Last week, we had the chance to talk with Donnie Biggins, the man behind Chicago booking and management company, Harmonica Dunn. Next Wednesday, 2/20, marks the kick off the companies’ inaugural Dunn Dunn Fest – a three night, three venue love note to “American music.”
Having wrangled up some of the best indie, roots, and folk music that Chicago and our neighboring states have to offer, Dunn Dunn Fest teases a taste of the summer festival scene in the dead of winter. And since we at TVD would rather see you spend your hard-earned cash on wax and a whiskey to warm your soul, we’ve got a pair of three-day festival passes to giveaway.
Partnered up with Audiotree and MADD Chicago, Harmonica Dunn will be utilizing Lincoln Hall, Schubas, and Tonic Room for this showcase which includes headliners Frontier Ruckus, The Giving Tree Band, and The Kicks. If you don’t win here, limited 3-day passes are still available online for $25. Grab the full lineup and all of the contest details, below.
Sometimes it seems like in an effort to cash in on the growing popularity of indie-folk music, artists tend to forget one important thing—soul. Folk music without soul might as well just be pop music with a banjo. Newly formed Birds of Chicago do folk music right. And after looking at the duo’s track record, you wouldn’t expect anything less.
Birds of Chicago is made up of Allison Russell from Vancouver based Po’ Girl, and Jeremy “JT Nero” Lindsay of Chicago’s JT & the Clouds. Having released their debut album last fall, the pair has been touring across the country, playing both as a duo and utilizing their tight-knit family of musicians for the “full band” vibe.
Nero and Russell have so seamlessly blended their styles of mountain gospel, roots country, and classic soul, that each song sounds simultaneously nostalgic and refreshing. The duo will be playing in town on Thursday while touring around the Midwest before preparing for a jaunt to the UK in the Spring.
Donnie Biggins is a linchpin of the Chicago live music scene. Beginning with his time with the Chicago Roots Collective and up to his current promotion/management company Harmonica Dunn, he has aspired to build a community that is centered around musicians.
His latest project is a 3 Day Festival called Dunn Dunn Fest, which will be taking place the 20th-22nd of February at Tonic Room, Schubas, and Lincoln Hall. I got the chance to have a long talk with him about his projects and goals, his band (The Shams Band), and his inspirational perspective on the Chicago scene.
I bet you’ve got a lot of great Folk/ Americana records in your vinyl collection. What’s one record that you’ve been listening to a lot lately?
Michael Trent – The Winner. He’s one half of Shovels and Rope. Honestly I listen to a lot of Chicago Music, so if it’s available on vinyl I try to get it as much as possible. A lot of oldies right now; I inherited my dad’s record collection. My band just came out with a record.
Cold City right? Why’d you decide to put that on vinyl?
We wanted to hear ourselves on vinyl. We only made 100 copies.
Where did you find somewhere that would print 100 copies?
We went through Rainbo Records. The problem we ran into with that number was they print a minimum of 500 jackets so we ended up having handmade screen-prints for the jackets. We hired a screen-printer to change our album cover from 15+ to 3 colors. It ended up taking a lot longer, but in the end it looks more like a handmade product and we think that people will like it more because it’s a piece of art.
Since 1991, indie pioneers The Mother Hips have been bringing their consistent blend of psych-pop, Americana, and rock to their loyal and ever-growing fanbase. With their latest album, Pacific Dust, out on Camera Records, the California rockers are passing through Chicago on their current tour and tonight is your chance to see them live.
The Mother Hips will be taking the stage at Schuba’s Tavern (3159 N Southport) tonight, 2/8, for their 21+ show. Magic Box will kick things off at 9:00 PM, and you can pick up tickets online or at the door before the show for $15. Be sure to take a look at The Mother Hips’ online store to check out their vinyl selection which includes a handful of 7″ singles and their latest full length LP, Pacific Dust.
It’s hard to lump a band like honeyhoney into any specific genre or scene. Critics and fans alike throw around the terms “alt-folk” or “alt-country” the minute a banjo or mandolin is combined with electric guitar. honeyhoney write good pop songs, some of them rock and some of them just sway gently in the breeze. It’s not quite country, or folk, or rock but a combination of it all that is truly unique.
honeyhoney took the stage in Chicago with a nervous excitement. Vocalist/Guitarist/Drummer Ben Jaffe joked with the audience and the whole band wore their Sunday’s best. Singer/songwriter, Suzanne Santos, explained that this was the first crowd they’ve played for that felt like “our crowd.”
The band has attracted plenty of fans as an opener for bigger acts like Sheryl Crow and Trampled By Turtles, but this time they were the headliner. Always a bridesmaid and never a bride, honeyhoney was now wearing the long white dress.
Normally a duo, composed of Ben Jaffe and Suzanne Santos, the band has a rotating cast of other musicians who help fill in wherever necessary. The 3-piece ensemble they brought to the Bottom Lounge was new territory for the band but they quickly found their stride. Ben Jaffe manned the drum set, but also took on guitar and vocals, sometimes all three at once.
Last month, Chicago Editor, Eric Slager, introduced you to Vinyl Me, Please: the subscription-based record service that delivers a new record to your door every month along with a custom playlist, curated by your own personal music concierge.
If you haven’t jumped on this amazing new bandwagon yet, then Vinyl Me, Please’s second release may have you convinced: Japandroids’ Celebration Rock.
Celebration Rock opens with the sounds of firecrackers, heralding in a new era for the band and reinforcing the album’s title. This album truly is a celebration of all things rock, from punk to new wave and back to classic rock, Japandroids pay their respects to the rock gods that came before them.
The Canadian rock duo put out this little gem last June and has been touring extensively ever since its release. You may have caught these songs live at Pitchfork over the summer or when they came back to the Metro this past December.
With almost no live music this Sunday, you’d swear there was some sort of major sporting event happening somewhere. Oh well, there are still plenty of ways to get your fix this weekend including Friday and Saturday shows by TVD-CHI favorites, Santah and The Right Now. If that’s just not doing it for you, check out this weekend’s featured show along with a more extensive weekend list below!
From Cincinnati, Ohio, The Pomegranates will be stopping in Chicago tomorrow as part of their current six date tour. With a moniker change on the horizon, this will be our last time to catch the group performing under that name. You can pick up a copy of the album One Of Us on double LP for $22 from Afternoon Records.
Setting the stage for the Pomegranates will be Chicago groups Panoramic & True and Common Shiner who will be celebrating the release of their album, Before They Sold Out (Part 2). The 21+ show kicks off tomorrow night at 10:00 PM at Schubas – 3159 N Southport. Tickets are available for $10 online or at the door before the show.
You’ve got to admire a prolific musician, and when they’re consistently making great music, that admiration comes even easier. Such is the case for New York percussionist Adam Pierce and his anagrammed music endeavor, Mice Parade.
Started as an instrumental/electronica solo project in the late ‘90s, this Tuesday saw the release of Mice Parade’s seventh studio album, Candela. Even though Pierce’s music has taken an audibly poppier tone with this release, Candela still bears the distinct worldly influences that have been a staple of Mice Parade for the last fifteen years.
Out on UK label, FatCat Records, Candela is now available on vinyl in the United States. You can pick up a copy of the new release tomorrow night while Mice Parade stops at Schuba’s Tavern as part of their twelve date tour.