Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Spaces Of Disappearance

  Elaine from Spaces of Disappearance sang as Courtney Love to cover some songs from Hole. This cover band included Adele from Axons and I could be wrong but I think Danielle from Impulsive Hearts was in the band as well but she could have been just in the audience. I forgot the name of the place. This night, near Halloween in this fucking place I forgot....bands get to do covers. Before Elaine belted out her best Courtney. It was a real effort for her I think she said, to have to do that vocal range all the time.  Her regular singing voice is smooth and clear.  I only had a casual awareness of Courtney Love, never really dug into her music. It's not because I would not like it. I knew I would. The hype around her felt like familiarity. That makes you not get around it until some friend of yours dress up like her and cover some songs with her friends.     There was a band covering Portishead. They were fucking good.  Elaine had her Courtney Love look down. I saw more than a touch of Daisy Chain Saw era Katie Jane, but that would have to be intentional on Elaine's part therefore I was over thinking her effortless costume. This Halloween themed event was supposed to be at The Mutiny, but they are unfortunately closing. So they moved it to some place on Fullerton way west, just past Pulaski I think. I forgot the name of the place, but it seemed to have a space for the locals and a back room for the shows. The building itself was old as shit. Was once owned by a burlesque star, I think. The place has history. I wasn't knowing this when I was walking in. Adele's husband told me. He's cool too. He was there this night. In shows I would go to see anywhere in Chicago, if I saw Elaine, there was Danielle and Adele somewhere around. They all got their own bands. I see all three of them hanging around together all the time during shows. This is what my German Expressionist memory can narrative down. Frontwoman Fest was on them. And through that funnel I saw so fucking much. I think that was how I saw Impulsive Hearts the first time. Elaine would play a few of these. Elaine's Spaces has crisp original yet resonant beats and synth. I would place her in the company of Fee Lion, Pixel Grip, Sexy Fights. They are very original and resonant in what they do. And this is what Elaine is as well with her band Spaces. She weaves a clear texture of sound even when the beat alone is slow. The texture holds you down and has you follow willingly. I call it a texture....I have no better word for how she puts it all together, but there it is. The common thing with all her music is that it hits that urge to dance like it's a gag reflex. Each differently.
  Where ever she goes, her music will carve her out a welcomed home. These friends of mine, I am lucky to have. So is you is telling me these here three are my friends....shut up and don't fuck this up....that is a choral chant that is on mesmerizing repeat whenever my radar scans them together. Adele, Danielle and Elaine. So here we were in that venue that replaced The Mutiny.  There was an urgency to go see this show because I saw a FB post with a picture of all three. They were posting a picture of them after band practice. I thought it was the actual show, and I thought I missed it. I go to this one with greater urgency thinking it was a second gig. But I made it.....yay!! These friends of mine are musicians and I think their music should be known. Its culture they create that make where they live an awesome place to go. They create and they help others do the same....and then they let me hang around them like some lucky stray cat. That such people exist, yeah that part is easy to believe. They let me hang around them, that there is the incredible part.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Ringo Deathstarr

  It is never lost on me who I see when this band plays Chicago. Its always cool because that field is
usually within my own parameters. Its usually someone I already like or have a curiosity about. This bubble is small. That is so cool that you have to snort it like blow, is this.  Sometimes its people that I am friends with.  I'm sorry...that was a fat line I snorted. I need a minute, this shit hits the head first.  Numbs the gums, right?  Well, you know you can't let it stay in your head. You can make a total ass of yourself. Anyway....I saw the Pandas, Scott Cortez, Sophie from Fauvely. Lightfoils...Lightfoils. This show at Chop...I am lucky that I can be at relative ease in this environment, that I can be an accepted animal in this ecosystem.  Ringo Deathstarr are made people, in the shoegaze world, they are made, like five fucking families made. They are from Austin, Texas. They brought someone way fucking cool with them, The Bad Signs!  They are getting their own post, but the experience was together. Their CD Black Magic Moments was fucking crazy! But once again, they are getting their own post. Back to Ringo Deathstarr.
  They play loud and aggressively. You need ear plugs to be near them, something, rolled up napkin, or you are fucked! They will blow you fucking ear drums out .  They will raw dog your ears like you is something special. The album I bought from them this time was Mauve, from 2012. It is now 2018 and that year, anything past 2016 really strikes me with such innocence.  This specific album I have will imprint starting now. I know its a product of a certain place in time. God's Dream I heard before and so shit will strike according to what imprinted first. And out of that fog I got Pure Mood somehow. Oh, and Colour Trip ....and all this because I like the track Summertime, not even the whole album. Well, yeah...the whole album, but not until way way later. That one song, days before the first concert I saw them.  As well as I can recall, that was Darkroom on Chicago Ave. So I bought that one when I could not find Summertime. Every thing I got from this band was from their merch table.
 Its always individual songs on their albums that hook me from this band. Sometimes its one song that holds me to an album until the rest sink in, like with Summertime. On Pure Mood Stare At The Sun and Dream Again have the main gravitational pull. I let the others bloom at their time.  Sometimes they sneak up on you when they decide to play it.  Also they are so abrasively fuzzy, that I can sometimes get lost in it. The songs kind of reveal when they are ready. That is how the shoegaze fog keeps its mysterious edge. Live, they kill it all the time.  They are masters at harnessing the aggressive fuzz and swirls of their guitars. Elliot Frazier's breathy voice is  chill and relaxed like on a couch, while his guitar wails away. 
Ms Alex Gehring with her bass blunts the sharper edges of Elliot's tornado swirls.  It was a cool show at Chop Shop. The band seemed to be at ease with the Chicago crowd, revealing stories about their travels, acid trips, places they hate....They are well traveled. They've played Japan and Europe. When I see them here, its always to a big crowd that is already sold on them. I don't know if I would introduce someone new to them. They are not for a beginner.  I don't got time to be looking over and seeing if they is into it. That's why it makes me happy to see the friends that I noted earlier. These are musicians seeing other musicians. Preachers and choirs and lowly ushers, and they are all from the same fucking denomination. We are the best possible audience for Ringo Deathstarr. Outside of that bubble, they get murdered for the name alone. For me, to a beginner they are the canary in a hungry coal mine. If you do not like shoegaze, or at least something like it, this may fall flat. And that's cool, more parking for me. I'm sold on them. Zig

Sunday, December 2, 2018


  I missed their part of the show at Chop Shop, but they introduce me to so much and I came home with more music than I knew what to do with. Lightfoils released their latest. The pictures I post up here now are of previous shows I caught. They opened for Ringo Deathstarr and they played Summer Time. That is the song that got me into Ringo Deathstarr. Perhaps I should have saved that for the Ringo Deathstarr post.  So Even as I missed Lightfoils their presence I felt and I took home their latest Chambers and wow is it brilliant.   It means something to me when they open for bands like Ringo Deathstarr. They are kind of a medium big fish, in the same pond Lightfoils shares with them. These are made people. Yeah, let's put it that way. It helps to put some other well worn metaphors down.  Lightfoils has put in the work to be known locally for a long time. I don't know honestly how well received they are beyond Chicago. That is something I am curious about.  Its possible you may like Ringo D without giving a shit for Lightfoils.
  One can argue that its too likely that one would already know both. Yeah, this was a incomplete dream gig to see as I missed the Lightfoils end. I cannot imagine their show went on without playing  This Time Is Up.  I'm still into the novelty of seeing my friends put a video with their new music.  I'm into this song. I don't know if this makes sense, but there are bands that I would use to introduce novices into a certain type of music. Meaning that....its easy to get into them. I think.  They are the gateway drug into a larger world and also into their own back catalogue. For me this is Lightfoils. This Time Is Up is the song. The curiosity spills over into what is next, what came before as well as hold your attention for the moment that it has you. The aggressive drums twist, stop and turn on sharp corners. The bass must then respond in kind, blunting the sharper ends, and creating its own impact. Then dueling layers of guitar swirling and spinning about in a near psychedelic trance. Jane's voice ethereal, surfs the aggressive waves.  
  Summer Nights starts with a more relaxed, familiar pace that sneaks into a faster almost psychedelic sprint. It's 8 minutes....but they don't fuck around with it. They don't make you hear filler shit. Its well worth listening to. I like the drums on Duende. It's the first thing to give the song it's pulse that is felt even in segments when it is absent. On this foundation Jane's voice can climb and soar.  Its where the traction begins. From there all other elements can function with ease, sounding almost separate from each other momentarily like they can take it into a jam session.  Honeydew takes me to the crystalized reason I began to like them to begin with.  It takes me back to before Hierarchy, the fucking REMIX LP. It has that original sweetness. And it does something extra to me to have this as the last song. It feels like a reassurance. Something that says we are still us, and we are still here. I'm glad they are here and that this is where they are from. The Bitter Over won me over last....I researched mostly YouTube and then Bandcamp.   If the songs are long, the time was well spent. Its for me like when Warpaint decide to jam in the middle of the song. The length is not self-indulgent. Its cool, I would not want the songs any shorter. Chambers is great for every single track for me.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Exploded View/Gentle Leader XIV

  Her eyes....all her expression was concentrated on her eyes.  Exploded View broods loudly. And still Annika as stoic as ever.  The music is naturally movement inducing.  Perhaps I forgot how all her expression is in her eyes, and they were always gazing towards the back of the audience, not at anyone specific. Her slightest reaction to anything was fascinating to behold. Someone in the audience did this exclamation that caught her attention and she imitated that very sound.  That was hilarious to me. The slightest acknowledgment of the audience. It meant volumes. She sees us. The fourth wall has its windows and she looks at us as we see her. The state of mind I was in at the moment, perhaps it was best that her eyes did not focus on anyone. It would be like a wax statue from a Vincent Price horror movie suddenly locking eyes on you.
This show once I knew of it, the anticipation made the passing of time feel slow.  Meanwhile I familiarize with videos from YouTube.  No More Parties In The Attic I played regularly.  I hear that song and its like the soul train image in my head begins to dance in its tracks.  It just has that relentless, hypnotizing forward motion of a train, with the urgency of a fucking ambulance right behind you. Now, in hindsight I try to write down, reconstruct from fading memory. Its almost like trying to write down a dream. Did I really dream that? The songs that are slows haunt,  like a sad old abandoned building you is re-purpose. Oh look, its been a neighborhood bar once. Old noises you notice....any movement you notice...on a house...we are still on the house metaphor....I use the old muscle car metaphor too many times...When they move slow its not boring, listless. Its Uncle Pauly moving slow because he wants to.  Depression is an old house, a near impossible to destroy structure of your interior castle. You try to re-purpose that shit, because it ain't going anywhere. So this music that conjures up grey, late fall depressive images....perhaps they  frame what is already there. You contain what would otherwise run around wild inside of your mind, or make it work. Go see something that frames it in some shit that may at first sound down, but actually is not.  
  On top of being deep, Annika's voice is also kind of robotic steady.  Its not a complaint. I am a fan of Annika and Exploded View. I am trying to describe her voice. She is almost the anchor to all the rest of the moving parts. Her voice usually emerges clear. For the encore, she decided to wander about the Empty Bottle crowd as she played I think Disco Glove. That one starts a fire under your ass. Its a sprint down the block and down some long stairs. The bass fills the room with a vibrating cloud similar in potency to let's say......Fee Lion, only messier....if that makes sense. This was a constant during their entire set, that vibrating bass.
Not one mother fucker on their phones. Hmmm, well.... perhaps I was too damn concentrated on her. Letting Go Of Childhood Dreams hits close to that Katie Jane spot, sweet sad and dark. Like something that you wish you had more than once.  It makes a difference where this first imprint began. It's possible this was played at the show but I recall it best driving home from a friends house finally clearing that space in time to hear this along the way. Besides the title which I can clearly hear her say...there is nothing else I can make out, but the song is mesmerizing and makes you think.

I don't have a specific memory of seeing this one play. I became aware of it later playing it. Another thing that means something to me. Annika collaborated with musicians from Mexico. That makes a huge difference to me. It brings the music closer to me. Some tracks begin to take after buying the CDs, only after taking home a physical product.   So I'm attracted to this because....lets say generally its what's familiar to shit I like and listened before and all that. And I stay because it is not. The differences you discover along the way.
   Gentle Leader XIV was fucking great. They opened the show. The lead singer I remember from her old band Hollows.  They were a fitting opener for Exploded View.  I see the same bleak gray winter skies with them as with Annika's new band.  Interesting combinations of grays and blues. I feel taken to that atmosphere, perfect for autumn, but I am not placed in that depressed music does that for me. Brings me way down.  Not here. Instead I am a tourist fascinated by where they take me. Fascinated by the colors that I can use. Anyway, so Gentle Leader puts me in the same area code as Annika does. They are not as full of bass as EV. They stroll more than they jog. But that is cool. They have my attention and hold it.  Slo Death is where they seem to sprint. Or at least there is an urgency of a sprint. There is tension from around the corner.   They played first. For me it would have worked best to have them play second. The middle band that played after Gentle Leader and before Exploded View nearly put me to sleep. I just did not get them. I was walking around Empty Bottle desperate to stay awake or to find a parking spot for my ass to sit and dose off. I took a stroll outside to put away in the car the merch I bought. Walking in the cold early November air kept me up.  It was one of them rare gigs when I manage to bring with me my sister and her husband. And they sat and slept. I was embarrassed.  Anyway all was well as soon as the headliner played.  Its weird to have this moment so anticipated finally in the past tense.

Fauvely at DC Torium

  Fauvely played DC Torium this past Sunday 18 November. Her latest release Tides is out as a cassette with a download code. And it's been picked up by Diversion Records. So I am happy that this is happening.  This is high culture for me. It should be known. Sunday 2 December Fauvely is playing Sub T's downstairs with Dorsia! Y'all gotta hear her live.  Waning, I think I heard live, hits me the way Cross Record did the first time. I am Beavis discovering something deep for the first time. A faint feeling of unworthiness washes over and past. Then you begin to feel accepted by what you secretly identify with. This was meant for me too. I am glad to have seen this from the start. I marvel at how its grown, and I how I have grown from hearing it. I don't want to overstate shit. But I have collected memories from seeing these shows. Memories accumulate easiest around the music heard during that time. And Fauvely is deep....yeah  is what I was getting around to saying, if you don't like deep, this ain't for you. This is deep thinking, too many edible eating Stuart Smally-gaze that gets more assertive with each new gig.
  The track Break really stood out for me when she played it live at The Hideout. The crowd seemed to know it and cheered her on.. they seemed to know her music. She belted out the track like a drinking song. It just came to life in this unexpected way. All of Watch Me works for small intimate rooms, but those same tracks can assert a bigger space, especially live. And now Tides begins already owning that bigger space, and still being so fucking cool about it. She makes being pensive sound cool. Savannah, Georgia is where she is originally from, and so to name a track Savannah is significant. I am already a fan. It comes loaded, yeah. I guess its Alice's violin in the video that slightly pulls towards a rural setting. From there Sophie's voice haunts the fucking swamp. Do they got swamps in Georgia? The guys from Ghost Adventures would fucking shit themselves if they heard this from their little spirit box. The violin alone? Someone is pissing themselves. So its dark and pensive and slightly places you near PJ Harvey's White Chalk. Hmmm, alright....not quite as scary, but just as serious. The pensive tension gives it the weight of something more dramatic like a movie score.
  Beyond going by how her voice sounds, eventually I will figure out the lyrics beyond more than some disconnected phrases. And going back to PJ's White Chalk, for a bit. PJ had to hover her voice in the higher end of her range with slower minimal instruments. With Sophie, floating and hovering while deep in the exploration of your mind is kind of what Fauvely already does. No, I am not saying PJ isn't deep. I'm saying before fucking Chalk she was different. And minimal almost acoustic, bedroom is kind of where fucking Fauvely started.  Yet.... Savannah is still already a different animal from Watch Me. She leans over the window, is bolder. Her brooding is loud with Haunts Me.  By then you know she just need a bigger garage to park the rest of the cars. So now I already have a spot for I Am the Morning. I was already into High Hopes before buying the cassette. Its great to attach a few live memories to this specific track. There's actually where I can hear these songs and read a detailed story on each song...I gotta take some time reading through.....So looking forward to seeing Fauvely and Dorsia again!

Monday, October 29, 2018

Tambourina/Whimsical/Panda Riot/Lightfoils/New Canyons

  Well, who I saw was Tambourina, April the lead singer. She had no merch for her new band, and so what I took home was from her old band Glowfriends.  So that is where I flash back to as I recall the memory of seeing her as Tambourina. This was at Chop Shop on North Ave.  It was during Windy City Crash Pop on Saturday 29th Sept. Cory from Panda Riot and Lightfoils I think organized this whole event. Steve went with me. Well, he drove. Right. I went with him.  He picked me up and met my sisters as I got ready. We had a nice drive listening to music we both have collected. We were still going on about the Still Corners show we saw at Beat Kitchen. we were fucking there at Chop Shop...., and Tambourina plays and she was generous with the merch we bought from her. I cam home with I think 4 CDs. Two comps and two Glowfriends. She invited us to Kalamashoegazer.  Hmm...well she was handing out flyers and we struck a conversation about it. This next one, Ringo Deathstarr headlines and Ariel from Chicago is playing there too. Kalamashoegazer, I've known if it. I think Panda Riot played there. I hear their crowd reacts well, not stoic as Chicago. This was my first time seeing Tambourina. I forgot what order the bands played. It was a fucking marathon that started early and yet it felt well paced. The security guy said the bands were each running around 15 minutes late, but it did not feel long, laborious.  Maybe it's just my shoegaze legs. We caught most of the acts. I think I missed Ariel. Its been long enough for me to forget the order of who played when. I just know that Lightfoils played last.  Whimsical was there...oh, and New Canyons!  It was during a show at Smart Bar that finally broke my filter and made me a fan of them. And on CD I really got into End Color. So Tambourina is now on the radar and it will have me backtrack into their Glowfriends era and listen to that more and the two CDs Gather Us Together and To Have And To Hold.  I already found songs that I like there. The Pandas I think played some new music (along with their latest Infinity Maps) as did Lighfoils.....they got the new music coming out soon if not already.
Whimsical, Tambourina and New Canyons have new work on the way as well. I am familiar enough with the Panda's latest, that when they play something barely new, I notice. They were great songs is all I can recall about them. The same with Lightfoils.

   Krissy Vanderwoude I see all the time at Sarah and Philly's Shimmer. Hell, all the Chicago bands have gone there just to hang. It started to dawn on me at some point she was in a band and which one. I did not explore it, I figured this would fully reveal itself in time and seeing Krissy on stage was a big reveal, a big deal, because all the band members live apart I think. So to get them together like this when they are all are adults living separate lives, its like booking the fucking sun and moon to eclipse.....oh and that comet better streak across the sky on cue and fuck it up like in rehearsal.  I think they practiced once before playing for real this one time, and they sounded so fucking cool.  
  It really is incredible that we have a night for so specialized in music and we got the people that play in that very kind of music.  Right now I am speaking about hanging around in Shimmer. They hang out in that very bar. Those are a lot of things that do not necessarily happen together and so it's cool that it does. Its that fucking small a world sometimes. I came about shoegaze and dream pop by way of my goth friends. This connection may not exist for many. But for some this is part of a related continuum. It becomes apparent when you see the same core group of people at the industrial shows, darkwave, coldwave, goth, and shoegaze gigs. There are tethers connecting all of these. Its no accident the friends that do club nights like Nocturna, La Petite Mort, Bittersweet also do Shimmer.  They see and perhaps even create and nurture these connections. And there are also barriers and filters between them.  Shoegaze music tends to have a sedative effect on some of my industrial friends.  I am glad for those that walked me through those filters.  And perhaps that was.....all very subjective.
   I bought Steve a Panda Riot shirt.  I felt I had to make it up for not making it to Beach House, he already bought that ticket. We looked through them and discovered the last of the first batch of shirts they made for the second CD Black Pyramid. It's charcoal gray almost black. Its the first shirt they made period, and so for me it was a favorite.  I hope we don't walk into Shimmer wearing that same damn shirt. These are going to be our relics as we age I believe. The shirts we collect from the bands we see. These shirts are part of that tangible culture, that I wish to preserve....and wear 'cause they are fucking cool as shit. Perhaps I will have more to say on this event but I need to post before this month ends and lose myself in another rant.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Ships In The Night

  30th Sept Sunday Bittersweet at Berlin, Ships In The Night  live.  Philly's night. The night before was Crash Pop. Wonderful, and exhausting. And that's another fucking post. All that fucking one night...from 6:30pm. It was a fucking marathon. Oh...whatever....I was into it....I was.  And its so weird that I can be into shoegaze like this but baseball can't really hold my attention. The Sunday after, is this one show at Philly's night. Here I gather my piss poor memories of seeing Ships. I hear the CD now a lot, and have since seen the videos on YouTube.
  So I caught the last song, and a piece of the one before. Enough for me to dance and take pictures. I hope she comes back.  Came home with the CD Myriologues and shirt.....a medium. I will motivate me to work will be one of those.  Ships In The Night does with Killing Moon what Hungry Lucy did with Blue Dress. Now, that got me all thinking about what happened to them...Hungry Lucy. They were great! And Ships In The Night reminds me a lot about them. Multi instrumentalist Alethea Leventhal SITN. She can play a harp....did I really see that. I don't chase that video down.  She comes from Virginia.  From that last song I had to extract whatever impression I could of the whole show. It had to be everything.  That last song that struck me as dark, sweet and mysterious.....but that's kind of the whole fucking point of being here, soaking it all up. Even now I can't recall which song was last. This memory has all the right conditions for that German Expressionist treatment. I mean the fucking club is called skies over tornado ally.  So what did I see as she played? I recalled a group of about 8 dancing to the left of the stage.  They were dancing to Ships. I really did not look beyond that. I just pondered on her being here before Philly took his night the normal way he does. A small band, I was lucky to find when they orbited around from so far away, played before and made it the first awesome song I would hear that night.
  Philly's Bittersweet continued on after her set was done, and that whole set was great. I requested Ritual Howls and got it! From then on it was this cascading set of all shades of dark music, some that I am familiar and a lot that I am not.  All of it kept me on the floor.  I had the CD at this point and could have left it there, but managed to find enough for the shirt...a medium.  That German Expressionist self distortion allows for me to believe I will look good in medium. ....For me, its one of those rare finds. ....the shirt, the CD...and the, right?  And how rare is it to catch the gig. I almost didn't so I went for whatever relic I could find and take home to definitively in stone remind me of this show, in defiance of the near miss. 
  Another legendary goth band they remind me of....early Switchblade Symphony., I'm not just fucking saying that...... 'cause so what if Philly played Switchblade later that night....not relevant. Yeah....their beats....with the nursery rhymes....That's what separated them.  Innocence walking on dark waters, just like here with Ships.  Her plainspoken words glide and land effectively. The music is restrained, minimal but with a dancers mid tempo pulse. Minimal, dark dance, synth pop. I think that is more crayons than I am used to using. In Dark Places when she hits you square with that clear voice, you are a deer staring into the lights. But that dancers pulse moves you along.  There was a reason why we had this at Bittersweet. You can dance to this shit like its your favorite Book Of Love track. Myriologues broods over ripples of water and looks for a fuse that Alethea steps on. Her songs are simultaneously intimate enough for a bedroom, and dance floor worthy for....well goth clubs.
  Her set finished and I somehow not as bitter for missing most of it. Instead,

feeling good that I caught what I did and I still can buy her music. There was no fucking way I was just gonna hear this shit on YouTube. I gotta have the fucking physical CD.
  After time I can think about this show I caught on the after end of Crash Pop. Me and Philly went to that as well. Philly had me stay longer with each song on his set list. So as much as it is about her....its also about Bittersweet on the last Sunday of the month. It was a good time there, as fleeting times tend to be, too brief. Writing it down extends it for me. Serves as the building blocks for a more accurate collective memory. There is video, music, and this text, this culture matters to me and it should be enjoyed now and remembered later. 
 My impression of her music evolves and deepens.  I want to go back and say, revise what I wrote about the tracks I already mentioned, and ramble about further about the rest.  Deathless reminds me of some Zola Jesus tracks that specifically are about suicide.  And like those tracks there is no escaping clearly spoken words.  The video kind of seems to be about some one preparing herself to take her own life.....she takes a vial of something.  Another reason why I have to say the word dark over and over again. Its blacker than a long power outage.  World Turned Cold takes me back to and has the sweetness of The Never Ending Story. The entire album retains this feeling of smallness, intimacy. That makes the impact of clear words more resonant.  The songs don't telegraph each other. Each carves its own path in my head. They are different enough from each other that you don't tire of the artist.  I can hear the whole album. It makes seeing her more special. It makes fitting into this fucking Medium a mission that includes cardio, push-ups, and pull-ups.  When she comes back I'll get the big XXL. Zig