Sunday, February 27, 2011

You Missed Out: Baths

(published by Heave Media)

When people ask me what's happening in electronic music today, the first thing that comes to mind is Baths. The more popular answer should be Flying Lotus, but Baths is a little more challenging and youthful. 21-year-old Will Wiesenfeld creates glitchy soundscapes that kids can dance to (ages 17 and up, at the Subterranean). Wiesenfeld's energy isn't as apparent on record, but when he's on stage he's in constant motion.

Wiesenfeld has a blast up there with his Akai MIDI contoller, twisting knobs and hitting pads constantly. It’s like watching a kid play with his favorite toy, and we all share it by dancing around with him. The bass was turned all the way up in the Subterranean, the best I’ve ever heard it in that venue. I missed Baths when he was at Lincoln Hall last year with Dosh, but I can barely imagine what those two sounded like at that acoustic heaven.

I talked to Wiesenfeld before the show, and he explained Baths as music that requires "active listening" (as opposed to his other project, Geotic, which he refers to as more "passive."). For those of us who've already had our fill of dubstep but never got tired of Prefuse 73 and Boards of Canada, Baths is picking up the pace. And now with Gold Panda and Delorean in the mix, glo-fi is here to stay for a while.

Half of Baths’ set was new music, the highlight of which Wiesenfeld introduced as a “really gay” song. If I could find even a youtube of it online I would link it right here, right now. It was the danciest song of the night, dreamy with rainbow neon like fast-forwarding Enter the Void. His upcoming album should only build on the foundation established with Cerulean, making its initial eclecticism sound downright accessible.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

CHIRP Playlist (2/23/11)

Quick show recap: Kaputt is the best album of 2011 so far. I set up a Dismemberment Plan interview and Matt Garman is editing it now (should be up in the CHIRP podcasts sometime next week). I am interviewing local band Distractions for Jettison Quarterly. I'm interviewing Will Wiesenfeld (Baths, Geotic) this Saturday before his show at Subterranean. Randy Newman's Lonely At the Top is dedicated to our new mayor, Rahm Emanuel.

12:04AM Destroyer Blue Eyes from Kaputt (Merge)

12:08AM Yo La Tengo Did I Tell You from Fakebook (Bar/None)

12:13AM The Dismemberment Plan The Face Of The Earth from Change (DeSoto)

12:18AM Distractions We Were Better Off in the Rain from Dark Green Sea (Infinite Best)

12:22AM The Smiths There Is A Light That Never Goes Out from The Queen Is Dead (Sire)

12:27AM Emeralds Alive In The Sea Of Information from What Happened (No Fun)

12:34AM Tim Hecker The Piano Drop from Ravedeath, 1972 (kranky)

12:38AM The Microphones I Want Wind To Blow from The Glow Pt. 2 (K)

12:45AM Gil Scott-Heron & Jamie xx I'm New Here from We're New Here (XL)

12:49AM Papercuts Wait Till I'm Dead from Fading Parade (Sub Pop)

12:53AM The Jesus Lizard Gladiator from Liar (Touch and Go)

12:59AM Baths Hall from Cerulean (Anticon)

1:03AM Salem Hound from King Knight (IAMSOUND)

1:07AM Prefuse 73 Storm Returns from One Word Extinguisher (Warp)

1:14AM Wolf Parade I'll Believe In Anything from Apologies To The Queen Mary (Sub Pop)

1:19AM Danielson You Sleep Good Now from Gloucester County (Fire)

1:24AM Toro Y Moi Still Sound from Underneath the Pine (Carpark)

1:29AM Burial Archangel from Untrue (Hyperdub)

1:33AM Murs The Pain from 3:16 the 9th Edition (self-released)

1:38AM Sonic Youth Theme de Simon from SYR 9: Simon Werber A Disparu (SYR)

1:41AM Julianna Barwick White Flag from The Magic Place (Asthmatic Kitty)

1:46AM Gold Panda Marriage from Lucky Shiner (Ghostly International)

1:52AM Village Future Days from Local Moves (self-released)

1:56AM Randy Newman Lonely At The Top from Sail Away (Reprise)

2:00AM Junip To The Grain from Fields (Mute)

2:04AM Leonard Cohen Avalanche from Songs Of Love And Hate (Columbia)

2:09AM Vashti Bunyan Wayward Hum from Lookaftering (Revolver)

2:14AM Big Star Dream Lover from Third/Sister Lovers (Rykodisc)

2:18AM The Low Anthem Matter of Time from Smart Flesh (Nonesuch)

2:21AM Drive-By Truckers Dancin' Ricky from Go-Go Boots (ATO)

2:26AM Crocodiles Mirrors from Sleep Forever (Fat Possum)

2:32AM Smith Westerns Smile from Dye It Blonde (Fat Possum)

2:38AM Cotton Jones Down Beside Em from Sit Beside Your Vegetables (Suicide Squeeze)

2:41AM East River Pipe When You Were Doing Cocaine from We Live In Rented Rooms (Merge)

2:45AM Yann Tiersen Dark Stuff from Dust Lane (ANTI-)

2:53AM Shawn Lee's Ping Pong Orchestra Iceberg from World of Funk (Ubiquity)

2:57AM Syl Johnson We Do It Together from Complete Mythology (Numero Group)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

CHIRP Playlist (2/16/11)

Busy night. I went over to Bottom Lounge to see Deerhoof, but they didn't start until after 11. So I only caught three songs, not nearly enough to warrant a fair show review. I kicked my set off with new Deerhoof though, just to show some thanks to them for putting me on their VIP list. Free beer will get your album cover on TDvsBL every time.

12:03AM Deerhoof Super Duper Rescue Heads ! from Deerhoof Vs. Evil (Polyvinyl)

12:06AM Grandaddy O.K. With My Decay from Sumday (V2)

12:13AM Depeche Mode Master and Servant from Some Great Reward (Sire)

12:17AM Gang Of Four I Can't Forget Your Lonely Face from Content (Yep Roc)

12:21AM Stars The Night Starts Here from In Our Bedroom After the War (Arts & Crafts)

12:27AM Califone St. Augustine (A Belly Full Of Swans) from Roomsound (Perishable)

12:34AM The Eternals Symmetric Children from Approaching the Energy Field (Addenda)

12:40AM Blackalicious It's Going Down from Blazing Arrow (MCA)

12:43AM Beans Gluetraps from End it All (Anticon)

12:44AM NaS It Ain't Hard To Tell from Illmatic (Columbia)

12:49AM Death Can You Give Me A Thrill? from Spiritual Mental Physical (Drag City)

12:54AM Murder By Death Steam Rising from In Bocca Al Lupo (East West)

1:00AM Air The Vagabond from 10,000 Hz Legend (Astralwerks)

1:06AM David Bowie Stay from Station to Station (RCA)

1:13AM The Appleseed Cast Sinking from Two Conversations (Tiger Style)

1:18AM Panda Bear Last Night at the Jetty from Tomboy (Paw Tracks)

1:23AM The Skull Defekts No More Always from Peer Amid (Thrill Jockey)

1:28AM Espers Byss & Abyss from Espers (Wichita)

1:34AM Kraftwerk Airwaves from Radio-Activity (Kling Klang)

1:39AM The Twilight Singers The Beginning of the End from Dynamite Steps (Sub Pop)

1:43AM James Blake Measurements from James Blake (ATLAS)

1:48AM Neutral Milk Hotel Ghost from In The Aeroplane Over The Sea (Merge)

1:54AM John Vanderslice Convict Lake from White Wilderness (Dead Oceans)

1:56AM Islands Rough Gem from Return to the Sea (Equator)

2:00AM Electric Light Orchestra Summer and Lighting from Out Of The Blue (Epic)

2:05AM Pterodactyl Safe Like A Train from Pterodactyl (Brah)

2:11AM Fennesz Saffron Revolution from Black Sea (Touch)

2:17AM Mogwai Rano Pano from Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will (Sub Pop)

2:23AM Funkadelic Hit It And Quit It from Maggot Brain (Westbound)

2:27AM Verbal Kent Save Yourself from Save Yourself (Rapmechanics)

2:31AM Aretha Franklin Rock Steady from The Best of Aretha Franklin (Atlantic)

2:36AM Broncho Try Me Out Sometime from Can't Get Past the Lips (self-released)

2:39AM Ramones We're A Happy Family from Rocket To Russia (Sire)

2:41AM Fierce Creatures Satan is a Vampire from I Mostri Feroci EP (self-released)

2:48AM Calibro 35 Notte In Bovisa (Lapsteel Version) from Rare (Nublu)

2:51AM Sidi Toure Bera Nay Wassa from Sahel Folk (Thrill Jockey)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

You Missed Out: Unwed Sailor

(originally published at Heave Media)

Is there a genre of music more romantic than post-rock? Not in Chicago. Post-rock is in our water here. We drink it up. It's timeless and pure, especially when it's instrumental. So it was appropriate that Schubas and CHIRP showcased Unwed Sailor for Valentine's Day, 2011. Last night I saw faces that I recognized from high school, people who I haven't seen in years (probably not since Tortoise released Standards). But you never forget your first love. And for a lot of us, Unwed Sailor was our first post-rock infatuation. We had to come out to see them all these years later.

Aside from a slightly receding hairline, Johnathan Ford hasn't really changed since 1998 when the band formed in Seattle. He's still swinging his bass wide during the crescendos, and he still isn't singing.

Unfortunately, Unwed Sailor isn't built for a live show. They never have been. Their albums vary widely in style and instrumentation--some more ambient and minimalist, others experimenting with synthy prog-rock. But in the live setting, Ford and his band just churn out the loudest songs in the Unwed Sailor canon. It's deceptively reminiscent of Explosions in the Sky, though Unwed Sailor is capable of so much more. They're closer to an instrumental Appleseed Cast.

Unwed Sailor's set was also disappointingly short, only about seven or eight songs total, without an encore (the crowd pleaded, but Ford denied us). Half of the songs were new, from a forthcoming album due this summer. Ford promised that they'd be back in Chicago in a few months, at a bigger venue. But the crowd just wanted a little more post-rock love on February 14th. Oh, the heartbreak!

Even after 13 years, Ford's music remains emotive and enveloping. But what post-rock band doesn't have similar staying power? Mogwai is still going strong on Sub Pop, Godspeed You! Black Emperor is touring again, and the Sea and Cake still sound great. It doesn't matter what year it is, Chicago embraces one of its founding genres.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

CHIRP Playlist (2/9/11)

I played the Bum Bum Song by Tom Green on my show today. No just kidding. That would've been grounds for termination. And I don't even get paid. But it felt good to be back on the air after a week of way too much snow. Apparently the blizzard that kept me from coming in last week kept Micha from heading out. He had to sleep on the couch in the lobby. Let's hope we don't get any more blizzards for a few decades. No fun.

12:01AM Iron & Wine Godless Brother In Love from Kiss Each Other Clean (Warner Bros.)

12:05AM Johnny Cash I See A Darkness from American III: Solitary Man (American)

12:08AM Brian Eno Here He Comes from Before And After Science (EG)

12:16AM Kings Go Forth Now We're Gone from The Outsiders Are Back (Luaka Bop)

12:19AM Isolee Going Nowhere from Well Spent Youth (Pampa)

12:27AM Nirvana In Bloom from Nevermind (DGC)

12:31AM Smith Westerns Still New from Dye It Blonde (Fat Possum)

12:35AM The War On Drugs Arms Like Boulders from Wagonwheel Blues (Secretly Canadian)

12:41AM Devotchka The Alley from 100 Lovers (ANTI-)

12:46AM Ugly Casanova Hotcha Girls from Sharpen Your Teeth (Sub Pop)

12:53AM Seefeel Dead Guitars from Seefeel (Warp)

1:01AM Joanna Newsom Sawdust & Diamonds from Ys (Drag City)

1:12AM Black Sabbath Sabbra Cadabra from Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (Warner Bros.)

1:18AM Yuck Holing Out from Yuck (Fat Possum)

1:23AM Ratatat Loud Pipes from Classics (XL)

1:27AM The Go! Team Buy Nothing Day from Rolling Blackouts (Memphis Industries)

1:31AM Say Hi Dots on Maps from Um, Uh Oh (Barsuk)

1:36AM Clipse Grindin' from Lord Willin' (Star Trak)

1:41AM Cut Copy Need You Now from Zonoscope (Modular)

1:47AM !!! When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Karazzee from Louden Up Now (Touch & Go)

1:55AM Love of Everything Boyfriending from CHIRP + Coach House Sounds Live Session (Coach House Sounds)

1:56AM Sunny Day Real Estate In Circles from Diary (Sub Pop)

2:02AM Tim Hecker Blood Rainbow from Harmony In Ultraviolet (kranky)

2:06AM The Album Leaf Another Day from In A Safe Place (Sub Pop)

2:10AM Sufjan Stevens Romulus from Greetings From Michigan (Asthmatic Kitty)

2:16AM Fever Ray When I Grow Up from Fever Ray (Mute)

2:21AM Esben & The Witch Swans from Violet Cries (Matador)

2:26AM Real Estate Beach Comber from Real Estate (Woodsist)

2:28AM Cloud Nothings Nothing from Cloud Nothings (Carpark)

2:33AM Cains & Abels After Owl from The Price Is Right EP (self-released)

2:38AM Okkervil River Walked Out On A Line from Mermaid (Jagjaguwar)

2:43AM Bright Eyes Jejune Stars from The People's Sky (Saddle Creek)

2:47AM Apex Manor Burn Me Alive from The Year of Magical Drinking (Merge)

2:51AM The Jesus and Mary Chain Darklands from Darklands (Blanco y Negro)

2:56AM DOOM That's That from Born Like This (Lex)

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Jack Chick Is R. Crumb

(originally published at The Curator)

A rare non-music piece on TDvsBL, but one I hope you'll take the time to read. You've definitely been exposed to either Crumb or Chick, (depending on your upbringing) but a lucky few of you know about both. This article is for you few, who've thought it but never said it--these two underground comics artists might as well be the same person. The piece is not journalism, but more of a creative work about the two ways people are most likely to treat their psychological neuroses, materialized by the art of Crumb and Chick. Once taken to their extremes, self-expression and religion are not so different after all.

I just concocted a new conspiracy theory. A year and a half after seeing R. Crumb’s illustrated Genesis in the New Yorker, I’ve had some time to digest it and I now believe that Robert Crumb and Jack T. Chick are the same person.

I knew that I had seen those crude black and white comic drawings before. But for some reason those happily forgotten memories of Chick tracts (those creepy little pamphlet/comics about the eternal dangers of non-Christianity) were coming back to the surface, convicting me to get saved all over again. All thanks to the agnostic king of underground comics, R. Crumb. But how can I really posit that Crumb and Chick are one and the same? The evidence piles up surprisingly quickly.

After Crumb’s initial rise of popularity in the late 60s, he went on to become an icon of 1970s pop culture with characters like Fritz the Cat, Mr. Natural and the “Keep on Truckin’” guy. Coincidentally, Chick Publications began productions in 1970, and ever since then, the same demons Crumb had been exorcising were being battled by Chick. Both of these artists created stories that dealt with sexual perversion, fear of authoritarianism, existential dread, and shocking violence. The one key difference was that Crumb worked from a psychological lucidity, while Chick came from a daft, religious point of view. Gruesome nudity is commonplace in Crumb’s comics, but Chick tracts can be just as disgusting. People who celebrate Halloween, gay rights, or religious tolerance are often cast as the villains in Chick’s stories. Basically, if the reader does not accept Jesus by the end of the tract, he will burn in Hell for eternity.

One Chick tract is about Henry, a non-Christian man, who molested his daughter due (somehow) to his pornography addiction. The victim daughter is never seen in the comic, but the protagonist father is convicted of his sin. A Christian tells Henry that he will go to Hell if he doesn’t repent. Henry fears for his afterlife and says, “I’m so sorry for what I’ve done. I’m so ashamed… I don’t want to go to Hell.” Then he prays a prayer and gets saved. Suddenly, he feels clean. Later that day, he tells his wife that the most wonderful thing happened to him, but before he can say “Jesus” she confronts him about how he’s been sexually abusing their little girl. Henry quickly explains that Jesus can fix everything, so they commence prayer. The wife gets saved too, and then the daughter makes a surprise appearance at the last frame. The parents tell her “We’ve got wonderful news Lisa, your Daddy and I will never hurt you again.” A frightened looking child holding a teddy bear up to her ear responds, “Really?” They assure her, “Really, honey. We love you, and Jesus does too.” And they lived happily ever after. The end.

In Chick’s comics, the bottom line is Jesus. It doesn’t matter how big or small your sin, everybody is going to Hell, and that’s all that matters. If you believe in evolution you’re going to Hell, or if you molest your daughter you’re going to Hell. The sin itself isn’t really that important, as long as you ask Jesus to forgive you of it (because he will, no matter what!).

Chick tracts are an anomaly in both the underground comics scene and fundamental Christian circles, neither demographic fully embracing Chick’s work. Underground comics artists are a community who often support and encourage each other, but Chick was never a part of this group. And Christians may either despise or adore Chick tracts, depending on the individual’s level of close-mindedness and self-righteousness.

Chick’s comics are so controversial, extreme, and vile, it seems improbable that the man sincerely believes in the messages he presents. Then again, the Westboro Baptist Church isn’t a joke– not even a really bad joke.

But one can’t help but wonder. After all, Chick studied drama in high school and college, even receiving scholarships thanks to his acting talents. And back then he wasn’t a Christian. Could a man so creative and prolific be equally as hateful and narrow-minded?

After reading a Chick tract, a thinking person’s first reaction is something like, “is this satire?” The standby evangelical question, “do you know where you’re going after you die?” is the core of every Chick tract. The morals come from the purest form of fundamental Evangelicalism, even down to the occasional King-James-Only tirades. They are offensive and crude, but nearly 1 billion of these tracts have been published (more than any other underground publisher). How can an anonymous evangelical nut accomplish such a feat? Power of the Lord, I guess. Either that, or the power of Crumb.

The best-selling comic book author in the world recently received the filmic treatment from Kurt Kuersteiner in God’s Cartoonist: The Comic Crusade of Jack Chick. The film is a flawed attempt to perpetuate the infamy of Jack Chick, full of cheesy music and choppy editing. But by the end of the film, the subject of Jack Chick becomes even more mysterious and perplexing.

The documentary features interviews with authors who have written about Chick, as well as a few friends of the artist, and various other religious figures who do their best to explain who the man behind those horrible gospel tracts is. Unlike Terry Zwigoff’s acclaimed documentary Crumb, which is mostly camera time with the subject, Chick is not seen in Kuersteiner’s film. In fact, Chick has never been interviewed on camera, and he intends to keep it that way until the Lord takes him home, or returns in the rapture. (Chick is a dispensational premillenialist; Jesus will return in the clouds to take him and all Christians up to Heaven prior to the forthcoming Apocalypse that destroys Earth in seven years).

While Crumb has given more than a handful of interviews over the span of his career, Chick remains intentionally unseen. Could it be because Chick isn’t even there to give an interview? Just another clue that my conspiracy theory has legs.

In a 2009 interview with Vanity Fair, Crumb said, “You don’t have to be a Fundamentalist Christian to be interested in the Bible. It’s really a fascinating mythology.” He wasn’t talking about the success of Chick tracts, but his own personal interest in the Bible and his reasons for illustrating the book of Genesis. However, it’s possible that quote could be used to explain why Chick has no need to do an interview.

Although Chick attempts to portray Biblical messages in very literal, easy-to-understand layouts, it’s possible that his art is more similar to Crumb’s than either man would ever admit. Crumb always knew that his crude art was a projection of his subconscious. He says in Crumb, “I don’t work in terms of conscious messages, I can’t do that. It has to be something that I’m revealing to myself while I’m doing it, which is hard to explain. While I’m doing it, I don’t know exactly what it’s about. You just have to have the courage to take that chance.”

In a sense, Chick’s comics require some psychological courage as well. The images, though literally interpreted, come across rather surreal, not unlike a Crumb comic. Grim reapers shoving businessmen into a pit of flames. An angel flying through space like Superman. It can be quite a trip. And yet, Chick’s art is actually an attempted representation of literal truth, not semiotic metaphors.

Interestingly, Genesis has more realism than perhaps any other Crumb comic, which is ironic considering the mythic content. And when that spiritual surrealism combines with realism (in black and white comic layout), the two artists appear amazingly similar in both their style and substance. Both are straightforward and simple, but both feature an anthropomorphic God of the universe as a key character in the plotline. What both artists achieve most successfully is a visual representation of things that ought not be understood in a concrete sense. Whether religion is perceived as a mental or spiritual manifestation, both Crumb and Chick are able to make invisible worlds apparent to the naked eye.

For Crumb, the artistic merits of his comics hinged on freedom of expression. Though mainstream comics rehashed old Superheroes and Looney Tunes characters, Crumb’s daring work shocked even the most desensitized cynics. The underground landscape was essential in enabling Crumb to exercise the freedom of unleashing any psychological monsters that were terrorizing his mind. His art was his catharsis and his savior, and inspired millions of readers to relate to his openness.

Chick is also concerned with freedom. Even though Canada banned his comics as hate literature, he’s a flag bearer for bigoted Christians across the U.S. And his freedom is found in accepting Christ, not gushing out his repressed psychological demons for the sake of the collective unconscious. His art is a means to an end/savior. Soul-winning is priority number one, even if that requires bullheaded ignorance and illogical opinions. Of course evolution is false and leads to eternity in Hell. Of course.

Could there be two underground comic artists who deal with the exact same neuroses? Or is it just one man who deals with his neuroses in two different manners (spiritually or psychologically)? Are Crumb and Chick the same man? I posit they are. But if not, Crumb still has a chance. If he read a Chick tract today, he could choose Christ and enjoy an eternity with Him in Heaven. And Chick still has a chance to see a therapist.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Light Pollution on the Internet (originally published in Jettison Quarterly)

Unfortunately I had to cancel my show last night. That Snotorious B.I.G. was the real deal. So instead of the typical Wednesday CHIRP playlist, here's an interview I did with Jim Cicero for the current issue of Jettison Quarterly. Click on that link. You can read the article at the source (with the pretty pictures, layout, and edits), and also check out the cover feature on the Chicago Independent Radio Project.

Light Pollution is a Chicago indie psych-rock band that has been playing chill-out shows
around town since 2005. The band signed to an independent record label in January of
2010. Before their signing with Carpark Records, the lead singer of the band had to do all
of work by himself. Jim Cicero explains what it took to keep the band alive, “We were
unsigned and I was booking all of our shows. We had no PR, no help from anybody.
It was all just me emailing people our tracks. I had sent a close-to-finished copy of
Apparitions to a handful of labels and was getting contacted by tons of them in December
and January, even some major labels. But I really felt comfortable with Carpark. Out of
all the labels, with everyone I got on the phone with I couldn’t talk to them for more than
five minutes without getting irritated or confused or misdirected. But Carpark is a great
label. They’re doing the right thing over there.”

With the label’s backing of their full-length album, Apparitions, Light Pollution has
since become somewhat of a buzz band in 2010. “We’ve gotten press from everybody
but in different amounts,” Cicero explains, “There’s been positive and negative, mostly
positive. But either way, people are noticing us, and that’s the big thing. There are a lot
of bands who put out amazing albums but were just on critics’ bad sides, so they get
horrible reviews for years until they put out one record that clicks.” Light Pollution has
been clicking ever since South by Southwest, touring nonstop with bands like Delorean,
Phantogram and Deerhunter.

Part of the reason for Light Pollution’s quick rise was the proliferation of attention they
received from blogs and Internet music communities. While some positive aspects can
be found in online marketing, Cicero has seen artists make attempts to flee the online
scene, “There were a lot of bands and people who would put out cassette tapes and tape
labels in recent years, just to get away from the internet culture with its blogs and critics,”
Cicero explains, “but now tapes are being reviewed online anyway. There’s no way to get
away from it. You have to just embrace it and do something genuine.”

Light Pollution’s acceptance of the Internet as a marketing tool combined with their old-
fashioned hard work has contributed to their recent success. Cicero remarks, “We’re in a
healthy medium I think. I used to put a lot of time into Light Pollution but now it seems
that we have a lot of people believing in us and will help take care of things. That is very

As long as Cicero is making the music he wants to make, he’s content with whatever
manner of marketing helps him. “I think the Internet is wonderful, for the only reason
that you can find the best music out there. Everything is available. But at the same time,
the Internet is a terrible thing, because now there are so many bands who can just have
one song that gets radio play, and then they’re playing for sold out crowds for their first

Cicero’s Midwestern work ethic shines through both on record and in the ways he
pushes his band forward into the indie spotlight. But something he believes no one
can ever experience on the Internet is the energy of a live show. “I’ll always know the
difference between live and the studio,” Cicero explains, “For me, in the studio I’m not

against doing overdubs and adding strings or doing whatever you want to make the song
whatever you want it to be. But live it’s supposed to be about energy. You might play
songs a little faster than you ever would in a recording and get into it, and that’s the only
way it should be.”

As long as there’s live music, the Internet will be more of a means than an end. The
real thing is more interesting than the virtual. But even as the two hybridize, Cicero
remains optimistic, “Just do what you want to do and make the record you want to make.
Everything is just going to keep molding together. So it’s either a ‘go with it’ or ‘get out’
kind of deal.”