Interviews

Local H

Local H by Katie Hovland

Photo by Katie Hovland

Today, Local H released its eighth studio album, called Hey, Killer. It’s the band’s first full-length with new drummer Ryan Harding and varies considerably from their last two records in that it’s not a concept album. We spoke with frontman Scott Lucas and talked about how the record was written, what recording it was like and the Pledge Music campaign that helped fund the album. We also discussed Local H’s upcoming shows, their 25th anniversary which they’re celebrating this year and more. What’s certain is that Hey, Killer is raw, packed with hooks and infused with inspired riffs, leaving little doubt that rock fans everywhere will be extremely excited about this record. Also, be sure to check out Local H on April 17th at the House of Music in Arlington Heights and on April 18th at Tailgaters in Bolingbrook. They’ve also got an in-store performance at Reckless Records, (Broadway location) for Record Store Day on April 18th at 3:00 PM, and they’re playing the Metro April 19th as well. Click here to view…

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All Eyes West – Doomer

All-Eyes-West

Jump Start Records – Release Date: 1/27/15

In January of this year, All Eyes West released its second album, called Doomer. While its title might seem somewhat foreboding, the record is anything but. With this release, the band simply builds upon the framework of its first album, further broadening their sound and integrating new influences. Doomer begins with a track called “Lie In Wait,” which features an ascending melody that rises to an urgent chorus. The song spotlights the vocal talents of singer/bassist Justin Miller and also demonstrates the band’s ability to craft songs that are uniquely structured. “Plastic Hearts” is up next and it starts with a hauntingly catchy verse that gives way to a shout-along chorus. It’s easily one of the record’s strongest entries and would be an excellent choice for a first single. It’s followed by “West Thirteenth,” a track that is enjoyably reminiscent of Samiam and showcases a multitude of impressive riffs, courtesy of guitarist Jeff Dean. Further points of interest include the post-punk stomp of “From Under,” the melodic rocker “Make the Morning” and the blistering, rhythm-heavy anthem “Overtime.” All Eyes West has definitely broadened the scope of their ‘90s-influenced rock on Doomer, incorporating a variety of contemporary styles and applying distinctive songwriting. Their sound continues to evolve as they tour and play shows at a frequent pace, taking the music in exciting directions with each step. Check out the album’s second song below, called “Plastic Hearts.”

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Revolution Brewing 5th Year Party

Photo by Katie Hovland

Photo by Katie Hovland

On Friday, March 13th, Revolution Brewing will celebrate its fifth anniversary at the Riviera Theatre. Andrew W.K. is headlining the event, with support from The Orwells, Beer Nuts and the Superfriends DJs. In addition, a special appearance by Nordic Thunder, the 2012 World Air Guitar Champion, was recently added to the bill. Doors open at 7:00 PM, the show starts at 8:00 PM and the occasion is 21+. Tickets can be purchased via Etix or in person at either the Vic Theatre or Revolution’s Kedzie Tap Room, (sales at the tap room end on Sunday, 3/08). If tickets are bought at the latter two locations, service fees do not apply. Several giveaways will also be held at the concert and over a dozen kinds of Revolution beer will be available for $4 each. Some of the beers being poured are Straight Jacket, Bean Gene, Deth’s Tar, Jukebox Hero and more. Be sure to mark your calendars and get set to “party hard.”

Poster by Ryan Duggan

Poster by Ryan Duggan

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The Brokedowns – “Born on the Bayou Too”

The Brokedowns

Cover art by Matt Semke

Back in December, The Brokedowns released their second album for Red Scare Industries, entitled Life Is a Breeze. Containing 16 songs in total, the record is not only comprehensive, but also a good representation of the band’s best characteristics. There are influences of Dillinger Four and Hot Snakes to be found, but those are overshadowed by The Brokedowns’ unique take on Midwestern punk and the sheer amount of aggression they generate in their songwriting. This Sunday, 3/01, they’re playing Beat Kitchen, along with Meat Wave, Canadian Rifle and Foul Tip. The show starts at 8:00 PM, is 17+ and costs $8. Check out a track from Life Is a Breeze below, called “Born on the Bayou Too.”

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Textbook – All Messed Up

Textbook

Torture Chamber Records – Release Date: 10/28/14

Last fall, Chicago’s Textbook released their fifth full-length, entitled All Messed Up. The album finds the band continuing to push the boundaries of the melodic Midwestern rock that they’re known for. Produced by Matt Allison at Atlas Studios, the recording packs a punch but also underscores Textbook’s meticulous songwriting. All Messed Up opens with “Everything I’m Not,” a catchy and concise song that’s loaded with impressive guitar riffs and a surplus of soaring backup vocals. “Looking After Me” is a mid-tempo tune that builds to an anthem-like chorus, which is anchored by a guest vocal appearance from Naked Raygun’s Jeff Pezzati. “Change My Mind” is one of the record’s more punk-leaning tracks and pleasantly reminiscent of ‘90s emo/punk act Walker. Further highpoints include “Just One of Those Things” and “We’ll Get Old,” both of which feature Dan Schafer, (Screeching Weasel, The Riverdales, The Methadones, etc.). All Messed Up is recommended for fans of The Replacements and Husker Du, as well as those that enjoy pop/rock bands like Gameface. Its lyrics often talk of heartbreak, but there’s also an underlying sense of optimism, thanks in part to a plethora of sunny-sounding melodies. Having been together since 1998, Textbook has spent many years honing their craft and this record is decidedly their strongest release yet. Take a listen to the album’s first song below, called “Everything I’m Not.”

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Interviews

Derek Grant

Photo by Katie Hovland

Last month, Alkaline Trio drummer Derek Grant released his debut solo album via Red Scare Industries, called Breakdown. We caught up with Grant just before his recent show at Beat Kitchen to discuss the details of the record. We talked about what inspired him to start writing songs, the personal nature of his lyrics and the various musical influences found on the album. We also spoke about how Breakdown was recorded, the fact that Grant played all the instruments on the recording, his partnership with Red Scare and more. What’s apparent after listening to the LP is that Grant is not only an especially talented musician, but also an engaging lyricist who just began a very promising solo career. Click here to view…

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Little Dave Merriman – “Line It in Chalk”

Photo by Katie Hovland

Photo by Katie Hovland

This Friday, February 13th, Little Dave Merriman, (Arrivals, Treasure Fleet, Textbook Committee) will play a release show for his solo album at the Rock Island Public House. The record is called Odd Bird and is coming out on Hewhocorrupts Inc. Featuring a variety of influences, including pop, folk and gospel, the album is a distinct departure from the styles of Merriman’s other projects. At Friday’s show, 50 copies of Odd Bird will be available on limited-edition purple cassettes with digital download cards. The standard yellow cassettes will also be for sale. A portion of the proceeds from the record’s sales will benefit the Dwight D. Eisenhower music program, which is where Merriman was taught by choir director Lynette “Miss K.” Mulder. Odd Bird is dedicated to her, as well as to Merriman’s grandmother, who passed away during the making of the album. Merriman will perform on Friday with his newest group, The Pantomimed Suicides, and plans to play the record in its entirety. Opening the show is an acoustic band called Al Scorch, and Ditches, which features members of Canadian Rifle and Sweet Cobra. Take a listen to a song from Odd Bird below, called “Line It in Chalk.”

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Interviews

The Treasure Fleet

Treasure Fleet by Katie Hovland

Photo by Katie Hovland

Treasure Fleet just released its third full-length LP, entitled The Sun Machine, via Recess Records. We talked with bassist/singer Neil Hennessy about how the album was written, its recording process and more. The record also serves as the soundtrack to a sci-fi film of the same name, which the band created as well. We discussed with Hennessy about the inspiration for these projects and how they managed to combine the two to form a unified vision. Without question, The Sun Machine is Treasure Fleet’s most ambitious and accomplished project to date. Its influences range from power pop and progressive rock to old Twilight Zone episodes and beyond, resulting in a truly unique endeavor. Check out a song from The Sun Machine after the interview, called “The View from Mt. Olympus.” Click here to view…

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V/A – 10 Years of Your Dumb Bullshit

Red Scare by ECH

Artwork by Miguel Angel Echemendia

Red Scare Industries – Release Date: 9/22/14

Ten years ago, former Fat Wreck Chords employee Tobias Jeg was living in San Francisco when The Falcon expressed that they were looking for a new label to release its debut EP, God Don’t Make No Trash or Up Your Ass with Broken Glass. Jeg put it out and Red Scare Industries was born. Ten Years of Your Dumb Bullshit showcases 17 new songs by bands that Red Scare has lifted up and out of the basements over the past decade. Starting the compilation is the catchy occult-themed track, “Pyramids” by The Lillingtons, the first new recording in eight years by Red Scare’s longest-running band. Following that, The Falcon pops in for 1:43 after six years with “We Are the Bald,” an upbeat yet self-deprecating song that’s difficult not to crack a smile at. Masked Intruder offers up “I Don’t Mind,” a song about being so malleable in a relationship that death is the only way the subject can get rid of the suitor. The Copyrights, who just released a full-length on Red Scare, offer up the shortest and one of the most melodic songs on the compilation, “Oedipus Dill,” clocking in at 1:25. Teenage Bottlerocket keeps it straightforward with “TV Set,” a simple song about being overwhelmed by and sick of television. Elgin, Illinois’ Brokedowns really stand out with “Ouija Jive,” which sounds like a B-side to the Species Bender recording session that should have made it on the album. The Reaganomics come back after four years with “Bite Your Tongue,” a pop punk track about self-righteous individuals who post on the internet trying to change the world, but only end up sounding ignorant. One of Red Scare’s first bands, Cobra Skulls, contributes an angst-laced song sung in Spanish called “No Puede Mas,” which translates to “I’ve Had Enough.” The Methadones played their last show in 2010, but chalk up a new tune called “Trip Wire,” reminiscent of The Ramones, but with the Methadones’ refreshing signature power pop style. The comp’s tone mellows out a bit with “The Wallflowers,” a melodic indie jam by The Sidekicks. Brendan Kelly makes a second appearance on vocals with “Gluesday Evening Blues” by his band Brendan Kelly and the Wandering Birds – quite a bit slower and folkier than The Falcon. Great new tracks by Elway, Nothington, Enemy You, Direct Hit! and Druglords of the Avenues round out this compilation nicely. The album ends on a soft, sobering note with an acoustic song called “Forever West” by one of the newest additions to the Red Scare family, Sam Russo. His poetic, somber tone gives a great balance to this heavily punk-driven compilation. Check out the Red Scare Records 10-year anniversary show this Saturday at the Metro at 3:45 PM, featuring The Falcon, The Lillingtons, The Methadones (reunion show), Masked Intruder, Enemy You, The Sidekicks, Teenage Bottlerocket, Brendan Kelly and the Wandering Birds, The Holy Mess, Direct Hit!, Elway, The Brokedowns and The Reaganomics.

– Jason Duarte

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Interviews

Rise Against

The Black Market

Rise Against released their seventh full-length album last month, entitled The Black Market. The record finds the band embracing a rejuvenated sense of energy, resulting in especially personal lyrics and a range of newfound musical landscapes. We spoke with bassist Joe Principe shortly after the album came out and discussed the writing of the record, its lyrics and how it was recorded. We also talked about the band’s early days, their continued widespread success, future plans and more. Click here to view…

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Interviews

Dan Potthast

Photo by Katie Hovland

Photo by Katie Hovland

Dan Potthast, best known as the singer/guitarist of MU330, recently embarked on the “Dan P. Living Room Tour 2014.” The nationwide trek began in early June and will conclude in August, and we caught up with Dan shortly after he played Chicago to discuss the tour. We talked about what inspired this journey, how it was planned and what some of the shows have been like so far. We also spoke about his latest solo album, My Living Room, which came out in conjunction with the tour. Additional topics discussed include Dan’s other music projects, future plans and more. Click here to view…

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Interviews

Braid

Photo by Katie Hovland

Photo by Katie Hovland

Last week, influential second-wave emo act Braid released their first full-length album since 1998, entitled No Coast. The record is both energetic and mature, offering subtle hints of their classic sound along with a range of new influences. Simply put, it doesn’t sound as though the band was ever on any kind of a hiatus. We caught up with singer/guitarist Bob Nanna shortly after the release of No Coast and discussed the album at length. We talked about how it was written, the recording process and the motivation behind some of its lyrics. We also spoke about the band’s new partnership with Topshelf Records, touring and more. Click here to view…

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