meLLo – Gettin @ Mine and Take Me Away

March 9, 2009

meLLo is a talented producer, who obviously knows his way around the boards – his remixes are of top quality – but, on some of the songs he is one of many biting off Kanye West’s synths and T-Pain’s auto-tuned vocal effects (all the rave these days).  It’s a talent that could take him places, but it sounds to me like he’s settling with a few of his songs.  One stand out is Gettin @ Mine – the beat is large, the piano staccato, and the breaks move from right to left in your headphones – giving you a true banger with a huge hook.

On Take Me Away, meL falls back onto the popular vocal effects, but the beat is raw.  The break beat gets in your head and won’t let go until you’re movin’ side to side with attitude.  The flow is tight as well, like I said, the kid’s got talent.

Here’s to hearin’ from the meLLo in the future – the sky’s the limit for a guy of this talent.



Todd Kessler – Golden Bird

March 5, 2009

With music you know you’ve got something good within 20 seconds of hearing it. Todd Kessler’s song, “Golden Bird” has a Led Zepplin like melody at the beginning – really a classic rock sound with a simple arrangement: handclaps/piano/acoustic guitar and beautiful vocals. Honestly probably the best combination of voices I’ve heard in two months, Todd and Erika Brett (of “Empty Pockets”), come together in a collaboration of ages and present us with a gift in the form of music. Golden Bird is really a wonderfully done song they have perfected the phrase less is more – all the accents are right where they should be, and the mix is exactly right for this type of song. The vocals lay perfectly next to one another. It’s folk music at its finest, tells a lovely story using a woven in metaphor, allusions to flying, jumping and being free – Todd Kessler uses clichés to remind the audience of what they already know – he doesn’t haphazardly throw them into the lyrics because it’s the first thing that came to his mind. You can tell this is a well thought out recording and a well thought out collaboration between two fantastic artists. What would otherwise be a very boring guitar strum comes across as comforting when accompanied by the simple piano chords and small tinkering throughout. Their sound is one that is very very similar to one of my favorite acoustic bands, “The Weepies” and here my only wish is for a little more low-end. Possibly an upright bass, but me thinks an electric bass would work nicely here as well.

If you like folk music and dig on the Coffee House station on Sirius XM radio, then Todd Kessler is your cup o’ joe. Come see him play Golden Bird March 11th at Schuba’s on Belmont and Southport for a relaxing night of lovely music.

Like CIMR? Subscribe via Email!

March 4, 2009

Hello all – glad to see the readership of the review has been evolving slowly but surely and I felt that I need a way to make it easier on ya’ll to keep up to date with what we’ve been hearing/listening to – and even check up to see what’s happening this weekend.  In this light, on the upper right hand side of the page is a link so you can recieve email updates whenever we update our page, neat, huh?  Anyway, thanks a ton for reading and keep on supporting the local scene!

Chester – Tranquilicious, Wake Up

March 2, 2009

A mix of heavily distorted and wah wah flavored guitars along with a rock-picked bassline and vocals and lyrics simliar Edward Kowalczyk (of Live) create a sound not unlike Velvet Revolver. This is Chester.  They play rock music, not screamo, not hardcore, just straight up, whiskey with ice and a splash of water, mid 90’s alternative rock.  The slow stomping, electrified rhythms surely propel their audiences into a jumping and fist pumping frenzy at their live show – and having played more than their fair share of shows at the dingy Elbo Room, I don’t deny it. The vocals and the lead guitar usually follow one another, snaking around the song, really belting when appropriate and shutting down where appropriate as well.  The recordings are really good quality and the band is tight together, which is more than can be said for ALOT of the rock bands out there these days.  Although there are some political overtones (Wake Up) , the message does not disrupt the music and you are never overpowered by the heaviness of the lyrics.

If you are ready to pump the volume up and start elevating that blood pressure a little, stop by one of Chester’s shows and bounce off a few bodies.


Top 5 Songs Reviewed for February

February 26, 2009

Hello loyal readers! Hope February went well for you. I can say that for CIMR, it was an excellent month, recording well over 1000 unique hits to our and your reviews. Without further ado, here are our Top 5 Songs for February:

From the Broken – The Search EP

Band Called Catch – Done it Again

Sugar Pusher – Get Out of Here

Iron Vein – Revenge

The Hudson Branch – Do They Really Care

Please refer to the links to hear these great songs/collections of songs and see them at their next show.

And above all, thanks for stopping by Chicago’s Independent Music Review!

7 Leaf Clover – Clover Sky

February 23, 2009

Well, there’s good rap music (see Keith Masters) and then there’s this…if you took as many cliches as you could and shoved them into a song, then this is what you would come up with. A repetitive beat, highly uninspired lyrics (I spit sick shit, and I got a thick f**kin dick) coming from self referential white guys has already grabbed America by the collar, but it no longer has any power or influence this day in age. Its not about being white or black, but its about being talented and really taking your time and killing it lyrically and in your music. Next time, take a listen to the most talented artists in the game, take what they do and put your own spin on it. There is some inspiration in the sounds, although the beats could be sampled cleaner, and really pushed to the front of the mix. Keep at it fellas, you’ll get there eventually. Stop by and take a listen to “Slow Down” – its a string heavy take on urban America.

Sugar Pusher – Get Out of Here, Matt’s Song, Kisses Review

February 23, 2009

Sugar Pusher, not to be confused with the much darker and decidedly more underground Squarepusher, is a sugary sweet pop band, complete with multi layered vocals and a very high quality recording that is caught between wanting to sound “live” and wanting to sound polished. According to their soon to be completed website, they are bouyed by some of Chicago’s top talent, and the musicianship is apparent on the majority of the songs. Take the time to listen to the Randy Jackson-esque (yes, of American Idol fame – for those of you who don’t know, let me educate you – he is a ruler in the land of bass) bass line in Get Out of Here. Matt’s Song is a No Doubt song, circa 1998 that’s landed in my headphones – Gwen Stefani has a step up on Lauren Ritchie, but not a large one. As far as pop music goes, I have to say that I haven’t heard any that compares as of yet, but then again, a lot of pop music would not consider itself independent. Although slick, I think Sugar Pusher could use a shove more in the direction of danceable tunes – they are playing in limbo – between an almost pop record and an almost rock record, but they aren’t landing a punch in either place.