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Sheila Brody – MISSISSIPPI EP

August 19th, 2014
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Elements of Style

Motown crooner Sheila Brody is one of those surprisingly unsung talents whose soulful vocals make her a great backup singer as well as a standalone artist. Her own “Twenty Feet from Stardom” moment came when she joined George Clinton’s Brides of Funkenstein. Clinton helped hone Brody’s talent and vary it to the point that she set out for the dance floor, crafting groove-inducing hits at home and abroad by way of two very distinct aliases. Now that Brody’s assuming her real name, she’s melding the two worlds of soul and dance together with her Mississippi EP. Read more…

By April Siese Posted in Reviews

The Black Angels – Clear Lake Forest

July 26th, 2014
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The Right Track

The EP may be the perfect format for the Black Angels. Whereas previous release, Indigo Meadow, was drawn out and uninspired, Clear Forest Lake is punchy and immediately draws you in. This is the Black Angels name-checking their favorite psychedelic acts as much as it is the quintet forging their own ’60s-inspired path. Read more…

By April Siese Posted in Reviews

Bleachers – Strange Desire

July 22nd, 2014
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Act of Self

Bleachers mastermind Jack Antonoff is most definitely going through some shit. It’s the type of shit that’s influenced by not one particular event, but an amalgamation of things that have helped shape his identity and hone his songwriting. It’s part of what makes him a versatile lyricist with vocal finesse to match. Read more…

By April Siese Posted in Reviews

Pitchfork Music Festival 2014, Day 3

July 21st, 2014
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After a full weekend of Pitchfork Music Festival, one thing has become fully apparent; women rule the festival circuit. Though Kendrick Lamar was inspired and gave one of the far better performances of his lengthy festival run, it was Grimes who took home the flowery festival crown. Watching a one-person show can get pretty old really fast, though it’s rather impressive to see one person able to hold the fort down musically. Grimes has grown exponentially as an artist and an entertainer. Though flanked by two dancers, it was evident that she could more than handle covering the stage on her own aesthetically. Pitchfork’s live stream cameras presumably had a ball capturing fans jumping just as high as the pop-savvy producer as she danced between synths and modulators, leaning in close to push the instruments even further as a fan cooled Grimes from what was shaping up to be an act of aerobics. Read more…

By April Siese Posted in Reviews, Show Reviews

Pitchfork Music Festival 2014, Day 2

July 20th, 2014
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The second day of Pitchfork Music Festival made a surprising case against a lack of stage conflict. As fans packed in quite tightly for a mid-afternoon tUnE-yArDs set, it was pretty clear that those unwilling to brave a crowd would be better off grabbing the scant free items offered towards the outskirts of Union Park. Like the many festivals that fall before and after it during this long summer festival season, Pitchfork offers free bandanas and totes, twinkies, popsicles and even a bit of Chipotle if you can brave the VIP line. Endurance is everything and it’s far easier to stick it out surrounded by strangers when your soundtrack happens to be songstress Merrill Garbus. Read more…

By April Siese Posted in Reviews, Show Reviews

Pitchfork Music Festival 2014, Day 1

July 19th, 2014
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The 10th annual Pitchfork Music Festival stands as one of the few Chicago festivals that celebrates the city as much as it celebrates its hyper-curated lineup. Each stage offers a different facet of contemporary music with minimal conflict, so you’ve got as good of a chance of finding your niche stage as you do discovering an off the beaten path artist that vibes just as well with Beck as they do with Factory Floor. Add to that a vinyl marketplace, the fine offerings of Goose Island Brewery and a surprisingly affordable spread of food that even includes a mini Whole Foods Market with fresh fruit and you’ve almost got yourself a small township linked primarily by the love music and all that is quality. Read more…

By April Siese Posted in Reviews, Show Reviews

Kestrels – The Moon is Shining Our Way

July 9th, 2014
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Whittling Down

Paging through the massive amounts of press that primarily hype and very rarely shed any insight into Nova Scotia act Kestrels would lead you to believe that the band had let its own hype get away from their actual recordings. A listen of their latest recorded effort, The Moon is Shining Our Way, only further muddies those waters. The band so explicitly draws on allegedly ’90s-only influences that it’s hard to parse what’s imitation and what’s innovation. The brief EP begins with “Eternal and Debased”, a track that very well could be a sly nod to the Pixies given its name. Read more…

By April Siese Posted in Reviews

Umphrey’s McGee – Similar Skin

June 13th, 2014
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Tight Retrospective

Umphrey’s McGee could not have picked a better time to release their eighth LP, Similar Skin. After years of literally playing all night at perhaps the best festival for jamming in existence, Bonnaroo, the band will be taking the main stage. Now they’ve got a few new tunes to really get the fans going. With Similar Skin, that’s exactly the modus operandi of Umphrey’s McGee. Read more…

By April Siese Posted in Reviews ,

Peter Murphy – Lion

June 7th, 2014
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Innovative Improvisation

Legendary Bauhaus frontman Peter Murphy looks to his tenth solo album with the type of experimental fervor typically reserved for artists half his age and that’s a good thing. Lion shirks its regal title with semi-improvised pieces that are fast, loose and moody. Opener and first single “Hang Up” rushes into your ears riding waves of fuzz as heavy percussion swings between Murphy’s signature moody vocals. By the first chorus, you feel as if you’ve boarded a vessel headed straight to hell. Of course, it’s a meandering ride towards the underworld, touching on scenes of failed redemption throughout Lion’s spacious eleven tracks. Read more…

By April Siese Posted in Reviews ,

moe. – No Guts, No Glory

May 31st, 2014
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Lengthy Consistency

Jam band stalwarts moe. have essentially created a retrospect of an album. No Guts, No Glory packs a punch, though the blow’s to be expected. The album that ultimately summarizes moe.’s quarter of a century of existence is a showcase of all that they’re capable of. Though it’s not the most original of material, it’s still a solidly produced effort by any means. Opener “Annihilation Blues” is a power chord-heavy number a la Bad Company, its harmonies ever so slight. It is within those more subtle moments that the listener is reminded that this was originally intended to be an acoustic album. Read more…

By April Siese Posted in Reviews ,