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From Our Open Blog: Darren Garvey

Chicago multi-instumentalist Darren Garvey keeps busy playing in the Andreas Kapsalis Trio, Cameron McGill & What Army, Cory Chisel and The Wandering Sons, and Like Pioneers (ex-Bound Stems) to name a few. You can usually find him behind a drum set or some form of percussion set up... But, this year Garvey took it upon himself to record a solo record; writing 13 songs, singing for the first time, and playing all of the instruments. How does it sound? Well, it's as eclectic as all of the bands that Garvey holds down the rhythm for. 'On Standby' is a latin tune with some guest horns (ok, he didn't play all of the instruments). Technically he wasn't able to sing the female background vocals either... You can hear more of Darren's debut Under A Common Ceiling at his website.

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Secret Colours

Is psychedelic rock the next big sound in Chicago? Well, bands like Panda Riot, Apteka, and others seem to think so. Enter Secret Colours, and yes despite the “strange” spelling of colors they are from Chicago. Their self-titled debut album is beautifully retro in sound and style, and embraces the psych rock sound open arms and sensitive ears. From hazy drug trips to love songs to even fuzzed “Western” sounds. My favorite track from the album, which can be streamed on bandcamp, has to be the wandering and pop-filled “Jellybean”. It puts the listener in fun-filled summertime dream state.

Tommy Evans, Dave Stach, Dylan Olson, Justin Frederick, and Margaret Albright make up the band Secret Colours, and they will be celebrating the release of their album at Lincoln Hall tomorrow, June 11th with Gold Motel and Mini Mansions.

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Say Wassup in 3-D

I guess 3-D music videos are the big thing right now. Here is the latest video from Rhymefest. The video features Phonte and was directed again by Konee Rok. The track comes from El Che which was finally (and I mean finally) released this week.

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Moritat @ Double Door

The debut ep from Moritat, One Minute Fade, is being released tomorrow, June 10th, at Double Door. The trio of Venus Laurel (vocals, piano), Konstantin Jace (bass), and Corey McCafferty (drums) create a sound that creative and rather wide-reaching. There are strong traces of early nineties bands like Belly, Throwing Muses, and even a touch of Sonic Youth, but there is also a compelling instrumental stretches that show they have absorbed many of the current Chicago sounds. Their album was recorded at home, but has a great sound.

All fans attending the release show on June 10th at Double Door will receive a free copy of the ep. The album will be also be available through the band's website both digitally and physically.

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CD Review: Big Science

I’ll let you in on a little secret: lazy journalists love when a band wears its influences on its sleeve. Hipper-than-thou critics savor any opportunity to dismiss a group as unoriginal, and if anything, it makes the band easy to categorize.

You can safely assume that the members of Big Science have listened their fair share of INXS and Joy Division, but it’d be too easy for me to write off their Skyscraper Sound EP as a piece of New Wave nostalgia. There are no faux-British accents here, and the band has managed to wave their post-punk flag proudly without beating you over the head with it. Sure, “Burn All Night” would fit in quite nicely on thePretty in Pink soundtrack, but it still manages to sound contemporary.

On Skyscraper Sound, Jason Hendrix, Jeremy Peña, Jason Richards and Jason Clark create an interesting balance, combining lush, complex sounds with simple hooks. “Stairs Up Stairs Down” kicks things off with an extremely danceable groove before shifting to some big harmonies.

The real gem of the EP is “Flags,” a soaring track that leaves the listener torn between rocking out or standing still and taking it all in. Each member of the band is on the top of his game here, and the vocals from Hendrix and Richards shine.

A good EP should encapsulate a group’s sound and leave people wanting more, and with its unique twists on a classic genre, Skyscraper Sound does just that.

Skyscraper Sound will be released on June 29th and you can catch Big Science at Metronome Festival on “The Punk Stage” on June 13th. - Bonnie Stiernberg

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