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+

SYA773

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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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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Soddy Daisy “Trashtopia” Album Review & Release Show 9/18

Listening to local band Soddy Daisy’s new album Trashtopia, it’s no surprise that they all have a hand in running legendary DIY partyplex Young Camelot, or that the album was partially recorded there. Regal and shambling, I’ve seen some of the stickiest bangers unspool in their cavernous space, all sticky with beer and humid with sweat.

YC is drunk conversations between girls in line for the bathroom, sloppy X’s on your hands, and two people almost fucking on a melting couch. It’s carpet fermented lager and a better populated smoking section than a septuagenarian’s favorite Las Vegas casino.

Trashtopia, from the name, to the cover art, to the sound evokes the bacchanalia and bad decisions, the adrenaline hype and the greyed-out nod-outs. It’s the perfect album to be born in Young Camelot’s messy womb, and I can’t imagine a better place to host the release show this Friday.

The third and forth songs on the album bring restrained lounge vibes and an bluesy growl of an intro, respectively, showing a willingness to experiment beyond the kind of partypunk oblivion I watch three different bands careen through on your average Wednesday night.

WEAK Radio uses the production trope of a scrambled scan through radio land to introduce a torchy doo wop addiction ballad that evokes blue-lit pimple-faced shuffling slow dances and a weary chanteuse draping herself across a Rhodes organ, eyelids slowly closing in resignation.

It’s an album of ambitious length for a self-recorded DIY band. The repetitive dirge When the High Subsides could have clocked in under four minutes (or found a more secure home on an album that promised less shambling and surf), but Soddy Daisy does rollicking lofi pop extraordinary well. I’m charmed with the couplet “Nothing else has ever changed, I’ve got an embryonic brain” on the sunny jammer “Water Cooler.”

Feel free to scream out the names of these songs I’ve described while they play at Young Camelot this Friday. It’s that kind of place, and that kind of band: messy, collaborative, and beautiful.

Evasive Backflip, Rat Hammer, Soddy Daisy, Not For You, Le Tour, Alex Rowney Piano Beast
Young Camelot
Fri, September 18 / $5 / not byob – bring $

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The 3 Best Drummers + Vocalists in the World

A few nights ago, I found myself in a South Minneapolis DIY spot on a sticky, humid summer night. The basement venue, known as The Riverboat to the Twin Cities’ dread-skulleted punk denizens, was so hot we all dripped and drooped like melting candles.

“You know that scene in Mrs. Doubtfire, where they’re watching TV, and someone’s getting their face smooshed around like it’s clay and all the kids are grossed out? That’s what my face feels like right now,” I confided to Jen Lemasters, a record store owner and multi-media artist who, like me, had traveled all the way to Chicago just end up at the same dank basement.

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Photo of Make-Overs from Bric-a-Brac’s Instagram

She & partner, Nick, who own Bric-a-Brac Records, were criss-crossing the country with South-African drummer and guitarist Martinique Pelser and Andreas Schönfeldt, stopping at flea markets to hunt collectible toys and kitschy roadside attractions to pose with outré art installations. When they’re not touring together, Martinique and Andreas tour by Megabus.

Later, after a kind Riverboat resident sold me a $2 Hamm’s well into Minneapolis’ Blue Law Sunday Beer Blackout (then traded it out for one that didn’t have puke on it), Make-Overs took over their designated corner of the basement. They quickly sound checked their signature equipment; an array of pedals at Andreas’ feet, a microphone headset snaked around Martinique’s ear.

As the band tore through their layered, spacey and raw arrangements, the audience forgot the insufferable heat and slammed into each other in surging tides, smearing sweat on each other and pressing wallflowers into the crumbling basement bricks. They traded off vocal duties, Martinique more than holding her own despite the more physical nature of drumming, her powerful vocals ringing out, occasionally distorted by pedals into something psychedelic and alien.

I started thinking about all the drummers out there who excel at maintaining vocal intensity even as they exert themselves pounding away. I came up with my all time top drummers + vocalists, who are, in no particular order:

  • Bill Roe of Cococoma (and the record label Trouble in Mind)
  • Lamont “Bim” Thomas of Obnox, BLAXXX, The Puffy Areolas, etc
  • Martinique Pelser of Make-Overs (as well as many earlier projects discussed in this great interview)

And that got me thinking about how lucky we are that 2/3 of these artists have upcoming shows in Chicago. Cococoma, coaxed into reuniting and brushing up on their old songs when their longtime friends Janet and J.J. tied the knot last February, are hanging up the hat again when guitarist AJ Cozzi moves to California. TOMORROW, they’re playing their last official show at The Empty Bottle as an aftershow for the Beyond the Gate show in Bohemian National Cemetery.

Make-Overs are making the most of their stop in the USA, with at least two more shows upcoming in addition to their duties opening for Ty Segall last week.

Whether you agree or disagree with my top three ranking (make no mistake, I’d love to hear about it in the comments), you should see these bands while you can.

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

Make-Overs, Wolf Pac
The Whistler, 2421 N Milwaukee Ave
Sun, September 13, 9pm / 21+ / free

Pookie and the Poodles, Make-Overs
Bric-a-Brac Records & Collectibles, 3156 W Diversey Ave
Tue, September 22, 5:30pm / free / AA

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Vamos – Spiderbait LP Review (Record Release Show Tonight!)

Vamos feel like a party that you might die at, woozy with bummer vibes and lousy with bad decisions. After years of purveying sleaze metal after midnight in slimy DIY spots (competing with the rhythmic screech of the train) and putting their music out on neon plastic cassette tapes, they’re finally releasing their very first LP. Local label Maximum Pelt mates Ego and Modern Convenience join them tonight for a
free show to celebrate their graduation to vinyl.

The new album Spiderbait manages to resurrect the party-flu-snot-dripping zombie of rockstar kitsch and cock rock excess of days gone by. The sludge psychedelia and spooky Ozzy vocals on Bad Hook didn’t work for me (though if those keywords excite you, click away!) but I’m super excited to see a high quality version of “Jaded,” a wicked and reeling banger Vamos has been performing live forever that always brings down my entire world.

[bandcamp width=100% height=42 album=2062955756 size=small bgcol=ffffff linkcol=e99708 track=2436339360]

It reminds me of the raw and addictive “Feelmonger,” a track previously released on their Midwaste tape, here newly recorded with a more deft and nuanced hand (I do recommend scuzz heads also check out the original recording). “Howl,” another favorite off Midwaste, here takes the form of a bitter boozy accusation and ends in the whole band pleading “All I want is you.” This record has greasy gleam and glamour, swaggering sexuality, and leaves a bad taste in my mouth that I can’t get enough of.

[bandcamp width=100% height=42 album=2062955756 size=small bgcol=ffffff linkcol=e99708 track=4084250403]

If you’re determined to see them tonight (which you should be), you’re in luck; not only is it free, but there’s an equally free early punk show at Bric-a-Brac if you want to pull a one-two punch and still have enough money for a few cheap beers. There’s also a show at Old Mt Happy; see flyer below.

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Vamos, EGO, Modern Convenience, Foul Tip
The Empty Bottle, 1035 North Western Avenue
9:00pm Mon, August 3 / 21+ / free

Moon Hag, Lil Tits
Bric-a-Brac Records & Collectibles, 3156 West Diversey Avenue
5:00 pm on Mon, August 3 / AA / BYOB

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

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

Bitchfest

bfest

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

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

Chicago Summer Psych Fest

CHIPSY

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

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

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

Black and Brown Punk Show

bandbpunk

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

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

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

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