Tag Archives: music

Minor Moon’s debut—welcome to Chicago, new friends

What’s wrong with a little Americana? Some honest folk and roll?
What’s wrong with something relatively simple—strong hooks, great lyrics and heartfelt vocals?
What’s wrong with all of this coming from Boston and landing in Chicago?

Absolutely nothing—that’s what’s wrong with all of that.

A Whisper, A Shout is the debut album from Minor Moon, a project led by Samuel Cantor.
(Hear a song below.)

Cantor clearly understands his craft. He’s writing with earned wisdom. Singing with a voice powerful but reserved. And best of all, he’s put everything into it—that comes through in spades. This is a fantastic debut record. The kind that grabs your attention and promises a bright future.

A Whisper, A Shout has a steadiness to it. A heart-on-the-sleeve feel. Even as a first time listener, it sounds familiar and down-to-earth. These are things that endear musicians to Chicago.

OK, the association game: I hear Band of Horses (Minor Moon’s harmonies are strong). A little Widespread Panic (maybe it’s the vocals). And a smattering of music I’ve heard in bars in North Carolina (I consider that a very good compliment).

Appropriately titled, the album winds its way through quiet, tense meditation to find something stirring—sometimes a shrieking guitar, or rousing vocals—oftentimes in the same song. Sound uneven? Perhaps, at times. That being said, I imagine it plays out beautifully live. And you’ll have your chance on April 7, at Elbo Room. So check it out.

Listen to one of our favorite songs below, and hear more on the Minor Moon website.
A couple other favorite tracks are Futon, and Catch and Release Pt. 1.

Welcome to Chicago, boys!

Chaz Hearne and The Legend of Core Dynamo—bluegrass, folk and comic book heroes

After stints with a folk duo, then a bluegrass group, Chaz Hearne decided to go the solo route. And it’s a good thing, because he doesn’t seem to quite fit either of those categories, although his style is extending the boundaries of both.

If that sounds a bit confusing, consider the premise of his debut solo effort, straight from the source himself: “The Legend of Core Dynamo is a political album that tackles some heavy subject matter through the lens of folk songs and comic book characters. Core Dynamo is supposed to stand for an incorruptible leader but people have lost faith in authority.” (It’s appropriate now to mention that Hearne wrote the album while living in Chicago…)

As it turns out, the music is not confusing nor corrupt. It is, however, unconventional. Hearne is learned in guitar, banjo and piano and you will hear all three wielded to great effect, along with vocals that are easy to rally behind.

As far as the tracks go, the song Core Dynamo unmistakably evokes a 60’s/70’s folk movement, while The Legend is neither folk nor bluegrass and includes an anthem-like rock guitar solo. One brings more of the traditional bluegrass feel but, again, leans into something different. Bigger. (There’s even a little Grateful Dead in there.)

Disjointed? Perhaps a little. Hearne seems to be at his best when pushing his folk and bluegrass roots to the edges, without crossing over completely. But ultimately, The Legend of Core Dynamo is everything a solo album should be—a one-of-a-kind composition built on one’s myriad of experiences and influences. And it’s really good.

Click to listen to The Legend of Core Dynamo, and you can catch Chaz Hearne live at Uncommon Ground on October 1. Here’s his website.

The Gnar Wave Rangers Bringing it to The Abbey Pub

Looking for a band to see in Chicago this weekend? The Gnar Wave Rangers will play Abbey Pub this Saturday. And you should gather up a couple friends with open minds and a thirsty disposition, and go see them.

Admittedly, we know very little of The Gnar Wave Rangers aside from two facts: “Gnar” means “Get Nasty and Rich”; and judging by the lineup, these guys are happy to poke fun of themselves and you, too.

Johnny Swoon-VØX
Spicey Mang-BA$$
Butterscotch Bill-DRUM$
Gnat Riddler-GU!TAR

The sound is a melting pot of punk, low-fi rock, and funk. Allow me to use a few tracks from their new release, #GetNastyAndRich, as examples.

Crazy 4 Ur Luv reminds me of the delightful and melodic wackiness of Frank Zappa.
Moon Snake is an all-out scream fest.
Freddy Free Me evokes the sounds of your favorite Brit punk.
There is a Light channels The Editors and Psychedelic Furs.

And that’s all within the front half of the new album.

To sum it up, The Gnar Wave Rangers are eclectic, they’re going to f@#% s#!$ up at The Abbey, and you’re going to have fun.

You can listen to #GetNastyAndRich here.

Buy tickets to the show here.

The Best Music Website You’re Not Using

While iTunes is the clear leader in the music download space (at least legally) it has one major flaw. It’s those pesky 30-second previews. That’s 30 measly seconds to decide if a song is worth a dollar or more. Good songs are so much more than 30 seconds – not  to mention entire albums.

Well, Lala.com has your back. They have more than 7 million songs in their catalog and you can stream any of them once in their entirety, for free. The same goes for albums. Yep, listen to an entire album for free before spending a dime. And that’s not all:

  • Buy any song for 10 cents and stream it forever through your computer. If you want to download it for portability, it’s 79 cents more and DRM-free.
  • Get picks from artists and music reviewers delivered daily, share songs with friends, listen to their playlists, and network with other music fans.
  • If you want to make the switch to Lala full-time, they can import all of your music from your hard drive and get your library up and running.

No website offers a way to listen to and buy music like Lala. Where iTunes holds you hostage, Lala sets you free.