James Swanberg of Today's Hits plays 100 songs at one show | Gossip Wolf | Chicago Reader

James Swanberg of Today's Hits plays 100 songs at one show 

Plus: Swearwords celebrate an EP that grew into an LP, and the You Are Here festival sets up a maze beneath Thalia Hall.

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James Swanberg has written and recorded more than 1,000 songs as Today's Hits, which doesn't leave a fellow much time to spend on promotional photos.

James Swanberg has written and recorded more than 1,000 songs as Today's Hits, which doesn't leave a fellow much time to spend on promotional photos.

James Swanberg

When James Swanberg isn't making sunny bubblegum pop in the Lemons, he's cranking out blissful lo-fi ditties as Today's Hits. Beginning in March 2011, Swanberg wrote and recorded a song a day under that name for nearly three years, and though his output has slowed since then, he's nonetheless got a catalog of more than 1,000 tunes. On Thu 5/7 Swanberg will hit the Whistler to play 100 of those songs, all recorded during his first months in Chicago­—and because they usually last a minute or less, you won't be there all night. The show starts at 9:30 PM and it's free!

Last August, Gossip Wolf mentioned that Chicago jingle-jangle indie-pop quintet Swearwords were about to drop a three-song EP called Solar Vortex—but it turns out they weren't quite finished! Solar Vortex finally comes out this week, and during the past eight months, it's grown into an 11-song full-length. Maybe if they wait till next year it'll be a box set? At least this wolf got the "jingle-jangle" part right! Swearwords will have LP copies available at their record-­release show at Beat Kitchen on Fri 5/8; they've also posted a snazzy performance video of the groovy cut "Sweet Graffiti" to their Facebook page.

Tired of being able to find the bands when you go to see a show? Ever wish you could make attending a concert feel like navigating a corn maze? Well, Empty Bottle Presents has the thing for you: a festival called You Are Here, for which Chicago musicians perform in a maze (sans maize) packed with projections, sculptures, light displays, and "time-based arts events," whatever those are. The fest runs Thursday through Sunday for the next three weeks, with different acts each night. Bruce Lamont (Corrections House, Bloodiest) and the trio of Dan Bitney, LeRoy Bach, and Anton Hatwich play Thu 5/7; the full schedule is at the Bottle's website. The maze is at 1807 S. Allport, in a basement garage under Thalia Hall.  v

Got a tip? Tweet @Gossip_Wolf or e-mail gossipwolf@chicagoreader.com.

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