January Recap: Top 5 Songs You Should Listen To

January 30, 2009

In no particular order, here are Chicago’s Independent Reviews top 5 songs from January:

Overman – Move On
Keith Masters – I Love to Floss
Beaten by Yuri – Missing Link
Jel.Ani – Land of Nowhere
Dino & The Illusions – Blue Iris Baby

Congratulations guys, please keep on providing great music for all of us!


On The Run – “Bone Sad” review

January 29, 2009

On The Run sounds like Dispatch. Yeah, thats right, I said it. I keep hearing these really great bass lines in relatively unknown bands which gives hope yet to the Chicago music scene – I mean, at least its not just a bunch of cock rock guitarists, right? “Bone Sad” follows directly in the vein of Dispatch, The Dave Matthews Band, and other quasi jam bands, it has been a little while since I’ve heard a band that has a good enough sound to say their sound is of their influences instead of saying, well, they kind of sound like said bands, but alot crappier. Anyway, enough of the commentary, this song has a great groove to it, good, solid drums and the production is better than most. On The Run sounds like there are 4 guitarists, but there are only two – and they aren’t afraid to give the sax player a solo. They are a solid band that probably puts on a great show, lets just hope they get the “Lilly’s” gigs out of their system rather quickly – they’re a thousand times better than some of the venues they’ll be soon playing.


Keith Masters – “I Love to Floss” review

January 29, 2009

As much as singer-songwriters pull the strings of my heart, anything with an electro beat has an equal place. Check that, anything with a good electro beat does. Like Jel.Ani, who I reviewed earlier this month, Keith Masters has mastered, pun intended, (sorry) – pushing the boundaries of the hip hop genre to where it is and should be going. Although the Kanye references are heavy in this track, and noticeable, it seems to me more of an homage to the artist (Late Registration) than a rip-off. None the less, it has a bangin’ beat – a simple kick-snare kick-snare combo that breaks your neck. If you’re into hip hop, let it be known, Keith Masters will be coming to your headphones soon.


Spike McGuire – “The End of the World Song 2”

January 27, 2009

Spike can juggle like a motherfucker.  Don’t take my word for it – that’s what he says.  Spike has a history as interesting as his name, and he falls squarely under the singer-songwriter category, now we all know my vested feelings for the singer-songwriters (see Brian McGrath), but I have to say this song kind of bores me.  The lyrics are well written enough – and anything about the apocalypse grabs this reviewer’s interest, but the constant down down up strumming has been done many, many times over before and wears on your ears as the song goes on.  On a scale of one to catchy, this one lands a solid seven.  Spike is rightfully a coffee shop guy, and has all the right skills for it – it’d be a great time sipping on a latte and listening to his musings on life – I think it might behoove him to pick up a band for his next record/EP.


Jadiid – Movement EP

January 27, 2009

Jadiid – pronounced “Ja-deed”, or loosely translated “modern” – recently released an EP, entitled Movement – without listening, I had expected a middle-eastern sound (ie, Beatles “Within You Without You” – Sgt. Pepper) – it was not.  Jadiid’s sound is similar to another local Chicago band – “The Young Sea” – without totally ripping off Coldplay.  The EP does have movement, the arrangement is pretty, the vocals are good – there are some missteps – namely some strange electronic sounds that awkwardly stand out in the mix, but overall, the slow moving songs flow beautifully from one to the next, like poetry.  There is an otherworldly quality to the music, an atmosphere that you can’t quite put you’re foot on, rarely do words elude me, but here I’m settling, not happily, with beautiful.  I can hear the influence of Coldplay, some Death Cab, and the ever awesome Sigur Ros.  These guys do not wear their influences on their sleeve though, these are simply an undercurrent of which the music flows.  There’s alot going on under the surface of these songs – like a body of water, what at first you see is not necessarily what may appear later.  This is not to say this is a complex or complicated album; instrumentally, it is pretty straight forward built adult contemporary folk rock piece.  Save this collection of tunes for a drive to work in the morning – let the sunshine wash over your car, crack open your windows, take a sip of coffee and ingest this EP wholeheartedly.


Late Night Hooligan Riff Raff – “Release the Reigns” Review

January 27, 2009

Craigslist Chicago spammers Late Night Hooligan Riff Raff (LNHRR) are not as bad as I wanted them to be.  Lead by a kick ass bass player, LNHRR’s “Release the Reigns” has great production behind them, good lyrics, a rocking drum beat and a genre crossing feel to it that I have not heard before.  I can honestly say that I was very surprised by the melodic treatment and the professionalism that accompanied this band – they truly rock.  Mixing punk rock, arena rock and a unbelievably perfect bassline, this song is one that needs to be heard much more than it is.  LNHRR, stay off craigslist, you’re better than that.  As for the rest of you – listen to this song, and be impressed.


Stranger in a Strange Land – “Alone” and “Bokonon Tango”

January 26, 2009

Strangeland Strangers sound like Jack White spit them right out of his mouth.  Unfortunately, they did not inherit his rocking lead capabilities – the lead guitar is cool, but lacks the ripping, angry, searing pissed offedness that Jack owns.   The tone is almost there, the vocals are almost there, the drums are quiet, but there – its a second rate blues rock tribute to The White Stripes.  There are gleams of possibilities shining through in the song, but better production, a clearer recording, and please, less buzz on the guitar fellas, and the “almosts” fall off.

Bokonon Tango is still blues, but has less of that wannabe feel and is the band taking strides in the right direction.  A super groovy guitar/bass breakdown, the solos had me bobbing my head and stomping (ok tapping, people live downstairs, ya know!) along with the rhythm.  This is a kick ass groovy track from “Chicago’s most pious discordian rock band”.  Two thumbs up dudes, here’s to staying true and travelin’ strange.