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Midwest Music

Chicago Indie Rock
Turns out my childhood-high school friend, Megan’s, husband is in an indie rock band, The Bandages, and they’re good. As I listen to their first song on MySpace, “The Chemistry”, I think of McGnarly’s Rant, a Vancouver BC band who used to play at Biddy McGraw’s in Portland, who now call themselves RantMusic. (I think it’s the “Celtic guitar”, for lack of a better word, in their first song that immediately has me transported back in time.) I enjoy a more pop beat in their second song, and an off-beat, minor bass/keyboard line that pays tribute to Fiona Apple. And then some jazz infusion in the third. Yay! I can’t wait to listen to their full-length CD, Breakup, which sports some killer cover artwork. Hanging from an old ceiling light fixture is an etched heart (think of an illustration from a 19th century medical journal), decorated in thorns and deadly arrows from Cupid in the distance. All this is in front of a cemetery silhouetted against the Chicago skyline.

Yesterday, as I’m kicking off an early morning, I hear the Chicago morning news team give a shout out to an old favorite band of mine, Tilly and the Wall, and play a snippet of their new video for the new single “Beat Control.” The news team chuckles at the retro beat and fashion, “It’s like Tron meets Milli Vanilli […] and they’re from Omaha.” In trying to find the video, I find some others worth checking out. And it’s worth noting that in place of a drummer, they simply have a tap dancer.

Speaking of Omaha, last week I was lucky to stumble across a fabulous show, after deciding to check out the Slow Down, a bar slash music venue opened last year or so by the guys at Saddle Creek Records. Neva Dinova is their name and I’m in love. Not with any particular person, as they’re a little out of my age range, but the versatile group had, at minimum 4 guys on stage and sometimes 7 or 8. A few times I saw three guitars going, along w/the bass and drum. The drummer struck me as someone who grew up playing jazz and the lead singer could have been Will Oldham’s brother, or my brother in 20 years. The harmony singer friend did a great job, though I sensed he hadn’t practiced with the band and showed some nervous fidgeting which he soothed with his PBR tall boy. And I especially loved the melodic trumpet song. So, yeah, check ’em out on – you won’t be disappointed.

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