Dua Lipa Announces Self-Titled North American Tour

Evan Hazlett | September 2017

Releasing her self-titled debut album in early June, along with a 17-track deluxe album, Dua Lipa has shown this is only the beginning of her musical career. With strong vocals and funky drum beats, this album truly showcases her passion for music. I found it hard to stand still while listening to the album. Every song, from the upbeat “Hotter Than Hell,” to the ballad “Homesick” comes with a sense of drive and power.

Dua_Lipa_(album).png

A few songs on the album showcase the artist’s devotion to her faith. “Genesis” and “Garden” both contain biblical references. I think adding these spiritual touches really showcase that this album is an expression of herself. That’s one thing listeners will always appreciate, whether they are religious or not.

Dua Lipa spent this past summer playing festivals and leaving fans anticipating a tour announcement. Now, near the end of festival season, the waiting is over. On September 12th, Dua Lipa announced her self-titled North American Tour. Dates start in late November and end late February. This time frame appears long but she is taking a two-month break starting in December. Moreover, her “Hotter Than Hell” European tour in October may have effected these dates.

Dua Lipa has been known to surprise fans. Whether it be joining Bruno Mars or Coldplay on tour, Dua Lipa keeps us on our toes. Fans can expect much of this on her self-titled tour. I have no doubts she will bring her powerful attitude to the stage, in both the production and performance. When I spoke to fans who have seen Dua Lipa in concert, they all said similar things. One fan had very passionate words for Dua and told me, “She makes the stage her own, and shows you that being confident and having fun is really what her concerts are about.”

 I look forward to seeing her embracing, confident and electric album come alive. Tickets and a full list of dates can be found HERE. If you’re in the Chicago area be sure to check her out at the House of Blues on November 26th , it’s going to be quite a show!

df19feb36e8952de4eaa00fb6a4b39e8.jpg

FRANK IERO & 'THE PATIENTS' - Keep The Music Coming

Alicia Maciel | Monday, September 11, 2017

On September 22, FRANK IERO and the PATIENCE are releasing an EP entitled "Keep The Coffins Coming" through BMG/Vagrant Records. 

Keep The Coffins Coming EP artwork

Keep The Coffins Coming EP artwork

Bridging a gap between Stomachaches and Parachutes, the 4 soon-to-be-heard tracks were recorded with none other than Steve Albini - legend that's worked with Nirvana, Pixies, and even PJ Harvey!

Frank fulfilled his 11 year old self's dream of recording with Steve. He drove up to Chicago for the 3 free days in Steve's hectic schedule and recorded in a huge firehouse with none other than some of his close friends. With both Frank and Evan Nestor playing guitar and vocals while Matt Olsson keeps their rhythm intact, "Keep The Coffins Coming" will keep fans on their toes.

Playing Riot Fest last year, touring nonstop, and heading on even more tours with bands such as Descendents, Thursday, & PUP - you can find tickets here for the dates below. 

FRANK IERO and the PATIENCE Tour Dates:
11/17 – Cleveland, OH @ House of Blues *
11/18 – Grand Rapids, MI @ 20 Monroe Live *
12/01 – Baltimore, MD @ Rams Head Live! *
12/28 – Huntington, NY @ The Paramount **
12/29 – Worcester, MA @ The Palladium **
12/30 – Sayreville, NJ @ Starland Ballroom **

* w/ Descendents
** w/ Thursday & PUP

Remo Drive From The Rearview Mirror

 Alicia Maciel | August 30, 2017

Hailing from Minnesota as an independent alternative rock band, Remo Drive  is impressing emo-rival enthusiasts with their self-debut “Greatest Hits” and they’re not losing momentum any time soon.

Remo Drive opening Hippo Campus' Lollapalooza Aftershow Wednesday, August 2, 2017.  

Remo Drive opening Hippo Campus' Lollapalooza Aftershow Wednesday, August 2, 2017.  

 

“Greatest Hits”  deters from their raw, emo-punk inspired “Demos 2014” and pushes them toward the broad category of alternative rock. In doing so, Remo Drive’s style is appealing to practically any listener as subtle moments of post-punk and emotional music bring high, aggressive energy to the tracks - grasping attention easily. 

 

From hardly being known at the beginning of this year to their vinyl pre orders selling out and gaining a cult following, who knows what to have other than high expectations for Remo Drive.

 

This is a preview piece.  Find the whole article here.

Remo Drive headlining Subterranean Tuesday, August 22, 2017.  

Remo Drive headlining Subterranean Tuesday, August 22, 2017.  

Kesha is Changing the Conversation about Assault

Cody Corrall | July 2017

This is an installment of Eff Your Boys Club, a bi-weekly column highlighting and discussing the marginalized voices in music.

CONTENT WARNING: This piece discusses sexual assault.

Kesha is turning over a new leaf. Formerly known as “Ke$ha”, the hot mess, party-girl of pop music, Kesha Rose has changed her sound and style dramatically with her newest single “Praying.”

The single is the first look at Kesha’s upcoming album Rainbow, which will be her first studio album since Warrior in 2012. It is set to be released on August 11th of this year, and will feature appearances from Dolly Parton and Eagles of Death Metal.

Kesha’s absence has been mainly due to an ongoing lawsuit with her producer Dr. Luke. Kesha was signed to Dr. Luke’s label Kemosabe Records, a subsidiary of Sony Music Entertainment, when she was 18 years old. Dr. Luke produced both of her albums, Tik Tok and Warrior, as well as her single with Pitbull, “Timber”.

 

In October 2014, Kesha filed a civil suit against Dr. Luke for sexually abusing her “to the point where [she] nearly lost her life.” She also claimed physical and emotional abuse since the start of their professional partnership. The suit stated that Dr. Luke had drugged her on two occasions and raped her. Dr. Luke denied any claims of abuse, and proceeded to sue Kesha and her mother, Pebe Sebert, for defamation and wanting to get out of her multi-album contract.

"All I ever wanted was to be able to make music without being afraid, scared, or abused," Kesha said in a statement. "This case has never been about a renegotiation of my record contract — it was never about getting a bigger, or a better, deal. This is about being free from my abuser. I would be willing to work with Sony if they do the right thing and break all ties that bind me to my abuser."

Over the three years of this lawsuit, fans and pop stars alike have been showing solidarity to Kesha. #FreeKesha became a trending topic, Taylor Swift donated $250,000 for her legal troubles, and fellow pop stars like Adele and Lady Gaga commended Kesha for her bravery.

Kesha dropped the suit in 2016 to focus on her music. After the release of Rainbow, which is under Kemosabe Records and Sony Entertainment, Kesha will have to make two more albums with Dr. Luke to complete their contract. However, since the ongoing legal battles, Dr. Luke’s contract with Sony has expired and he is no longer the CEO of Kemosabe Records as of April 27th, 2017. It’s hard to say what the future of Kesha will be with Dr. Luke or Kemosabe Records due to their messy legal past.

Kesha released the single “Praying” on July 6, 2017, along with a powerful music video. The song is high on emotions while also showcasing Kesha’s raw vocal talent. The video starts off with a monologue of her unresolved feelings from the past few years. “Why if there is a God a whatever, something, somewhere. Why have I been abandoned by everyone and everything I have ever known?”

The Love-Inns Refuse to Fit in Your Box

Cody Corrall | July 2017

This is an installment of Eff Your Boys Club, a bi-weekly column highlighting and discussing the marginalized voices in music.

The Love-Inns are not a girl band; they are an elaborate collective of individuals who want to make good punk music, all while challenging the boys club mentality that comes with the genre. The Love-Inns are Ariela Barer (she/her) on bass, vocals and sometimes drums, Eden Hain (they/them) on guitar and vocals, and Mack Kenny (he/him) on drums. And they make some damn good music.

The Love-Inns comes from the “love-ins” of the 1960s, coined by Peter Bergman. They acted as peaceful gatherings and protests against social and environmental issues in the political counterculture of the 1960s. The Love-Inns are that ideology realized. They act as a safe space in a music scene that has turned pretty ugly by staying true to their roots and embracing the liberation that can come from punk music.

“Contrary to popular belief, true punk isn't about being mean to people even if it stems from anger, it's about giving a voice to those who don't have one,” the band said on their Instagram. “So, there's no room for discrimination in punk, got it?”

Their debut album “SPLIT LIP” is the culmination of the past two years of their work as a band, and it’s one of the best debut albums to come out this year. In 10 short tracks, the LA based group takes the listener on a ride with confessional lyrics about fuckboys, long lost lovers and growing up, complimented by punk melodies and charming sometimes singing, sometimes screaming vocals.

The lo-fi music video for their title single “Split Lip,” follows the band playing a house show and dealing with punk boys who compare every band not composed of straight cis men to Girlpool. It breaks out into a mosh by the pool and a glitter-infused fist fight. “I'll split my lip open so you can taste my night/I'll black your eyes so yours is just as bad as mine.”

One of the album's highlights is a 90 second femme anthem called “Don’t Hit on Me.” It fits right into a mosh at a loud DIY show but with booming lyrics about sexism and not taking any shit. “Don’t fight for my honor cause my honor fights back/I won’t take shit from a guy who can’t take shit from a girl.”

The second to last track “Asthma,” is where the confessional, diary entry-esque lyricism shines. “Can you tell me that I’m pretty if I don’t cry?/Do you drink before you drive because you want to die?/You’ll always be my favorite color/Years from now when we don’t speak to each other.” It’s easy to fall in a lyrical rut with punk music. Most of the time, it’s the intricate guitar and bass melodies that set punk bands apart. The Love-Inns have managed to make every song unique, not just with the bass lines, but also with the honesty and vulnerability in their lyrics. They’ve nearly perfected the craft of punk, while adding some much-needed perspectives to the genre, in just their first album.

The Love-Inns describe themselves as “loud and very good.” Both of these are massive understatements.

Download SPLIT LIP on Bandcamp.

SZA’s Comeback Proves It’s Okay to Not be in “Ctrl”

Cody Corrall | June 2017

This is an installment of Eff Your Boys Club, a bi-weekly column highlighting and discussing the marginalized voices in music.

SZA is back with a vengeance. The 26-year-old R&B singer shocked the world in 2012 with her debut project, See.SZA.Run, which she put together in nearly a night. Since then, she released another EP, S, which made her the first and only woman under the Top Dawg Entertainment record label, which boasts talents like Kendrick Lamar and ScHoolboy Q. To this day she is the only woman and R&B artist on the label.

In 2014, SZA released her third EP, Z, which featured the voices of Chance the Rapper and fellow TDE artist Isaiah Rashad. During that year she lent her ethereal, honey-like melodies to other artists with a feature on Rihanna’s “Consideration,” as well as writing credits on Beyonce and Nicki Minaj’s “Feeling Myself.”

It’s been three years since the release of Z, and fans have been waiting desperately for something new from SZA: something like Ctrl.

Ctrl is SZA’s first full-length album, and while it stays true to the values of her previous work, it is clear that she has evolved as an artist in her absence. She teased her newest project, originally called A, to be released in the summer of 2016, but she held off to make sure it was perfect.

Ctrl is nothing short of a triumph. It is one of this year’s most anticipated releases, and it does not disappoint. Diehard fans as well as first time listeners can find joy and desire in her modern, disconnected soliloquies.

SZA has invented her own genre: two parts R&B, one part chillwave, with dashes of Billie Holiday, Björk, and Toro y Moi. While her sound is nothing short of unique, what puts Ctrl above the rest is her undying desire, and how beautifully it manifests in each track.

Throughout the album, there’s never a sense of contentment or assurance. She’s still very much navigating life and love in all of its ups and downs. She’s unsure of the weight she puts on her own feelings, if they cloud her judgement, if she loves too much.

It would be a disservice to say that Ctrl is just about relationships, but that just speaks to how high SZA prioritizes human connection and intimacy. She spends most of the album conflicted, with lines like “why you bothering me when you know you don’t want me” and “long as we got love” appearing right next to each other in her duet with Travis Scott titled “Love Galore.” In “Broken Clocks,” the listener is brought back to SZA’s old flames, as her lyrics are underscored by voices of men, while she questions herself and her past relationships.

But, with her various uncertainties comes acceptance. SZA is a self-proclaimed perfectionist, and she’s coming to terms with the fact that there are some things out of her control. Her mother is a large component of this album, and she is dealing with control in the same way SZA is.

Her mother starts the opening song, “Supermodel,” with a fear of losing control, and sets the tone for the rest of the album. Her nurturing voice navigates several songs with snippets of wisdom, which mirror SZA’s lyricism.

In the last song, “20 Something”, SZA bares her soul and pauses life for a moment to take it all in. “God bless the 20 somethings.” Amidst all the chaos and the things she can’t change, she can hope to be at a better place by the end of it all.

Ctrl is about the contradictions of life. She struggles with the things she can’t control, but she’s learning to accept it. It’s very much a “fake it to you make it” prayer disguised in an experimental R&B masterpiece.

 

 

Carly Rae Jepsen and the Power of Feelings

Cody Corrall | June 2017

This is another installment of Eff Your Boys Club, a bi-weekly column highlighting and discussing the marginalized voices in music.

Carly Rae Jepsen is the unsung hero of pop music. When the Canadian-born singer took over the charts with “Call Me Maybe” in 2012, it was hard to take her seriously. She was just another young pop star singing about a crush, and there was a lot of competition, especially with the rise of Taylor Swift. The hype following “Call Me Maybe” was real. It became song of the summer and was nominated for a GRAMMY, but her sophomore album Kiss was seen as a failure in comparison. Following the release of her third studio album, Emotion, and later the EP, Emotion Side B, critics and fans alike began to see the unadulterated star power of Carly Rae Jepsen.

Jepsen’s command of pop music is even more apparent with the release of her newest single, “Cut to the Feeling”. Jepsen wrote over 250 songs for Emotion, with the help of pop legends Tegan and Sara, Vampire Weekend’s Rostam Batmanglij, Ariel Rechtshaid, and Hynes. The single is one of the previously unreleased songs, and will be featured on the soundtrack for the Canadian animated film Leap!

“Cut to the Feeling” is the culmination of Jepsen’s evolution as an artist. The single is reminiscent of her love for 80s pop and features an infectious chorus that hits less than a minute into the song. It’s an obvious contender for song of the summer, and listeners are already calling it a triumph. But, what really sets Jepsen apart from other pop stars is her focus on feelings and emotions.

Throughout Emotion and Emotion Side B, Jepsen doesn’t stray away from the pop cliches that originally shaped her career--she embraces them. Her songs are about crushes and falling in love, but instead of the focus being on the guy, it’s on the experience of it all. There’s power in feelings and emotions and experiencing life through rose colored glasses, and vulnerability isn’t something to be ashamed of. Life isn’t just about the people and the places, sometimes it’s good to sit in the energy of the moment. “Cut to the Feeling” puts this idea in full force; she tells the listener what she wants and she goes on and gets it, and doesn’t miss an opportunity to take them along for the ride.

Pop is often stigmatized as a genre because of its monetary power in the industry. People don’t take it as seriously because it’s a moneymaker, and there’s less room for individuality and artistry within that mold. Jepsen is the first pop star in a long while to challenge that mold. Her authenticity is refreshing. She has the ability to turn pop on its head while still producing the vibrant, catchy songs people crave.

 

Pop music has the ability to be honest, vulnerable and commercially successful. “Cut to the Feeling” reminds the public that pop songs can be whimsical mirrors into their own experiences, and Jepsen is changing the industry one effervescent single at a time.

WTF: Death of The King

Emily Cosgrove | May 2017

For my first installment of WTF, there was one specific person that I wanted to write about: the one, the only, the KING—Elvis Presley! I’ve had a love for Elvis from a really young age. In fact, looking back, I think my love for Elvis is what initially got me into music. WI was a little girl I owned all of his movies on VHS and would make my dad burn me copies of his greatest hits CDs (remember the days of burning CDs?!).

Elvis is such an iconic character who defined an era and changed music indefinitely. Naturally, there are BOUND to be tons of myths, rumors, and legends about him. I cannot possibly fit all of them into one article, but I am going to retell and (attempt to) debunk two of them, both surrounding his death.

First of all, how and why did Elvis die? A pretty popular rumor that has been circling around for ages is that he died on the toilet. I remember hearing this as a little kid. Of course I thought it was weird and borderline silly. Until writing this piece, I hadn’t actually thought much about the validity of this rumor, so I decided to delve into it.

Almost all sources agree on one key fact: on August 16th, 1977, Elvis Presley suddenly fell to the bathroom floor in his mansion, known as Graceland. He was pronounced dead later in the day after he was brought to a hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. On his death certificate, it was declared he died from a heart attack.

The “dying on the toilet” rumor is easy to debunk--it most likely just came from the fact that Elvis dropped to the floor in his bathroom. But exactly gave him the heart attack that left him dead on the floor?

According to an article about celebrities and substance abuse from the US National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health, a toxicology report was ran after his death which revealed that he had 14 drugs in his system, many of which were in a toxic amount (most notably codeine, which was at ten times the regular therapeutic level).

This fact alone, without question, makes it obvious that Elvis’s death was most likely from a drug overdose. Was it accidental? It’s hard to say. It was no secret that in the last few years of his life, Elvis was not in the best physical or mental state. His poor health paired with a decline in his career undoubtedly had some affect on his well-being.

I am not going to speculate on whether his death was accidental or not. Either way, we lost an iconic figure who changed entertainment forever--but the strange thing is that the story doesn’t simply end there.

There are many people who believe that Elvis never died at all. The people who hold this belief swear that Elvis faked his own death and is in hiding. I know that most of you are probably thinking “wtf?!” (get it? haha). But really: why would a man who seemingly had it all—wealth, fame, an established career—end it so abruptly, just to go out in hiding, to never be heard from again?

It does sound strange at first, but hear me out. As we already discussed, Elvis’s career was declining. He was in poor health and was not getting very much praise--at least as not as much as he used to. He was sort of…a has-been. In the last few years of his life, popular music had changed a lot. Disco, glam rock, and early-iterations of garage and punk rock were starting to take over. Nobody really cared about his version of rock and roll.

Another thing is that fame really catches up with people. Of course, celebrities live luxurious lifestyles, but from all the celebrity biographies I read and shows I watch, I assume that it does get old after a while. It starts to wear down on a person.

I am not saying whether I believe Elvis faked his own death or not--I’ll leave that up to you to decide. But I do want to provide you with some awesome eyewitness accounts from people who believe that Elvis is still alive.

Many of these people not only believe he is still walking the earth, but they believe they have seen him. That’s right: an Elvis sighting. Just like a Sasquatch or Loch Ness Monster sighting, except with a supposedly deceased famous singer. Totally normal.

There are so many accounts it is actually insane. In fact, the official website of Graceland actually has a whole section dedicated to Elvis sightings. If you search YouTube, you will find hundreds of videos of supposed “Elvis sightings”. There is even an organization called the Elvis Sighting Society.

I don’t want to bore you with a million accounts; most of them are pretty much the same. A person (usually in a remote, small town) spots someone who looks like Elvis, said-Elvis notices he is being watched, and then makes a suspicious exit. Some of these sightings are on film, and some are just eyewitness reports.

I do want to leave you with a link to what is arguably the cheesiest-yet-most-entertaining portrayal of an Elvis Presley sighting I have ever seen. It is from a 1992 television show called Live Special: The Elvis Conspiracy. It features a lot of low-quality, questionable Elvis sightings, and it is a must-watch! (here is the link to the first part here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3rlV1x-MDw).

Now, do I believe Elvis is still around, hiding from the limelight under a different name? I’m not so sure. But at the end of the day, I think it would be pretty badass for him to just peace out and make everyone question it for years to come.

In the end, no matter what happened to Elvis, he is an iconic figure that I appreciate immensely. He had a life that most of us could never dream of having, and he is a legend who deserves the utmost respect.

Sources used:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2760168/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/garry-rodgers/elvis-presleys-death-what_1_b_9157820.html

Eff Your Boys Club: The Swift Death of PWR BTTM

Cody Corrall | May 2017

This is the first installment of Eff Your Boys Club, a bi-weekly column highlighting and discussing the marginalized voices in music.

Content warning: This piece discusses sexual assault and LGBTQ violence.

 

PWR BTTM was on the path to stardom. The transfeminine punk band from Massachusetts gained notoriety this past year for promoting unapologetic self-expression with the help of body glitter and inclusive lyricism. Their second studio album Pageant was locked and loaded to skyrocket their already growing career, until an alleged history of sexual assault was unearthed online.

Ben “Bean” Hopkins, one half of the gender-variant punk duo, was accused of being a “known sexual predator” among fellow queer fans at shows. The post was originally posted in the DIY Chicago Facebook group and was quickly shared all over social media, forcing Ben and fellow band member, Liv Bruce, to release a public statement in response to the allegations.

“Unfortunately we live in a culture which trivializes and normalizes violations of consent. There are people who have violated others’ consent and do not know. Ben has not been contacted by any survivor(s) of abuse. These allegations are shocking to us and we take them very seriously. Further, the alleged behavior is not representative of who Ben is and the manner in which they try to conduct themselves,” said the statement.

The band went on to set up a third party email account that survivors could contact and discuss their experiences without directly communicating with Hopkins, which many fans had issues with. One of the survivors allegedly reached out to Bruce about Hopkins’ history of assault months before the allegations were made public, and was met with no plans for action or admittance to assault.

LGBTQ people face alarming rates of sexual based violence; as many as 44 percent of lesbians, 61 percent of bisexual women, and 37 percent of bisexual men experience rape, sexual assault or stalking, according to CDC’s National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey. Because of this, sexual assault allegations are not taken lightly in the queer community.

The LGBTQ fans who felt the most connected to PWR BTTM’s radical queerness were also the quickest to drop them the moment the allegations became public. PWR BTTM no longer signified a safe space for queer youth; they became the exact monsters they were trying to eradicate from the world.

Since the allegations rose, Nnamdi Ogbonnaya and T-Rextasy have dropped out of opening their upcoming summer tour, and several shows have been cancelled. Salty Artist Management, the independent agency that represented PWR BTTM, announced that they were no longer going to be working with them. Polyvinyl Record Company, the label that was set to release Pageant, announced that they are no longer selling or distribute PWR BTTM’s discography. They offered refunds on PWR BTTM products and will be making donations to RAINN to support ending sexual violence, as well as AVP to support ending LGBTQ violence. Father/Daughter Records, the label that released their debut album Ugly Cherries, also stopped associating with the band. As of Monday, May 15, their music is no longer available on iTunes or Apple Music.

The fall of PWR BTTM was a blow to the queer and disenfranchised fans who idolized them. They were symbols of trans-femininity in a very masculine genre, and were getting public recognition outside of their niche. But the loss of a band--no matter how fundamental to a person's sense of identity--doesn’t begin to compare to the suffering these survivors have dealt with, especially from a supposed figurehead of inclusivity and safety.

The willingness of the fans and the industry to side with survivors over the band--who turned out to be something much darker than they led on--is a huge statement. Artists will be held accountable for their actions, and sexual assault will not be tolerated under any circumstances.


Now is a time for queer people to come together. For many, PWR BTTM was a large part in finding their own queerness. But we won’t lose our identities with PWR BTTM. If anything, the LGBTQ community is stronger than PWR BTTM’s inclusive melodies could ever be. PWR BTTM wasn’t the first queer band, and they won’t be the last by any means.

Shop at Reverb

K.P. Peters | May 2017

Reverb is the world’s most popular music gear website. It has been working since 2013 to enable millions of musicians to buy, sell, and learn about equipment. CEO David Kalt started it after getting back into the music industry with the Chicago Music Exchange. While running the Chicago Music Exchange, he found that buying equipment on eBay or Craigslist was a pain. Searching for “Fender” could get you a sick guitar or a car part. After dealing with this frustration, Kalt decided to put his tech and entrepreneurial skills to work by developing Reverb.com. Think of Reverb as a digital thrift store for music equipment. Since starting the company, Reverb has gone from three employees to over one hundred and thirty-five.

As a company, Reverb has made a trend of doubling its sales on an annual basis, and it is expected to reach $1 billion in sales by 2019. I asked Heather Farr, PR and Communications Manager of Reverb, what she thinks is the cause of this overwhelming success. She accredits the success to two things, first being the low fees. Listing something on Reverb is completely free, and once it sells, the company only takes 3.5% of the profit. This significantly low rate allows products to be priced fairly and makes it easy and affordable to shop on Reverb. The second trick to Reverb’s success is the need for it in the marketplace. All musicians are constantly on the prowl for that “perfect sound.” Reverb allows them to buy something, try it out, and sell it back. Farr joked, “I wish I could make money trying lipstick and selling it back.”

Farr also noted a lot of other things that make Reverb stand out from a typical retail supplier. For starters, all customer service representatives at Reverb are musicians. Moreover, being the center of the music product industry allows Reverb to carry more brands than other retailers. Because it is so easy to set up a shop on Reverb, they are able to sell classics like Fender alongside vintage brands and homemade pedals.

For anyone just browsing, Farr recommends checking out the hand-picked collection. Reverb has a team that goes through all the gear and decides how it should be categorized. “We have gear of Led Zeppelin, vintage turntables, and drums and percussion from around the world. Personally, gear of Jack White is my favorite.”

When I asked Farr if she had any advice for college musicians, she kept it simple: “Keep experimenting with things and consider buying used gear, especially if you are just trying things out. There is a lot of great used gear you can get for college kid pricing on Reverb, and it’s easy to sell it back.”

 

MGMT | Mamby On The Beach

Saloni Jaisingh | May 2017

At the end of 2016, MGMT tweeted that they will be “re-dominating” in 2017. With headlining sets all over North America this summer, we can only assume new music is in the near future.

Their unmistakably recognizable songs “Kids” and “Time to Pretend” have categorized this band as psychedelic and their live production, complete with background projections of intense colors and vivid tie-dye, is equally as psychedelic.

One of the festivals MGMT is headlining is right here in Chicago; Mamby On The Beach on June 24th. This is Mamby On The Beach’s third year, with their reputation of relaxed vibes and chill music MGMT’s set will go right in hand with the atmosphere of the beach. They are surely not to be missed.

MGMT at First City Festival – Photo: Luis Rodriguez

MGMT at First City Festival – Photo: Luis Rodriguez

How Green Day Changed My Life

Meghan Boyles | April 2017

When I first found Green Day, I was nearing the end of my sixth grade year. 21st Century Breakdown (the 2009 follow-up to the Grammy award-winning album American Idiot) had just come out. After hearing the album at a friend’s house, I became completely obsessed with it. I would spend hours in front of my family’s chunky Windows XP desktop computer listening to it on YouTube. My obsession only escalated when I received a copy of the album for my 12th birthday two weeks later. Prior to that, my favorite artists included the Jonas Brothers, Aly & AJ, and the cast of American Idol Season 8. I didn’t know what punk was. I barely knew what music was.


21st Century Breakdown appealed to me for a number of reasons. It was unlike anything I had heard before: it was “grown up” and edgy. It tells the story of a teenage couple named Christian and Gloria, who are dealing with the pressures of growing up in the first decade of the 21st century. The album is chock-full of lyrics about “overthrowing the effigy” and political references that I was too young to understand, but felt a strange connection to. After visiting the band’s Wikipedia page, I was surprised to find that I was extremely late to the Green Day party. They had been making music since before I was born, and had already recorded seven albums in addition to 21st Century Breakdown.


The band’s sound has changed over the course of their existence, but each of their albums are (in my opinion) masterpieces in their own way. The fact that the band has consisted of the same three members for almost the entirety of their 31-year-long career is incredible, and something that very few bands can claim. Their first two albums, 39/Smooth (1990) and Kerplunk! (1991) have a more unpolished sound, while their 1994 major label debut, Dookie, is raw yet “radio friendly.” Insomniac (1995) is harder, but its successor, Nimrod (1997), contains the band’s first acoustic hit-- “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life).” Warning (2000) is more folk-influenced. 2004’s American Idiot is a concept album that marked a major stylistic change in the band’s sound, which most fans either love or hate. It spawned a Broadway musical and a second concept album—the one that caused me to find them.


As you can tell, my twelve-year-old self had a lot to catch up on. I spent my seventh grade year listening to Green Day and only Green Day, to the point where I was able to sing almost every line of every song in their discography, complete with guitar noises and air drumming. I had never fallen in love with anything like that before—not another artist, not a book, T.V. series, or even a sport or hobby. I completely immersed myself in Green Day and began to build my identity around them.


I eventually branched out into listening to the bands that Green Day would mention in their interviews— the Ramones, Operation Ivy, Screeching Weasel, and more. I also made friends with fellow Green Day fans who would show me what else they were listening to, which led me to fall down the rabbit hole of music discovery and never return. Right now, I listen to a lot of different artists and do not talk about Green Day nearly as much as I used to, so a lot of people are surprised when I say that they are my favorite band. Over time, Green Day has become less of an interest and more of a personality trait of mine. Not to be cheesy, but it feels as though I have absorbed their music and what it stands for to the point that I consider it a part of me. Although I have fallen in love with plenty of other bands, I have never found another band that makes feel the same way that Green Day did when I first discovered them.
 
To quote Billie Joe Armstrong, “I am Green Day. That is me. That is my life.” I can be into shoegaze or emo revival all I want, but my inner self will probably always want to start fires and overthrow the government like Christian and Gloria from 21st Century Breakdown. I can only hope that one day I will have the chance to meet Green Day and tell them that their music changed my life.

Welcome to WTF

Emily Cosgrove | April 2017

WELCOME, everyone, to my new column—WTF: Urban Legends, Conspiracy Theories, and Unsolved Mysteries in the Music Industry (but I’ll just make it easy and refer to this column as WTF from here on out).

I am so so SO excited to be starting this column. When we were at a Vibe meeting proposing different content for biweekly columns, I immediately knew I wanted to do something related to the spooky and strange. I love urban legends, the paranormal, and anything creepy in general. But this is a music publication!!! How could the creepy and macabre possibly connect with a music blog?!

Well, don’t worry, because I have ENDLESS creativity! So naturally, I came up with writing a column all about the weird, wacky, and WTF in the music industry. Everyone knows those stories, whether it be the “secret messages” that are on Abbey Road when you play it backwards or the fact that some people believe Elvis is still alive and in hiding. There are tons of rumors and legends like these, and there is a ton of weirdness and mystery surrounding music.

Photo from Thebeatles.com

Photo from Thebeatles.com

This is just a little introductory post, but biweekly from here on out I will be featuring a different weird ass story from the music world that will make you say WTF. I have a whole list of subjects I am so excited about! Some you may already know, some will be brand new, but no matter what, you will be amazed.

I promise. Well, maybe not AMAZED, but you will definitely be entertained.

Until then, I’ll see ya next time!!!

Photo from stevesammartino.com

Photo from stevesammartino.com

Record Store Day’s 10th anniversary

Cheridan Sablik | April 2017

2017 marks Record Store Day’s 10th anniversary! Since its inception on April 19th, 2008, Record Store Day has been a staple for record collectors and independent record stores alike. Occurring on the third Saturday of April for the past ten years, Record Store Day has striven to “celebrate and spread the word about the unique culture surrounding nearly 1,400 independently owned record stores in the US and thousands of similar stores internationally” (as stated on its website www.recordstoreday.com).  

Record Store Day helps promote independent record stores that often get lost in the shuffle between big corporations. It is proudly promoted on their website that “We’re dealing with real, live, physical, indie record stores—not online retailers or corporate behemoths”.

Now, let’s look at some of Record Store Day 2017’s Chicago events:

Reckless Records 1379 N. Milwaukee Ave. (Wicker Park) and 3126 N. Broadway (Lakeview)

Never failing to provide us with killer in-store events for Record Store Day, this year, the Wicker Park and Lakeview locations of Reckless Records will both be hosting in-store performances. How could you not be enticed by Chicago punk natives Smoking Popes or a Carpenters cover band?

Wicker Park

Magas                 2 p.m.

Ohmme               3 p.m.

Smoking Popes   4:30 p.m.

Lakeview

CARPENTERSville    2 p.m.

Tal Sounds                 3 p.m.

Poison Arrows            4 p.m.

Bric-a-Brac Records 3156 W. Diversey Ave.

Opening at 8am, Bric-a-Brac will have live bands starting at 2 p.m. Not to mention they’ll have free coffee from Halfwit Roasters, free donuts from the Donut Vault, and vegan pastries from Ash Lemasters. Bric-a-Brac’s neighbors, Lost Lake, will be helping them celebrate as well with live DJs starting at 12 and an RSD exclusive cocktail: the Bric-a-Braquiri.

DJs

Bill Roe

Carrie Weston

Brian Carrizosa

Todd Novak

Bands

Staring Problem (Chi)

Roman Polanski's Baby (Nashville)

Bev Rage & the Drinks (Chi)

Evil Triplet (Austin)

L.I.A.R. (Chi)

Dave’s Records 2604 N. Clark St.

You can always count on Dave to go all out for Record Store Day. On Saturday, Dave’s will open whenever they are ready to go—usually around 9 a.m. but no later than 10 a.m. They will be posting a list of the releases they’ll have for sale, which saves you the ironic heartbreak of waiting hours in line only to find out they never even got that Cure album that already broke your heart. Goodies include free candy and cupcakes, and your receipt from RSD will get you 20% off your next purchase. Stonebelly will be performing at 3 p.m. with more bands to be announced.

Chicago Record Stores Participating in Record Store Day:

(Not all stores will carry all the releases. Be sure to check with stores about certain releases you may be interested in!)

P        Reckless Records: Loop

            H+ Records   

P        Record Breakers      

P        606 Records  

P        Pinwheel Records   

P        Dusty Groove           

            Favorite Records     

P        Permanent Records

P        Shuga Records         

P        Reckless Records: Wicker Park     

P        The Exchange           

P        Kstarke Records      

P        DAVE'S RECORDS      

P        Gramaphone Records        

P        Reckless Records: Broadway        

P        The Exchange           

P        Groovin High, Inc    

P        Logan Hardware      

            Cafe Mustache        

            Wilbilly's      

P        Bric-a-Brac Records & Collectibles          

P        Bucket O'Blood Books & Records 

            Out Of The Past Records    

            Dr Wax           

            Hyde Park Records  

 (P denotes a RSD pledge signed store, which means they have agreed to sell the commercial Record Store Day releases to their physical customers, on Record Store Day; not to gouge them, or hold product back to sell them online).