Wednesday, September 29, 2010

CHIRP Playlist (9/29/10)


Tomorrow is your last chance to donate to the Year One campaign. If you think CHIRP is cool, give a few bucks and we'll send you a coffee mug.

12:02AM Deerhunter Desire Lines from Halycon Digest (4AD)

12:09AM Yeasayer 2080 from All Hour Cymbals (We Are Free)

12:15AM Man Man I, Manface from The Man In a Blue Turban With a Face (Ace Fu)

12:20AM Make Believe Say What You Mean from Shock of Being (Flameshovel)

12:26AM Black Math Storefronts from Phantom Power (Permanent)

12:30AM Jonsi Around Us from Go (XL)

12:36AM The Smiths Half A Person from The World Won't Listen (Rough Trade)

12:40AM Superchunk Digging for Something from Majesty Shredding (Merge)

12:43AM Women Venice Lockjaw from Public Strain (Jagjaguwar)

12:48AM Four Tet Nothing to See from Soul Jazz Records: Future Bass (Soul Jazz Records)

12:56AM Chromeo Night by Night from Business Casual (Atlantic)

1:01AM Bob Dylan Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands from Blonde on Blonde (Columbia)

1:15AM Foals What Remains from Total Life Forever (Sub Pop)

1:20AM Megafaun Heretofore from Heretofore (Hometapes)

1:26AM El Guincho Novias from Pop Negro (XL)

1:30AM Tom Ze Filho Do Pato from Estudando A Bossa: Nordeste Plaza (Luaka Bop)

1:33AM ESG Dance from Come Away With ESG (Soul Jazz)

1:39AM Clinic Evelyn from Bubblegum (Domino)

1:42AM Elf Power Goldmine in the Sun from Elf Power (Orange Twin)

1:45AM Retribution Gospel Choir White Wolf from 2 (Sub Pop)

1:52AM Caribou Every Time She Turns Round It's Her Birthday from Caribou Vibration Ensemble (self-released)

1:58AM Hey Champ Artificial Man from Star (Townie)

2:03AM Tortoise The Taut And Tame from Millions Now Living Will Never Die (Thrill Jockey)

2:07AM Pinback 3x0 from Summer In Abaddon (Touch & Go)

2:13AM Mew Introducing Palace Players from No More Stories Are Told Today... (Evil Office)

2:18AM Klaxons Surfing the Void from Surfing the Void (tinyOGRE)

2:20AM Octopus Project, The Catalog from Hexadecagon (Peek-A-Boo)

2:30AM Randy Newman Have You Seen My Baby? from 12 Songs (Reprise)

2:32AM Why? Berkeley by Hearseback from Eskimo Snow (Anticon)

2:35AM Eels What I Have to Offer from Tomorrow Morning (e Works)

2:40AM Mice Parade Couches and Carpets from What It Means To Be Left-Handed (FatCat)

2:44AM Sufjan Stevens Futile Devices from The Age of Adz (Asthmatic Kitty)

2:46AM John Cage Tossed As It Is Untroubled from Music for Prepared Piano (Naxos)

2:52AM Cacaw Ratt Killer from Cacaw (Permanent)

2:55AM The Wind-Up Bird Simulacrumbs, Licking the Future from The Wind-Up Bird (Alone)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

You Missed Out: Menomena and Suckers


The last time I saw Menomena in Chicago was a couple years ago at the Metro. The venue was packed, and I wondered if their next tour would see them play a larger venue like the Riviera, Congress or Vic Theater.

But last night, in support of their excellent new album Mines, Menomena played the Metro again. And the more I think about it, the more sense it makes. Menomena is obviously too popular to play an intimate little venue like Schubas or the Empty Bottle, but they're not suited for the bigger venues either.

The Metro is the perfect venue for punk rock. It was our go to place for concerts in high school. But we were moshing and crowdsurfing at Bouncing Souls shows, not standing in the back with the indie adults. Menomena isn't like other indie bands though. There's a rawness in their live shows, an imperfect charm that fits right in with the punk rock Metro aesthetic.

During Menomena's set last night, I ran into an old high school friend who was always at Less Than Jake and NOFX shows with me. At first I was surprised to see my old punk buddy at a Menomena show, but after I got home last night I started to understand it.

Menomena's music can be as loud as the most grating punk rock, and Danny Seim hits the drums harder than any hardcore band I've ever seen. I don't know how skins aren't busting when he's playing The Pelican. Some of those sticks should be snapping at the very least. The dude is so tall and has so much leverage with his long limbs, he practically pounds his kit into the ground like he's John Henry.

With a fourth member helping out on various instruments, the three guys had to change hands much less often than usual. Unfortunately, that still didn't prevent them from missing a few cues. During the last song of the night, Justin Harris missed a vital note on the sax. I think everybody was a little bit disappointed, but we quickly forgave him as they barreled forward with Evil Bee. They came back for an encore, the sole song from I Am the Fun Blame Monster of the night, Monkey's Back.

The imperfections are what make Menomena such an appealing live act though. An honesty shines white hot, something that is harder to attain at an acoustics Heaven like Lincoln Hall.

Suckers were an ideal opening act too. This band is a perfectly balanced conglomeration of Brooklyn and Portland. Imagine Modest Mouse, Man Man, Menomena and Yeasayer (who they're touring with in the UK later this year) combining their talents into a very cohesive sound. Suckers are definitely a band to watch in 2011. Expect a headlining tour soon.

I'm heading to the Metro again tonight for Caribou and Emeralds (thank you Jenny Lizak!), but something tells me it won't live up to what I experienced last night.

I really just don't understand how Danny doesn't break anything when he plays. It's just... man, he hits those drums so hard.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

CHIRP Playlist (9/22/10)


New music for me, new music for you. A few artists really stood out last night, namely: Baloji, Crocodiles and Megafaun (all 2 AM hour appearances). I'm going to dig into those bands now, until next week when I play more new music. I love CHIRP. I've never been so deep in music before. Honestly. Thanks for listening everybody, please donate a few bucks to the station if you can. You'll get a mug or t-shirt if you do. And you'll support community radio. Win win.

12:03AM Blonde Redhead Here Sometimes from Penny Sparkle (4AD)

12:07AM Menomena The Late Great Libido from I Am the Fun Blame Monster (FILMguerrero)

12:15AM Antioch Arrow Space Age from In Love With Jetts (Gravity)

12:17AM The Bismarck Constant Companion from Great Plains (Pride of Dakota)

12:20AM The Who The Acid Queen from Tommy (MCA)

12:26AM Yes Siberian Khatru from Close to the Edge (Atlantic)

12:35AM High Wolf Cloud Head from Ascension (Not Not Fun)

12:42AM Qwel & Maker Word to the Wise from Owl (Galapagos4)

12:46AM Atmosphere Commodities from To All My Friends, Blood Makes the Blade Holy: The Atmosphere EP's (Rhymesayers)

12:49AM Baths Hall from Cerulean (Anticon)

12:56AM Low Skies This is Where You'll Be Staying from The Bed (Flameshovel)

1:03AM Zoos of Berlin Electrical Way from Taxis (self-released)

1:07AM Watchers Gold Standard from To the Rooftops (Gern Blandsten)

1:14AM Bonnie "Prince" Billy I'll Be Glad from Lie Down in the Light (Drag City)

1:17AM Philip Selway A Simple Life from Familial (Nonesuch)

1:20AM St. Vincent Your Lips Are Red from Marry Me (Beggars Banquet)

1:27AM Mucca Pazza Habibi from A Little Marching Band (self-released)

1:30AM Margot & the Nuclear So and So's Birds from Buzzard (+1)

1:34AM Dead Man's Bones Pa Pa Power from Dead Man's Bones (Anti)

1:40AM No Age Common Heat from Everything In Between (Sub Pop)

1:42AM The White Stripes Black Math from Elephant (V2)

1:45AM Film School When I'm Yours from Fission (Hi-Speed Soul)

1:51AM Dinosaur L Go Bang (Walter Gibbons Unreleased Mix) from Jungle Music: Mixed With Love: Essential & Unreleased Remixes 1976-1986 (Strut)

2:04AM Baloji Karibu Ya Bintou from Kinshasa Succursale (EMI)

2:10AM Talking Heads Pulled Up from Talking Heads: 77 (Sire)

2:16AM Kings of Convenience Renegade from Declaration of Dependence (EMI)

2:21AM Sam Prekop Knitting Needles from Old Punch Card (Thrill Jockey)

2:23AM Bon Iver Woods from Blood Bank EP (Jagjaguwar)

2:29AM Darling Sleeptalking from Lights that Last Forever (Cardboard Sangria)

2:31AM The Explorer's Club In the Country from Freedom Wind (Dead Oceans)

2:37AM Voxtrot Sway from Your Biggest Fan EP (Play Louder)

2:42AM Crocodiles Hearts of Love from Sleep Forever (Fat Possum)

2:45AM Belle & Sebastian Come On Sister from Write About Love (Rough Trade)

2:51AM Megafaun Eagle from Heretofore (Hometapes)

2:58AM Feist Gatekeeper from Let It Die (Arts & Crafts)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Losing the Faith/Culture War


I've been a proponent of Calvin College for a few years now. They remain the only Christian institution of higher learning which is dedicated to exposing its student body to all forms of artistic and cultural movements. Their director of student activities, Ken Heffner, is a man without fear. He is also a devoted Christian. Such a man I have never known. He has brought Calvin to the forefront of the "liberal Christian" scene. Who can ever forget the Festival of Faith and Music two years ago when Lupe Fiasco and Cornel West sat down for a discussion? Or bringing in so many other artists that wouldn't think once about playing a show at a Christian school. Ratatat, The Hold Steady, Broken Social Scene, Stars, Yo La Tengo, Sigur Ros, Iron and Wine, Joanna Newsom, The Books and Neko Case have all performed on the campus.

But Heffner lost a painful battle this week. After a flood of complaints from alumni, he canceled an October concert to host The New Pornographers. But the only reason for the cancellation was not due to a blasphemous lyric, but the name of the band itself. Here's Heffner's statement:

"(A)fter weeks of discussion and consideration, the irony of the band's name was impossible to explain to many. The band's name, to some, is mistakenly associated with pornography. Consequently, Calvin, to some, was mistakenly associated with pornography."

News travels fast in the indie rock world, and this is going to do severe damage to the mission of Ken Heffner. Everyone who already believed that Christians are close-minded, ignorant philistines just got a badge of reassurance.

Notice how I mentioned Neko Case up there? She's a member of the New Pornographers. She played a show at Calvin a few years ago. How did she get past the alumni? Didn't they do research on her?

What Ken should have done was promote this New Pornographers show as "a concert featuring Neko Case, Dan Bejar, AC Newman, and others." That way, that scary p-word doesn't have to upset anybody.

It's a shame that after so many years of bringing incredible artists to the Calvin campus, something like this is what causes the college to appear like just another stupid, puritanical Christian group. I once thought that Christians and artists could interact peaceably, but it's looking less likely every day.

I think it has something to do with the nature of each. Art is inherently open. Anything goes in art, hence the nudity and lack of restrictions. But in religion, there must be doctrine. Religion is closed. Agree with it, or leave. That is, go to hell.

"Pornography" is one of those things you just can't mess around with in Christianity. Even uttering the word brings flashes of tits and cocks flashing across the mind's eye, for which Christians must quickly ask forgiveness for imagining. A word that brings to mind lustful possibilities is one that must be kept as far away as possible.

One day my mom called me to express disappointment for having said the word "fuck" on the internet. She told me it was unprofessional and embarrassing. Of course, I used the word in reference to a band. Holy Fuck. She thought I could have at least edited myself. I could have typed out "Holy F***" instead. I think it goes without saying, my mom is an Evangelical Christian.

I tried to explain to her why she should not be offended, that this word is not being used to degrade or upset anyone. But the very word itself was what got to her. She had never heard the band's [instrumental] music. She didn't need to. The "f-word" was all she needed to be offended. I wanted to resurrect George Carlin from the grave and get him on the other line so he could explain just how silly our conversation was, but alas, I argued with her to no avail.

So, Calvin College is proving itself to be just as sheltered and cowardly as any other Christian school. The only way Ken Heffner can recover from this is by standing his ground and booking Holy Fuck next semester. Otherwise, Chicagoans and Michigan residents from across the state will go to the next show at Calvin College with this nagging sense that they're not at a real show. Whatever they're experiencing will have gone through a filter, because if it's at a "Christian" venue, it's not delivered with complete freedom of expression from the artist.

Book Holy Fuck, Ken. And be adamant. Don't let the alumni win this one. Sure it'll be hypocritical, but come on, this is Christianity we're talking about here. Contradict yourself until artists want to play at Calvin before Chicago. Fuck with people's expectations so hard that they want to be a part of this weird new thing that mixes Christianity with heathen art. Fuck it up, brother.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

CHIRP Playlist (9/15/10)


My interview with Kevin Barnes will be available on Jettison online this weekend, release party at Bottom Lounge the following Friday. And I played music after Of Montreal too. CHIRP is fun. You should listen more often.

12:01AM Of Montreal Do You Mutilate from False Priest (Polyvinyl)

12:08AM School of Seven Bells Half Asleep from Alpinisms (Ghostly International)

12:14AM Lupe Fiasco American Terrorist from Food & Liquor (Atlantic)

12:19AM DJ Muggs vs. Ill Bill Millenniums of Murder from Kill Devil Hills (Fat Beats)

12:22AM Junk Culture Carmel Valley Girls from West Coast (Illegal Art)

12:27AM J. Tillman Diamondback from Singing Ax (Western Vinyl)

12:31AM Junip To the Grain from Fields (Mute)

12:34AM Tallest Man on Earth Little River from Sometimes the Blues is Just a Passing Bird (Dead Oceans)

12:39AM Abe Vigoda Beverly Slope from Crush (Post Present Medium)

12:43AM Joy Division Heart And Soul from Closer (Qwest)

12:49AM The Black Angels Telephone from Phosphene Dream (Blue Horizon)

12:51AM Maximum Balloon Communion from Maximum Balloon (Interscope)

12:55AM Mavis Staples Last Train from You Are Not Alone (Anti-)

1:03AM Electronic Tighten Up from Electronic (Warner Bros.)

1:07AM Secret Cities On Holiday from On Holiday/You Don't Know single (Western Vinyl)

1:09AM Lazerbreak Dream Team from Legend Recognize Legend (Doomtree)

1:14AM Japandroids To Hell With Good Intentions from No Singles (Polyvinyl)

1:17AM The Vaselines My God's Bigger Than Your God from Sex With An X (Sub Pop)

1:20AM Judson Claiborne Vassar Girl from Before Midnight Scholar (self-released)

1:27AM Sigur Rós Starálfur from Hvarf/Heim (EMI)

1:31AM Orgone Waiting from Killion Vaults (Ubiquity)

1:34AM Frank Zappa Cosmik Debris from Apostrophe (Rykodisc)

1:40AM Dead Meadow Till Kingdom Come from Old Growth (Matador)

1:44AM Swans Jim from My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky (Young God)

1:53AM The Flaming Lips Do You Realize? from Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots (Warner)

1:55AM Andrew Hill Pumpkin from Black Fire (Blue Note)

2:02AM Neko Case That Teenage Feeling from Fox Confessor Brings the Flood (Anti)

2:04AM Hank Snow I'm Movin' On from Country Classics (RCA)

2:07AM Iron & Wine Teeth in the Grass from Our Endless Numbered Days (Sub Pop)

2:11AM Daedalus Off Angeles Edges from Proximity One: Narrative of a City (Proximal)

2:15AM Mirah The Fruits of Your Garden from Joyride: Remixes (K)

2:16AM Unicycle Loves You Teenage Ghost House from Mirror, Mirror (High Wheel)

2:20AM Lymbyc Systym Kubrick from Shutter Release (Mush)

2:26AM NDF Since We Last Met from Since We Last Met 12" (DFA)

2:38AM Grinderman Heathen Child from Grinderman 2 (Anti-)

2:44AM Kelley Stoltz Do you Wanna Rock and Roll With Me? from unreleased (Sub Pop)

2:49AM The Besnard Lakes Chicago Train from The Besnard Lakes Are the Roaring Night (Jagjaguwar)

2:53AM Black Mountain Rollercoaster from Wilderness Heart (Jagjaguwar)

2:58AM Okkevil River Dead Faces from Down the River of Golden Dreams (Jagjaguwar)

Thursday, September 09, 2010

The Art of Bigotry


A sculptor went into the Museum of Contemporary Art, where he saw an abstract painting hanging on the wall. He stared at it for a few seconds and then said, "I don't get it." The sculptor then took out his lighter and set fire to the painting.

Of course an artist would never destroy the work of another artist simply because they work in different mediums. A sculptor may not be a painter, but he still respects the painter's art.

Artists are understanding of varying styles in art, but different religions aren't nearly as cordial. Religious extremists tend to hate the religions they don't follow. Their own religion makes sense to them, so every other religion must be wrong.

Religious people could learn a lot from artists. Just as there are many different mediums of art, there are many different faiths and religions. But a clearer connection between art and religion is that they both come from an inherently irrational place. Art is not math, and if it is attempted to be interpreted intellectually instead of viscerally, it will almost certainly be misinterpreted. Likewise, the belief in something which cannot be proven is common in all religions, from Christianity and Islam, to Mormonism and Hinduism. None of these religions are based in logic. Faith is irrational.

The same is true of comedy. Watch an episode of Monty Python and two things will likely happen. A joke will be uttered and you laugh. But then a moment later, another joke will come and you will say, "I don't get it." Instead of turning the show off, you will continue to watch, because the joy you experienced from that one joke that made you laugh overrode the feeling of confusion you felt after the joke you didn't "get."

Art, comedy, religion. These are irrational things. But they are also uniquely human things. No other species in the world experiences these irrationalities. It is actually quite good for a human to engage in all three of these things. We should create works of art. We should tell jokes and make each other laugh. We should have faith and practice religion. These things are a celebration of our humanity.

But the key is balance. Not only are humans irrational, but they are also rational. This is certainly a paradox, but while I am completely capable of making a conscious decision to cover my face in mustard and hump a door handle, I am also capable of solving a math problem or participating in a political discussion. If I move too far to one extreme, however, my humanity will turn to monstrosity.

So how can one avoid the desire to burn Korans out of devotion to his own differing religious convictions? First of all, he must stop taking his religion so seriously. But more importantly, he must differentiate between the rational and irrational parts of his humanity.

Faith must not become rational. If one believes his religion is correct because it can be proven, he does not have faith in the first place. Faith, by definition, means believing in something that cannot be proven.

In the human mind there are two playing fields. One field is where rational games are played. The players are math and science. The other field is where irrational games are played. Art and religion are the players. Never should the players compete on the wrong field. Creationism being taught in a public school is an example of irrational players on the rational field. The 'God gene' being preached on during a Sunday service is what it looks like when the rational players hit the irrational field.

I don't know why religious people take their irrational beliefs so seriously. An artist who takes himself too seriously is insufferable. And a guy who just can't stop joking around is annoying. A guy who can't bifurcate his faith from the real, rational world is a wacko.

We believe in all kinds of silly things, but they bring us joy. It's great to live in a country that understands that. Not everybody believes the same thing, but it doesn't matter. We all believe irrational things, that's what humans do. The trouble comes when we start acting like those beliefs are rational.

Monty Python is incredibly silly, but it too brings us joy. An abstract painting can do the same thing. Feelings should never be mistook for wisdom though. But once feelings are balanced out by critical thinking, then we can talk.

Rational people, allow for irrationality in yourself and others. People of faith, do not impose your beliefs on any other human being. The animals are jealous of us either way.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

CHIRP Playlist (9/8/10)


Lots of new music last night. My first half hour was the best though. CHIRP could've streamed over at SmartBar during that stretch. Anyway, it was a fun show. Probably because I was finally able to wear a scarf in the studio. Goodbye summer. Leave already.

12:02AM The Walkmen All Great Designs from Lisbon (Fat Possum)

12:07AM Parts & Labor Satellites from Receivers (Jagjaguwar)

12:16AM HEALTH Nice Girls from ::DISCO2 (Lovepump United)

12:19AM Robyn Include Me Out from Body Talk Pt. 2 (Konichiwa)

12:23AM Slim Thug, T.I., and Bun B. Three Kings (Ratatat Remix) from Ratatat Remixes Mixtape Vol. 2 (self-released)

12:30AM Qwel & Maker The Dumbing Down from Owl (Galapagos4)

12:33AM Fuck Buttons Bright Tomorrow from Street Horrrsing (ATP)

12:42AM Interpol Lights from Interpol (Matador)

12:48AM Black Devil Disco Club Coach Me from 28 After (Lo)

12:55AM Gold Motel Perfect in My Mind from Summer House (Good as Gold)

12:58AM Poster Children Flag from No More Songs About Sleep and Fire (Hidden Agenda)

1:02AM Glenn Kotche Fantasy on a Shona Theme from Mobile (Nonesuch)

1:06AM Dungen Min Enda Van from Skit i allt (Mexican Summer)

1:09AM Jose Gonzalez Down the Line from In Our Nature (Mute)

1:15AM Horse Feathers Heathen's Kiss from House With No Home (Kill Rock Stars)

1:19AM Sufjan Stevens All Delighted People (Classic Rock Version) from All Delighted People EP (Asthmatic Kitty)

1:29AM The Zombies If It Don't Work Out from Odessey & Oracle (Repertoire)

1:32AM The Aluminum Group Lie Detector Test from Pedals (Minty Fresh)

1:35AM Midlake Winter Dies from The Courage of Others (Bella Union)

1:41AM Jenny and Johnny Big Wave from I'm Having Fun Now (Warner Bros.)

1:45AM Laura Veirs Spelunking from Year of Meteors (Nonesuch)

1:49AM Arthur Russell See Through (Walter Gibbons Mix) from Jungle Music: Mixed With Love: Essential & Unreleased Remixes 1976-1986 (Strut)

1:53AM Page France Junkyard from Hello, Dear Wind (Suicide Squeeze)

1:56AM Rabble Rabble Doubt It from Bangover (Commune)

2:02AM My Brightest Diamond If I Were Queen from A Thousand Shark's Teeth (Asthmatic Kitty)

2:04AM Azure Ray Silver Sorrow from Drawing Down the Moon (Saddle Creek)

2:08AM Edith Frost Cars and Parties from Wonder Wonder (Drag City)

2:14AM Monsters of Folk Man Named Truth from Monsters of Folk (Rought Trade)

2:17AM M. Ward Lullaby + Exile from Transistor Radio (Merge)

2:20AM She & Him You Really Got A Hold On Me from She & Him Volume 1 (Merge)

2:25AM Turrks Coal Bin from Bisbee (Deleted Art)

2:28AM MC5 Come Together from Kick Out the Jams (Elektra)

2:32AM Zoroaster Ancient Ones from Matador (E1)

2:37AM Ufomammut Eve Pt. IV from Eve (SupernaturalCat)

2:41AM No Age Dusted from Everything In Between (Sub Pop)

2:44AM Eluvium One from Talk Amongst the Trees (Temporary Residence)

2:53AM Tobacco Street Trash from Fucked Up Friends (Anticon)

2:55AM Dreamend Magnesium Light from So I Ate Myself, Bite By Bite (Graveface)

2:58AM Rosie Thomas Kite Song from These Friends of Mine (Nettwerk)

Sunday, September 05, 2010

You Missed Out: Chicago Jazz Festival


It's over. Chicago's summer outdoor concert season has come to an end with blue note ease. Scarves appeared this weekend at Grant Park, heralding the end of a way too hot summer. Chicagoans enjoyed jazz without cost, both young and old bringing blankets and bottles of wine for some park lawn bliss. We are so done with outdoor music. After weekend lows in the 40s, we're ready to get inside.

But it felt great out there today. The fest was extended this year, starting on Thursday in the Cultural Center, continuing on Friday in Millennium Park, and then the same old Jazz Fest on Saturday and Sunday in Grant Park. The kids came out for Sunday though, because NOMO and the Brad Mehldau Trio played this afternoon.

NOMO was hidden away in a shady corner of Grant Park, where music fans could enjoy the group's experimental indie-jazz without any possibility of sunshine discomfort. The six-piece brought synthesizers and samples along with their extra drum kit and homemade kalimbas. Of course, the purists enjoyed the horns. Trumpet, baritone and tenor sax kept the old-school in session. But afro-beats got the suburban white guys dancing on the Metra on their ride home. Even though the price went up, that weekend pass is still a great deal.

I'm no expert on jazz. I love Sun Ra, Thelonious Monk, and Miles Davis as much as the next guy, but I wonder what the majority of jazz nuts think of a group like NOMO. On the one hand, I imagine they'd find the synths and samples unorthodox. But if any music fan would be open-minded enough to see their genre go through vast changes, it should be that one founded in improvisation and experimentation.

Either way, I don't care I guess. Because I love NOMO. I wish more groups at the Jazz Fest sounded like them. It's not just another group of musicians playing pitch perfect lounge jazz. That gets painfully boring after a while. The trumpeter in NOMO was playing a weird electronic flute instrument with some twisty knob at the end, something I've never seen before. Once a jazz group starts playing instruments I'm unable to identify, they're doing something right.

A couple hours later at the main stage, a young man named Brad Mehldau played a grand piano while two other gentlemen accompanied him with upright bass and drums. His claim to fame is composing jazz arrangements of rock and pop music. He's dabbled in Radiohead, Soundgarden, Nick Drake, and today at the fest, Sufjan Stevens.

The highlight of his set was that final song, Holland, from Sufjan's Michigan album. It reminded me of how musically complex and adventurous Sufjan's music can be. Without lyrics, Mehldau tinkered around Holland's tonic for over 10 minutes. He did him proud, keeping things long and ambitious like that.

So yes, jazz is chill. It can be awful, redundant and embarrassing much of the time (especially now that it's become more of a white person's music...). But if it can get into the hands of the right generation, jazz still has plenty of pep. I'm not going to put it into a time capsule just yet.

Next time, though, I hope I can enjoy jazz under a roof. Enough of this sunshine.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

CHIRP Playlist (9/1/10)


I always feel less pressure when I don't promote my show too heavily. In turn, I feel like I do a better show. I got some requests from people I've never met. And that felt really good. Plus, my favorite set so far came in the final half hour of the show (Candy Claws, How To Dress Well, Mount Kimbie). Check out all of those bands, as well as Loden. And head over to the Chicago Jazz Fest this Sunday at 2 PM for NOMO.

12:03AM Les Savy Fav Calm Down from Root for Ruin (Frenchkiss)

12:05AM Neil Young For the Turnstiles from On the Beach (Reprise)

12:08AM Shellac Mouthpiece from Terraform (Touch and Go)

12:16AM NOMO Nocturne from Invisible Cities (Ubiquity)

12:19AM Loden Rubber Floors Give More Bounce from Buggy (Mush)

12:23AM White Hinterland Huron from Kairos (Dead Oceans)

12:30AM Andrew Bird Heretics from Soldier On EP (Fargo)

12:39AM Phantogram Mouthful of Diamonds from Eyelid Movies (Barsuk)

12:43AM Bill Callahan Rococo Zephyr from Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle (Drag City)

12:48AM Fol Chen Winter, That's All from Part I: John Shade, Your Fortune's Made (Asthmatic Kitty)

12:55AM The Sword Night City from Warp Riders (Kemado)

12:57AM David Singer & The Sweet Science Maryland from Arrows (The Sweet Science)

1:00AM Aloha Liberty from That's Your Fire (Polyvinyl)

1:05AM Bob Dylan Mozambique from Desire (Columbia)

1:08AM Album Leaf, The September Song from An Orchestrated Rise to Fall (Music Fellowship)

1:12AM Kraftwerk Showroom Dummies from Trans-Europe Express (Car)

1:18AM Coltrane Motion Please Call It A Comeback from Hello Ambition! (Datawaslost)

1:22AM Vitalic Second Lives from Flashmob (Play It Again Sam)

1:28AM Film School Distant Life from Fission (Hi-Speed Soul)

1:32AM Pinback Offcell from Offcell EP (Absolutely Kosher)

1:37AM Telefon Tel Aviv You Are the Worst Thing in the World from Immolate Yourself (BPitch Control)

1:41AM Wildbirds & Peacedrums The Well from Rivers (The Control Group)

1:45AM Lykke Li I'm Good, I'm Gone from Youth Novels (LL)

1:50AM Chief You Tell Me from Modern Rituals (Domino)

1:53AM Jon Langford & Skull Orchard River of Ice from Old Devils (Bloodshot)

1:58AM T. Rex Jeepster from Electric Warrior (A&M)

2:02AM Sun Ra Ancient Aiethopia from Jazz in Silhouette (Saturn)

2:12AM Anathallo Dokkoise House (With Face Covered) from Floating World (Nettwerk)

2:19AM Hauschka Gintersweg from Snowflakes and Carwrecks (Fat Cat)

2:24AM Dylan LeBlanc Low from Pauper's Field (Rough Trade)

2:29AM The Beatles Girl from Rubber Soul (Apple Corps)

2:31AM Endless Boogie Mighty Fine Pie from Full House Head (No Quarter)

2:39AM Candy Claws Sunbeam Show from Hidden Lands (twosyllable)

2:43AM How To Dress Well You Won't Need Me Where I'm Goin' from Love Remains (Lefse)

2:46AM Mount Kimbie Before I Move Off from Crooks & Lovers (Hotflush)

2:52AM The Wooden Birds Seven Seventeen from Magnolia (Barsuk)

2:55AM Eels What I Have to Offer from Tomorrow Morning (eWorks)

2:58AM On Fillmore Checking In from Extended Vacation (Dead Oceans)