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September 2015
Advance Base
"Nephew In The Wild

To say an album "returns to form" seems to allude to something being off or missing or in a deformed state in previous releases. With the new album from Advance Base (aka Owen Ashworth), Nephew In The Wild, it is more of a beautiful blending of two "forms". This album could have easily been the first Casiotone for the Painfully Alone album since 2009's Vs. Children. This is a clear return to the sound and storytelling of the Casiotone persona. The album's open track and lead single "Trisha Please Come Home" in the perfect example. Ashworth spins tales of the everyday but tinges of sadness. His stories are sweet and sad, and always fully realized. Musically, the album is filled with familiar sounds from an array of instruments; Electric pianos, drum kits, drum machines, autoharps, Omnichords, Optigans, Mellotrons. All of this, blending with Ashworth's skill, create a perfect late summer and early fall soundtrack.

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Chicago Open Submissions results: Tied on 3rd are The Congregation and Shuteye

Chicago Open Submissions results: Tied on 3rd are The Congregation and Shuteye

With a modern and vibrant take on soul music and the powerful vocals of Gina Bloom, The Congregation released a new instant classic in 2012 in the form of their full-length debut "Right Now Everything." The eight-piece band sports its own horn section in addition to keyboards, piano, guitar, drums (lots of drums). This is original gospel soul mix in an indie rock form, i.e. what critics love about Alabama Shakes, but so much more authentic. 

Shuteye is a fine example of what has been bubbling in Chicago clubs for the last few years. This duo's take on electro-pop is the product of singer/songwriter Elysia Hang-fu and DJ/Producer Alena Ratner. The pair met in 2010 and have been creating and playing music together ever since. Each had their own successful career prior to joining forces and since joining forces have released an EP and several mixtapes. 2012 has been an important year for the duo, thanks to the release of their full-length debut "Hush Hush." 

Both bands scored a rating average of 7.66


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