On May 28th, The Brokedowns and Vacation Bible School will release a split 7” via It’s Alive Records. Each band recorded three new songs with Joe Gac in Elgin, IL, and all songs were mastered by Dave Williams, (of the band Crusades). Check out an exclusive stream of the entire record below.
Restorations are a five-piece band that formed in 2008 and hail from Philadelphia, PA. LP2 is their first album for Side One Dummy and it proves to be a layered and varied record that’s engaging from start to finish. “D” is the first song and it starts with interwoven guitar melodies that give way to a charging rhythm section before the emergence of some hypnotic and dizzying guitar work. Eventually the slightly worn yet assured vocals come in and the listener knows that they’re experiencing something uniquely special. “Let’s Blow Up the Sun” is an exceptional track that demonstrates the band’s understanding of dynamics and restraint. Around the two-minute mark the music quiets to just the singer and one guitar, but soon the rest of the band joins in and spends the duration of the song rockin’ out with reckless abandon. “Civil Inattention” sounds like an amped-up version of The Weakerthans, which is of course a good thing, while “New Old” is the album’s most punk-influenced entry, as well as its catchiest. LP2 concludes with “Adventure Tortoise,” an epic, personal closer that’s six minutes long but remains interesting throughout. Perhaps one of Restorations’ best attributes is the fact that they don’t sound like every other band that’s out there nowadays. They combine a variety of genres with skillful songwriting, resulting in a finished product that’s both distinctive and accessible. Don’t be surprised if you hear a lot more about these guys in the near future.
On April 2nd, Mike Felumlee, (former Smoking Popes and Alkaline Trio drummer) will release his latest solo EP, entitled Adelaide. It contains a total of four songs and was recorded primarily at Backthird Audio in Aurora, IL, as well as at Felumlee’s home. Felumlee played most of the instruments on the recording and handled the vocal responsibilities, but received help from friends Travis Brown, (drums, lead guitar and acoustic guitar) and Brian Birkland, (backing vocals). In the coming weeks, Adelaide will be available on 7” vinyl, (100 translucent blue/100 translucent red) and all copies will be hand numbered. We’re streaming one of the record’s songs below, “Meet Me in November,” and when asked to describe the song, Felumlee said “It’s basically just a love song. The basic message is when times are tough and everything seems like a mess that will never get better, you have someone there for you. It’s about being there for the ones you love when they need you the most.” On Saturday, April 6th, Felumlee will play a release show for the EP at the Penny Road Pub in Barrington, IL. The show starts at 7:00 PM, costs $7 and is 21+. Supporting acts include Lights Over Bridgeport, Sketch Middle and Zion.
With Home, (their third full-length overall and second for Epitaph) Off With Their Heads has managed to mature without compromising what they’re most known for. Singer/guitarist Ryan Young’s gruff and gravely vocal approach is still present, but he’s also perfected a clean singing voice to use when necessary. His lyrics cover familiar topics like alienation and despair, though there’s now a greater sense of hope than ever before. Some of the songs feature slower tempos, which allows for more variation, yet it’s all brought together by producer Bill Stevenson, who creates a sense of energy and rawness throughout the recording. The album begins with “Start Walking,” a raging opener that doesn’t even hit the two-minute mark, but is able to convey some of the record’s central themes, (self-deprecation, angst and isolation). “Nightlife” is one of Home’s catchiest tracks, complete with buzzing guitars, tons of backing vocals and an instantly memorable part where the music stops and Young deadpans, “Never felt worse in my whole life.” “Altar Boy” details Young’s experiences and issues with the Catholic Church, and it’s followed by “Don’t Make Me Go,” one of the album’s most barren and personal songs. The second half of the album builds with speed and aggression, culminating in “Take Me Out,” a shout-along anthem that ends with a cascade of gang vocals. Home contains some of the best songs that OWTH has written to date, as well as some of their most expressive lyrics. Fans of Midwestern punk with an emphasis on sincerity will no doubt find this to be a highly enjoyable record.
Last year, Masked Intruder released their debut album and subsequently took the pop punk world by storm. They take a unique approach with genre, combining ‘50s rock ‘n’ roll with contemporary punk influences, and emphasizing catchy melodies and humorous lyrics. The finished product is well-played, highly addictive and simply a lot of fun. The band recently played Beat Kitchen and we spoke with them before the show about their new record label, what recording the album was like, their upcoming European tour and more. Pictured above from left to right are bassist/singer Yellow, guitarist/singer Green, drummer Red and lead singer/guitarist Blue. Click here to view…
Several months ago, Ground Control opened on the western edge of Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood. It’s owned by the husband and wife duo of Dan Hanaway and Carrie Haase, and fans of Chicago’s punk rock community may recall Hanaway as a member of bands such as; Slapstick, The Broadways, The Honor System, Ratasucia and more. Ground Control’s menu is entirely meatless, though they don’t necessarily go out of their way to promote themselves as a vegetarian restaurant. Many of their entrees feature tofu or seitan, and they serve a variety of salads, sandwiches and pastas, plus appetizers and desserts. We met with Hanaway and talked about his inspirations for wanting to open a restaurant, as well as what it took to get Ground Control up and running, where he’d like to see his business in the future and more. Click here to view…
With Divides, The Sky We Scrape has crafted nothing short of an impressive debut album. Having formed in 2008, the band has worked steadily over the years to hone their sound and refine their musicianship. The end result is a record that displays significant growth and incorporates an array of influences, yet remains consistently listenable throughout. Their sound is rooted in post-hardcore, but is accented with intricate guitar leads and a healthy dose of gritty Chicago punk. There’s also an emphasis on unique song structures and soaring choruses, all of which is brought to life by producer Charles Macak. The fact that the album was mastered by Stephen Egerton of Descendents/ALL fame doesn’t hurt either. Divides gets underway with “Sing Your Way Home,” a fitting opening track that enjoys a driving rhythm, technical guitar work and a spirited chorus. “Continental Divide” begins fast-paced and aggressive, but eventually gives way to a substantial, sunny-sounding hook. Further highlights include the melodic anthem “The Shortest Distance” and the urgent rocker “Albatross,” the latter featuring guest vocals from Garrett Dale of Red City Radio. Before the record draws to a close, “Southern Hospitality” takes center stage and proves to be one of the album’s most personal tracks. It’s also undeniably catchy and serves as a great example of each band member’s musical talents. Without question, Divides marks a new chapter in the story of The Sky We Scrape and positions the band for a larger audience. Take a listen to “The Shortest Distance” below and get acquainted with one of Chicago’s new favorites.
Last month, Dropkick Murphys released their eighth studio album, entitled Signed and Sealed in Blood. Compared to their previous full-length, which was somewhat of a concept album, this record is rowdy, upbeat and packed with sing-along anthems. It also does a fine job of retaining the band’s signature sound, while simultaneously exploring new themes. Producer Ted Hutt skillfully captured Dropkick’s energy and spirit, resulting in a cohesive work that’s sure to please fans both new and old. We recently spoke with multi-instrumentalist Jeff DaRosa and discussed the making of the new album, the record’s unique packaging concept involving fan tattoos, their upcoming U.S. tour and more. Click here to view…
Chicago’s Meat Wave formed in late 2011 and last fall released their debut, self-titled album. The band’s lineup is comprised of singer/guitarist Chris Sutter, bassist Joe Gac and drummer Ryan Wizniak. In addition to Meat Wave, its members also play in bands like Wide Angles, Elephant Gun and Truman & His Trophy. By combining contemporary influences with traditional punk tendencies, Meat Wave has created a sound that’s urgent, unique and deserving of attention. We spoke with the band before their recent show at Subterranean and discussed how they formed, what recording their album was like, future plans and more. Also, check out a stream of Meat Wave’s song “Brother” below. Click here to view…
Earlier this month, Hot Water Music released a live CD/DVD via No Idea Records. Entitled Live in Chicago, it was recorded over two nights at the Metro in February of 2008. The CD contains a total of 30 songs that span 90 minutes, while the DVD features 24 songs, including one that’s not found on the album. Live in Chicago is also available as a triple LP, on six different colors of vinyl that are limited to 550 copies each. Check out one of the songs from the DVD above, “Turnstile,” and be sure to catch Hot Water Music on their current tour with La Dispute and The Menzingers.
Marc Ruvolo, owner of Bucket O’ Blood Books and Records, recently released a compilation to benefit his store. After a flood damaged the shop, Ruvolo decided to enlist the help of some friends. The end result is a 12-track album, comprised of acoustic songs from Sean Bonnette of Andrew Jackson Jihad, Jon Lewis of The Dopamines, Jason Smith of Sass Dragons and more. Most of the record was recorded by Matt Arbogast at 8AM Studio, while Ruvolo was responsible for the cover art. When asked about how the album came together, Ruvolo said “The idea came from many of these guys and gals, who are in full electric bands for their primary gig, playing in my store acoustically. I thought it would be fun to document that aspect of the store.” In terms of the record’s distinctive style, he added “What’s unique about it is that you’re hearing musicians that are usually performing in a group setting stripped down to the basics, just their voices and some minor accompaniment. In almost every case it sounds far different than what people have heard from them in the past. They are all my friends too, so I get a warm fuzzy feeling listening to them.” The album, titled A Caustic Acoustic: a Benefit Compilation for Bucket O’ Blood Books and Records, can be obtained via Bandcamp. Check out one of its songs below by Little Dave Merriman of The Arrivals, called “Take Me In.”
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Originally a printed zine from 1998 – 2004, Jaded In Chicago has returned exclusively online. Our goal is to provide coverage of Chicago’s expansive independent music community, and to occasionally highlight some of our past work. National and international bands will be featured as well, but above all, we hope to create lasting content for music fans everywhere.