Author Archives: Dan Jarvis

TVD Live: Riot Fest Chicago at Humboldt Park, 9/13–9/15

PHOTOS: DAN JARVIS | Chicago’s Riot Fest has come and gone, and I am in still recovering from the three days of musical nirvana I experienced in Humboldt Park. The weekend, full of rain and expensive beer, luckily also included an uncanny amount of powerful musical acts that ranged from punk rock to rap and many genres in between. 

Friday was “Riot Fest Lite” for me. Arriving later in the afternoon, the first day was in full swing as we passed through the gates. The wristband, beer ticket, and beverage lines were all a mile long, and after a quick hour-long wait I was ready to enjoy some music.

That evening, I floated between stages, catching GWAR, Sublime with Rome, and even a minute or two of Fall Out Boy’s performance with an occasional stop to see the fire spinners and hula-hoopers.

Riot Fest-20

Never knowing what they’ll do next, GWAR once again hit the Riot Fest stage with their abrasive live show. Say what you will about their music, but do they ever know how to put on a show. Last year they aborted Snooki’s baby on stage, and this year they tore the head off Super Zombie Jesus, all done with a great sense of pride and in the name of their home planet of Scumdogia.

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TVD Ticket Giveaway: Riot Fest at Humboldt Park, 9/13–9/15

Chicago’s go-to punk, rock, and alternative music festival, Riot Fest, is fast approaching. The festival will forcibly occupy Humboldt Park from September 13 to 15.

Since 2005, Riot Fest has balanced out Chicago’s festival season with music and reunions not brought to you by Pitchfork, Lollapalooza, or North Coast. And, if music at a music festival isn’t your thing, it’s also a carnival with rides, freak shows, and even a ferris wheel.

FRIDAY | Riot fest jumps right in on Day 1, and boy does it start with a bang. The day’s lineup ranges from the poetic hip hop of Saul Williams to punk rockers like Screeching Weasel and Bad Religion.

Rounding out the bill on Friday is a healthy dose of metal, including a 25th anniversary Danzig performance, Hatebreed, and the ever-entertaining (and messy) GWAR. Here are some of the other acts we’ll be catching on Friday.

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TVD Recommends: Paper Thick Walls at Double Door, 9/6

The music of Paper Thick Walls has been placed upon the same pedestal as many of the great indie folk artists of the last two decades. On top of that, their debut album A Thousand Novels has received literally hundreds of positive reviews since its 2011 release. This Friday, these Chicago locals bring their brand of orchestral indie rock back home to the Double Door.

Their songs may present themselves as understated folk ballads upon first listen, but they quickly grow into raucous walls of sound. The five piece band is composed of violin, piano, guitar, upright bass, and drums.

Add to that equation the infectious songwriting and vocal style of lead band members Eric Michaels and Kate Schell, and you’ll see that there’s a damn good reason Paper Thick Walls has received so much praise.

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TVD Recommends: Mutts and Myles Coyne & The Rusty Nickel Band at Tonic Room, 8/16

Mutts’ music embraces the inner turmoil, the things that are striven for, the ways that we fall short, the ways we’re let down, as well as the few things that spark us back onto the right track, even if those are the rare moments, the briefest of comebacks.” Sean Moeller, Daytrotter

If you’re a Chicagoan and you haven’t heard of Mutts by now you might as well be saying you haven’t heard of Barack Obama. OK, that might be an exaggeration, but they have cemented themselves as a must-see band in the local music scene over their 4 years of releasing music together.

With a knack for honest, personal, and truly intimate songwriting, frontman Mike Maimone’s songs will tear at your heart-strings but mend them in due time. Their live show ranges from raucous keyboards and pounding drums to delicate piano ballads. Think Tom Waits, if he still had the energy to jump up on his piano mid-song.

Over the course of releasing three full length LPs and a whole bunch of EPs, the band has grown into a unified and versatile act that truly defies all genres.

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Elephant Stone:
The TVD Interview

We talked with psych-pop favorites and innovators of “Hindie Rock” Elephant Stone, in the hot summer sun of Austin Psych Fest—well, actually in the cool comfy rocking chairs of the Artist tent—to discuss the band’s latest self titled record, their US tour with The Black Angels, and well, vinyl.

Vocalist, bassist, and sitar genius Rishi Dhir and guitarist Gab Lambert spill it all in the TVD Interview.

Recently, I asked the band SUUNS this same question since you guys are both from Montreal. Is there a psych scene coming out of Montreal?

Rishi Dhir: Montreal is funny, it’s been so conditioned by Arcade Fire and the Arbutus Records scene. I can’t say there’s a big psych scene in Montreal. No Joy is kind of shoegaze-y, Besnard Lakes are shoegaze-y, I think Suuns are probably the most “psych” band in Montreal.

Yea, they’re kind of a totally different monster…

RD: Yea, the stuff they’re doing… no one else is doing that. It’s not pop. We do pop, we’re a pop band.

You guys do pop so well. You do a great job of integrating some psychedelic aspects, but at the heart of it Elephant Stone is a pop band. 

RD: It’s funny, I posted a video on our YouTube account and someone commented that us, The Black Angels, and Tame Impala are their hope for music right now. One guy writes “Yhese guys are nothing like Tame Impala or The Black Angels, this is shitty pop music.” I posted back, “Yes, it is pop music, so what?” Some people are so closed-minded. Tame Impala is pop music too. I posted the video so when I replied to it was my name, and this guy is hiding behind a pseudonym, so he knows it’s me responding to him. It’s funny how trolls like that work.

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The TVD Interview

We cornered Canadian rock band Suuns at this year’s Austin Psych Fest. They were one of a handful of psychedelic bands from Montreal represented at the festival this year.

Keyboardist/ bassist Max Henry and guitarist/ bassist Joseph Yarmush talked about the work that went into the band’s new album Images du Futur, their thoughts on this year’s Psych Fest, as well their views on the vinyl format itself. 

You guys played SXSW pretty recently and have been touring a lot. What’s the big difference between a festival like SXSW and Austin Psych Fest? Any similarities or is APF a whole different animal?

Joseph Yarmush: A completely different experience. This is a curated thing, and SXSW is more of a money grab.

Max Henry: It’s financially curated.

JY: The content quality is vastly superior here, it’s just a different festival. SXSW is not only music, it’s a party. It’s about selling ad space to promote movies and whatever the fuck they’re doing. It can be fun and good but it’s not the same as this.

MH: I would say mostly not good.

So you’re having a better time here so far I take it?

MH: Sure, we’ve been here for like 20 minutes.

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TVD Recommends:
Austin Psych Fest 2013,
Saturday and Sunday

We’re back with part two of our Austin Psych Fest Preview. The festival gets bigger and better as the weekend goes on. Saturday packs a full day of music and film screenings from 1pm all the way into the wee hours of the morning. Sunday’s lineup starts a bit later (allowing some hangover time) with the first acts going on at 3pm. As promised, here are some of the acts you won’t want to miss on these last two days of psych fest. 

SATURDAY | This is the longest day of the weekend. The folks at the Reverberation Appreciation Society spared no expense setting up this lineup. With over 12 hours of live music planned, this may prove to be the best day of the festival. Here’s where you’ll find us on Saturday.

Young Magic Levitation Tent | 3:00pm

Young Magic is an eclectic group, to say the least. Members Issac and Michael are from Austrailia and joined by Melati of Indonesia; ultimately, the three met and began working together in New York City. Young Magic’s music is infused with personal experiences and cultural intricacies.

“Sparkly” starts off their latest album Melt, and it’s a track I’m definitely looking forward to seeing live this Saturday. A chorus of haunting “ooo”s is accompanied by strong percussion and delicate guitar, leading to a beautiful, airy song with strong tribal undertones. This feel is carried throughout their other songs, creating an album that sets a consistent tone, and is interesting from start-to-finish.

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TVD Recommends:
Austin Psych Fest 2013,
Thursday and Friday

Yesterday, fellow TVD contributor Mike Newman gave you the run down on APF and it’s amazing lineup of psychedelic rock, shoegaze, and more. We are just days away from the 6th annual Austin Psych Fest and I can barely contain my excitement. So, before I burst into a rainbow of psychedelic colors, let me tell you about some of the most notable acts to see this year.

THURSDAY | If you happen to make it down to Austin early this weekend or are already in the area, don’t miss this year’s kick off parties on Thursday, April 25th. Spread across two Austin venues—Mohawk and Red 7—and a total of four stages, these parties offer up a great introduction to this groovy weekend.

The outside stage at Red 7 features mainstays of the Austin Psych scene The UFO Club, garage rock favorites The Allah La’s, as well as a reunion of West Coast ‘80s psychedelic band Rain Parade. Tickets are limited for these events and only a select few will be available at the door, so if you want to get the weekend started right grab your tickets now. Weekend pass holders can rest easy, as their festival passes will allow them into the kick off parties as well.

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TVD Vinyl Giveaway: Radar Eyes 7” Flexi, “Dreaming of Giants”

Spring is here, April showers are beginning to replace the gloomy Chicago winter, and “t-shirt weather” is just around the corner. This time of year is particularly special for music lovers and vinyl junkies like myself. Plenty of great record shows come around each Spring but the real vinyl event of the season is Record Store Day.

This annual record appreciation day will take place on Saturday April 20th and bring with it over 400 new releases and reissues from artists new and old.

The release list is generally heavy on vinyl releases, but this year includes the largest selection of CD releases in RSD history. Even a couple of cassettes made the cut. As in previous years, these releases are generally limited to very low quantities (sometimes as low 300-500), meaning it’s very likely you’ll miss out on some of these if you don’t get your shopping done early.

You can find the master release list at the official Record Store Day website in both a flashy web version and a convenient printable PDF (that serves as a great grocery list). This list is by no means complete, tons of smaller indie labels use Record Store Day to put out a new and exclusive records that don’t always make the official list. Start making your picks today and be prepared for Saturday’s record store shopping rush.

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Anthony Cozzi of
Radar Eyes: The TVD Interview and Vinyl Giveaway

On a chilly Chicago Sunday, I had the chance to talk with Anthony Cozzi, front man of Radar Eyes—a band that has been a huge part of the Chicago garage rock scene for some 5 years now and who are just a few days short of the one-year anniversary of their vinyl debut on HoZac Records,

Anthony offered some insight into his songwriting, the home recording process, and the direction the band is heading. We also reminisced about growing up in the south suburbs of Chicago, our favorite record stores, and how the music industry is easily not what it used to be.

I’ll admit I’m fairly new to you guys. I don’t know how you weren’t already on my radar but I first heard the song “I Am” a few weeks ago when the band Asteroid #4 posted it on their Facebook page with the tagline “Wow…sometimes something comes along where even we’re like…’ok, that’s fucking amazing!’”

I was pretty much hooked from there. I played it 4 or 5 times in a row and then immediately searched out some of your other songs. By the time I heard the track “Miracle” I had bought the album and a 7” from HoZac.

Nice! Glad you like it. Some of those songs were recorded over 2 or 2 ½ years ago now; some of them were recorded about a year ago. We’ve had some of them written for about 4 years though.

So, this album had been in the works a long time. It’s been a year since the Radar Eyes LP came out, how do you feel about the past year and the reaction to the album? Was it well received?

Yeah, better than expected for a home recording. I actually was not super satisfied with it but I just had to be done with it. I did all the basic recording myself, did the mixing, did most of the overdubs… It got a little crazy for me.

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TVD Live: honeyhoney at Bottom Lounge, 2/4

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.

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