For their new album Lookout Low, Chicago DIY heroes enlisted a producer - Ethan Johns (Kings Of Leon, White Denim, Ryan Adams) no less, for the first time in the career. The results are a shaggy, but not ragged, take on the garage rock this five-piece has spent the past nine years perfecting, that owes as much to 70's-era Rolling Stones as it does to Them or 13th Floor Elevators. If these songs are a more polished version of Twin Peaks than we've heard before, there's an undeniable energy crackling just under the surface of them. At Turner Hall in Milwaukee last week, that energy burst from the stage like lightning from a bottle onto a crowd who were there to give it right back in equal measure.
On her new album Legacy! Legacy! Jamila Woods is channeling the voices of the artists and activists that have shaped her life and in the process claiming her place alongside them. A powerful meditation on the importance of self-love and the power each of us has to change the world, Legacy! Legacy! isn’t just one of the best albums of 2019, it is a cultural milepost that will continue to enrich and inspire for years to come.
A cold Monday and a late start time didn’t stop a crowd of 500 strong from spending a crisp hour or so with the Scottish trio, who combine hip-hop and rap, tribal percussion, anthemic vocals, and warm synths for an intriguing, utterly danceable mix.
The members of The Skiffle Players — Neal Casal (Circles Around The Sun/Chris Robinson Brotherhood), Dan Horne (Beachwood Sparks), Cass McCombs, Farmer Dave Scher (All Night Radio/Beachwood Sparks), Aaron Sperske (Father John Misty/Beachwood Sparks) — are some of the most respected musicians on the scene today. So when they find the time to get together for a new Skiffle Players album, you’d best believe it’s going to be something special. Skiff, the collective’s second LP, expands on the foundation they laid with 2016’s Skifflin’ and hints at a blindingly bright future that looks a lot like the past that they’ve been celebrating.
At the first of two sold-out nights at Chicago’s Beat Kitchen, spastic noise rock outfit Daughters transported some 200 fans back to the mid-oughts. While the vast majority made it out of Beat Kitchen on this night unbloodied, none who entered the room left dry — either by their own body’s accord or the sweat of their fellow attendees.
Cursive frontman Tim Kasher formerly called the Windy City home, which made the band’s return visit to Thalia Hall a homecoming after more than three years away.
And truly, what a Chicago-ass show it was.
Openers Meatwave and Campdogzz also hail from the 3rd largest city in America and set the tone for the evening, a night so teeming with the working spirit of the Midwest, one could practically taste the Malört in the air. Though Thalia felt a touch roomy–it was, after all, a brutally, unseasonably cold Thursday–fellow aged emos showed up despite their day jobs and an 8:30 show time to catch Cursive on their US tour in support of their new album Vitriola, the first out on the band’s own label, 15 Passenger.
On her new album Lake Accontink, Marian McLaughlin invites the listener along on her quest to try and make sense of the many ways in which we impact and are impacted by the environment, and what it all may mean in the long run. We’re sitting down with the Baltimore-based musician to talk about what inspired her self-described “music for the Anthropocene Epoch,” the perils of capitalism in the modern age, the joy of playing in a room with one-hundred other guitarists and much more!
To call Chicago’s Makaya McCraven, just a drummer would be doing the multi-talented musical truth seeker a grave disservice. Over the past few years, McCraven has been refining a production technique that mixes live jam sessions and impromptu performances with radically creative editing to produce some of the most exciting jazz of the modern day. On Universal Beings, an album recorded in four different locations with four distinct groups of musicians at each, McCraven seems to have perfected this technique, and the result is one of the best albums of 2018. Meditative, complex, smooth, and even funky, Universal Beings points to blindingly bright future for not just McCraven, but jazz as a whole.
PLUS! Saxaphonist, vocalist, and DMV native Braxton Cook is back with a new album No Doubt, and we’ve got a listen to it’s title track to help you get hip to this remarkable talent!
In 2016 Chicago rapper Noname (Fatimah Warner) stepped out of the shadows of her collaborators to deliver Telefone, one of the best albums of 2016, and easily one of the best hip-hop debuts in recent memory. One move to L.A. and a good bit of growing up later, Noname is BACK with her first “official” album, Room 25. Self-produced and self-released, Room 25 is an ambitious step forward for one of music’s brightest talents, and we’re joined by special guest Philip Basnight (Broke Royals) to discuss what makes it so great, and what we’re looking forward to from Noname in the future.
Plus! Washington, D.C.’s very own Dupont Brass is back with a new EP Halftime that’s all about enjoying yourself, and we’re spinning its first single.
Mavis Staples, one of the greatest voices of this generation, or any, is back with a powerful new LP If All I Was Was Black. Continuing in her collaboration with Wilco's Jeff Tweedy in the production chair, the civil-rights icon is going back to her Chicago blues roots and delivering a powerful statement on racism in America in 2017.
We thought the fighting was done. We thought the battles had been won. Amazon Music had other plans. The streaming wars, continue they must.
Hailing from the mighty Midwest, The Flat Five, the grooviest "supergroup" known to mankind, has arrived just in time with their debut LP, It's A World Of Love And Hope. After years of performing as a holiday one off, members Kelly Hogan, Nora O’Connor, Scott Ligon, Casey McDonough, and Alex Hall have captured their magic on wax and are taking the show on the road? Is it groovy, or the GROOVIEST? Tune in to find out.
PLUS! NYC's Hannah vs The Many makes powerful, theatrical rock and roll, and on their latest release, Cinemascope, they're turning it all up to eleven. Check out the first single "Surrender Dorothy" and get hooked.
It's official, the headphone jack is no more...at least according to Apple. We're parsing the pro's and con's and abusing the word "dongle" excessively in the process.
WILCO'S BACK MOTHER F@#@ERS! But you knew that. 3 lifelong fans of the band weigh in on the alt-country fixture's latest, Schmilco.
The Flat Five (feat. Kelly Hogan) are from Chicago. The Flat Five are groovier than you, or anyone you know. We have proof. Put it in your ears.
Spotify may be winning the streaming wars, but with a new round of rights negotiations ahead, will they be stopped in their tracks by the labels.
Chicago's Ryley Walker makes guitar music. Heady guitar music. On his latest album, Golden Sings That Have Been Song, we take yet another trip into the cosmos searching for answers that we may never find.
Sylvan Esso is back AF. Witness their new single "Radio". Rejoice.
Anticipation. Excitement. Elation. Confusion. Disappointment. This week, Frank Ocean is all of these things and more.
Supremely talented Chicago MC Noname first announced herself to the world two years ago on Chance The Rapper's Acid Rap. On Telefone, she's finally stepping out on her own with one of the strongest statements on womanhood, life in the hood, and life in general that we've heard in recent memory. Marcus K, Dowling and Briana Younger join us to discuss this monumental mix-tape that was well worth the wait.
PLUS! Singer/songwriter Esmé Patterson's critically acclaimed LP We Were Wild, is as perfect a slice of pop-rock that you're going to find in 2016. We've got a new track to help get you acquainted.
Kehlani; Jhene Aiko; a proud declaration of being black wrapped in the sound of summer
Why You Should Care
Jamila Woods gained recognition singing the chorus of Donnie Trumpet & the Social Experiment’s song, “Sunday Candy”, but the Chicago-based singer/poet has just released her debut album of great R&B jams, entitled HEAVN, that should give her even more deserved attention. One of the standout tracks on the LP is “VRY BLK,” a song that is as clever in its wordplay as it is proudly defiant in the face of police brutality. Woods keeps Chicago in the mix, adding rapper Noname to the song for a breezy verse. As relevant as the lyrical content is today, the production values backing up her great voice makes this a quintessential summer song. But surprise - this summer jam actually has an important message.
Chance The Rapper, one of the most exciting hip-hop artists of the 21st century, recently dropped his long awaited third mixtape, Coloring Book.
With that much firepower in the room we should probably talk about something right?
OK. Let's talk about Chance.
This week on the podcast, we’re back from vacation just in time for Kevin and Paul to team up with the unstoppable Marcus Dowling to talk one of 2015’s most anticipated releases, Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment’s Surf. The unofficial follow up to Chance The Rapper’s 2013 mixtape Acid Rap, Surf smashes genres, destroys expectations, and elevates the hip hop game in ways that only Chance and his crew could do. Jazz, Hip Hop, Pop, Rock – Surf celebrates an entire history of music, while pulling it gleefully into the future with youthful abandon and surprising sophistication that belies this young crew's years.
PLUS! Record Store Day every week? A Netflix for Vinyl? The details of Spotify’s deal with Sony leaked? A new track off of Louis Weeks’ outstanding new record haha (OUT NOW!!)? We’re talking all of this and more on the podcast you’ve been waiting for all your life, it’s Episode 118 of ChunkyGlasses: The Podcast!
That's f@#king rock and roll people. It's awful rock and roll but it DEFINED a generation. So what if Peter Cetera is no longer with the band. "Hard Habit To Break" is still a masterpiece of modern songwriting with or with out that karate kid wannabe.
Whether you like it or not, the band Chicago laid down a foundation of pure rock energy that shapes not only the direction of ALL music today, but our very lives in this modern society. The lessons we take away from classic tracks like "Stay The Night", "Once In A Lifetime" and "Along Comes A Woman", songs that lay our emotional psyche bare on the grill of life for us to take in in all it's naked glory, those lessons are what makes our world run today. Thousands of years from now when we are all but dust in the wind, our evolutionary successors will discover this sonic tomes and know one truth and one truth only:
THE GODS HAD FEELINGS. MANY, MANY FEELINGS.