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Thursday, October 18, 2018

Cave return with their first new music in five years, and it’s worth the wait

Posted By on 10.18.18 at 02:31 PM

Cave: Cooper Crain, Rob Frye, Rex McMurry, Jeremy Freeze, and Dan Browning - MICHAEL VALLERA
  • Michael Vallera
  • Cave: Cooper Crain, Rob Frye, Rex McMurry, Jeremy Freeze, and Dan Browning

If you'd asked me earlier this year, I would've assumed Cave was done. Multiple members of the Chicago-based five-piece had moved out of town. Guitarist and organist Cooper Crain was busy with Bitchin Bajas (where he's joined by Cave multi-instrumentalist Rob Frye) and the Haley Fohr collaboration Jackie Lynn, not to mention his work as a recording engineer. As far as I knew, the band had only played one local show in three years. They hadn't put out any new material since the 2013 album Threace—the 2014 odds-and-sods collection Release was all hard-to-find but previously released music.

Some of those members' moves turned out to be temporary, though, and Crain wasn't too busy after all. In July, seemingly out of nowhere, the band released a music video for "San' Yago," a love letter to Chicago-style hot dog shacks—and just like that, Cave were back.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Clean-burning rock on the gig poster of the week

Posted By on 10.17.18 at 06:00 AM

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ARTIST: Daniel MacAdam
SHOW: Lucero at Metro on Fri 9/28
MORE INFO: crosshairchicago.com

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Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Jazz bassist Matt Ulery blends styles and scenes with his multifarious new project

Posted By on 10.16.18 at 03:57 PM

Bassist and composer Matt Ulery - HARVEY TILLIS
  • Harvey Tillis
  • Bassist and composer Matt Ulery

For all the contributions that bassist and composer Matt Ulery makes to the Chicago jazz scene—whether via his own music or via platforms he creates—he rarely pats himself on the back. He's not a gratuitous self-promoter either, preferring to let his music speak for itself. And there's a lot of it to speak: the brand-new Sifting Stars is Ulery's eighth album as a bandleader since his debut in 2008. He also plays as a sideman in uncountable groups (ad hoc as well as established), leads weekly jams at the Whistler with drummer Quin Kirchner, and runs his own label, Woolgathering Records.

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Monday, October 15, 2018

German pop princess Kim Petras gets dark and campy with a Halloween-themed mixtape

Posted By on 10.15.18 at 05:38 PM

Earlier this month, Kim Petras released Turn Off the Light, Vol. 1. - THOM KERR
  • Thom Kerr
  • Earlier this month, Kim Petras released Turn Off the Light, Vol. 1.

German pop princess Kim Petras first got famous for something unrelated to her music: at the unusually young age of 12, she began hormone replacement therapy, at 14 she was officially registered as a girl, and by 16 she'd received gender confirmation surgery. But she's said in an interview with the New York Times that she doesn't care about being the first transgender teen idol. Petras, now 26 and based in Los Angeles, wants to be known as an artist.

Petras began her music career in earnest in 2017, and on October 1, she dropped her biggest release yet, the Halloween-themed mixtape Turn Off the Light, Vol. 1. It explores the darker side of her 80s-influenced sound, shifting from her trademark bubblegum pop to something moodier and more gothic. The mixtape's spooky electronic dance tracks ("Close Your Eyes," "Tell Me It's a Nightmare") are linked by largely instrumental breaks ("Omen," "Boo! Bitch!") with only occasional hushed vocals—and these passages carry you into the next song so smoothly that you might not even notice until you're halfway through it. Compared with the bright pop of her earlier work, Turn Off the Light, Vol. 1 is spookier and sexier, with darker lyrics and thickly stacked synth chords that evoke the creepy organ sounds in pulpy old horror movies.

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Chicago International Film Festival and more of the best things to do in Chicago this week

Posted By on 10.15.18 at 06:00 AM

Rafiki, playing at CIFF Thu 10/11, 6 PM; Sat 10/13, 1:30 PM; and Thu 10/18, noon
  • Rafiki, playing at CIFF Thu 10/11, 6 PM; Sat 10/13, 1:30 PM; and Thu 10/18, noon

There are plenty of shows, films, and concerts happening this week. Here's some of what we recommend:

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Friday, October 12, 2018

Indigo Nation Denim Festival and more of the best things to do this weekend

Posted By on 10.12.18 at 06:00 AM

COURTESY INDIGO NATION
  • courtesy Indigo Nation

There are plenty of shows, films, and concerts happening this weekend. Here’s some of what we recommend:

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Wednesday, October 10, 2018

A manicure with mystic power on the gig poster of the week

Posted By on 10.10.18 at 06:00 AM

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ARTIST: Erin Page
SHOW: Arriver, Replica Republic, and Nonagon at Burlington Bar on Sat 10/13
MORE INFO: erinpageforever.com

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Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Fleetwood Mac sparkled as they united their fans at the end of a terrible Saturday

Posted By on 10.09.18 at 02:30 PM

Fleetwood Mac at the United Center, from left to right: Christine McVie, John McVie, Stevie Nicks, Mick Fleetwood, Neil Finn, and Mike Campbell - PHIL CLARKIN
  • Phil Clarkin
  • Fleetwood Mac at the United Center, from left to right: Christine McVie, John McVie, Stevie Nicks, Mick Fleetwood, Neil Finn, and Mike Campbell

Maybe after seeing liar, bully, and partisan hack Brett Kavanaugh bulldozed onto the Supreme Court by the GOP on Saturday afternoon, you couldn't imagine doing anything as celebratory as attending an arena concert. But if that devastating development for American democracy—and especially for American women—had you wanting to escape into familiar songs brimming with female energy and tinged with mysticism, you could've done a lot worse than the Fleetwood Mac show at the United Center.

The second date on a tour called "An Evening with Fleetwood Mac," it was also the group's third gig since parting ways with longtime guitarist and singer Lindsey Buckingham in April. That move put more of the spotlight on singer Stevie Nicks and singer-keyboardist Christine McVie, along with the two men the band recruited to fill Buckingham's shoes: guitarist-vocalist Neil Finn (Split Enz, Crowded House) and lead guitarist Mike Campbell (Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers).

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Otis Rush and his searing guitar immortalized the west-side Chicago blues sound

Posted By on 10.09.18 at 07:00 AM


Since 2004 Plastic Crimewave (aka Steve Krakow) has used the Secret History of Chicago Music to shine a light on worthy artists with Chicago ties who've been forgotten, underrated, or never noticed in the first place. Older strips are archived here.

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Chicago rocker Adam Schubert recorded alone for years before getting sober and going public as Ruins

Posted By on 10.09.18 at 06:00 AM

Adam Schubert, aka Ruins - ALEXA VISCIUS
  • Alexa Viscius
  • Adam Schubert, aka Ruins

Adam Schubert doesn't have much left to prove to fans of Chicago underground rock. He plays guitar in psychedelic postpunk band Cafe Racer, which has put out albums with two of the scene's best labels: their self-titled debut via Dumpster Tapes in 2016 and Famous Dust via Maximum Pelt this past February. Schubert is also a prolific singer-songwriter outside that group, though you'll have to take his word for it: he's been recording solo for around a decade, and in all that time the only material he's released has been the June 2018 Dumpster Tapes EP Ruins by his project of the same name (not to be confused with Tatsuya Yoshida's experimental duo).

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