chicago

Hospital Garden

The impressive self-titled debut album from Hospital Garden has been released by Ann Arbor’s Cerberus Records. The album is a force, and the twelve consistently hearken back to a time when the word Alternative meant something. This album is powerful, noisy, fun that is bound to be one of your favorite summertime listens.

   

Blane Fonda Update

After a busy spring with shows in Chicago, Milwaukee, Grinnell College and SXSW, it’s been good to get back to work writing songs this summer. A guy somewhere once said something witty along the lines of “The best song in the world is the one you just finished writing,” and that’s pretty much how we feel about several of our tunes right now, except that our favorite song is still and always will be “Hoogie Boogie Land” by Complete.

Aside from writing songs, Blane Fonda’s working on booking fall shows, hopefully including some college dates. We also played a last minute show at Ronny’s—which turned out to be a real fun night. Coming up around these parts, we’ll be playing Friday July 9 at The Union in Naperville with our friends Aktar Aktar, and on August 27 we have a show at Darkroom. - Charlie Nadler

   

Stanley Ipkiss: Year Of The Nice Guy EP

Mike Schpitz (aka Love Jones) is making his Block Starz debut on August 3rd with his new ep Stanley Ipkiss: Year of The Nice Guy. The ten track ep was inspired by Jim Carrey's character from the 1994 box office smash "The Mask" and takes listeners on a cinematic ride through everyday life as viewed from the offbeat perspective of Mike Schpitz. The heart and soul of this album are the big beats provided by Rob Bates. The combination of Schpitz and Bates seems natural and at times explosive. This is an album to roll down the windows and blast.

   

Green Velvet @ Millenium Park

Curtis Jones (a.k.a. Cajmere and Green Velvet) can create some crazy beats, but when remixed by Felix Cartel it gets even more insane. His latest release as Green Velvet was released this week and is called Harmageddon. The ep features remixes of the title track from both Felix Cartel and Santiago & Bushido, as well as a track called “I Feel The Love”.

Green Velvet will be playing a DJ set at Millenium Park this Saturday (July 3rd) at 12:00pm as part of the Edible Audible Picnic.

   

CD of The Month: Hey Champ

I don’t believe that Hey Champ would dislike this classification, in fact it seems like they have embraced it, but this album, the band’s debut, is pure pop. Star collects the various singles and club hits like “Cold Dust Girl” and “Neverest”, but adds new and more rock based tracks like “Shake” and “Steampunk”. While listening through this album the main comparison that came to mind was New Order, or for a more current comparison Awesome New Republic.

The connection is not only sound, but in the mixture of dance pop and political themes that the band mixes in. Songs like “World=War”, “So American”, and “No Future” brings a very forceful political message while still allowing the listen to dance. I don’t feel that political messages in pop music are as unusual or jarring as they once were, but the album does, in certain points, begin to become a little weighted down by these themes. I suppose it all in what you are looking for. Do you want you dance music light of fun or do you want a line like “lay down your sword because you would be ill advised to fight anymore”? This is still an album to playing at the pool or the summer barbeque, but it walks that fine line. Overall, Star is an impressive debut and is more effective and focused than I expected give their diverse pool of remix work. I suppose we can call it dance pop with a purpose.

Star will be released on July 13th, but can be pre-ordered right now for just $4.99. The band will be performing on August 1st here in Chicago at the Lolla Remix Throwdown.