A few days ago, Lincoln Hall was buzzing with anticipation of Australia’s highly acclaimed psych-rock group, Tame Impala. The chatter of how “nobody has made music like this in years” filled the venue and came from the old and young that had gathered there. It was almost too much. During Yuck’s very strong opening performance, where pop melodies, catchy hooks and growling, grungy guitar mixed wonderfully, the band gave a shout-out to the Smith Westerns, calling them Chicago’s version of the Beatles. Instantly, a crowd member disagreed, calling Tame Impala Chicago’s Beatles. While that is likely an exaggeration, it definitely conveyed a message of how much this town has a crush on the Perth quartet. And they didn’t disappoint (for the record, Chicago was the only city in North America where Impala played twice).
As they calmly walked on stage, they looked an odd bunch. I counted no less than 20 bare toes between them as they imported an Aussie aura to town. They wasted no time in establishing their distinct mood and demonstrating their talent. As their hit “Solitude is Bliss” came on, drummer Jay Watson was tight and enthusiastic (as he was throughout the performance) and front-man Kevin Parker instantly set an intense atmosphere in the Hall. Finally, the special marriage of mood, substance, and songwriting Chicago had been waiting for had arrived.
With Tame Impala, the Beatles parallels are inescapable: the Höfner bass, Sgt. Peppers feel and Parker’s almost uncanny vocal resemblance to John Lennon. Following “Expectation”, the group entered a darker transition with clear echoes to “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)”. An audio-visual guitar solo followed where Parker sat on his knees watching a projector visually react to his instrument. Heavy indeed.
With songs like “Jeremy’s Storm” and “Lucidity”, the band displayed intensity, presence, and talent that doesn’t appear too often. Delayed guitar, a strong rhythm section and created a mood and enhanced the strong songwriting. They balanced catchy hooks with psychedelic breaks and had the crowd in awe – and this despite bassist Nick Albrook rarely having more than a foot of space between his seemingly glued together knees (he, puzzlingly, remained in pre-pee position most the show).
The crush on Tame Impala, it turns out, is mutual. The band played their first ever American show in Chicago and were charming as they told the crowd of their favorite haunts and attractions (a vending machine in a nearby hotel). Unfortunately though, this was not enough to improve the only negative of the show that evening, the crowd. Given the strong performance, presence and charisma of the Aussies, it was Chicago that seemed tame – pity for a band that definitely deserved a wilder welcome.
That aside, the show was a success. The band opted to replace the artificial encore institution with a long, thorough, and intense gig. This didn’t seem to bother anyone as most left Lincoln Hall with a smug look on their face. Whether it was to witness the beginning of this promising group’s career or to rock out like they did years ago, fans walked away from a show that managed, like few do, to live up to the hype.
Hello tumblr. I am mirroring this elusive anti-season known as “Chicago Spring” and inadvertently teasing you. But rest assured, my love never waivers — only my goldfish-style attention span does.
Recent times have featured ignoring my academic duties with mixed success, enjoying Chicago, loving the radio show, typing on a website, discovering the shortcomings of social media, reviving my sub-par acting abilities, and a brief but much needed recharge return home.
In more clickable terms, I’ve started writing for the indie music website, The Heard Project. Check out my reviews of Pantha du Prince, and Mount Kimbie; as well as an interview with the French band, Jamaica. On a different note, check out my chat with Malice of Clipse for CY Magazine.
Connect @2lfr3d to have a conversation. In the meantime, I’ll be teased while waiting for summer. Wish me luck.
I’ll have what they’re having.
Tough to keep your feet off the table and on the dancefloor? These guys’ll help.
Black Light Dinner Party is an outfit from what seems to be somewhere between Boston and Brooklyn. Solid songwriting and production are the core of this strong debut. But what sets them apart from the rest is their darker/deeper atmosphere to complement the strong grooves and catchy melodies.
How and why I haven’t posted this eons ago is among the many questions I asked myself while trying to sleep for 3 hours last night. Crunch time today. This mix has helped me through many a tough time. Check out his Sketches EP as well - a great one.
Do yourself a favor: click, cruise and question below. You won’t be disappointed.
1. Bjork – Hidden Sphere (Illum Sphere Remix)
2. Gold Panda – Snow and Taxis
3. Blawan – Bohla
3. Usher – Nice And Slow (Bad Autopsy Remix)
4. Jamie xx & Fantastic Mr Fox – untitled
5. Fantastic Mr Fox – Evelyn
6. Julio Bashmore – Battle For Middle You
7. Jamie xx – Far Nearer
8. SX – Bricks
9. Sepalcure – Fleur
10. Airhead – Black Ink
11. Unknown – Transmission
Download ‘Fantastic Mr Fox – Vice Mix’ > here
When I heard that “Chillwave” was a genre, music categorization became dead to me. It seemed that any pre-post-core-funk-wave-tech tune that popped up would get its new self-defining stamp.
Maybe I’m just jealous I don’t have my own sub-obscure genre to brand my band with. (Subcore anyone?) In any case, it’s no surprise I’d (I now shamefully admit) roll my eyes upon seeing this Post-Dubstep mix.
Well, rewind and repeat because this mix (and the blog generally) are well worth your earospace. With an all-star line-up that would even make the Miami Heat blush, this mix has all the a.fé favorites: James Blake, Jamie xx, Mount Kimbie, Burial, Fantastic Mr. Fox and Deadboy. So it’s time for me to stop hating and for you to turn this up. Hardcore.
Thx to fellow tumbloggers Post-Dubstep
The Graveyard gets Groovy.
People hear “graveyard” and think bad thoughts. I hear graveyard and yap away. Such are the perks of midnight radio.
So without further ado, introducing… “Bare Breeze“ on Chicago’s WHPK 88.5 and iTunes. My buddy and I play a mix of musics we like with the hope that you will too. Download mp3 recordings here and book our faces here.