ChicagoVerseUniteD: Chicago Scene Salvation

The CVU 2011 Forecast: The Collected Edition!

Posted in CVU Collected Editions,CVU Cover Story 01/11 by Jaime Black on February 1st, 2011

Throughout the month of January, ChicagoVerseUniteD featured at least one local artist a day sharing their release plans for 2011. Those features are linked below by artist in reverse order of publication.

The CVU 2011 Forecast
01/31 – The Felix Culpa / Gemini ClubHey Champ
01/30 – The Hood Internet & My Gold Mask
01/29 – The Lifeline
01/28 – Loyal Divide
01/27 – Pretty Good Dance Moves
01/26 – A Lull
01/25 – BBU
01/24 – An Aesthetic Anaesthetic
01/23 – Disappears
01/22 – The Field Auxiliary
01/21 – Urbanites
01/20 – Local H
01/19 – Mark Rose
01/18 – Apteka
01/17 – Suns
01/16 – Sleeping At Last
01/15 – Only Children
01/14 – Blane Fonda
01/13 – Victorian Halls
01/12 – Pet Lions
01/11 – The Assembly
01/10 – I Can Hear Myself Levitate
01/09 – The Streets On Fire
01/08 – Volcanoes Make Islands
01/07 – Scattered Trees
01/06 – Chaperone
01/05 – Pink Frost
01/04 – Mutts
01/03 – Color Radio
01/02 – Kid, You’ll Move Mountains
01/01 – Calm Palm Vapor

Starting March 1st, Dynasty Podcasts and CVU begins our annual SXSW: The Chicagoverse Connection digital multimedia coverage. Local bands, DJs, labels, publicists, and managers can submit SXSW-related plans and media to:

The CVU 2011 Forecast: Hey Champ!

Posted in CVU Cover Story 01/11,Hey Champ by Jaime Black on January 31st, 2011

For this month’s ChicagoVerseUniteD cover story, every day in January will preview a different local artist’s plans for 2011. Going out big, today’s third feature: Hey Champ!

Hey Champ

For whatever else the band accomplished in 2010, including heading down to SXSW and performing at North Coast Music Festival, Hey Champ’s most long-awaited and well earned achievement last year was easily the release of its debut full length, Star. The synth-heavy offering served as a declarative statement that the band did, in fact, have songs beyond just inescapable Soundcloud staple “Cold Dust Girl.” Now, in 2011, Hey Champ is set on demonstrating what else they can do.

Earlier this month, the group announced that it would be hitting the studio with UK producer Eliot James, whose past credits include work with names like Kaiser Chiefs and Bloc Party, among others. After a week of recording, Hey Champ frontman Saam Hagshenas talks to CVU about the experience.

“(James) had heard demos of some new songs we’d put together and liked them so he flew out to Chicago to record, which was his first time working in the US anywhere outside of New York. We’ve never worked with a producer; we’re so used to doing everything ourselves, so the experience was unbelievable. He’s really, really good at what he does. Eliot is mixing the tracks in London and we will be releasing them in spring.”

Chicago Music Project previously presented this live version of Hey Champ’s “Silver City,” then titled “Chi Town.”

Prior to the group’s new springtime material, Hey Champ plan to film a video for the hometown anthem, “Silver City,” with that track also set for European release in the coming weeks. “We decided we really wanted to do a video for (“Silver City”) with our friends here in Chicago, so we’ve enlisted Israel Fernandez (of Chicago Music Project) to direct it,” Hagshenas explains. “I think for part of this vid we may take the “Cold Dust Girl” approach; that is, just throw a crazy party and film it.”

Watch for more on Hey Champ in 2011 right here at CVU.

The CVU 2011 Forecast: Gemini Club!

Posted in CVU Cover Story 01/11,Gemini Club by Jaime Black on January 31st, 2011

For this month’s ChicagoVerseUniteD cover story, every day in January will preview a different local artist’s plans for 2011. As an added bonus, today’s second feature: Gemini Club!

Gemini Club

If the past month is any indication, 2011 is going to be a year to remember for Gemini Club. Earlier in January, the group dropped a remix of the Chilly Gonzales cut “You Can Dance” via RCRD LBL, going on to become that week’s most downloaded track and pulling a spin from Rob Da Bank on Radio 1.

It was also a notable month for nominations, with the group receiving recognition from upcoming Debonair event The 2nd Annual REHABBIES [Awards Ceremony + Red Carpet Rager] for Favorite track by Chicago artist heard at Rehab (Original Song), Favorite track by Chicago artist heard at Rehab (Remix Song), and Favorite local live performance, while The Deli Magazine listed Gemini Club as a contender for its Best of Chicago Emerging Artists 2010 Poll.

Now, looking ahead, the group is shifting its focus from remixes towards original material set to surface on a currently-untitled late spring or early summer EP. “We’re in the process of combining the best sounds of our remix work with Tom’s heartfelt melodies,” programmer and multi-instrumentalist Dan Brunelle reveals to CVU. “Expect more live instrumentation.” The effort will feature a mix of previously released fare and new material, with vocalist Tom Gavin declaring “We are working through rapidly developing ideas and sounds.” Following the release of the forthcoming EP, the band is said prepping work on further future releases.

Gemini Club play out Saturday, February 19th, at Lincoln Hall as part of Midnight Conspiracy‘s Delorean Nites monthly electronic music series. The event will feature the band’s new live rig set up, including enhanced synth capabilities, as well as vocal and guitar manipulation capabilities. ”We are currently reworking our performing rigs to accomodate our song writing process,” Gavin remarks on the new model, with Brunelle expanding ”If our live rig was a software, we just upgraded to 2.0.”

Gemini Club is also confirmed as official SXSW showcase talent, with more specifics to become available closer to the music conference. Watch for more Chicago SXSW coverage in the coming weeks at CVU, as well as the latest from Gemini Club!

The CVU 2011 Forecast: The Felix Culpa!

Posted in CVU Cover Story 01/11,The Felix Culpa by Jaime Black on January 31st, 2011

For this month’s ChicagoVerseUniteD cover story, every day in January will preview a different local artist’s plans for 2011. Today: The Felix Culpa!

The Felix Culpa

Much has already been said at this site about CVU 2010 Local Album Of The Year Sever Your Roots by melodic post-hardcore act The Felix Culpa. But next month, the album will see an expanded release, giving a wider audience the chance to discover the band’s comeback record, as well as its newly  added addendum.

When No Sleep Records reissues Sever Your Roots on February 22nd, the album will feature a new companion piece this time around. Titled Bury The Axe, the EP is comprised of “three songs that came out of the same writing sessions as the material on Sever Your Roots, but that ultimately were cut along the way for one reason or another,” frontman Marky Hladish informs CVU.

“We always felt like these three songs in particular needed to be recorded at some point,” the singer continues, “and when No Sleep picked up Sever Your Roots for reissue we figured that now was the right time to track them and release them as a nice little thank you to the people who had already supported Roots. So in that regard, it’s not a drastic departure musically or thematically, but the songs are from a completely different recording session that took place over a year after Roots was completed and released, so in no way is it meant to be merely a b-sides EP. We felt that these songs were just as important as the rest of the material on Roots, but they just formed their own thing. Sonically, they are maybe a bit more spacious and not quite as aggressive. Maybe a bit more laid back, but still loud and dynamic. So I guess to sum it up, you can think of the EP more as a little sister companion piece to Sever Your Roots rather than a b-sides EP. Call it a eulogy for this period of this band’s life if you want.”

The tracklist for the dual release is as follows below.

The Felix Culpa – Sever Your Roots
01. New Home Life
02. Our Holy Ghosts
03. The Constant
04. Roots
05. Escape To The Mountain, Lest Thou Be Consumed
06. The First One To The Scene Of An Accident Always Gets Blood On Their Hands
07. Unwriting Our Songs
08. Mutiny
09. Rum & Cigarettes
10. Because This Is How We Speak
11. It’s Raining At Indian Wells
12. What You Call Thought Control, I Call Thought Control
13. An Instrument
14. Apologies

The Felix Culpa – Bury The Axe
01. Mallets
02. Towers
03. Spaces

Pre-orders for the two disc release are available now through the No Sleep site. The Felix Culpa play live
February 12th at Mojoes in Joliet and February 27th at Bottom Lounge for the Sever Your Roots Rerelease Party. Watch for more from The Felix Culpa and the Sever Your Roots rerelease package here at CVU!

The CVU 2011 Forecast: The Hood Internet & My Gold Mask!

Posted in BBU,CVU Cover Story 01/11,My Gold Mask,The Hood Internet by Jaime Black on January 30th, 2011

For this month’s ChicagoVerseUniteD cover story, every day in January will preview a different local artist’s plans for 2011. Today: Both The Hood Internet and My Gold Mask!

The Hood Internet

Last fall, mash up masters The Hood Internet broke away from their multiple-song cut up creation formula to deliver a two song release of original material with Chicago’s Kid Static. Now, in 2011, the DJ and production unit is looking towards expanding upon that idea, with Hood’s STV SLV telling CVU the act is “working on a THI record that is slated for release spring-ish.” Speaking of the approach for the forthcoming album, SLV promises a bit of a departure from previous Hood material, claiming the effort will contain “No samples, no mashups.”

While specifics on the Hood Internet full length are scant, a few collaborative details pertaining to the group have come to surface. Earlier this month, it was revealed via BBU’s 2011 Forecast feature that the group has an upcoming musical project with THI dropping in February. Also confirmed is fellow Chicagoans My Gold Gold are also working alongside the DJ outfit.

My Gold Mask
(Photo via A Jayne)

Following up on the group’s two 2010 EP releases, A Thousand Voices and A Million Miles (From Where We Were Last), haunting nocturnal pop act My Gold Mask is collaborating with The Hood Internet on a track for the DJ outfit’s full length. Aside that musical pairing, the group is in the preliminary stages of writing their full length record. Speaking to CVU about the young project, the band’s Jack Armondo reveals that MGM are already looking beyond 2011.

“All this could change,” the guitarist cautions about the in the works album, “but – we are aiming for an early 2012 release with some singles and previews released in 2011 along the way.” Expanding upon the direction of the new material, Armondo adds cryptically, ”Right now the songs are getting a little bit…darker.”

Catch The Hood Internet live on Friday, February 4th at The Mid, while My Gold Mask perform on Valentine’s Day, Monday, February 14th at at Lincoln Hall for The Chicago Reader’s Anti-Valentine’s Day party, And download The Hood Internet’s new Wacka Flocka Flame mash EP, or find a previous pairing of My Gold Mask and The Hood Internet in HI’s remix of MGM’s “Bitches” track below.

My Gold Mask – “Bitches (The Hood Internet Remix)”
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The CVU 2011 Forecast: The Lifeline

Posted in CVU Cover Story 01/11,The Lifeline by Jaime Black on January 29th, 2011

For this month’s ChicagoVerseUniteD cover story, every day in January will preview a different local artist’s plans for 2011. Today: The Lifeline!

The Lifeline

Dynamic orchestral-fused rock act The Lifeline is no stranger to grand statements, as anyone who’s seen the group live can attest. With sweeping song structures and live violin work courtesy of the band’s Rebecca Faber, The Lifeline is a band that leaves an impression, if not a mark. Now, with today’s release of the band’s latest full length production, Reflections Of Hope, The Lifeline may have made its boldest statement yet. With symphonic spirit backing thunderous modern rock productions led by frontman Ryan Hope’s commanding vocal presence, it’s clear neither The Lifeline nor their latest effort are meant to be taken lightly. Speaking to CVU about the effort, Hope expands upon the experience of and intent in making Reflections Of Hope.

“We began writing the material for this record almost two years ago. In that time we have gone through so many changes both sonically and dynamically within the band, that the final product has really turned out to be something that we could have never predicted. Sure you are still going to hear the things that you know and love about The Lifeline, but with much more depth and sincerity.”

“Rebecca and I started this record by brainstorming some of the things that we felt brought us to where we are now as a band and as people,” the singer continues. “Reflections of Hope is intended to be not only a story about that journey but about the journey’s that others are experiencing in whatever stage they are at in their lives. As corny as it may sound, we aim to give people hope, and in a world where most people wouldn’t stop to piss on you if you were on fire, it’s important for us to address the issues that we address. I think that this is one thing that will never change from album to album with The Lifeline.”

“To us, growth is so important,” Hope emphasizes, before adding “I think as an artist if you are not growing in these ways from album to album then you need to reevaluate your processes.”

The tracklist for the record is as follows below.

The Lifeline – Reflections Of Hope
1. Why So Serious?
2. Forgive, but don’t Forget
3. Push and Pull
4. Wherever you go, there you are
5. Indivi (duality)
6. Hellboy
7. Never Enough
8. The Alchemist (Stay with me)
9. Crashing Waves
10. Romeo and Juliet
11. Rebuild Reality
12. Reflections of Hope
13. The Ending

The band headlines Metro tonight for the Reflections Of Hope record release show. Check out Faber and Hope’s interview below from this past Sunday’s Local 101 on Q101 with Chris Payne in support of the event.

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The Lifeline Record Release Show

The CVU 2011 Forecast: Loyal Divide!

Posted in CVU Cover Story 01/11,Loyal Divide by Jaime Black on January 28th, 2011

For this month’s ChicagoVerseUniteD cover story, every day in January will preview a different local artist’s plans for 2011. Today: Loyal Divide!

Loyal Divide

Columbus, OH transplants Loyal Divide are easily one of the most touted bands here at CVU, and with good reason. In 2010, the electronic psych pop band played a steady supply of shows throughout their current home of Chicago while dropping a handful of singles online, like the rainy day melancholia of “Flights” and dubby, bleating “DDF,” both available for streaming or download below.

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There was also the video for “Vision Vision,” wherein the group donned stick figure body suits to act out a startlingly bleak tale of mass assault without mercy.

The only element absent was a full length album. That all changes, however, on March 1st, when Loyal Divide drop Bodice Ripper, the band’s debut record. An unsettling and eclectic listen, the moody offering finds Loyal Divide expanding upon and beyond its previously released material, as songwriter Adam Johnson explains to CVU.

Bodice Ripper is an extension of the Labrador EP we put out a couple years ago” the artist/producer reveals. “Those songs have been remixed and reordered with eight new songs. The new songs are a love letter to all the music we’ve fallen in love with over the past two years. “Perv Fury” was made while under the spell of the Blade Runner soundtrack; “Near Native” was written in response to Sun O)))’s doom metal sludge; “New Years” puts an industrial spin on the worn-out Timbaland template. Whether or not these conceits are fresh is beside the point; we simply wanted to make an album about the music and artists we love with no regard to the politics of music criticism and its constant demand for innovation.”

In spite of the band’s lack of concern for innovation, Bodice Ripper succeeds partially due to its varied approach. Soundscape tracks like “Vein Harvester” balance out harsher terrain like “Young Blades,” while the shift-laden “Baladron” (MP3 lower in this article) shakes out a nasty groove based upon gradually building percussion and grinding guitars. The tracklist and art for the album is as follows.

Bodice Ripper

Loyal Divide – Bodice Ripper
1. Young Blades
2. Vision Vision
3. Perv Fury
4. Vein Harvester
5. DDF
6. Labrador
7. Near Native
8. Baladron
9. New Years
10. Flights
11. Otto
12. Faucet
13. Lover I Can Tell You

Loyal Divide perform live tonight at Chicago’s newly-opened electronic music hall The Mid, opening for Matthew Dear. Download the band’s discography to date via the group’s Bandcamp page, and check out Bodice Ripper single “Baladron” below, followed by the band’s Noto on the CVU podcast from August 2010. Look for more from Loyal Divide and Bodice Ripper here at CVU closer to the album’s release.

Loyal Divide – “Baladron”
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CVU42: A Lull/Loyal Divide
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LD @ The Mid

The CVU 2011 Forecast: Pretty Good Dance Moves!

Posted in CVU Cover Story 01/11,Pretty Good Dance Moves by Jaime Black on January 27th, 2011

For this month’s ChicagoVerseUniteD cover story, every day in January will preview a different local artist’s plans for 2011. Today: Pretty Good Dance Moves!


For electronic pop outfit Pretty Good Dance Moves’ forthcoming fourth release, the former Chicago/New York-based group, now operating predominantly out of the Big Apple, has changed up the formula a bit. Entitled Limo, the project finds PGDM venturing through a continuous 30 minute musical construction, culminating in a short but satisfying vocal appearance from Sabina Sciubba of Brazilian Girls. Surprisingly digestible as a long-form pop production and largely instrumental, Limo features expected elements like warm and shock-set synths as well as more adventurous components, such as soulful sax weaving its way in and out of the undertaking. Throughout the piece, the band never loses site of melody and wisely keeps things moving, never dwelling too long on one idea with seamless transitions benefiting the massive songs’ various stages.

“Originally the concept was to make a long form instrumental song in the realm of 30-40 minutes,” PGDM synth player and multi-instrumentalist Aaron Allieta tells CVU, “but we ended up using (Sciubba’s) vocals, they really fit too well. Other differences with the record are the use of more live drums and percussion to give a more ‘garage electronica’ sound and extending out sections that we would have compacted more in the past.”

Allieta goes on to reveal an anticipated spring release for the long-form effort. The band currently has no Chicago activity scheduled for the moment, though East Coast readers can check out PGDM this Sunday, January 30th, for the final night of the group’s residency happening at Pianos in New York.

The CVU 2011 Forecast: A Lull!

Posted in A Lull,CVU Cover Story 01/11 by Jaime Black on January 26th, 2011

For this month’s ChicagoVerseUniteD cover story, every day in January will preview a different local artist’s plans for 2011. Today: A Lull!

A Lull

In December of last year, experimental art-pop act A Lull’s “Weapons For War” claimed the title of CVU’s Top Local Song Of 2010. And while that’s hardly a shock, given the undeniable melody of the hum and percussion based psych-rock track, what is surprising is that the song itself provided much of the band’s momentum in 2010 without an album. That fact, however, changes in a few months.

On April 12th, A Lull’s full length debut, Confetti, is set to drop through Mush Records out of LA. Speaking to CVU abbout the upcoming CD/vinyl/digital release, frontman Nigel Dennis expresses a sense of confidence and creativity.

“I believe with Confetti we’ve taken everything we’ve learned about what we can do creatively and how we can push ourselves and placed into one tightly executed album,” the singer declares. “Our goal was never to do something that doesn’t sound like anything else, but to create an album full of music that we’d love to hear and that we all hear in our heads. Take everyone’s strong points and creative insight and make something really worth sharing. I think everyone is really gonna enjoy our very hard work.”

Recently, A Lull announced a spring tour as support for Cold War Kids, with the trek touching down in Chicago on March 11th at the Riviera. Before that, look for a single/remix EP set for release next month, and, more immediately, find the fantastic video for “Weapons For War” below.

Update: A new demo from the band has hit the Guardian UK website, and can be streamed below. The finished form of the warm and rhythmic track, entitled “Mammals,” is set for inclusion on Confetti.

The CVU 2011 Forecast: BBU!

Posted in BBU,CVU Cover Story 01/11 by Jaime Black on January 25th, 2011

For this month’s ChicagoVerseUniteD cover story, every day in January will preview a different local artist’s plans for 2011. Today: BBU!


2010 was a helluva year for hard and heavy Chicago hip hop trio BBU. Between the group’s Fear Of A Clear Channel Planet mixtape and a live appearance at this past summer’s Lollapalooza, it’s clear the juke-lovin’ unit has more than made its mark. Now, with a collaboration with Das Racist and upcoming CVU 2011 Forecast act The Hood Internet dropping in early February, as well as another mixtape and possible EP in the works leading up to the group’s debut full length, it’s clear that BBU has 2011 in its sights.

“2011 will be our acid test and we plan to pass with flying colors. We are going to make music and place no expectations on the outcome,” the group’s Epic informs CVU. ”Our lives have changed but our purpose hasn’t and that is to reach out and make music that appeases the pallets of the oppressed.” The artist also reveals BBU will “tour if needed,” but plan to “stay as grassroots as possible.”

Find more from BBU with a clip of Phaded‘s remix of the group’s ”I Do This For My Culture” below, followed by the act’s recent interview for VH1‘s Save The Music.