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The Lawrence Arms’ 3rd Annual War on Xmas

This December, The Lawrence Arms will once again host three consecutive evenings of rousing, booze-filled festivities. This year, the revelry starts on Thursday, 12/14 at Cobra Lounge, with support from The Ridgelands and Fuck You, Idiot. On Friday, 12/15 the party moves to Bottom Lounge and features openers Teenage Bottlerocket and Blood People. The event concludes on Sunday, 12/16 again at Bottom Lounge, this time with Nothington and Sass Dragons joining the fun. Tickets go on sale this Friday at 10:00 AM and the Cobra Lounge show can be purchased here, while the Bottom Lounge shows can be obtained here and here.

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Wurst Music & Beer Fest

The Wurst Music & Beer Fest will take place September 8th – 10th in the West Loop, featuring three days of music, beer and bratwurst. In addition to offerings from Guinness and a selection of Chicago’s best bratwurst, a varied music lineup will also be on display, consisting of both national and local acts. The headliners include Murder By Death, The Anniversary and Diarrhea Planet, with support from Masked Intruder, Shiner, Pkew Pkew Pkew, The Crombies, Post Child, Sincere Engineer and many others. The festival costs $25 for a three-day pass and tickets can be purchased here.

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American Skathic 25th Anniversary Show

This Saturday, Jump Up Records and Dark Matter Coffee will host the American Skathic 25th Anniversary show at Metro. The lineup includes MU330, Coolidge as Johnny Socko, The Eclectics, Detroit Rudeboy Society, Skapone and Tango Wedding Band. Detroit Rudeboy Society features members of Gangster Fun, the Parka Kings and the Exceptions, while this show marks the first performance in 20 years by west suburban heroes Tango Wedding Band. When asked as to what served as inspiration for the show, Jump Up founder Chuck Wren said, “Nostalgia and fun! There’s a whole new generation who have grown up loving ska…who never got to witness an ‘epic Metro Skafest,’ which was so integral to the scene back in the ‘90s. This bill could have easily been from 1995, right down to the simple Kinko’s paste up flyer design. If you loved these bands back in the ‘90s, it’s because you searched out for the true local ska scene and didn’t just settle for what the major labels and MTV shoved down your throat. Jump Up was founded on fans that wanted to support indie labels and get ‘the good stuff.’ It seems everything has changed so drastically since then, but we continue on, still releasing a dozen records a year.”

In terms of what he’s looking forward to most about the show, Wren said “I love seeing everyone hanging out just like the past two decades didn’t exist. Bands watching each other’s sets remember the good old days. Also, to see the amazement of young new fans when they see a bunch of 40-year-olds playing their hearts out and making today’s bands seem tepid. I’m also looking forward to the new Dark Matter coffee blend, inspired by third wave ska, called Perk It Up Perk It Up.” Doors open at 7:00 PM, the show is 18+ and tickets can be purchased here.

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Shot Baker @ Cobra Lounge, 5/20/17

Shot Baker at Cobra Lounge

On Saturday, May 20th, Shot Baker will return with its original lineup and play Cobra Lounge alongside Avenues and Shots Fired Shots Fired. We recently caught up with singer Tony Kovacs and spoke about how exactly this reunion came to be. He explained that the departure of guitarist John Krohn in 2009, followed by the exit of drummer Chris Gach had left the band with only half of its founding members. After years of touring, the wind in the sails of the group had understandably begun to weaken. Kovacs eventually opted to move to Colorado to be with his girlfriend, (now wife) and to pursue a doctorate in audiology. Over the last five or so years, several of the band’s members have started families, while bassist Nat Wright currently plays in 88 Fingers Louie.

When asked as to how this show came together, Kovacs said “We’ve long since set aside our differences and really just wanted to play a show together again. We’re no longer trying to live off this band so we can really just have fun with it, which is how it should be. In the early years, Shot Baker was a total lightning bolt. Maybe it’s a nostalgia thing, but we really wanted to do a show that represented the urgency and volatility of the early years. That’s why this is an ‘original lineup’ show.” When speaking about expectations for the show, he said “I’m mostly looking forward to seeing everyone again. All of the people who helped this band along the way are going to be there: Mike Petryshyn of Riot Fest, Justin Schwier of Underground Communiqué Records, a ton of our close friends…I just can’t wait to see all those people in the same room again. And, obviously, I can’t wait to play again. Five years of academia as a mid-late thirties adult is rough. This show is like breaking out of prison for me.”

Lastly, when discussing the band’s plans beyond this show, Kovacs hinted at possible future endeavors. He said, “Before we broke up, we had written an album with (guitarist) Steven Jenkins that never got released. It’s a shame, because it’s easily some of the best stuff we’ve done. We really want those songs to see the light of day at some point. There have been talks about collecting the very best of that unreleased album with Steven and the best of the unreleased stuff we did with John and meshing it all together as an absolute stunner of a record. I have no idea when or if that record will actually get made, but if it ever does, it’ll be great. Any Shot Baker activity after this ‘original lineup’ show will include Steven as a second guitarist, but who knows when the next show will happen. We’re all so busy right now.” Tickets for what is sure to be a memorable evening can be purchased here.

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Airstream Futures – “Dreams of Narrow Wings”

AirstreamFutures2

This spring, Airstream Futures will release their debut full-length on Paper + Plastick, called Spirale Infernale. The band combines elements of punk, indie rock and alternative, and features members of The Bomb, The Methadones and Bow & Spear. The album was produced by Rodrigo Palma, (Saves the Day) and Derek Grant, (Alkaline Trio), and recorded/mixed by the band’s guitarist, Jeff Dean. Airstream Futures’ lineup also includes singer Devon Carson, bassist Megan Edgin and drummer Mike Soucy. We’ve got an exclusive premiere of one of the record’s songs below, called “Dreams of Narrow Wings.” When asked to describe the song, Carson said “It started with Mike’s description of a dream where he had wings but they were too narrow to fly. It made us think about all the horrifying things going on in the world and the overwhelming desire to help in some way, but feeling completely overwhelmed and ineffectual. If we can’t even save ourselves in our own dreams, it’s no wonder that putting a hashtag in front of a problem has become our favorite form of activism.” Check out the song now and if possible, catch the band on their upcoming UK tour.

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Bagheera – “Shooting Rockets Towards the Sun”

Bagheera

On March 28th, Bagheera released their latest album, Shooting Rockets Towards the Sun, via Skeleton Fur Records. The band’s lineup consists of Theodore Moll, (MU330/Sharkanoid) and Heather Moll, (Climber). Heather plays guitar and bass, while Theodore contributes drums, guitars and keyboards, and both share vocal responsibilities. The album was recorded by the band and mixed/mastered by Lance Reynolds, (Alt-J, Ash). The record draws inspiration from things like astronomy and Roman mythology, yet at the same time addresses personal issues and human emotions as well. Musically speaking, the songs are intricate, layered and recommended for fans of Built to Spill, Rainer Maria and The Breeders.

When asked as to what inspired the album’s title track, Heather said “The idea for the song is that so many people go through life without truly enjoying themselves or taking advantage of the fact that they are on this planet for such a short time. Most people are guilty of moving through life on autopilot, or moving through life looking through a lens of negativity. I am definitely guilty of this, so this song is a realization and a reminder to myself that life is short and that I have to treat it as such.” Theodore elaborated when speaking about how this song in particular relates to the overall theme of the record. He said, “I hadn’t thought about it until recently, but when my dad passed away, we lit off some bottle rockets at the reception after the funeral to give him a good send off. We were essentially shooting rockets towards the sun, in the same spirit as Heather had imagined writing this song. As an aside, as a result of the fireworks we set several of the neighbor’s lawns on fire. I think my dad would have appreciated that. The last song on the record, ‘Departing the Oort Cloud,’ was written after my dad passed and was written for him, and we reused the ‘towards the sun’ lyric.”

Take a listen to the song “Shooting Rockets Towards the Sun” below and order the record here.

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15th Annual CHIRP Record Fair

Chirp Record Fair

This Saturday, April 8th, CHIRP Radio will host its 15th annual record fair at the Chicago Journeymen Plumbers Hall, from 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM. The expansive fair will offer vinyl, CDs, posters and books, as well as food, beverages, DJs and more. CHIRP DJs will spin music throughout the event and live acoustic performances will be held downstairs. Tickets are $7, with all proceeds going to CHIRP, while early admission tickets are $25 and allow for re-entry. Tickets will be available at the door, but can also be purchased here.

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War Brides – “Designer Life”

War Brides

Album art by Francisco Ramirez at Bureau of Print Research and Design

On April 28th, War Brides will release their latest full-length via Triple Eye Industries, called Regrets. The album was engineered by Greg Norman, (Pelican, Russian Circles, Smashing Pumpkins, Foo Fighters) at Electrical Audio in Chicago and features nine songs in total. Regrets represents some of the band’s fastest material to date, highlighting carefully-crafted hooks that underline elements of punk and hardcore. The record will be available on clear vinyl with white splatter, opaque green or standard black vinyl. Check out an exclusive stream of the song “Designer Life” below and pre-order Regrets here.

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Post Child – Wax Wings

Post Child - Wax Wings

Album artwork by Aertime

Today, Post Child will release their second album, called Wax Wings. It was recorded by Joe Gac, (Meat Wave) and is available courtesy of In the Lake Records. The band’s lineup is comprised of singer Bryan Alvarez, guitarist Jared Olson, bassist Justin Gutierrez and drummer Mustafa Daka. Post Child’s members have also lent their talents to bands such as Elephant Gun, High Priests and The Brokedowns. Tonight, they’ll celebrate the record’s release with a free show at Emporium Arcade that also features Closed Mouths and Sonny Falls. Check out a stream of the full album below and for those attending the show, be sure to grab Wax Wings on limited edition cassette, (50 black and 50 pink).

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The Addisons – “Standing Outside Your Door”

The Addisons

Chicago’s The Addisons recently released their debut single, called So American / Standing Outside Your Door. The band features Tom Counihan and Dave Lysien of Not Rebecca, and this project marks the first time that the two have worked together in over ten years. Their lineup is solidified by bassist Rick Uncapher, (Textbook, Noise By Numbers) and drummer Daisun Derrijk, (The Sonnets). The band recorded their introductory release in October of last year with Jeff Dean at Million Yen Studios. We’re streaming one of the tracks below, “Standing Outside Your Door,” and the single can be purchased via Bandcamp here. Also, be sure to catch The Addisons on Friday, January 20th when they play Livewire Lounge with Sweet Figurines, The Cells and Farewell Captain. The show starts at 9:00 PM and costs $10.

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The Flips – “Borne On the FM Waves of the Heart” (Exclusive)

On New Year’s Day, Artistic Integrity Records will release its fourth annual covers compilation, and this year it’s a tribute to Against Me!. Featuring 26 bands in total, An Impression of an Original: A Tribute to Against Me!, finds a variety of artists covering songs that span the band’s entire catalog. Proceeds from the compilation will be donated to Gender Is Over, which is a project that AM! frontwoman Laura Jane Grace has supported and worked closely with in the past. We’re premiering the record’s third song below, and it’s from Chicago’s own The Flips. The band chose to cover “Borne On the FM Waves of the Heart,” one of the most prominent tracks from Against Me!’s major label debut, New Wave. Check out the song now and don’t forget to purchase the compilation on January 1st here.

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Sean McKeough Memorial Benefit

Sean McKeough Memorial Benefit

Riot Fest partner and Cobra Lounge/All Rise Brewing founder, Sean McKeough, passed away unexpectedly on November 29th, 2016. Through the All Rise Foundation that McKeough established in 2014, his family and friends strive to preserve his memory and have planned an event to celebrate his life next month. On Friday, January 6th, Naked Raygun and Deal’s Gone Bad will play the Concord Music Hall, and there will also be a silent auction with all proceeds benefitting the All Rise Foundation. The foundation is managed by Sean’s longtime partner, Erin Raymer, and aims to assist causes that McKeough supported, like underserved youth musicians, animal shelters and cancer research. The show starts at 7:00 PM, is 17+ and tickets are available here.

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