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 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.

Read Article →

Tuesday Agenda: Billionaire Brooklynite Black Metal

Foul Tip, Frankie Teardrop, The Sueves
Minneapolis rock-n-rollers Frankie Teardrop are cute and sloppy and sing songs with names like “Pizza Lyfestyle” and you should definitely see them at Bric-a-Brac or at The Mutiny today. Two chances! No excuses!
Bric-a-Brac Records & Collectibles
3156 W Diversey Ave
6:00pm / Free / AA

White / Light, Liturgy
What’s more metal than being the grandson of a conservative Republican oil tycoon? Kittens, sunshine, and raindrops on roses, to name a few examples.

Hunter Hunt-Hendrix, singer and oil heir, has reunited with the other three musicians behind Liturgy’s debut album for their first tour in years. They’re playing Land & Sea Department, a performance space and music studio owned by the ampersand-obsessed business group behind Longman & Eagle and Parson’s Chicken & Fish. The space is like a luxe, soulless warehouse venue with all the reclaimed wood and tattooed bartenders you’d expect to come with all the frozen negroni money. I’m not going to lie, through, it’s kind of nice to encounter bathrooms that clean at a show.
Land & Sea Department
3124 W Carroll
8:00pm / $10 / Tickets

The Sueves, Frankie Teardrop, The Rubs, Supermagical (formerly White Gold)
The Mutiny is the real life version of the bar that the preppy protagonist in an 80s movie accidentally stumbles into, and a bunch of stringy-haired drunks and leather-clad metalheads growl threateningly at him, and then they all end up doing shots and singing songs together. Let’s make that happen tonight.
The Mutiny
2428 North Western Avenue
9:00pm / 21+

Read Article →

DIY Space Animal Kingdom is Looted; Organizer Kelly Moves onto She Shreds Fest

Kelly Nothing from Animal Kingdom has dealt with cops shutting down shows at Animal Kingdom, lootings, evictions, and thefts. She’s also learned a lot about how to DIY within our humble Chi. She recently emerged on Facebook to dispel rumors about what exactly went down in Animal Kingdom’s last month, and chatted with me at the Tweens in-store at Bric-a-Brac about what’s next. INSIDE: FEMME-CENTRIC PUNK FESTS, ZINES, & FUTURE KELLY PROJECTS

Read Article →

Weekend Agenda: VoT Record Fair, ElSounds Fest

Victim of Time, one of our favorite blogs (and perhaps a significant influence on this here project) is throwing a banging fest all fucking weekend. It’s only $5 per day, and the first 20 people through the door tonight get a free HoZac record/cd pack.The Friday line-up includes The Yolks, Basic Cable, ONO, Spike and The Sweet Spots, Gross Pointe, and a SPECIAL SECRET GUEST. MORE INSIDE

Read Article →

Mean Jeans to Record New Album

My heart barfed when I read on Twitter that Portland party goons Mean Jeans are ready 2 rip on a new album! Could not be more stoked to eventually hear this.

Rumor has it that Dirtnap Records is also going to be releasing all the Mean Jeans singles in one handy vinyl package. I played my “Are You Serious + 5 singles” tape until it literally wore out, so this is good news for me.

Read Article →