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Friday, January 11, 2019

City Pop, the optimistic disco of 1980s Japan, finds a new young crowd in the West

Posted By on 01.11.19 at 01:09 PM

  • Image from Anri's Facebook page
  • City Pop star Anri

On Sunday, January 13, a 57-year-old Japanese singer named Anri will play a rare midwestern show for a sold-out crowd at the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center. In the mid-80s, while Japan was enjoying the final years of its long postwar boom, Anri became one of the crucial voices of "City Pop"—a fizzy, euphoric form of electronic disco, that was imbued with the optimistic spirit of a New Japan and also took cues from American superstars such as Michael Jackson and Donna Summer. It was the aspiration of a nation condensed into sound, and Anri had the perfect persona for it: she was gregarious, sexy, sophisticated, and alluring in her worldliness but always impeccably Japanese. She recorded dozens of hit songs throughout the decade, but in the 90s, as Japan's miraculous economic growth began to slow, so did City Pop. The genre dried up as fast as disco did in this country, and it probably never would've reached American ears if it weren't for Van Paugam, a Chicago-based DJ who's made it his life's work to resurrect City Pop for a new generation of Westerners.

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Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Flowers for Uncle Bob on the gig poster of the week

Posted By on 01.09.19 at 06:00 AM


ARTIST: Jay Ryan
SHOW: Guided by Voices at Bottom Lounge on Mon 12/31

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Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Let us now praise Elvis Presley and his movies

Posted By and on 01.08.19 at 06:00 AM


Welcome to Flopcorn, where
Reader writers and contributors pay tribute to our very favorite bad movies. In this installment, associate editor Jamie Ludwig and culture editor Aimee Levitt consider the filmography of Elvis Presley on what would have been his 83rd 84th birthday.

Jamie Ludwig: So while everyone else in America was watching Bird Box this week, you and I were were watching Elvis movies.

Aimee Levitt: But Bird Box is just for now. Elvis movies are forever. They take me back to high school when my mother would make me go through the TV Guide every week and circle them all. And then we would watch all the ones that were on at a reasonable time. Which weren't a lot.

JL: Sounds like a fun memory. When I told my mom we were doing this, she made a face and told me how much she hates Elvis.

AL: No! Sacrilege!

JL: I think she was too young for Elvis. It would have been like us being excited about the heartthrobs of a generation or two before us, rather than thinking they were lame.

AL: True. But I think the beauty of Elvis movies is that they are so cheesy! The idea of all these girls screaming and throwing themselves at him whenever he sang . . .

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Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Dancing into the Felix Vortex on the gig poster of the week

Posted By on 12.26.18 at 06:00 AM


ARTIST: Bill Connors
SHOW: Windy City Soul Club at Logan Square Auditorium on Mon 12/31

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Monday, December 24, 2018

Longtime Carol’s house band Diamondback brings new fans and old regulars to the resuscitated country bar

Posted By on 12.24.18 at 09:47 AM

The Carol's Pub facade along Clark Street on Friday, December 21 - MATTHEW SCHWERIN
  • Matthew Schwerin
  • The Carol's Pub facade along Clark Street on Friday, December 21

The lights are brighter, the beer is better, and the bathrooms are finally clean. But Carol's Pub still feels like the neighborhood honky-tonk it was when it opened in 1972.

The corner country music bar, which shut down in September 2016, reopened its doors early last week under new ownership. But it wasn't until Friday, December 21, that people started lining up on the sidewalk outside 4659 N. Clark to get in. They'd come to see house band Diamondback, which in its various incarnations has played six sets a night, three nights a week at Carol's since the 1970s. That makes it one of the longest-running such groups in Chicago—alongside legendary trio the Sundowners, who held court four nights a week at the Double-R Ranch in the Loop between 1969 and 1989.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Carousing with a Kool Katerpillar on the gig poster of the week

Posted By on 12.19.18 at 06:00 AM


ARTIST: Josh Davis
SHOW: Kool Keith and Bushwick Bill at Logan Arcade on Fri 12/21

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Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Chicago rockers share their Mutiny memories, foggy and otherwise

Posted By on 12.12.18 at 06:00 AM

The Indignants bomb the Mutiny with bags of flour on December 14, 2001. - CHRIS ANDERSON
  • Chris Anderson
  • The Indignants bomb the Mutiny with bags of flour on December 14, 2001.

"Once one of my door guys said, 'The greatest thing about the Mutiny is that anyone can play here,'" says Mutiny owner Ed Mroz. "'The worst thing about the Mutiny is that anyone can play here.'"

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A guitar transfigured into liquid cheese on the gig poster of the week

Posted By on 12.12.18 at 06:00 AM


ARTIST: Ryan Duggan
SHOW: Ryley Walker, Ohmme, and Ben LaMar Gay at the Empty Bottle on Fri 12/28

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Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Buzzcocks front man Pete Shelley grappled with metaphysical questions as eloquently as he wrote about physical desire

Posted By on 12.11.18 at 11:20 AM

Pete Shelley of Buzzcocks in 2009 - ALTERNA2
  • Alterna2
  • Pete Shelley of Buzzcocks in 2009

I thought Pete Shelley was going to die the night Buzzcocks played the Double Door in May 2010. The temperature hadn't dropped much from its afternoon high of 90 degrees, and the club felt like a steam bath. Shelley's hair had thinned and he'd put on a ton of weight since I'd last seen the British punk legends seven years earlier. He seemed to be suffering badly under the lights, and as he sweated through the band's early punk-pop classics—"I Don't Mind," "Love You More," "Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn't've)"—I wondered how many times he'd sung them since they first hit stores in 1978, and where his mind went while his body was tearing through them at breakneck speed.

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Monday, December 10, 2018

Archive dive: How Soul Train, the show that put black music on TVs across America, got its start in Chicago

Posted By on 12.10.18 at 01:37 PM

  • courtesy WCIU-TV

The Reader's archive is vast and varied, going back to 1971. Every week in Archive Dive, we'll dig through and bring up some finds.

It's been nearly 13 years since the final episode of Soul Train aired, and right around the time the long-running series ended, Chris Lehman published A Critical History of Soul Train on Television. Among other things, the book looks at Soul Train's Chicago roots, including a local version of the show that continued to exist after it hit big in Los Angeles.

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