Erectoral Politics 

Meet your new mayor, Cynthia Plaster Caster. Plus: Steve Shelley, honorary Chicagoan, Svenonius on Nation of Ulysses reunion rumors, and more.

Gossip Wolf hit up the garage sale of a member of Disappears last weekend and picked up some hot gossip for cheap: as drummer Graeme Gibson departs for Portland, Sonic Youth's Steve Shelley will jet in from New Jersey to lend a hand. Front man Brian Case confirms that Shelley will be playing live with the group in support of their forthcoming Guider but adds that Shelley "is not a member of the band but a friend who will be playing with us for as long as he is able or wants to." That makes three Chicago bands that Shelley has done time in this year—the others being White/Light and related supergroup High Confessions (full disclosure: both the former group includes the partner of one of the Gossip Wolves). Just move here already, guy.

Though it's not even Halloween yet, this week Kranky Records is getting ready for the most wonderful time of the year—on Monday the label issued Low's Christmas album on vinyl for the first time. Also coming out on Kranky: the debut album from Matt Jencik-led drone outfit Implodes. The band just made the relationship official this week. The album, recorded with Jason Ward, is due out in early 2011.

Gossip Wolf knows what it's like to be the most hyped band on the planet (Gossip Wolf was in the Leningrad Cowboys back in the day), and has some friendly advice for Chicago-Michigan cough-syrup emo rappers Salem, who are blowing up: keep ripping off Ween. It's cute! And by cute we mean tragicomic.

click to enlarge KEITH HERZIK

The Gray Lady ran a live review of Salem's unofficial CMJ show on its ArtsBeat blog last week. Critic Jon Caramanica aptly described the band as "maybe not at all, you know, good," but noted that they're improved when hidden by smoke and strobes.

Was that Urge Overkill front man Nash Kato we saw at the Saturday-night Gories show or a cattleman passing through?

Mayor Daley's announcement that he's not running for reelection has opened up the field to a veritable assload of boring potential politicos. But the candidate that Gossip Wolf is most likely to "cast" a vote for truly "breaks the mold": Cynthia Plaster Caster, the groovy ex-groupie best known for making plaster casts of the dongs of rock stars over the decades (including Jimi Hendrix, members of the MC5, and . . . Bill Dolan), has announced her intentions. After a cursory spin around her campaign website, ChicagoforCynthia.com, all we can definitively report is that Cynthia is "Hard on Crime." Just like Jane Byrne! But perhaps she'll disclose more "concrete" particulars at her first campaign event and press conference, November 5 at Jackhammer (6406 N. Clark) as part of the Flesh Hungry Dog Show. Tickets are $8 online or $10 at the door.

And speaking of erectoral—er, electoral politics: Grammy winner Che "Rhymefest" Smith announced October 20 that he's running for alderman of the 20th Ward (for more see Sharp Darts). If Gossip Wolf lived in the 20th Ward, Rhymefest would surely get our vote if for no other reason than he seems to be the only Chicago hip-hop artist who doesn't perpetually blow his album's street date.

Now that cool icon/Slits front woman Ari Up has passed away, all white girls with dreadlocks need to knock that shit off.

Logan Square foodie haven Lula Cafe has a Halloween tradition of dressing up as a different eatery, from the decor to the menu . . . sort of like a restaurant version of a cover band. Lula's past "sets" have included stints as an Olive Garden and Hot Doug's. This year, local metal burger joint Kuma's Corner is getting the treatment. As at Kuma's, every burger on the Luma's menu will be named after a band. Offerings include a spicy-sounding Calexico, a Belle and Sebastian with a Scotch egg and Welsh rarebit, and the double-stacked Alex White, which features "frizzled beet," presumably in honor of the local rocker's red locks. Some scene fixtures got to dream up patty combos of their own, including Bobby Conn and staffers at Drag City. The really amazeballs entry, however, is courtesy of Tim Kinsella: a tofu deal with pineapple and spinach pesto. Critics have already called his creation "pretentious," "difficult," and a "little out of tune."

This week rumors of a Nation of Ulysses reunion got hot and heavy, apparently sparked by a Facebook status update from former drummer James Canty that mentioned playing drums again (he now plays guitar with Ted Leo) and a vague comment on Ian Svenonius's page on the same day. OH INTERNET! HOW YOU CONFUSE AND TEASE US SO! Reached for comment, Svenonius told Gossip Wolf he knew nothing about it, and helpfully guessed, "Maybe it's another group with the same name? Or the same group with different members?"   

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