Latest Posts

Show Me The Body is All About the Music

Bright floodlights swamped the stage and the boys emerged. Emerged from what exactly? That is the unanswerable mystery and charm that made their show such a transfixing experience.

I mistakenly forgot my earplugs but there was no going back. I let the swirl of metal grit and noise ring into my ears and I watched as the crowd turn from a stoic bunch into a thick mosh pit. I like to mosh but this pit was not for me. Bodies flailed and the mosh soon uplifted a few audience members atop the rest of the crowd. One guy, in particular, appeared as a limp, asparagus-like Gumby character as he surfed across.

There were no performative elements about this show. It was all about the music. The hot noise melted out of the drums, distorted banjo, and base. It’s tricky to describe the way they sound but

as one Fader article put it, “There are effect pedals, abused to the point of sacrifice.” Amid the dark noise, there was still a lot of crystal clear melodies that made it easy for the most amateur of hardcore fans (me) to get into. I was surprised to hear them play older cuts from their album, Body War rather than their newer, rap-centric cuts, but it made for a very flowy set. After an hour and a half the place reeked of sweat and beer, and I left with the goofiest smile pasted across my face.

 

Check out their latest album, Dog Whistle out now via Loma Vista Recordings!

Share this post


girl-in-red

Girl In Red Plays Bottom Lounge

With the weather in the mid-60s and the sun shining bright, Marie Ulven AKA girl in red, joined Chicago in welcoming spring at long last. Nearing the end of a long list of US and Canadian cities on her very first North American Tour, Norwegian native Marie Ulven joined Conan Grey for a small crowd of 300 at Chicago’s Bottom Lounge.

With a majority of her fan base residing in the UK, I had anticipated her set to be relatively intimate and tame. Being the opening act at a small venue early on a Monday night is no easy feat, and many might have assumed the same. These assumptions, however, could not have been further from the truth.

Clocking in at just under a half an hour, girl in red managed to pack all the energy and showmanship of a headlining set into just 30 minutes.

She came out of the gates with a fiery passion and sustained that dynamic throughout her set. The band bobbed and swayed and eventually turned to moshing themselves on stage as the show progressed. Ulven parted the crowd about three-quarters of the way through the show, and positioned herself with a mic and guitar on the ground floor in the crowd, playing “girls” in a sort of unorthodox in-the-round setting. She completely engulfed herself amongst her fans who welcomed her with loving arms, singing and dancing alongside her. Although this may have seemed to fulfill some of the more intimate expectations I had, the sweet moment with her fans quickly turned to a high energy bop after Ulven urged her fans to pull closer and join her for the final chorus.

With the help of all four remaining band members, Ulven was pulled back on stage for her final tune. Before she started, however, Ulven shared a heartfelt story of a fan who approached her with a letter before the show that highlighted an experience similar to that depicted in one of Ulven’s songs. Silence fell over the room that had been filled with sweaty dancing bodies just moments before. The hype of the previous song was replaced by an affectionate calm as the audience listened with kind ears. When Ulven finished her story she dedicated her final song to the fan she had met earlier that day. With the crowd’s hearts warmed, Ulven broke the attentive silence with that very song, “i wanna be your girlfriend”.

With the first note of her final track, this tranquility transcended, and the sea of people erupted into a spirited last dance. Ulven set her guitar aside and let loose, bouncing all across the stage, climbing on top of amps and colliding with her bandmates in an electric final performance. Her energy was reciprocated and amplified by the masses, making her last song one to remember.

Although short and sweet, girl in red packs a punch that cannot be overlooked. This may be her first North American tour, but it is certainly not her last.

Share this post


This Week's New Rotation at WLUW

It's that time again! Rotation time! every week WLUW’s SUPERB music staff pick the best new music releases to add to our rotation. Check out what we’ll be spinning this week and into the future!

  1. Club Night - What Life - Tiny Engines

  2. Damien Jurado - In The Shape Of A Storm - Mama Bird Recording Co

  3. The Drums - Brutalism - Anti-

  4. Half Stack - Quitting Time - Processional Cross

  5. Patio - Essentials - Fire Talk

  6. Pixel Grip - Heavy Handed - Feeltrip

  7. Priests - The Seduction of Kansas - Sister Polygon

  8. PUP - Morbid Stuff - Rise Records

  9. Shana Cleveland - Night of the Worm Moon - Hardly Art

Club Night - What Life - Tiny Engines

Oakland-based Club Night blend elements of jazz, math rock and Midwest emo on their debut full-length What Life? The album is bolstered by the unique vocals of Josh Bertram and tracks which constantly shift form breezy melodies to techy guitar lines.

Listen if you like: Cymbals Eat Guitars, American Football, Sioux Falls

Listen:

 

Damien Jurado - In The Shape of a Storm - Mama Bird Recording Co.

Active in the indie-folk scene since the late 90’s, Damien Jurado returns with his 14th album, In the Shape of a Storm. Continuing in a tradition of masterful American songwriting, one can almost hear the ghost of Nick Drake in Jurado’s inflection. It’s a stripped back affair on which Jurado has nothing to hide.

Listen if you like: Nick Drake, Jeff Tweedy, Bill Callahan

Listen: 

 

The Drums - Brutalism - Anti-

Leaning further into the more synthetic sound initiated on 2017’s Abysmal Thoughts, Johnny Pierce’s project The Drums presents its fifth studio album with Brutalism. If the often sunny instrumentation doesn’t give it away, the titling of the record and its nine tracks reveal the dark feelings threaded throughout the album.

Listen if you like: Bombay Bicycle Club, Alvvays, Wild Nothing

Listen: 

 

Half Stack - Quitting Time - Processional Cross

Following up on their self-titled 2017 EP, Half Stack are here with their debut full-length Quitting Time, which is best described by the title of track 6, “Lil Jazzy.” At a brief 25 minutes the album packs a punch, stylistically falling somewhere between jazzy indie rock and alt-country.

Listen if you like: Case Studies, Girls, Sun June

Listen: 

 

Patio - Essentials - Fire Talk

New York post-punk trio Patio set a contemplative and groovy tone on their debut album Essentials. Smartly written and charismatically performed, Patio carve out a niche in a scene that has been becoming increasingly saturated.

Listen if you like: Priests, Ought, Dehd

Listen:

 

Pixel Grip - Heavy Handed - Feeltrip

Described by the Chicago Tribune as “Goth Disco,” emerging local act Pixel Grip grip our attention with their debut full-length Heavy Handed. Glittery synths and Rita Lukea’s shapeshifting voice make for a refreshing sound. Check out their video for “Plastic Enemies” featuring the talented Chicago dancer OrB BoX below!

Listen if you like: Little Dragon, ESG, MGMT

Listen: 

 

Priests - The Seduction of Kansas - Sister Polygon

Following the success of their debut, D.C. post-punk group Priests return with their sophomore effort The Seduction of Kansas. Priests have proven their willingness to get weird with past tracks like “And Breeding” and “Puff” but they diving deeper into that pool and trying out a lot of new stuff on this record.

Listen if you like: The B-52’s, Girl Band, Sneaks

Listen: 

 

Pup - Morbid Stuff - Rise Records

Toronto punk outfit PUP return for their third record with Morbid Stuff. Going for a more pop-punk sound, PUP are sounding glitzier than ever in a way that suits their gang vocals and emotional lyrics.

Listen if you like: Jeff Rosenstock, Joyce Manor, Cymbals Eat Guitars

Listen: 

 

Shana Cleveland - Night of the Worm Moon -Hardly Art

Frontwoman of psych-/surf-rock group La Luz (who just released their fantastic third album last year), Shana Cleveland shows a softer, more folky sound on her new solo record. A testament to her versatility as a songwriter and musician, the album features both floaty instrumental arrangements and fantastical lyrics.

Listen if you like: La Luz, Cate Le Bon, Dick Stusso

Listen: 

 

Share this post


Vans Presents Wax Trax! Experience @ House of Vans Chicago with Ministry and Cold Cave

Vans helped Chicago celebrate Record Store Day yesterday by hosting a huge Wax Trax! commemorative event at the House of Vans. 

 

I arrived promptly at 5:15pm to get in line to see the special screening of Industrial Accident: The Story of Wax Trax! Records. The line to get in wrapped around the building. This surprised me, because in order to attend the special screening you would’ve had to have gone to a local record store and purchased a special release in order to get a VIP wristband for admission. As it turns out, MANY people supported their local record store this past Saturday.

 

For the event they constructed a makeshift record store, which featured many copies of Wax Trax artists on vinyl, cassette, and CD. There was also a poster and merch section.

The bar at the House of Vans had many choices of free drinks for this special event, including: Old Man Grumpy Pale Ale, 312 Urban Wheat Ale, Virtue Rosé Cider, and upstairs in the VIP lounge, Natural Villain and John Daly's. 

 

I walked outside to the back of the venue while waiting for the rest of the guests to arrive and saw a taco truck and a hangout area for guests to enjoy their food. I hung out in this outdoor area for a while and then decided to go inside, seeing that the venue was almost full. I secured a spot in the back as the film began to play.

The film explained the founding of Wax Trax and how it evolved from a large record collection of two men in Colorado, to playing a key role in the development of new wave, punk rock, and industrial music scenes, and America’s leading industrial label of the 1980s and ’90s. Fans cheered when they saw friends and family being shown in the film, and everybody stood up to give a warm standing ovation at the film's end.

 

Next, there was a panel discussion consisting of record store owner Rick Wojcik who is the owner of Dusty Groove Records, Paul Barker and Chris Connelly which were both members of the band Ministry, and others. Fans eagerly passed the microphone around the crowd, asking questions like "How did you develop your sound?" and many more.

 

The crowd dispersed quickly, as per the instruction of the House of Vans employees, to clear the way for Cold Cave's performance. There was only around a twenty-minute wait until the supporting act, Cold Cave, took the stage.

Cold Cave lead singer Wesley Eisold

Cold Cave put on an entertaining show. With lead singer Wesley Eisold sounding eerily similar to Robert Smith of The Cure, his vocals and instrumental perefctly matched the light show and projections. The set had a steady groove that flowed effortlessly from one song to the next. Everyone in the crowd was nodding along to each track. 

 

The crowd was so tightly packed awaiting Ministry's performance, that I wasn't able to squeeze my way back up to the photo pit (and I didn't want to be THAT girl pushing past all of the dedicated fans of the band). 

 

The stage crew brought out a huge cow skull microphone for front man Al Jourgensen. This band came out shredding. The crowd went into a frenzy. I have never been to a concert where the entire crowd was moshing before last night. It was a little rough, but you could really tell that the energy from the crowd and from the band were both feeding off of each other. Ministry played a few deep cuts, and even played an acoustic version of their classic track "Every Day is Halloween". The band also brought out Revolting Cocks member, and former Ministry member, Chris Connelly for their song "No Devotion".

 

Thanks to Vans and Wax Trax for putting on this unique event, along with Cold Cave and Ministry for the great performances. House of Vans never disappoints! Thanks to this event, I learned so much about industral music, the music scene in the 90's in Chicago, and what it takes to celebrate something you love. 

 

 

Share this post


WLUW Staff picks for Record Store Day 2019

Every year Record Store Day celebrates indepedent records stores and their place in the music industry. Thousands of music fans lineup early in the morning at record stores across the country to snag limited edition LPs and snag old favorites. Stores themselves run fun promotions and feature live bands and DJs. One of the most fun parts of this event is hunting down special releases that all come out on the morning of Record Store Day. These release can be limited to as few as thousands to only hundreds of copies. These can be early rarities, special versions of upcoming releases, repressings of classics, or simply the only time you may ever be able to get your hands on a release. Around the station, WLUW staff members talked about their favorite picks from this years list of special releases. Read about them below!

Allison Lapinski (Assistant Music Director): I am most excited to get my hands on the exclusive 2015 IDLES EP from Balley Records. Comprised of 4 tracks, “Meat” is essentially the origin story for the Bristol band’s trademark post-punk sound. The B-side, “Meta,” will include remixes by David Pajo from Slint, Thom from Alt J, Pete Robertson of The Vaccines and Sly One. I am curious to hear how these artists reinterpret the intentional rawness of the original songs. Though the EP is central to the genius of the band’s 2017 and 2018 records, it has never been physically released. This is one of my favorite aspects of Record Store Day—the rarity and cool gems that are available in-store at local businesses across the nation. With only 5000 available worldwide, the pressure is on to find a Chicago copy!

Morgan Ciocca (Assistant Promotions Director): The Night We Met, the closing track of Lord Huron’s masterful 2015 album Strange Trails, is one of those songs that really hits me. Not to be melodramatic, but I could lay on my bed listening to it, entranced, for hours on end without want for any variation. The lyrics are simple but pointed with a brutal honesty that sends literal chills down my spine. Seeing that Lord Huron is releasing this track on its own 7” for Record Store Day this year has once again reminded me of how much in love with this song I am. I’m ready to track down a copy and never let it go; I will leave it on repeat until I can listen no longer and have to give myself another month or two before rediscovering it once again.

Andrea Busch (Program Director): The follow up release of Moses Sumney’s debut Aromanticism, this three song EP was a response to Sumney attending a protest in the Fall of 2014. The songs catalogue how he felt like a “camouflaged outsider,” and attempting to see “if power was a transferable device that could change hands through the vocalizing of unrest.” The EP is political and incendiary, featuring Sumney’s signature vocalizations and arrangements. “Power?” the opening tracks is a protest chant, Sumney’s voice slowly becoming more consistent and robotic. “Call-to-Arms” begins with a deep breath, before building to a cacophonous conclusion. The final track, “Rank & File” is a critique of the police that is inspired by the military cadence “I Don’t Know”

Jamie McMillin (Music News Director): Anybody who knows me knows that Twin Peaks is perhaps my favorite piece of media ever. Throughout the series, Angelo Badalamenti’s iconic soundtrack is the emotional thread that sells the show’s very distinct sense of atmosphere. It has also been proven that “Laura Palmer’s Theme” can be put over anything. Recently Rhino Records, Sacred Bones, and Mondo have been hard at work releasing special editions of music from across the series and the film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me. Now Rhino returns to release the often overlooked soundtrack of the second season (opinions of which are, to say the least, contentious). Although the season’s quality is contested, it’s music is nothing to scoff at. This release collects tracks from both season 2 and Fire Walk With Me, and has never been released before on vinyl. My favorite track here is “Blue Frank”, a sneaking blues improvisation featured in one of the most unsettling scenes from Fire Walk With Me. I’m also really excited to listen to “Just You and I,” a song written James Hurley, a really cool biker. This double LP is limited to 9,000 copies and will be pressed on blue and green vinyl. We’re always listening to new music at the station but I can’t resist anything with “Twin Peaks” slapped on the cover!

Zoe Drellishak (Assistant Promotions Director): If I could have it my way at Record Store Day this Saturday, I would snag Death Grip’s Steroids (Crouching Tiger Hidden Gabber Megamix) which includes a 22-minute track that is the entirety of side A. I would then go grab Duran Duran’s As the Lights Go Down for my mom (who am I kidding, yes, I’m getting it for myself) which includes their famous tracks “Planet Earth”, “Girls on Film”, and “Hungry Like the Wolf”.  Next, I would search for Roxy Music’s self-titled special release limited remixed record. However, I cannot afford to purchase all of these records on a college student’s budget, and so I will only choose one. The obvious choice is Devo’s This Is the Devo Box, complete with Devo’s six Warner albums released between 1978 and 1984, including Are We Not Men?, We Are Devo!, Freedom of Choice, and more. What could possibly make this better, you ask? They are all on DIFFERENT COLORED VINYL! If these special releases don’t make you want to go out and support your local record store, what will?

 

Share this post