Aug 5, 2004

np: "kicking the heart out" - rogue wave

well i've finally reached the point in the year where i feel completely behind on new music for 2004. this happens every year at some point, i just realize that i'm not getting close to hearing everything that i would like to hear. but, hey, i do have a job and a life (somewhat), so it was bound to happen sooner or later. and since i'm not one of those lucky critics getting sent free shit all the time, i gotta settle for what i can realistically get my hands on. regardless, over the past week or so i've been completely overwhelmed with reviews, articles, and talks about all these cool records i've not heard yet. i'm sure even as far back as February i was only hearing about 1/50th of the music out there, but at least i felt like i was on top of everything i wanted to check out. so this Rogue Wave album is one of those ones that i felt i needed to check out. not too bad, but nothing is really jumping out at me on the first listen. nice enough for background listening i think. for now, though, i think i'll once again resign myself to the fact that i'm simply never going to hear all the music i want to hear... and that's ok. not like i don't have plenty to fall back on as it is.

Aug 4, 2004

np: "scream" - del cielo

show review: del cielo, crap engine, starlike collision @ big horse lounge, wicker park

sometimes you just dread going to watch a friend's band play. not that you don't want to see them, but knowing that you are going to have to sit through a couple other shitty local bands first. last night was one of those nights... i was tired, it was a tuesday night and i had to get up early for work the next morning. but out of dedication i journeyed down to the hipster haven of Wicker Park to watch them play. the Big Horse Lounge is a cool little bar, hidden behind a take-out Mexican place on Milwaukee Ave. definitely one of those places you have to be looking for in order to find. but hell, two dollar PBRs can make any bar just that much cooler, so i was satisfied. yeah, i suppose drinking PBR is a symptom of a hipster or something, but fuck it.. i just like cheap beer. anyway, the bar slowly gets a little more crowded as people start to file in, attracting a pretty decent crowd for a Tuesday night... including none other than Elizabeth Elmore of The Reputation (and formerly of Sarge). and with that, the rock began.

first up was Washington D.C.'s very own Del Cielo, a trio of very talented ladies. imagine a slightly tamer Dischord sort of sound fronted by a very charismatic lead singer. unfortunately the sound was a little shitty for the first part of the show, so the lyrics were hard to make out. but she more than made up for it with facial expressions that really connected her to the audience. meanwhile, the drummer bashed her kit with a vengeance - throwing every ounce of energy she had into each hit while the bass played stood there looking cool and collected, smoothly fingering some powerful basslines. it was a short, sweet, killer set... i wish i had been a little more familiar with the songs before seeing them, but it really left me wanting to hear more.

next up was the ill-named Crap Engine, a surprise addition to the bill but a very worthwhile one nonetheless. this Chicago quartet brought some funky new-wave garage rock that really got the crowd moving. a solid rhythm section laid down some tight grooves while the two guitarists brought out the "punk" in post-punk as the lead singer sang about love and lost love. the lyrics were nothing to write home about, but Crap Engine was more about the groove than getting a point across. they kept the crowd moving with songs like "Love is Making Babies" and a funkdafied cover of "Surf City". they were a very pleasant surprise for a band that i knew absolutely nothing about beforehand, and one i will check out again if i ever get the chance.

i won't get too much into the Starlike Collision part of the show, since they are the friends that i went to see and i am terribly biased - but i'll just have to say it was the tightest set i've seen from them in a long time. the high number of shows they've been playing lately has really resulted in a confidence that comes across throughout the whole set. guitarist John threw himself into his solos, drummer Peter looked like he was punishing his kit, and lead singer Justine wowed the crowd as usual, turning a lot of converts onto the band - especially during her solo acoustic tune. not to ignore the always solid basswork of Sarah, its almost impossible to believe she's only been playing for a couple years. i guess thats what practice and dedication can do for you. anyway, despite my bias.. the crowd really seemed to get into Starlike and hopefully a few more were converted to the rock. check them out if you get a chance.

so it turned out to be a very fun night, with the two bands i'd never heard before really blowing my preconceptions of "shitty opening bands" out of the water. keep an eye and ear out for any of these three bands, well worth the time and money to check them out. Del Cielo are currently on a short tour around the country, check out the dates on the website i linked to above. Starlike Collision is always playing around Chicago and the burbs, keep an eye on their site as well to see when they will be bringing you the rock. as for Crap Engine, i don't know... i wasn't able to find much info on them on the net... but if any of you know anything about the band, let me know.