Tag Archives: Chicago

Duo del Sol: It’s Finger-picking Good

by Nate O’Neil, special contributor.

Latin folk? Experimental classical? It’s hard to assign a genre to the LA-based Duo Del Sol. But we’re not picky around here. If it’s good, we’ll go with it.

The band consists of Chicago native Tom Farrell on guitar and Montevideo, Uruguay native Javier Orman on the violin. For most of their debut EP, Mira, Farrell and Orman play polyphonically yet these two men make the dissenting melodies work in this mostly instrumental project.

In the first track “A Manu,” Farrell plays Latin-style guitar riffs while Orman plays progressions that are very reminiscent of something found on a folk record. The fast progressions and decrescendos found in “A Manu” really make the track. Another great uptempo song on Mira is “Panic That Way.” Essentially, the song progresses like a suspenseful film narrative, possibly a Western horse chase through the Southwest, with Farrell’s rapid performance and Orman’s frenetic violin work.

For a softer tone, you can look to the last track called “Lights Out.” It is a very somber tune that reads like a story of heartbreak with the violin crying out for sympathy. Of all five tracks on the album, “Lights Out” sounds the most conventional. Overall, Mira is a bold musical journey worth taking. If you’re in the Chicago area, you can see them perform at Jerry’s on 1938 W. Division on July 22nd to experience their unique sound live.

Learn more about Duo del Sol on their website.
And stream Mira, here.

New Music Review: The Heart Pills

the heart pillsHave you ever heard of tin can folk punk music? No? We didn’t either, until The Heart Pills came calling. Now we can say that we not only know all about it, but we like it. A lot.

The Heart Pills hail from Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Which is curious because it’s not a place you might normally associate with folk or punk. Tin cans, maybe.

Nonetheless, they just released their debut album, “To Paul, From Dad 1951″ (named after an inscription on a found book about pirates, on a sailboat, as it were.) That’s kind of an interesting story. But not nearly as interesting as the music.

The punk comes through–in some of the more frenzied songs, and when the vocals start to shake. The folk’s job is to steady the entire album, sometimes overtly and other times deftly hidden. The tin can… that’s the unexpected; the sharp edges, sometimes creepy undertones, and the down-to-earth, unapologetic disposition of the lyrics.

The Heart Pills are different, and damn good. They are one of those bands you know will quickly graduate from the local bars to more prominent venues in music-hungry cities. In August, they arrive in Chicago. We recommend you check them out.

Below are a couple of songs from their new record, and a few upcoming tour dates below that.

Hear more of the album and see a couple of videos on The Heart Pills website.

July 12: House of Rock, Eau Claire, WI
July 26: Wilson Park, Menomonie, WI
August 16: The Reptile Palace, Oshkosh, WI
August 17: TBA, Milwaukee, WI
August 18: Ace Bar, Chicago, IL
August 23: Cause Spirits and Soundbar, Minneapolis, MN
August 24: The Red Carpet, St. Cloud, MN
August 25: Quinlans, Duluth, MN
August 30: Phoenix Park, Eau Claire, WI

The Shams Band: A July Residency at Schuba’s

With all its history of greatness, you’d figure it takes a pretty special band to book a month-long residency at Schuba’s. Local favorites The Shams Band have done just that, in support of their sophomore album, Cold City.

The festivities kicked off last night, with backing from Shovel & Rope and Jeremy David Miller, and continues next Monday, July 16.

The Shams Band, if you’re not hip to them, rock a sly mix of blues and rock, bluegrass and most important, Americana. And it works. Really well, in fact.

So go ahead and extend your weekend by a day and check them out, along with some other great bands, listed in the schedule below. (Get tickets here.)

Also check out the video below–their new single from Cold City, “I’m Not Sorry.”

Monday, July 9: w/ Shovels & Rope and Jeremy David Miller (Rambos)
Monday, July 16: w/ Derek Nelson & the Musicians and Elephant Gun
Monday, July 23: Daniel Ellsworth & the Great Lakes and Young Jesus
Monday, July 30: Archie Powell & the Exports and Young Hines

[youtube]http://youtu.be/AfkU6zW55gw[/youtube]

Ticket Giveaway: Keane in Chicago, at The Vic

Keane is coming to Chicago, and you could see them for free! Fresh off their latest release, Strangeland, Keane will hit up The Vic on June 22. Earlier shows in the UK have been selling out, so it’s shaping up to be a good tour.

To enter to win your free pair of tickets, head over to our partners at Chicago’s weekly newsletter, Windy City Weekly, and sign up for the free email newsletter. That’s it!

Winners will be notified via email on Thursday, June 14.

Nab your copy of Strangeland on iTunes, and check out the video for Silenced by the Night, below. Good luck!

[youtube]http://youtu.be/5HrV_B0qrdY[/youtube]

Ticket Giveaway Time: The Avett Brothers!

We could hardly think of a better way to spend a fall evening than with The Avett Brothers, at Chicago’s Northerly Island.

So that’s where we’re headed, on Friday September 28. And you too, if you’re chosen as the lucky winner of two free tickets to see them!

To enter to win, visit our partners at Windy City Weekly (http://windycityweekly.com) and subscribe to receive the weekly newsletter. It’s free, and awesome. If you’re already a subscriber, you’re already entered.

The winner of the two free tickets to see The Avett Brothers at Chicago’s Northerly Island will be chosen in August, and you’ll be notified via email.

Good luck!

House of Blows

pickpocketTuesday night, we strolled into House of Blues–one of my favorite music venues in Chicago. The incense-laden air. The crazy shit on the walls. The soaring balconies. The intimate space. And, of course, the acoustics. We got there a little early to enjoy it all, and to get a good spot.

As I handed over my ticket, I grumbled about the “convenience” charge. Nine dollars–50 cents under half of the cost of the ticket itself. Not really “convenient” for me. We walked in and the crowd was sparse, and there was plenty of seating around the main floor. That’s convenient. We ordered $7 beers. Not so convenient. We picked a good spot, stage right, and found a couple of stools where we could perch for the evening. But there’s a sign taped to these stools. “See Security.”

“Hi. So what’s the story with these stools?”

“Oh hello. Tonight, we’re offering these seats for $20. Or, $30 for two seats.”

“You’re kidding.”

“No.”

“That’s for every seat in the building?”

“Yep.”

What the fuck?

To recap: I paid $18.50 per ticket. Plus, a $9 “convenience” charge for each ticket. For two tickets, that’s $55–$18 of which goes toward my convenience. But you know what’s not convenient? Paying more than the cost of the ticket… to sit down. In the venue you just paid to enter. Where, I’m buying one beer for the cost of a six-pack at the store. Now really, whose convenience am I paying for, exactly?

This is like paying to enter Wrigley field, only to discover that if you want to sit in your seat–the seat you just paid for–it’s going to cost you about the same amount as what’s printed on the ticket. Otherwise, you’re required to stand next to your seat for the next three hours.

I’ve always enjoyed you, House of Blues. I’ve always respected you, and I’ve never much minded your high-priced tickets and libations because you’ve always taken care of me. You’ve always made me feel welcome, and I’ve always left satisfied, sometimes even elated. I’ve always looked forward to coming to visit.

Now?

I feel nickel-and-dimed. I feel duped. You feel cheap. And you’ve cast a toxic black cloud that stinks up the place. Once, you were special. Now, you’re conniving. Greedy. And an all-around asshole.

You blew it.