Hate-watching the Grammys is an annual tradition for this pop culture nerd; however, the majority of last night's sham of an award show was so blatantly awful that I almost didn't make it to the end. In years past, I've reveled in the sheer camp of Nicki Minaj levitating like a demon or Lady Gaga bursting out of an egg. This year, I groaned aloud at several key moments ("We Are Young" winning Best Song, Mumford and Sons' Babel winning Best Album, that god-awful Bob Marley tribute wasting 10 minutes of my life) and did not find pleasure in them at all.
Chicago has a thriving local music scene with long list of notable alumni (Wilco, Andrew Bird, Kanye West, the Lawrence Arms, White Mystery, the Smith Westerns, Common and the Smashing Pumpkins all got their start here), so chances are good that the show you saw for free at the Empty Bottle on Monday night could become one of those life-changing experiences you tell your grandchildren about one day.
Local music blog Loud Loop Press just released their list of 13 Bands to Watch in 2013, an impressive roster of Chicago talent that immediately sent a ripple of show-going excitement through my friendship circle: "You guys, we need to see more local bands this year!" However, a number of other buzzworthy artists that didn't make the cut (like the contemporary classic rockers of Vintage Blue, the hypnotic brass ensemble of Kelan Philip Cohran and underground hip-hop quartet Typical Cats) still deserve some spotlight.
Ergo, I present my own list of favorites: a rousing local mix of pop, punk, rap, soul, garage rock, indie folk and groovy psychedelia:
Label: Addenda Records
Breakthrough: The super-fun debut LP Shockwaves (June 2012) and this Goth Beach Party music video.