by Marisa Ruiz (@MarisaVictoria)
The striking baritone of Matt Berninger’s voice can be so haunting that even Game of Thrones wanted to tap its dramatic flair. Enchanting timbre aside, Berninger’s lyrics too, so often carry a dark and poetic eloquence that has become a signature quirk of this act of five out of Cincinnati. Together since 1999, the band just released Trouble Will Find Me – the title of which comes from a lyric in the compilation’s “Sea of Love” (“If I stay here, trouble will find me”.) This much anticipated follow-up to the widely acclaimed 2010 release, High Violet, is already generating buzz and admiration from fans of The National across the globe. At the time of this post, the official video for the record’s first single, “Demons“, has already amassed more than a million views.
It shouldn’t be missed that among the talk of darkness, “Demons” and Game of Thrones, there’s more depth and range in subject matter than may first meet the ear. While the word “somber” is used to describe this band’s music as often as “trashy” is used to describe Ke$ha’s image, a closer listen reveals stark romantic confessions and moments of hopeful clarity. Granted, some of the passionate declarations may be dipped in mud a little bit – “Your love is such a swamp. You’re the only thing I want” – but what’s real love if not a little messy, right? Track “Don’t Swallow the Cap” offers existential commentary and a genius subtle nod to The Beatles and Nirvana in the lyrics.
No doubt, a large part of the intrigue surrounding this band is the contrast between Berninger’s oft restrained demeanor and the apparent bottomless well of gentle fire burning within his core as he casually commands the stage. Fascination with the frontman aside, strip away his vocals and you would still have remarkable examples of instrumental mastery. Both the Dessner and Devendorf brothers artfully craft songs that can capture anything from mourning to magnificence – and perhaps the hook is that despite how far those two sentiments seem to be from each other; you may not be sure which one you’re feeling. You just know that their music can somehow leave you with the sense that you’ve had a meaningful conversation without needing to speak a word.
The National plays Lollapalooza on Saturday, August 3rd at 6:00 on the Red Bull Sound Select Stage.
Add The National to your custom Lollapalooza schedule.
by Marisa Ruiz (@MarisaVictoria)
Ah yes, St. Lucia sounds like a lovely place to go, doesn’t it? Who doesn’t like the image of a gorgeous and breezy Caribbean island that just beckons you closer? Maybe that’s exactly how the one-man-band behind St. Lucia, Jean-Philip Grobler, wanted people to feel when they heard the name of his rising synth-pop act. It’s easy to say yes to a tropical getaway and it’s just as effortless to welcome the catchy and energizing soundscapes from this well-traveled South African gent. Having already opened up for starry-eyed dance music superstar Ellie Goulding and indie-pop darlings Two Door Cinema Club, he’s an act well on the way to great exposure.
With it’s airy groove, breakout single “All Eyes on You” is as addictive as ice cream in the summer; and the track “September” is a great example of St. Lucia’s forward-thinking dance pop. With a full-length debut album in the works with Columbia Records, fest goers will have the chance to enjoy this act’s refreshing vibe when Grobler showcases his dance-worthy setlist in Grant Park. Bring one of those little fans that sprinkles mist on your face, close your eyes and let St. Lucia’s atmospheric sound transport you to an island of dreamy and sparkly synth.
St. Lucia plays Lollapalooza on Saturday, August 3rd at 2:15 on the Grove Stage.
Add St. Lucia to your custom Lollapalooza line-up.
by Marisa Ruiz (@MarisaVictoria)
There’s just not enough super happy and fun going around, no-wut-ah-mean? You now have the chance to take control of your personal SHF factor! Come enjoy danceable feel-good rock tunes at The Super Happy Fun Club’s CD release show at Lincoln Hall on Saturday, May 18th. If happiness and fun isn’t enough to get you out to this show (you robot!) then I give you more reasons to make the case:
1. The band’s prior EP was called Go Fun Yourself and their follow-up new release is appropriately called All Funned Up!
2. Check out their latest video for “Way Back” (The Conflict) which was filmed at Bottom Lounge. A great track that showcases singer Stubhy Pandav’s airwave-friendly voice and the entire band’s mad energetic stage presence. (You can always count on guitarist Phil Kosch for photo-worthy hair thrashing!)
3. The band is essentially a super-group of talent from a variety of bands Chicago music lovers may recognize (Lucky Boys Confusion, Treaty of Paris, The Insecurities and more) ALSO, check out that animated logo on their website and tell me that cloud isn’t just… killer!
Frontman Pandav shares insight on the making of this new release. “We got to really come together on this record musically and develop our sound as a band,” he says. “This is a cohesive record about getting through a miserable time but finding hope after hitting rock bottom. I hope everyone that’s been through a hard time can find some strength in these songs and sing and scream along with us triumphantly!” Want to be part of all this musically-awesome triumph? Show info below!
Saturday, May 18th — Lincoln Hall — 17+ show –Doors at 8PM / Show at 9PM — Bury Me In Lights and Ryan Powers & The Secret Weapons are openers — Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door
Super Happy Fun Club will be on at 10:50 PM
Get your tickets here!
Chug a RedBull tall-boy, devour a bag of the high-sugar candy of choice and get ready to jump, sing along and get All Funned Up!
Recently, I had the fortune of returning to a favorite bar of mine- a bar my friends and I have been going to for over 5 years. This bar also is home to the best after work party in Chicago. Each Friday from 7-11 Lincoln Park’s Duffy’s (420 1/2 W Diversey) offers a Fridays After Work wristband deal for $20. The cost not only covers unlimited draft beers and well drinks, but it also includes a buffet of sliders, quesadillas, and other bar food. I took some time talking to the regulars to see what drew them to Duffy’s that evening.
I first spoke to a woman in her 20s named Andrea. She told me she was drinking a draft of Lagunitas India Pale Ale (6.2% ABV) because it’s delicious and included in the package. She came out to the bar that evening for the Fridays After Work package and said that she had been coming to Duffy’s for over a year. “It’s a good deal,” she told me. “There’s always a great crowd and good music for the dance floor.”
I looked around the crowded bar and tried to decide the next person to interview when Andrea’s friend, Shawna, returned from the bar with a drink in hand. She explained that she was drinking vodka cranberry because it is a low carb alternative to beer. Like Andrea, she had been going to Duffy’s on Fridays for over a year. “I live in the neighborhood and the main draw this bar has on Fridays is the $20 wristband deal.”
I thanked Andrea and Shawna for their time and went to return to my friends to continue enjoying the evening. You won’t find a better deal than Fridays After Work at Duffy’s. There’s a great crowd, an unbelievable deal and unbeatable times. We go there fairly often and I hope to see you there!!
Do you have a favorite Friday night drink package in Chicago? Let me know in the comments!!
by Junu Phillips (@bopcitybeats)
Not sure when we went from homies sippin’ sizzurp to seeing skinny jeans on the norm, but hip hop is a genre that seems to have lost its way. Sometimes I wish present day “rappers” would just go away. Thirty hype men on stage, all winking at each other – and you can’t even find the emcee?!? Every once in awhile though, a rose will rise from the concrete. Someone who stands tall. Someone who is shameless. Someone who instead of walking around the puddles in the street, they stomp right through that bitch. I give you Danny Brown. A 31-year-old cat out of Detroit whose recent success is almost as amazing as the fact that he’s lived to tell it. In and out of jail for years – this is a true story of struggle. Genuine and authentic to the bone. You can smell it on him… and the fans know it, too. His vibe tends to be rather polarizing; definitely hate-it or love-it music. That said, his followers under the “love-it” column were ever present at his April 24th Bottom Lounge gig in Chicago.
If there is anything that can be said about Danny Brown, it’s that he’s unique. Perhaps the weirdest, craziest, most amusing hip hop artist since the late Ol’ Dirty Bastard. A diverse, restless and sold-out crowd tirelessly chanted his name before he hit the stage. As soon as he stepped up in front of the crowd, the placed started to roar. Booze and water flew in the air as Danny bopped up and down, afro dripped with sweat, Peace symbol pointed to the sky and tongue sticking out. He worked the crowd hard (with NO hype man) and they were loving every minute. They were rowdy, jumping on and off stage, shirts flying through the air. Oh, and these fans seemed to know EVERY SONG. Like, all of them. It was unreal. Every time the crowd would take over a song, Danny would just smile with his huge grin, soaking it all up. His high pitch voice is off-key and scratchy – yet it’s part of the experience. He would pause in between songs and spout off, “wHat’s Up cHiCaGO?!?!” (He somehow sounds just how that last quote looks).
The dude has mad energy and incredible stage presence. You can tell that he’s older than a lot of young bucks in the game now by some of his choices. (Coincidentally, the name of his new record that drops later this year is called OLD!)When you are 30+, you aren’t barking at girls the whole show. You don’t have all your boys on stage with you. It was just him and the fans; playful and funny, smiling and laughing – all night long. Words straight from our boy’s mouth, “This ain’t no rap show. It’s a party!” Yeah, no doubt. There were so many blunts being passed around, I thought I was at a dispensary in Boulder.
Hats off to you, Danny Brown. For a school night, it was well worth the little sleep that would follow.