like their writing would be a good fit for your publication.

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