Monday, March 11
"Isles," the highly anticipated debut record from Natalie and Elliot Bergman, the brother-sister duo known as Wild Belle, will be released Tuesday, but you can get a preview Monday night when they perform at The Hideout. The reggae-influenced, saxophone-heavy tracks, "Keep You" and "It's Too Late," have been out for a few months and are "Isles" standouts. At times, Natalie's vocals are reminiscent of Amy Winehouse as on the funky "Another Girl," the sunny pop song "Shine" and the soul-tinged "Backslider." Elliot takes a successful turn on vocals on "When It's Over," with Natalie handling back-up duties. On "June," Natalie sings about Chicago's winters, "We bundle up like chickadees. Where it's a snowglobe, this city..." The band is poised for a breakout 2013, so let them warm you up at The Hideout. 9 p.m.
New York hazy psychedelic-pop band Psychic Ills perform songs from their recently released record, "One Track Mind," Monday at the Empty Bottle with Santiago, Chile's Föllakzoid and Chicago's very own Speck Mountain. Föllakzoid's recent record "II," is blissed out and spacey, while "Badwater," the latest record Speck Mountain is an atmospheric, dreamy psychedelic-pop gem. Empty Bottle. 9:30 p.m.
Legendary U.K. ska band The Specials have broken up a few times over the course of the last 30 years, but always manage to make it interesting with whatever line-up they put together. Monday, the reformed group start a U.S. tour in support of a 2012 record, "More...Or Less. The Specials Live," recorded at various venues during a 2011 tour. The Vic. 7:30 p.m.
Head to Permanent Records for a free show with the dark and heavy sludge of Florida duo Holly Hunt when they play tunes from their debut full-length record, "Year One." With local purveyors of pounding sludge Sun Splitter, who released, "III," last June on Bloodlust! Permanent Records. 6 p.m.
Tuesday, March 12
It's the second night of Bobby Conn and Monica Boubou's Tuesday night March residency at The Hideout. Tuesday, Conn and Boubou will be performing selected tracks from the musical, "Hair," which Conn performed in its entirety back in August of 2012. Don't come expecting to hear "Aquarius," but rather look for "Great God of Power" and "Dead End" as well as some songs from his 2007 record "King for a Day." The Hideout. 9 p.m.
Experimental drone act Locrian have just finished recording a new record coming out this summer on Relapse called, "Return to Annihilation", and the band is embarking on its first tour in nearly two years. With Dead Dragon Mountain, a project from Jacob Essak and Anthony Dunn of Sun Splitter and locals Deadlevel. The Burlington. 9 p.m.
Also Tuesday: Riff-heavy Chicago trio Galactic Inmate headline another fine bill at the Empty Bottle. With local pop-rockers Innkeepers, playing jams from their 2012 record, "The Piper Cub E.P.," and local five-piece rock outfit The Warmbloods. Empty Bottle. 9 p.m.
Wednesday, March 13
The smart, smooth and brilliant Leonard Cohen makes a stop at the The Chicago Theatre Wednesday for his "Old Ideas" tour. "Old Ideas," Cohen's 12th studio album, was one of the best records of 2012. 8 p.m.
Wilco's Jeff Tweedy kicks off a two-night solo stand Wednesday at The Vic. Both shows are fundraising events for academic scholarhips so know that your money is going to a worthwhile cause. Tweedy has been very busy lately curating Wilco's Solid Sound Festival, producing the new record from Low, as well as continuing his work on the new record for Mavis Staples. He also just ended an auction for an eight-hour studio session at the Wilco loft which will benefit Northside College Prep, where his children are enrolled and did an insightful interview on comedy great Jeff Garlin's podcast. The Vic. 7:30 p.m.
Odd Future rapper Tyler, The Creator takes his turn in the solo spotlight Wednesday at Metro. "Wolf," Tyler, The Creator's follow-up to 2011's "Goblin," is out in April. Check out the video for "Wolf" single, "Domo 23," here. 8:30 p.m.
In the mid '90s singer-songwriter Scott Miller was in a critically acclaimed roots rock band called The V-Roys, a group that was the first signed to Steve Earle's E-Squared record label. After the group broke up and E-Squared ceased production, Miller went on to form Scott Miller and The Commonwealth, a band that spent a year as the house band for "Blue Collar TV." Last year, The V-Roys did some reunion shows and released, "Sooner or Later," a compilation of songs from their studio records as well as five previously unreleased tracks. In 2012, Miller himself released "CoDependents," an EP with fiddle player Rayna Gellert, and is currently working on a new record. See him at Schubas with local singer-songwriter Musikanto. 8 p.m.
Also Wednesday: The Empty Bottle presents the quirky country-pop of Teenage Rage, the infectious pop of Portland trio The Lower 48 and the earnest rock and roll of Quentin Hirsley and The Truth. Empty Bottle. 9 p.m.
Thursday, March 14
London's Veronica Falls' terrific new record, "Waiting for Something to Happen," is the perfect cure for the long, cold, snowy winter. The band delivers upbeat sunny pop full of jangly guitars and gorgeous three-part harmonies. "Teenage," "Waiting for Something to Happen" and "Broken Toy" are guaranteed to help with any lingering seasonal affective disorder you might have. With Los Angeles-based pop band Cold Showers and the Chicago-based project Love of Everything at Empty Bottle. 9 p.m.
Chicago psychedelic rockers Soft Speaker will celebrate the release of their new full-length record, "Turkish Mindbathers" and a four-song EP called "International Scheiße, Dummkopf!" Thursday at Lincoln Hall. Both records were recorded by Cooper Crain (Cave, Bitchin Bajas) and the band recently completed a successful Kickstarter campaign to press "Turkish Mindbathers" on 180-gram vinyl. Five-piece garage rockers The Van Goghs recently finished recording new music and hope to have a new record out in April. Local psychedelic punks Rainbow Gun Show open. Lincoln Hall. 9 p.m.
Austin singer-songwriter Kat Edmonson comes to Schubas in support of her striking 2012 record, "Way Down Low," which features a lovely duet with Lyle Lovett on "Long Way Home." Edmonson recently took part in a Prince tribute concert at Carnegie Hall performing a jaw-dropping version of "Purple Rain" track, "The Beautiful Ones." With Belgian singer-songwriter Milow. Check out a live version of the new song, "Stop Being Dead," here. Schubas. 9 p.m.
Friday, March 15
One of 2012's pleasant surprises was the debut record from London's Django Django. Songs such as "Hail Bop," "Default," and "Waveforms," are all irresistable and rollicking slabs of accesible, pulsating art-rock. And the band absolutely brings it in a live setting. Not to be missed. With the spacey-Americana of Minneapolis four-piece Night Moves, touring in support of their impressive 2012 debut, "Colored Emotions." Metro. 8 p.m.
Alison Chesley is a cello virtuoso who was a founding member of Verbow and has worked with a veritable who's who of rock and roll including Bob Mould, Anthrax and Broken Social Scene. She's also Helen Money, amazing rock and roll cellist. "Arriving Angels," her recently released third full-length record was recorded by Steve Albini and features Neurosis drummer Jason Roeder on four songs. Opening the night is exemplary guitarist Douglas McCombs (Eleventh Dream Day, Tortoise, Brokeback). Township. 10 p.m.
Two terrific soul-funk outfits will bring down the house Friday at Cole's. The Jordan Years' excellent 2013 record, "Homeade Hustler" features powerful vocals from singer Wes Restless and groovy tunes like "Sinkin In," "Missing You," and "Homemade Hustler" will get you moving. The Sometimes Family's 2012 EP, "Fun With Heartbreak" channel prime '70s funk on tunes like "Stand Up" and "It's a Wonder We Don't Die From Dancing." Cole’s. 10 p.m.
After nine years in Chicago, Sarah & the Tall Boys moved to Nashville, but you can welcome them back Friday when they headline a fantastic night of rocking country and blues with The Lawrence Peters Outfit at The Hideout. 10 p.m.
Saturday, March 16
"Centepede Hz," the latest record from Animal Collective, and the follow up to their 2009 masterpiece, "Merriweather Post Pavilion" continues the group's penchant for exotic rhythms, electronics, and psychedelia. When Dan Deacon isn't creating an application to turn audience's smartphones into a synchronized light show, he's touring behind "America," one of the strongest records of his career. Check out the recent video from "America" banger "Crash Jam," here. Riviera Theatre. 7:30 p.m.
St. Patrick's Day weekend equals a celebratory night at Metro with The Tossers. The band's latest record, "The Emerald City," is out now and includes many pub sing-along anthems such as "Here's To a Drink With You," "USA," and "Where The Beer and Whiskey Flow," as well as more pensive, cry-in-your-drink material like, "Wherever You Go," "St. Patrick's Day" and "Johnny McGuire's Wake." With Kevin Flynn & The Avondale Ramblers, The Blind Staggers and Continental at Metro. 9 p.m.
Singer-songwriter Todd Snider settles in for a two-night stand tonight at SPACE. Snider hit it big in the mid '90's with tunes "My Generation (Part 2)," "Alright Guy," and the hilarious homage to grunge music, "Talkin' Seattle Blues" from his record, "Songs For The Daily Planet." Since then, he's been putting out strong, but criminally underappreciated records. Saturday you can pick up a copy of the 2000 piece limited edition, "Happy New Year Volume One," which compiles some of Snider's favorite live tracks recorded over the past year and includes, "Long Year," recorded at City Winery back in September. With Chicago Farmer. SPACE. 8 p.m.
You are not going to want to miss legendary DJ and Producer Felix Da Housecat Saturday at The MID. Felix Da Housecat's BBC 1 Radio Essential Mix is available for download now and includes his forthcoming "Sinner Winner E.P." 10 p.m.
Sunday, March 17
Celebrate St. Patrick's Day with one of Ireland's greatest exports, the alternative pop-rock of Ash. With terrific local band, California Wives, whose 2012 record, "Art History," was one of the best local releases of the year and included stay-in-your-head tunes like "Tokyo," "Marianne," and "Blood Red Youth." Lincoln Hall. 8 p.m.
If you can't get to Lincoln Hall, why not spend your St. Patrick's Day with someone named Reilly. Sunday is the second night in the The Ike Reilly Assassination' residency at Schubas. The band is working on their sixth full-length record and this residency will allow you to get a preview of new material as well as hear some classics from the back catalog. With the rootsy-Americana of local band Old Fashioned War. Schubas. 8 p.m.
St. Patrick's Day would also be a great time to celebrate the music of Thin Lizzy, one of Ireland's greatest bands, when Tin Lynott performs material from each one of Thin Lizzy's records as well as solo material from the bands' leader, Phil Lynott. Martyrs'. 8 p.m.
Chicago country-tinged rock and rollers The Kuhls will play songs from their excellent debut record, "Holy Rollin'" at Beat Kitchen. With local singer-songwriter Rachel McCluskey and Julian Bell, who will play tunes from the his recently released record, "Where Do I Begin." Beat Kitchen. 7:30 p.m.
The noise rock duo of Brooklyn's Talk Normal will headline a fine show at Empty Bottle. With E+, featuring members of local bands Disappears and Heavy Times, and the lo-fi no wave of Onyx System. Empty Bottle. 9 p.m.