Andrew is a writer and bassline enthusiast living in Chicago. In his spare time, he likes to recite entire Wu-Tang albums from memory. Follow him on Twitter @essentialmixrdp.
CTA to host concert series outside of El stops in June
Your evening commute during the second and third weeks of June is going to be way more interesting. Thanks to the Old Town School of Folk Music, a host of traditional musicians will descend upon 40 CTA stations around the city, playing the music that represents the patchwork of international communities around Chicago. Dubbed "Iron Heart Chicago," the idea of the project is to transform the daily commute into a "cultural experience." Blues, Irish folk, mariachi and traditional Chinese music are just a few of the sounds that will be heard during the full run of the series. The best part: You don't even need a train ticket. Performers will be stationed on specially built stages at ground level outside the El stops, so anyone passing by can pause and enjoy them. Iron Heart will run between 4 and 6pm from June 10 to June 17. For a full list of performer info and schedules, visit ironheartchicago.org.
Spike Lee's 'Chiraq' to hold casting call, hints at possible title change
Spike Lee's next film, currently known by its controversial working title "Chiraq," is looking for extras. An open casting call will take place this Saturday at St. Sabina Academy in Gresham from 10am to 6pm. If you're worried about making the cut, your nerves may be assuaged by the fact that the casting call is for "Males/Females, All Ethnicities, Ages 7-75." One interesting tidbit gleaned from the casting agency's Facebook page: Not once is the film referred to as "Chiraq." The posts make reference to the film as simply "SPIKE LEE FILM," raising questions of whether Lee may be considering changing the title in response to the backlash against it. Mayor Rahm Emmanuel called Lee recently to express his concern over the title, although there was no comment on whether or not he would change it. Photography for the film is set to run from May 19 to July 10. A release date has not yet been announced.
You can order corned beef sandwiches with Uber for lunch today
Uber is changing the world, one awkwardly silent car ride at a time. And now that they've sufficiently disrupted the taxi industry, apparently they have set their sights on delivery drivers too, if only for a very limited time. Today from 11am until 2pm, you can use Uber to order yourself a corned beef on rye sandwich, complete with kettle-cooked potato chips, delivered anywhere in the city for $10. All it takes is selecting the "Corned Beef" option at the bottom of the screen next to UberXL and all those other options you never use. Don't dawdle, as the promotion runs while supplies last. Stay tuned for the coming months, to see if Uber unveils their own Easter egg hunt or offers pinpoint delivery of bootleg fireworks for the Fourth of July.
Farmer's Almanac predicts 'hotter than normal' Chicago summer
There may be hope yet for a sunny conclusion to our winter of discontent. According to Farmer's Almanac, an annual weather periodical published every year since 1818, if we can make it to April, Chicago will be in store for a summer that is "hotter than normal." This is welcome news coming out of a month that tied for the coldest February since 1875. Unfortunately, if the Almanac is to be believed, we first have to survive a March that will be five degrees below average. Although, for what it's worth, the Almanac predicted a "slightly milder than normal" winter in 2014, which of course was a little off the mark. In any case, you've made it this far, Chicago. Before you know it, the only dibs you'll need to worry about are the ice cream kind.
Chicago record store owners and distributors react to music release day change
For as long as anyone can remember, Tuesday has been the day when new music is released. That will change this summer, thanks to a decree by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), an organization that represents music labels around the world. After a "long consultation involving retailers, artists and record labels," the IFPI has deemed Friday as the new international release date for all records under their purview. Reaction to the change has been polarized, with some—mostly the major labels—applauding the move and hoping it increases sales. Others, like Beggars Group chairman Martin Mills expressed feat that "this move will also lead to a market in which the mainstream dominates, and the niche, which can be tomorrow's mainstream, is further marginalized." The sweeping decision isn't boiling the blood of every independent record store manager, however. Patrick Monaghan, owner of music and book store Saki and Carrot Top Distribution, can see both sides of the issue. "As a label, having consistent street dates around the world may cut down on some grey area import-export that goes on and can undercut sales by licensees when copies from a different territory leak in," Monaghan said. "This is not a huge problem for small labels, but can be annoying for larger releases." From the perspective of a distributor, Monaghan could even see the change making things run smoother. "I think it will make life a little easier once we get used to the change," he sai
Interview: Mumford and Sons' Ben Lovett
Grammy Award–winning, world-touring, chart-topping band Mumford & Sons is back after a brief hiatus. As the group gears up for its comeback, keyboardist Ben Lovett has been putting his spare time to good use helping to manage Communion, a hybrid organization that's part record label, part event production team and a labor of love that predates the formation of Mumford. On February 19, Communion brings its artists showcase concert series, Communion Club Nights, to Schubas. Lovett took a moment to talk to us via email about Communion, working with an artist's mindset and fish. Your website says "Communion Music is an artist-led organization." What does that mean exactly? And how is this different from a traditional record label, or even a typical independent label?Communion was founded by myself and Kevin Jones from Bear’s Den, along with iconic record producer, Ian Grimble, in 2007. It has been built by artists, for the good of artists, with our approach being led by the artist’s agenda first and foremost. There are lots of music companies, both traditional and contemporary, major and independent, that are run by musicians or former musicians. One of the most successful festivals in the World, Lollapalooza was conceived and created by Perry Farrell, not that anyone in Chicago wouldn’t know that fact already! Communion's Club Nights feature a roster of artists all touring together. What's the benefit of touring this way, rather than setting up tours for each individual band?Th
Congress Theater rehabilitation planned
How do you solve a problem like the Congress Theater? Developer Michael Moyer and Alderman Joe Moreno think they know how, and their plan includes more than just sweeping up the molly dust, as DNAInfo reports. A spruced-up interior, affordable housing units and a "small inn" are among the renovations in store for the notorious Logan Square venue, one that earned a reputation as a hotspot for bass-induced chaos. That is, until the city banned DJs from performing there, and then abruptly shut down. Moyer's firm, PalMet Ventures, has earned favor from the city since their renovation of the similarly-troubled Cadillac Palace Theater downtown. Woodhouse Tinucci Architects will be involved in the redevelopment plans, but there's no word yet on whether or not the men's bathroom stall will be more than just a shower curtain. Ald. Moreno will join the theater's new owners in an open house meeting and tour of the Congress January 24 from 1 to 4pm.
Interview: Rob Miller, co-founder of Bloodshot Records
Twenty years ago, around the time grunge's dirty wave had crested and punk was taken off life support, rock music found itself in something of a power vacuum. Record executives were scouring the nightclubs of flyover country to look for the Next Big Thing, and many had Chicago natives like The Smashing Pumpkins and Liz Phair in their crosshairs. But while the industry at large searched for the next saviors of rock n' roll, Rob Miller and Nan Warshaw were busy cataloguing an overlooked, burgeoning movement. With the release of For A Life of Sin: A Compilation of Insurgent Chicago Country, Bloodshot Records was born. Over the next 20 years, the label Miller and Warshaw founded to bring attention to this new wave of alternative roots rock morphed into a DIY success story, launching the careers of Ryan Adams, Neko Case and Justin Townes Earle, among others. Today, Bloodshot sports a diverse roster ranging from rockabilly revelers to soul crooners, each with their own take on the sound of America's breadbasket. We spoke to Miller about his memories of Bloodshot's beginning and the challenges facing a mom-and-pop record label. Bloodshot Records is run out of a small office on the Northwest side, but 20 years ago, all operations were conducted out of Nan Warshaw's guest bedroom. Did you have any idea you could make this work for so long? We didn't imagine we would even last one year. It continues to be a surprise. Our expectations at the time were to put out that first record, then