Ellie Goulding, Soundgarden and Yo La Tengo Play Chicago
Monday, January 28
The wonderful Tina Fey, who will end her run as the delightfully goofy Liz Lemon on NBC's 30 Rock this week, recently said in praising the great Robbie Fulks: “Chicago area country, alt-country genius…you should be going on iTunes right now Robbie R-O-B-B-I-E Fulks F-U-L-K-S. Buy it. Buy everything.” I concur. Fulks will be performing at The Hideout tonight with Eric Noden, and in the words of Liz Lemon, "Go to there." 7 p.m.
Tonight is the first installment of Off The Record, a new monthly music series presented by saki, the awesome Logan Square record store, and the City of Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events. Tonight's event will be a celebration of Brokeback and the Black Rock, the first release in over 10 years by Chicago post-rock instrumental greats, Brokeback. Brokeback is the side project of Doug McCombs (Tortoise, Eleventh Dream Day) and includes Pete Croke (Tight Phantomz), Chris Hansen (Pinebender), and James Elkington (Horse’s Ha). Tonight the band will play tracks from the new album and a reception featuring DJ's from local record label Thrill Jockey, beverages from 312 Urban Wheat Ale and food from Provenance will follow the performance. saki. 7 p.m.
Tuesday, January 29
In the late '80's, along with Mudhoney, Pearl Jam and Nirvana, Soundgarden, burst out of the Seattle scene with the same ferocious intensity but with even better hair. Highlighted by the brooding vocals of Chris Cornell and the searing guitar of Kim Thayil, the band combined the bombast of Led Zeppelin and the menacing riffs of Black Sabbath, to create something that was both cool and successful. Even though I still think Soundgarden's finest moment came on their 1988 SST record, Ultramega OK, with songs such as "Flower,""All Your Lies," and "Mood for Trouble," the early 90's success of "Pretty Noose," "Fell on Black Days," and "Black Hole Sun" will always be considered the best of its era. And, if you are like me, you still feel great joy when you see Chris Cornell pop up in the movie Singles. After a string of hits and multiple Grammy nominations, the band called it quits in 1997, but reformed in 2010. When I last saw the hunky Chris Cornell, he was singing at the Commander in Chief’s Ball to celebrate the second inauguration of President Barack Obama. The three-song setlist that night included acoustic versions of Elvis Costello’s “Peace, Love and Understanding,” CCR’s “Long as I Can See The Light,” and John Lennon’s “Imagine.” I would expect this night to be a bit more raucous. The bands’ latest record, King Animal, was released last year. This is the first date of a two-night stand. Riviera Theatre. 8 p.m.
Ellie Goulding, the British pop sensation and the favorite (or, um, favourite) singer of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, brings her gigantic voice to the Aragon. Don't expect Will and Kate to show up, but 4,000 of her other most ardent fans will. 7 p.m.
"Mr. Telecaster" Albert Lee brings his guitar wizardy to SPACE. Lee is currently in the process of recording a new solo record of all original material that will be documented on a DVD to be released later this year and will culminate with a concert celebrating Albert's 70th birthday and 53 years on the road. 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, January 30
Acclaimed singer/songwriter Lucinda Williams brings her heartfelt Americana to Evanston. It's been nearly 15 years since the release of her breakthrough record, Car Wheels on a Gravel Road and she shows no signs of slowing down. Her last record, 2011's Blessed, earned her another Grammy Award nomination. SPACE. 7:30 p.m.
Enough With The Guns! A Benefit for the Illinois Council Against Gun Violence takes place tonight at the Empty Bottle featuring local bands Redgrave, a duo featuring Angie Mead and Stephen Howard (Pinebender), Viceroy, Sunken Ships and The Artist Formally Known as Vince. Empty Bottle. 9 p.m.
Thursday, January 31
Currently, one of my favorite local bands is the shoegaze quintet Lightfoils. On their 2012 self-titled EP, self-assured tracks such as the driving "Sympathy Lies" and the upbeat dream-pop of "Take Care Tonight" contain lush female vocals and a tight, propulsive rhythm section that have me anticipating a proper full-length set to be released sometime this year. With Bloody Wives, New Canyons, aboveandbelow and DJ Peroxide. Empty Bottle. 9 p.m.
Costa Mesa, California’s The Growlers latest and much delayed 4th full-length record, Hung at Heart, was finally released last week. The album was initially produced by the Black Keys' Dan Auerbach, but he didn't stay on to finish. A post on The Growlers' Facebook page explains, "Indie Iron Chef Dan Auerbach had initially tried his hand in the kitchen but when the dish ended up overcooked, the Growlers brought it back to the home kitchen, drank the juice and started over." Thankfully, the Auerbach-less end result was a success. Hung at Heart is full of '60's surf-inflected lo-fi pop including the irresistable lead track "Someday," the fuzzy and twangy "Living in a Memory" and "Burden of the Captain," and the spooky, yet undeniably catchy "Naked Kids." With Magic Milk and Jimmy Whispers, the solo project of James Cicero, frontman for local band Light Pollution. Schubas. 9 p.m.
Loudon Wainwright III is probably best known to older people for his 1972 novely hit "Dead Skunk," but younger people will know him from being the father of Rufus Wainwright or from his acting work in the Judd Apatow movies The 40 Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up. I will always have a place in my heart for him for his work as Hal Karp, the newly divorced dad of Steven Karp (Jay Baruchel) on Apatow's short-lived FOX series, Undeclared. As a musical artist, he has been combining sharp wit and insightful lyrics for going on 40 years. A true living legend and always a highly entertaining performer. Old Town School of Folk Music. 8 p.m.
A trio of excellent local bands will rock The Burlington tonight. Eiffel Tower, who are celebrating the realease of a new EP, headline the show. With local garage poppers The Laureates and Sat. Night Duets. 9 p.m.
Inter Sidera is the new record from local post-rock instrumental band Rhone, who will be celebrating that release tonight at Subterranean. With Bridges of Königsberg, Passerines and Henry Joseph of the great Chicago band The Record Low. Joseph recently released a very nice set of stripped down versions of both old and new songs, so make sure to arrive early. 8:30 p.m.
Florida punks Hot Water Music will have fists pumping tonight at Metro. The band recently released a concert recording, Live in Chicago, from a two-night stand at Metro in 2008. The double CD will also come with a DVD of the show and you can see a clip of that right here. Gravelly voiced lead singer Chuck Ragan showed his softer side on a wonderful collection of personal, mostly acoustic songs on his 2011 record, Covering Ground. With La Dispute and The Menzingers. Metro. 7 p.m.
Friday, February 1
Local soul and R&B outfit The Jordan Years celebrate the release of their excellent new record, Homemade Hustler, tonight at Subterranean. Tunes such as the funky "Sinkin' It" and the eternally groovy "Homemade Hustler," would fit right in on the Daptone label, while "Wait for Me" and "See Your Face" sound long-lost Motown tracks. Check out the video for Homemade Hustler track, "We Got Guns" here. With The Congregation, The Skinny and DJ Intel. 8:30 p.m.
Black Up, the 2011 record by Shabazz Palaces, the Seattle-based duo of Ishmael Butler (of the truly splendid 90’s hip-hop band Digable Planets) and Tendai Maraire, was easily one of the best, exciting, and most inventive records of that year. The record combines elements of jazz, funk, hip-hop and R&B to make a dazzling and cohesive work of art. With Morris & Illuminati Congo. The Shrine. 9 p.m.
Hoboken’s Yo La Tengo, one of the finest bands to ever appear on Gilmore Girls play the Vic tonight. One of the greatest independent bands of all time and the subject of a pretty great book, Big Day Coming: Yo La Tengo and the Rise of Indie Rock by Jesse Jarnow, the band just released Fade, their 13th full-length record. Once again, the band crosses multiple genres on what is yet another typically great Yo La Tengo release. Highlights include the driving lead track, "Ohm," the quirky pop of "Is That Enough," the pulsating "Well You Better," the crisp "Paddle Forward" the lilting acoustic number, "I'll Be Around," and the lovely vocal turn from drummer Georgia Hubley on "Cornelia and Jane." The Vic. 8:30 p.m.
Local indie rock band Santah put out a promising record, White Noise Bed, in 2010, and released You're Still a Lover, a highly anticipated EP late last year. With Carbon Tigers, Audiences and The Kuhls. House of Blues. 6 p.m.
The Interview Show with Mark Bazer is back at The Hideout for the February edition with musician Jon Langford, chef Stephanie Izard, author Bill Zehme and sketch comedy group Schadenfreude. Following the show, stay for an acoustic performance by Jon Langford's Skull Orchard. The Hideout. The Interview Show begins at 6:30pm and Skull Orchard begins at 10 p.m.
Saturday, February 2
GEM, the latest record from U.S. Girls, is a throwback to '60's girl group pop on tracks "Jack" and "Slim Baby" and includes a terrific cover of "Down in the Boondocks," the 1965 hit by Billy Joe Royal. Toronto's Slim Twig, who produced GEM, opens. With locals Mayor Daley. Empty Bottle. 10 p.m.
Heaven, the latest record from Cincinnati’s The Pomegranates is upbeat blissed out pop and songs like the high energy dance groove of “Pass Away” will have the crowd in a sweat early. The next record, Healing Power, is out soon. The band is also hinting at a name change as this show is being billed as one of the last shows as “Pomegranates.” Terrific local bands Common Shiner and Panoramic & True open. Schubas. 10 p.m.
Local soul outfit The Right Now's, most recent record, 2012’s Gets Over You feature the strong vocals of singer Stefanie Beracz and a solid horn section that drives the album. Uptempo numbers such as "Good Man," "I Can't Speak For You," and "Tell Everyone The Truth" are standouts. The band recently released four different remixes of another Gets Over You highlight, "Call Girl." Check those out here. With Bumpus and Organic Flow. Martyrs'. 9 p.m.
Go to the Bottom Lounge tonight to hear samples from Electric Highway, the freshly dropped mixtape by Rockie Fresh. With Chance the Rapper. All proceeds from the show will go towards JDRF. Bottom Lounge. 7 p.m.
Sunday, February 3
You are surely just going to stay home today and watch The Big Game, right?