WBEZ | Chicago music http://www.wbez.org/tags/chicago-music Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en The Handsome Family kills it on HBO http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2014-01/handsome-family-kills-it-hbo-109589 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/HFTD.jpg" style="height: 333px; width: 500px;" title="Rennie and Brett (WBEZ file)." /></div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/HFTD2.jpg" style="height: 333px; width: 500px;" title="Matthew and Woody (HBO)." /></div></div><p>Almost all of the well-deserved praise showered on producer T-Bone Burnett of late has come thanks to his role in crafting the music of the Coen Brothers&rsquo; moody homage to the pre-Dylan folk scene <em>Inside Llewyn Davis</em>. But as impressive as that accomplishment is, even more awesome are his choices as music supervisor for <em>True Detective, </em>the new HBO anthology series wowing TV critics with stellar performances from Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey as cops chasing a serial killer through rural Louisiana in the show&rsquo;s first eight-episode season.</p><p>Rather than the predictable Cajun sounds some might have picked to power this tale, Burnett has instead matched the ominous Southern gothic mood with one exquisitely well-chosen song after another spanning a wide swath of different genres and eras, from &ldquo;Clear Spot&rdquo; by Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band to &ldquo;Honey Bee (Let&rsquo;s Fly to Mars)&rdquo; by Nick Cave&rsquo;s Grinderman, and from &ldquo;Stand By Me&rdquo; by the Staple Singers to &ldquo;The Kingdom of Heaven&rdquo; by the 13<sup>th</sup> Floor Elevators. Best of all, however, was his choice for the show&rsquo;s theme song, kicking things off every Sunday night.</p><p>I recognized the dulcet tones of Brett and Rennie Sparks from the Handsome Family 10 seconds into the first episode, but I&rsquo;ll confess that as much as I love their now 10-albums-rich catalog&mdash;all of it released by the under-heralded Chicago indie Carrot Top Records&mdash;I had to do some digging in the stacks to place &ldquo;Far From Any Road&rdquo; as a rather deep album cut from <em>Singing Bones</em> in 2003.</p><p>That isn&rsquo;t to say it&rsquo;s not perfect for the job, or that it&rsquo;s not a great song&mdash;just that those twisted but lovable Sparks easily have a hundred tunes that would fit this tale of the undercurrents of evil and nihilism versus the forces of faith and humanism, and this one wouldn&rsquo;t have even been in my Top 20 picks, until T-Bone brought it to my attention once again.</p><p>&ldquo;The world needs bad men&mdash;we keep the other bad men from the door,&rdquo; McConaughey&rsquo;s philosophical sleuth said in this week&rsquo;s episode. I don&rsquo;t know about that, but even if they continue to prefer life in New Mexico over their old stomping grounds of Chicago (wonder why, with weather like this?), the world always has and always will need the Handsome Family.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/p4zluA60hjs" width="560"></iframe></p><p><em><strong>Follow me on Twitter </strong></em><a href="https://twitter.com/JimDeRogatis"><strong><em><strike>@</strike>JimDeRogatis</em></strong></a><em><strong> or join me on </strong></em><a href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jim-DeRo/254753087340"><strong><em>Facebook</em></strong></a><em><strong>.</strong></em></p></p> Tue, 28 Jan 2014 14:56:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2014-01/handsome-family-kills-it-hbo-109589 Female artists shaking up Chicago's music scene http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-06/female-artists-shaking-chicagos-music-scene-107738 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" music="" queen="" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/433343980_640.jpg" style="height: 302px; width: 600px; " sweet="" title="A still from Bone &amp; Bell's &quot;Sweet Queen Regina&quot; music video. (Vimeo/RooftopSessionsChicago)" video="" vimeo="" /></p><div class="image-insert-image ">Good news, Chicago music fans: the ladies are killing it.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><p><a href="http://boxxmagazine.com" target="_blank">Boxx Magazine</a>, a new Chicago-based publication that aims to balance gender inequality in media and give female artists the coverage they deserve, has observed a significant upswing in women making music.</p><p>&quot;There is a definite increase in the number of female artists&mdash;I&#39;d say even more so in the more alternative, heavier or underground genres where there is an increase in female attendance at shows as well,&quot; said Jordan Young, publisher and co-founder of Boxx.</p><p>Many of the year&#39;s breakout stars have been women producing their own heart-stoppingly&nbsp;<a href="http://www.stereogum.com/1356872/stereogums-top-25-albums-of-2013-so-far/top-stories/lead-story/" target="_blank">transcendent work </a>(like&nbsp;<em>Silence Yourself,</em>&nbsp;the explosive debut from British punk rock band Savages), and the women of Chicago are no exception.</p><p>So, in no particular order, here are my top Chicago music acts with some serious girl power:</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/girlgroupchicago.blogspot.com_.jpg" style="height: 333px; width: 500px; " title="Girl Group Chicago. (girlgroupchicago.blogspot.com)" /></div><p><strong>Girl Group Chicago</strong></p><p>Looking for a mix of&nbsp;1960s girl group, bubblegum, soul and garagey goodness?&nbsp;Led by founder and lead vocalist Shana East, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/girlgroupchicago" target="_blank">Girl Group</a> consists of 20 talented women from different local projects (Bare Mutants, Mucca Pazza and Hollows to name a few) who have combined their love of &#39;60s girl groups like The Shangri-Las and their passion for fashion into an electrifying stage experience. Their &quot;wall of sound&quot; includes a five-piece horn section, a trio of strings and lush backup vocals to supplement those perfectly retro A-line dresses and riot grrrl rock band guitars.&nbsp;</p><p><em>What&#39;s next?</em>&nbsp;Opening for Neko Case, Young the Giant and Mavis Staples at the <a href="http://www.hideoutchicago.com/event/272643-hideout-block-party-v-fest-chicago/" target="_blank">Hideout Block Party &amp; AV Fest</a>&nbsp;Sept. 6-7.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/glaslux.net_.jpg" style="height: 404px; width: 500px; " title="Glass Lux. (GlassLux.net)" /></div><p><strong>Emily Morse (of Glass Lux)</strong></p><p>As one half of the Euro-pop duo <a href="http://www.glasslux.net" target="_blank">Glass Lux</a>&nbsp;(her partner is local producer/DJ Alfanso Mayen), Morse sings with a voice that haunts, soothes and excites in equal measure. Over Mayen&#39;s synth beats and pulsing electronica, she fits the &quot;Itala disco&quot; bill to a tee: beautiful, mysterious and endlessly unique.&nbsp;</p><p><em>What&#39;s next?&nbsp;</em>A roller-rink <a href="https://www.facebook.com/Glasslux" target="_blank">music video</a> for the song &quot;Disco Light.&quot;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/angelolsen.com_.jpg" style="height: 281px; width: 500px; " title="Angel Olsen. (AngelOlsen.com)" /></div><p><strong>Angel Olsen</strong></p><p>Olsen is a gifted <a href="http://angelolsen.com" target="_blank">psych folk songstress</a>&nbsp;who has been on the scene for a while, garnering heaps of critical praise for her second album (<em>Half Way Home</em>, released in September 2012) and signing with major indie label JagJaguwar. Still, the Chicago-based singer/songwriter hasn&#39;t forgotten her roots.&nbsp;</p><p><em>What&#39;s next?&nbsp;</em>Performing at the <a href="http://pitchforkmusicfestival.com" target="_blank">Pitchfork Music Festival</a>&nbsp;in Union Park&nbsp;on July 19.&nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/officialtink.com_.jpg" style="width: 500px; " title="Tink. (OfficialTink.com)" /></div><p><strong>Tink</strong></p><p>Chicago has catapulted several male rappers into the national spotlight (Kanye, Lupe, Common, etc.) and now it&#39;s the women&#39;s turn to shine. One of the most impressive female rappers to emerge this year is <a href="http://www.officialtink.com" target="_blank">Tink</a>, an 18-year-old powerhouse from Calumet City who is taking her R&amp;B mixtape songs and bubbly personality all the way to superstardom.&nbsp;</p><p><em>What&#39;s next?</em>&nbsp;A show in <a href="http://www.goglobalconcerts.com" target="_blank">Budapest, Hungary</a> (with Kid Ink and Mikkey Halsted) on July 25.&nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/mygoldmask.com_.jpg" style="height: 496px; width: 500px; " title="My Gold Mask. (MyGoldMask.com)" /></div><p><strong>Gretta Rochelle (of My Gold Mask)</strong></p><p>As the female vocalist and drummer of goth-pop outfit&nbsp;<a href="http://www.mygoldmask.com" target="_blank">My Gold Mask</a> (Jack Armando provides male vocals and guitar, while James Andrew backs them up with electronic drums and keyboard), Rochelle is a lightning rod of art-nouveau magic. Her voice is spooky and versatile, and her ever-hypnotic onstage presence never fails to elevate Gold Mask&#39;s futuristic-gypsy &quot;music in the dark&quot; to new heights.&nbsp;</p><p><em>What&#39;s next: </em>The&nbsp;<a href="http://majesticdetroit.com/magic-stick-detroit/" target="_blank">Magic Stick Lounge</a> in Detroit on July 20 and the Hideout on June 21.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/manicstatic.blogspot.com_.jpg" style="height: 500px; width: 500px; " title="The Funs. (manicstatic.blogspot.com)" /></div><p><strong>Jessee Rose Crane (of The Funs)</strong></p><p>For a rambunctious yet expertly-controlled party of fuzzy punk and trash-pop, <a href="http://manicstatic.blogspot.com" target="_blank">The Funs</a> may be the band to beat. Crane is the perfect complement to partner Philip Jerome Plesicko; in fact, they switch roles on guitar and drums so effortlessly that they could the same person. That&#39;s what is so mesmerizing about Crane: her gender doesn&#39;t define her music or her onstage persona. She just rocks.</p><p><i>What&#39;s next:&nbsp;</i>A&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Funs/177221262302777" target="_blank">summer tour</a>&nbsp;and a show at the Empty Bottle on July 17.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Other awesome Chicago ladies worth a listen</strong>: <a href="https://www.facebook.com/BoneandBell" target="_blank">Heather Smith</a> of Bone &amp; Bell,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/PandaRiotBand?fref=ts" target="_blank">Rebecca Scott</a> of Panda Riot,&nbsp;LStreetz, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/blizzardbabies" target="_blank">Blizzard Babies</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/jennhallmusic" target="_blank">Jennifer Hall,</a> <a href="https://www.facebook.com/videotapenoise?fref=ts" target="_blank">Sophie Leigh</a> of Videotape, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/summergirlfriends?fref=ts" target="_blank">Summer Girlfriends</a>, and of course, the legendary <a href="http://www.patriciabarber.com/gigs/" target="_blank">Patricia Barber</a>.</p><p>Who else would you add to this list? Chicago is bursting at the seams with female music talent, and I want to hear them! Sound off in the comments below.</p><p><em>Leah Pickett writes about popular culture for WBEZ. Follow her on <a href="https://www.facebook.com/leahkristinepickett" target="_blank">Facebook</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/leahkpickett" target="_blank">Twitter</a> or <a href="http://hermionehall.tumblr.com" target="_blank">Tumblr</a>.</em></p></p> Tue, 18 Jun 2013 11:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-06/female-artists-shaking-chicagos-music-scene-107738 JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound deliver some 21st century soul http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-10-26/jc-brooks-and-uptown-sound-deliver-some-21st-century-soul-93493 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-October/2011-10-26/pic-jc brooks 1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Local band <a href="http://jcbrooksandtheuptownsound.com/" target="_blank">JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound</a> has been making its mark around the world lately. <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> spoke with band members about their sound and how soul and other forms of music inspire them. The band visited WBEZ's Jim and Kay Mabie Performance Studio recently to perform songs from their new record, <span style="font-style: italic;">Want More<em>. </em> </span> They kicked things off with their song, "Everything Will Be Fine." Below are a couple more songs from JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><br> <iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="338" src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/31142601?title=0&amp;byline=0&amp;portrait=0&amp;color=b30000" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="601"></iframe></p><p><a href="http://vimeo.com/31142601">J.C. Brooks and the Uptown Sound perform "Everything Will Be Fine" live for WBEZ's <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em></a></p><p><strong>"Awake"</strong><br> <audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332483807-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/sites/default/files/JC Brooks - Awake.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></p><p><br> <strong>"Touch Your Heart"</strong></p><p><audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332483807-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/sites/default/files/JC Brooks - Touch Your Heart.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></p></p> Wed, 26 Oct 2011 13:24:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-10-26/jc-brooks-and-uptown-sound-deliver-some-21st-century-soul-93493 Music brings business and money to Chicago http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-08-03/music-brings-business-and-money-chicago-90048 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-August/2011-08-03/4884965126_a4409ca243_b.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>In recent years, Chicago became home to some high-profile music festivals. One obvious benefit for music lovers is exposure to a wide variety of bands in the space of a few days. But beyond the cultural cache, music reporter Althea Legaspi looked at whether festivals benefit the local economy.</p><p><a href="http://www.lollapalooza.com/" target="_blank">Lollapalooza</a> begins Aug. 5 in Grant Park. For more on Lollapalooza's relationship with the city, check out <a href="http://www.soundopinions.org/" target="_blank"><em>Sound Opinions</em></a> co-host and music blogger Jim DeRogatis' blog <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis" target="_blank">Pop N Stuff</a>.</p></p> Wed, 03 Aug 2011 15:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-08-03/music-brings-business-and-money-chicago-90048 Lyric Opera names new impresario http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-04-21/lyric-opera-names-new-impressario-85492 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-April/2011-04-21/Anthony_Freud.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" height="199" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-April/2011-04-21/Anthony_Freud.jpg" title="Lyric Opera's new director Anthony Freud" width="300"></p><p><a href="http://www.lyricopera.org/">Lyric Opera of Chicago</a> today (April 21) named<a href="http://www.houstongrandopera.org/page.aspx?pageid=12017458"> Anthony Freud</a>, 53, as its new general director, effective October 1. The British-born Freud will be only the fourth leader of Lyric Opera in the company’s 58-year history. In a smooth transition, he succeeds <a href="http://www.lyricopera.org/about/william-mason.aspx">William Mason</a> who is retiring after 15 years in Lyric’s top post. Freud will guide a company with an annual budget in excess of $54 million. Lyric presents a seven-month season of eight productions in the 3,700-seat Civic Opera House on Wacker Drive, which the company owns.</p><p>Freud brings a combination of European and American experience which should give him a solid foundation to captain a company with a foot firmly planted on either side of the Atlantic Ocean. Freud was general director of the Welsh National Opera from 1994-2005, and has held the same position at Houston Grand Opera since then. Both companies are known for innovative programming, undoubtedly another plus for Freud in the selection process. Since the late 1980’s, Lyric Opera has commissioned a number of world premiere works and new productions in a series dubbed “Towards the 21st Century.”</p><p>Just within the last year, outgoing general director Mason has committed Lyric Opera to exploring the American musical theater repertory, an area in which the company only has dabbled in the past. But Lyric really will jump into the pond in the 2011-2012 season with a new production of the 1927 <em>Show Boat</em>. Although it was long before Freud’s tenure, Houston Grand Opera mounted a famous production of <em>Show Boat</em> in 1980, and also a staging of George Gershwin’s <em>Porgy and Bes</em>s in 1976. Both productions toured widely, with stops in Chicago.</p><p>Freud will supervise a business, production and artistic team of hundreds which already has several marquee names attached to it, among them music director and principal conductor Sir Andrew Davis, and recently-appointed artistic consultant Renee Fleming. A star soprano, Fleming not only has increased her singing commitments at Lyric over the next five years, but also will be one of the chief architects of the foray into American musical theater. In addition to next season’s <em>Show Boat</em>, a presentation of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s <em>Oklahoma </em>also is in development.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" height="298" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-April/2011-04-21/William Mason Photo.jpg" title="William Mason will leave the position at the end of September" width="200"></p><p>What Freud does not have is Chicago experience. Lyric’s three previous general directors—Mason, Ardis Kranik (1981-1997) and Lyric co-founder Carol Fox (1954-1980)--all were Chicagoans. Indeed, Mason and Kranik started out as singers and learned their opera management chops at Lyric Opera itself, rising through the ranks. However, the absence of local roots is not viewed as an impediment to running a world-class opera company such as Lyric, which deals in an international artistic circle.</p><p>Still, Mason has used his knowledge of local Off-Loop Theater to expand Lyric Opera’s roster of artists, especially directors and designers. Under his tenure, Chicago theater directors such as Robert Falls (Goodman Theatre), Barbara Gaines (Chicago Shakespeare Theater), Charles Newell (Court Theatre) and Gary Griffin (multiple associations) all have staged productions at Lyric. Freud’s background in Cardiff, Wales and Houston strongly suggests that he has a sharp eye for the theatrical qualities of opera as well as the musical qualities, but it nonetheless will take him time to build relationships with local theater artists. Freud’s initial contract is for five years.</p></p> Thu, 21 Apr 2011 15:20:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-04-21/lyric-opera-names-new-impressario-85492