While Live Nation/Ticketmaster continues to get pretty much anything it wants in Chicago, the giant concert promoter that many have called a monopoly is coming under increased scrutiny elsewhere in the U.S.
Last week, Washington Post reporter Lydia DePillis wrote a piece criticizing the company for using independent contractors in a dozen major markets, including Nashville, Memphis, and Atlanta. The contractors are paid as little as $10 an hour to do “tricky, dangerous jobs” involving staging that might be better overseen by union professionals, albeit at a greater cost.
“I’m back where I started from,” vocalist Jessica Boudreaux sings as sweet backing harmonies flirt with growling guitars and hard-hitting rhythms in the choruses of “All It Takes,” the opening track on Summer Cannibals’ Show Us Your Mind. She could be talking about the state of a troublesome relationship, or about the band’s roots in the great, grungy tradition of Northwest bands such as the Sonics and the Wipers. Either way, the noise/melody mix is indicative of the quartet’s approach on the 11 tracks from its second album, and it’s irresistible.
Named for a track by Patti and Fred “Sonic” Smith on the 1996 album Gone Again, Boudreaux, Marc Swart, Devon Shirley, and Jenny Logan made their debut with No Make Up in 2013, a promising effort that only hinted at the strength of the songwriting and playing on its follow-up. Like Southern California’s beloved Muffs, the pop-meets-garage ethos is hardly innovative.
Measured against other historical rock archives devoted to unearthing hidden gems from the fertile period of psychedelic exploration in the late ’60s and early ’70s, Numero Group’s Local Customs: Cavern Sound is no Nuggets in terms of being truly indispensible, but then few such compilations are. It is, however, easily the equal of, say, the Pebbles series; that is, these groovy period ditties may not be treasures you’ll wonder how you ever lived without, but they do make for a pleasant and trippy soundtrack, delivered with the Chicago label’s usual loving care toward presentation, annotation, and audio quality.
The story this time centers on one aptly named recording studio located deep underground in Independence, Missouri’s Pixley limestone mine.
“How come nobody falls to their knees in worship?” Gretchen Seichrist wonders at the end of “Hot Feet,” one of 10 stunning tracks on the debut album with her new group Thelonesomekid. And she’s justified in asking.
Speaking as someone who resided there for a year or two at two different times, Minneapolis is a place where living can be almost too easy—an odd thing to say about somewhere that sub-zero temperatures make you feel as if you’re on the surface of the moon for several months a year, but true nonetheless, in the sense that the small but supportive artistic community and the chill pace of life in general can be so seductive that a lot of creative people do great work without ever summoning the energy to leave home, barely making noise as far away as Madison or Milwaukee, much less Chicago.
In the case of a voice as powerful as Seichrist’s, that’s a damn shame. True, I slept on writing about her prolific outpouring as Patches and Gretchen (six D.I.Y.
Over the course of a decade-long career that started when they were barely out of high school, force of nature guitarist-vocalist Marissa Paternoster and her formidable rhythm-section bandmates Jarrett Dougherty and King Mike progressed from playing punk-rock basements in and around New Brunswick, N.J., to opening huge shows for Garbage, the Dead Weather, and Arctic Monkeys.
Paternoster made a Spin list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time—albeit at No. 77—and after working with Steve Albini on their last studio album (2012’s aptly named Ugly), she and the boys indulged in a move that often signals that a group is running out of steam, releasing a live album (albeit a cool one recorded by Albini at Chicago’s Hideout).
Was it time for Screaming Females to grow up, get a day job, and maybe tone the caterwauling down to a gentle roar? Hardly.
Longtime fans may be surprised at first by the bigger, bolder, dare we say more polished sounds of Rose Mountain, which was produced by Matt Bayles, best known for working with hipster/nü-metal bands like Mastodon and the Sword.
** UPDATED BELOW WITH COMMENT FROM MAYORAL SPOKESWOMAN.
The Emanuel administration has been very good to the big national corporations that dominate the summer concert scene on the city’s lakefront, and key players in those companies have in turn been very good to the mayor’s bid for re-election.
According to campaign finance records filed with the state, top executives with the out-of-town companies behind Lollapalooza and the FirstMerit Bank Pavilion on Northerly Island have donated nearly $70,000 to Chicago for Rahm Emanuel.
“The kind of raunch you can feel deep down in your soul,” the Chicago sextet the Bama Lamas promise in their bio, and these veterans of local garage grunge deliver in spades on their new D.I.Y. album Going Up?
These boys are not reinventing the wheel, but neither are they slaves to the dusties they clearly devour and worship. “Our love for scratchy R&B, soul, and rock ’n’ roll 45’s brought us together—became our blueprint for saving our sorry souls,” they also note. “The records that make you want to jump out of your skin and hit the dance floor happy just to be alive!”
That intense desire to live in the moment—and to make it as joyful and out of control as possible, in the timeless dance-your-butt-off way—puts the fez-sporting group in the proud tradition of the mighty Flesthtones. Witness the undeniable yawp of the guitar, piano, sax, and rhythm section grooves on build-your-own-dance-craze anthems such as “(Do) the Hurt,” “(Do) the Crab,” and “Monkey Bump.” But my favorite track here is the gloriously stoopid, mostly instrumental “Sambuca.”