Felix Culpa Record Release @ Metro (Tonight!)

I’ve had the good fortune to interact with a great deal of Chicago musicians in the last year, and I can honestly say that none have been nicer than Marky Hladdish. He is just one of the members of the four-piece band The Felix Culpa. Their latest album, Sever Your Roots, finds Marky and the boys in rare form. This is a full on assault of pure rock, and they truly hold nothing back. In fact, this double LP clocks in at over 66 minutes. The band has been together for the better part of ten years now, and this album is really a culmination of that history together. In fact the track “Because This Is How We Speak” talks directly to that history and all of the bands that no longer exist.

The Felix Culpa is celebrating the release of Sever Your Roots at Metro tonight, Jan. 23rd with Loyal Divide, Robbers, and Suns.


Concert review: Brighton MA @ Schubas

I was fortunate to be in attendance for the first of two shows with Brighton MA at Schubas last night. The night's opening band, Flight, made the trip in from Madison and proceeded to win over the slowly building crowd. Lead by the intoxicating force and beauty of Jentri Colello, Fight gave out copies of their demo ep and is currently working on a full-length album. Blending the sultry nature of St. Vincent with the rockier side of Feist and a heavy dose of atmospherics, Flight was a pleasure to hear.

As the room filled to capacity, as the show was sold out, Elsinore took the stage. Coming from down state, the band brought a strong college following with them. Their sound was polished, but a little all over the board. With traces of Phoenix, Wolfmother, and even a Postal Service cover, the band is still searching for a true sound but still making radio ready pop in the process.

Finally, just after midnight Brighton MA took the stage and showed the crowd how it is done. This is a band that should be so much bigger than they are, and we are lucky they call Chicago home. Holding a clinic on alt-country, they played with precision and style and a maturity that is undeniable. Matthew Kerstein controlled the crowd, drank a beer, and sang with a passion and joy that transformed the songs from their full-length Amateur Lovers into something so much more.

The entire evening I was wearing my new set of EarLove earplugs. Created here in Chicago, these Hi-Fi earplugs surprisingly enhanced the sound of the while eliminated the background noise. This morning I report that my ears are not ringing as they would normally be post show.

You can catch Brighton MA again tonight at Schubas with Andrew Belle and Tacoma Narrows.


Mako Sica

There is a thriving music scene here in Chicago that to many publications goes virtually unnoticed. However, on February 16th Mako Sica may begin to breakthrough. With Przemyslaw Krys Drazek on guitar and trumpet, Michael J. Kendrick on drums and Brent Fuscaldo on vocals, guitar, and various percussion, Mako Sika plays an experimental and free form psychedelic jazz and punk. They wholly embrace the freedom of sound and the power of exploration.

Dual Horizon is the bands debut album and it was recorded by Todd Rittmann (D. Rider) and Jim Zespy (Magnolia Electric Co.) at Logan Hardware. The session were recorded live and left untouched. The texture, the multi-layers, the echoing and searching is all their own. Side A of the album kicks off with the twenty track “I’toi”, a song named for a mythological Native American god who lives in a mountain cave and watches over the desert. The words Mako Sica come from a Sioux Lakota Native American term meaning, "land bad." This album is spiritual if you let it be, the form and nature is that free and ever-changing, but it is also an impressive display musical craftsmanship. You can preorder Dual Horizon here.


Janus on Headbangers Ball

2009 was a tremendous year for rockers Janus, but they are already promising this year will be even better. They are starting it by hosting MTV2's Headbangers Ball this Monday (1/25) at 2am. That’s right there is still such a thing as Headbangers Ball, and Janus is honored. This marks the start of their tour with Chevelle that will bring them back to Chicago on Feb. 20th to play the Riv.

It’s not surprising they are touring again they’ve been touring non-stop to promote their debut album, Red Right Return, since its release September 22, 2009 on REALID Records, through Warner Music Group’s Independent Label Group. The album’s explosive first single, “Eyesore,” is currently spinning on over 50 Rock radio stations nationwide, and is at#17 on the Active Rock charts.

You can catch a special acoustic show from Janus tomorrow (1/23) at Best Buy (1432 Butterfield Rd) at 2pm, and them see them perform at Cubby Bear.


Elsinore (Record Release) @ Schubas

Another band releasing an album this weekend at the Brighton MA show at Schubas is the downstate band Elsinore. Their new ep The Chemicals finds the band further perfect clean upbeat pop rock sound. Once you hear the ep’s title track you will be hooked.

Elsinore is playing at Schubas of Friday, Jan. 22nd with Flights and Brighton MA.