ChicagoVerseUniteD: Chicago Scene Salvation

The CVU 2012 Forecast: Victorian Halls!

Posted in CVU 2012 Forecast,Victorian Halls by Jaime Black on January 3rd, 2012

For this month’s ChicagoVerseUniteD cover story, every day in January will preview 2012 plans for a Chicago talent or tastemaker. Today: Victorian Halls!

Victorian Halls

2011 was a good year for Victorian Halls, with the group signing to Victory Records for the release of its debut full length, Charlatan. Now, as VH frontman Sean Lenart tells CVU, the band is looking to keep the momentum going in 2012.

“2011 was a crazy year for Victorian Halls,” the singer explains. “Everything happened. 2012 doesn’t seems like it’s going to be any different which is good.”

“As for new music,” Lenart continues, “I have a clear concise idea of Victorian Halls and the direction we will go musically. There are hints of it all over our record (Charlatan), but the current album just came out last fall, so there are not pressing plans (for new music) at the moment.”

What is happening for the band at the moment, however, is a newly colored vinyl release of Charlatan, as well as a west coast tour in February, alongside The Mid-Summer Classic, Divided By Friday, and I The Mighty.  The group also may appear on an acoustic compilation as well as a split EP, though Lenart cautioned it was too early to confirm concrete details for either project.

Find Victorian Halls’ recent Christmas cover at their Facebook, or watch the band’s new video for “It All Started In The Hall,” following Lenart’s CVU podcast interview from last year in support of Charlatan. And watch for more from Victorian Halls this year at CVU!

New CVU Podcast: Chicago Music 2011 W/ Ruby Hornet, Loud Loop Press, & Fake Shore Drive | CVU Best Of Chicago Music 2011!


(Left to right: Barber, Giraldi, Black, & Fruchter)

This week on the ChicagoVerseUniteD audio podcast: Alex Fruchter of Ruby Hornet, Richard Giraldi of Loud Loop Press, and Andrew Barber of Fake Shore Drive! The three bloggers visit CVU at The Music Garage to share their thoughts on the year in Chicago music, including their favorite local albums of 2011, their thoughts on an array of hometown artists, and their take on what the Chicago music community is doing right and wrong at this point in time. Stream or download that podcast below, followed by the CVU Best Of Chicago Music 2011 feature!

ChicagoVerseUniteD is a weekly music and nightlife podcast series, hosted by Jaime Black and produced by Leyla I. Royale, and  recorded out of The Music Garage in Chicago. CVU features interviews with the premier talent and tastemakers in the Chicago music and nightlife communities, and is published through the Dynasty Podcasts network. Follow along on Facebook, Twitter, Bandcamp, Soundcloud, Mixcloud, YouTube, Vimeo, Tumblr, and Posterous.

CVU Best Of Chicago Music 2011

Best Chicago Albums 2011

1. Scattered TreesSympathy

Gorgeous, tender, and justifiably hurt and angry, Scattered Trees’ Sympathy album is the sound of frontman Nate Eiesland coping with the loss of his father. The result is a stunningly vulnerable and honest rock record with fragile arrangements and mature hooks that demonstrates an artists’ strength in the wake of a cataclysmic event. Stream Sympathy below, following Eiesland’s 2011 CVU podcast in support of the record.

Scattered Trees – Sympathy

2. Into It. Over It.Proper

The sound of ’90s emo resurrected, before that word came to mean something drastically different. On Into It. Over It.’s, well, proper debut full length, Evan Thomas Weiss pays homage to emotional pop punk in a way that’s never pandering or embarrassing. How many artists can say that in 2011? Check out Weiss’ CVU podcast in support of the record, followed by Proper cut “Midnight: Carroll Street.”

3. Mike Golden & Friends - Groceries

Southern rock style guitars? Screaming vocals? Bandleader Mike Golden made a loud rock record in a year when almost no one else in Chicago was pursuing that sound. That the album sounds like nothing else released this year is only one of its strength. Finally, a record meant to be played through real speakers, at full volume. Check out Golden’s CVU podcast in support of the album, followed by the video for “No Name.” And download Groceries at the MG&F site for free.

4. Loyal Divide - Bodice Ripper

Loyal Divide’s long delayed debut full length proved well worth the wait, with weird and adventures psychedelic sonic elements at play throughout the album. Alienated and uneasy throughout, Bodice Ripper is the sound of post-millennium tension that never lets up. Check out the band’s CVU podcast in support of the album below, followed by the Loyal Divide Audio Tree session.

5. A LullConfetti

Another oft-delayed and highly anticipated local full length also saw release this year. Following a long and steady stream of powerful live shows, A Lull finally got the chance to showcase its unique percussive stylings on this year’s Confetti effort. Boisterous, melodic, and sonically adventurous, Confetti is the band’s well deserved proper arrival. Check out the group’s CVU podcast below, followed by a full stream of Confetti.

A Lull – Confetti

Best Chicago Songs 2011

1. Company Of Thieves – “Death of Communication”

It’s no secret that Company Of Thieves frontwoman Genevieve Schatz is one of the premier vocalists in the Chicago music landscape. And on “Death Of Communication,” off the band’s spring 2011 sophomore effort Running From a Gamble, Schatz unleashes her call at full force, holding nothing back as she entirely owns a rollicking power rock production that stands as the best Chicago rock song of 2011. Check out the CVU interview with Schatz and COT guitarist Marc Walloch below, followed by the video for “Death Of Communications.”

2. Patrick Stump – “The “I” In Lie”

With a hook that creeps along before exploding in a full blown chorus, Patrick Stump’s “The “I” In Lie” is just one of many melodic pop moments on the singer’s 2011 debut solo full length, Soul Punk. It may also be the catchiest song the artist has fronted since his Fall Out Boy days. Any doubt as to the validity of Stump’s solo venture ends here. Check out the CVU podcast with the artist, followed by a video stream of “The “I” In Lie.”

3. Color Radio – “Quiet House”

Ambient and adventurous, Color Radio’s “Quiet House,” off the group’s 2011 Architects record, is both soaring and subtle, with a video that perfectly matches the song’s sense of wonder. It’s a dream pop outing that’s never sleepy. Find that clip below, following the CVU podcast featuring the group’s Jonathan Ifergan in support of Architects.

4. Kidz In The Hall - “Occasion”

On Kidz In The Hall’s fall 2011 full length Occasion, the primarily backpack duo of Naledge and Double-0 opted for a more celebratory tone. Nowhere is this more apparent than on the album’s title track. Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean it’s not time to raise a glass. Find the video for that clip below, following the act’s CVU podcast from earlier this year, in support of the group’s Semester Abroad mixtape.

5. Victorian Halls – “Girls Kiss Girls”

The suburban sound of VFW halls and doing donuts in parking lots, Victorian Halls unleashed a psychotic spazz out of a song with “Girls Kiss Girls,” off the act’s 2011 full length, Charlatan. If you were waiting for 2011′s perfect song for singing at the top of your lungs while driving, look no further. Find a video stream of that track below, following the CVU podcast featuring VH frontman Sean Lenart .

Best Chicago Live Act 2011

Kids These Days

No local act was more ubiquitous in 2011 than Kids These Days, with the band’s name at every local bloggers’ fingertips and shows seemingly everywhere, from the Metro to The Apple Store. The sprawling act’s hybrid of funk, soul, hip hop, and more translates better than it should onstage, with a staggering live show that justifies the group’s hype. With the outfit’s Traphouse Rock effort dropping next year, it will be revealed whether the band’s studio output can match its live presentation. Find the group’s CVU podcast, recorded onsite at Lollapalooza, below, followed by video of the act’s Lolla performance.

Runner Up: Midnight Conspiracy

The only Chicago act to perform at both Lollapalooza and North Coast Music Festival this year, Midnight Conspiracy’s live DJ set up incorporates flames, MCs, guest vocals from talent like Jessica Gonyea and Gemini Club‘s Tom Gavin, and lights. Oh so many lights. With more DJs than registered voters now residing in Chicago, Midnight Conspiracy’s live show not only stands out, it stands above. Check out the act’s CVU podcast recorded during this year’s North Coast, followed by video of the group’s North Coast set.

R.I.P.: Chicago Music Scene’s Gone But Not Forgotten 2011

The Felix Culpa

Last year, The Felix Culpa’s Sever Your Roots, a simultaneously beautiful and powerful work of melodic post-hardcore, was CVU’s album of the year. And weeks ago, the group played its final show ever at the Metro, to a packed and die hard crowd.  With the mechanics of the music industry becoming harder for artists to remain self-sustaining, the members of TFC packed it in and called it a day, choosing to leave on a high night, with a loyal audience left wanting more, and blissfully ringing ears all around. Find the group’s CVU podcast from just before their final show below, followed by CVU video of the act performing “Because This Is How We Speakat one of its final rehearsals.


19 years. Countless DJs. An array of format shiftss, all under the all-encompassing banner of catch-all label “alternative.” Q101 radio exited the Chicago airwaves this past summer on a high note, with the jocks playing what they wanted, and high profile guests dropping by one last time. And while the format strayed and opinion of the station varied over the years, the final days of Q101 were what alternative radio should sound like. It’s just too bad it took this long and these circumstances to get there. Check out the CVU Q101 sign off media archive, and find the CVU podcast with former Local 101 host Chris Payne below, followed by video from the final broadcast.

(Note: This writer worked at Q101 for the last 13 years, and is featured in the video above.)

Come To The Show: Victorian Halls: Tuesday, November 15th @ Cobra Lounge

Posted in Come To The Show,Victorian Halls by Jaime Black on November 14th, 2011

Victorian Halls

Hometown dance rock act Victorian Halls take to the nightclub circuit tomorrow night, Tuesday, November 15th for an intimate headlining show. (Find tickets here.) The act touches down at Cobra Lounge in support of this summer’s Charlatan effort, the group’s first release through Victory Records. A hyper kinetic adrenaline rush of a record, Charlatan plays like the reckless soundtrack to an awesome teenage bender. Given Cobra Lounge’s dark and gritty aesthetic, the room is a perfect fit for Victorian Hall’s spastic brand of hyper-punk. Find VH frontman Sean Lenart discussing the band’s treatment for Charlatan cut “A Crush Is a Crush,” followed by the video itself, both below the singer’s CVU podcast.

New CVU Podcast Cover Story Series: Victorian Halls!

Posted in DYNASTY,Podcast,Victorian Halls by Jaime Black on August 16th, 2011

Victorian Halls

This week on the ChicagoVerseUniteD Cover Story Series audio podcast: Sean Lenart of Victorian Halls! The artist reveals the backstory behind the band’s debut full length Charlatan (out today on Victory Records), how the record wasn’t originally planned, and his thoughts on Victorian Halls fitting into a “suburban sound.” Stream Charlatan in its entirety here, and find the CVU mini-interview on the set of the group’s new video, “A Crush Is a Crush,” as well as a behind the scenes look at the video, and the official clip itself, all after the podcast.

CVU96 – Victorian Halls

ChicagoVerseUniteD is a weekly music and nightlife podcast series, hosted by Jaime Black. CVU features interviews with the premier talent and tastemakers in the Chicago music and nightlife communities, and is published through the Dynasty Podcasts network. Follow along on Facebook, Twitter, Bandcamp, Soundcloud, YouTube, Vimeo, Tumblr, and Posterous.

Victorian Halls Preview ‘Charlatan’ Album, Post “A Crush Is A Crush” Video

Posted in Victorian Halls by Jaime Black on August 1st, 2011

Victorian Halls

Update: That was fast! The official video for “A Crush Is A Crush” has now posted in full, and can be seen below. Find this morning’s article on a preview for this video and Victorian Halls’ Charlatan album after the player.

Local dance rockers Victorian Halls have begun previewing their forthcoming debut full length, Charlatan, with select tracks available for streaming at the album’s preview page. Or, for those looking for a more visual experience, find a teaser for the forthcoming “A Crush Is A Crush” video below (read the CVU write up of that treatment here), followed by frontman Sean Lenart’s CVU clip explaining the video’s plot, and a preview of album cut “Girls Kiss Girls.” And catch Victorian Halls live on August 11th for the Charlatan record release show at Beat Kitchen. Charlatan drops August 16th through Victory Records, and is available for pre-order now.


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CVU Shoot Report: Victorian Halls “A Crush Is A Crush”

Posted in CVU Shoot Report,Victorian Halls by Jaime Black on July 20th, 2011

(Victorian Halls’ Sean Lenart on the set of “A Crush Is A Crush”) (Photo credit: Juliana Ejsmont for CVU)

While the majority of the Chicago music community was at Union Park for this past weekend’s Pitchfork Festival, the members of dance pop act Victorian Halls were keeping cool inside an air conditioned office building in the southern suburb of Palos Heights. The group spent the majority of Sunday there filming a video for its song “A Crush Is A Crush,” off the band’s forthcoming full length debut Charlatan, set to drop August 16th on Victory.

(Photo credit: Juliana Ejsmont for CVU)

CVU was on hand for a portion of the day’s filming, which involved a “box monster” (above) as just one of the clip’s elements. A “stuffed animal monster” is also said to make an appearance in the video, which frontman Sean Lenart described on set as “Eternal Sunshine meets Inception.” Get more on Lenart’s take on the video in the exclusive CVU clip below, and watch for more from Victorian Halls and Charlatan in the coming weeks at this site.