FEATURE: My 2014 In Live Music

I went a little over two years without seeing any live music. It certainly wasn’t something I was trying to do, but it happened. This was pretty unforgivable for someone who blogs about music. This is even more unforgivable given my immediate proximity to Chicago. There were literally bands here always.

But, somehow, I went from July 2011 until November 2013 without seeing any live music. It was a pretty big drought. As is forever the story of my life, it was almost always due to money problems, health problems, or scheduling problems. I work 3rd shift on Wednesday through Saturday nights. This means I end up missing damn near every show. That two year span was a lot of disappointment. I’d see a band was coming, only to see the show was on a Friday or Saturday night. Meaning I had to work.

Luckily that streak was broken. I got back into the swing of things this last year. I got to see a pretty fair amount of bands. Here is my 2014 in live music:

March:
NONA / Pet Symmetry / Meah! / The Valenteens
(@ TOWNSHIP)

April:
Dowsing / Donovan Wolfington / Bluebirds / Per Aspera
(@ TOWNSHIP)

May:
Dowsing / Little Big League / Winter Classic / L. Mounts
(@ TOWNSHIP)

June:
Lemuria / Cayetana / PUP / The Menzingers
(@ BOTTOM LOUNGE)

July:
Braid / Jason Douglass Swearingen
(@ TOWNSHIP)

September:
Empire! Empire! (I Was A Lonely Estate) / Joie De Vivre / Free Throw
(@ TOWNSHIP)

December:
Lemuria / Lifted Bells / Prince
(@ BEAT KITCHEN)

American Football / Braid
(@ BOTTOM LOUNGE)

Ten of those bands ended up on my year end lists.

Hopefully 2015 is as eventful. Though, with the apparent loss of Township, I feel like Sunday night shows are going to fall by the wayside. That is definitely a bummer.

So, bands I like, you are on notice. Please play Sunday shows when you come to Chicago. You will be my best friends, and you may end up on a year end list on a blog that not very many people read. Deal?

YEAR END! – Top Twenty EPs / Singles / Splits Of 2014

epsplitEXTENDED PLAYS & SINGLES

  • Among Giants – “Back And Forth”
  • Donovan Wolfington – “Scary Stories You Tell In The Dark”
  • Flesh Born – “Han”
  • Foie Gras – “Held”
  • King Woman – “Dove b/w Fond Affections”
  • Lemuria – “Turnstile Comix #3”
  • Miserable – “Dog Days” (but also “Halloween Dream”)
  • Sloths – “Twenty Years”
  • The World Is A Beautiful Place – “Between Bodies”
  • Vow – “Make Me Yours”

SPLITS

  • Annabel / Dowsing
  • Anodes / Enta
  • Dikembe / The Jazz June
  • Joie De Vivre / Prawn
  • Little Big League / Ovlov
  • Locktender / Amber
  • Mikey Erg / Warren Frankling And The Founding Fathers
  • NONA / Crow Bait
  • Øjne​ /​ Улыбайся Ветру
  • Pariso / Svalbard

YEAR END! – Top Twenty Records Of 2013

albumgrid

  • Laura Stevenson – “Wheel”
  • Football, etc – “Audible”
  • The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die – “Whenever, If Ever”
  • Waxahatchee – “Cerulean Salt”
  • Nona – “Through The Head”
  • Lord Snow – “Solitude”
  • Save Ends – “Warm Hearts, Cold Hands”
  • Pity Sex – “Feast Of Love”
  • American Thunder Band – “Neither Here Nor Thayer”
  • Tiny Moving Parts – “This Couch Is Long & Full Of Friendship”
  • Lemuria – “The Distance Is So Big”
  • Dowsing – “I Don’t Even Care Anymore”
  • Belgrade – “Belgrade”
  • RVIVR – “The Beauty Between”
  • State Faults – “Resonate/Desperate”
  • Little Big League – “These Are Good People”
  • Mutual Benefit – “Love’s Crushing Diamond”
  • Rika – “How To Draw A River, Step By Step”
  • Radiator Hospital – “Something Wild”
  • Our Sunday Affairs – “Cave”

REVIEW: Little Big League – "These Are Good People"

It seems the first talking point that most people bring up when discussing Little Big League is the collective pedigree of the members. It makes sense, but it is a little boring to do, right? It never really explains the project at hand. Let’s just sidestep that stuff and focus on the record. It’s pretty simple when we look at it that way.

Little Big League have a great LP here. These Are Good People is a great example of a band taking an almost decade specific sound, but avoiding the whole throwback gimmick. It plays primarily like a 90’s indie/alternative record. In a very straightforward way in some places, but filtered through college rock or emo in some others. Sometimes the guitar is twinkly, sometimes it jangles. The leads are simple enough, but catchy and hooky.

The most dynamic thing on the record is the vocals. Michelle Zauner’s vocals range from delicate and soft to high and powerful to rough and yelled. It adds a very diverse layer to what would otherwise be very genre normative songs. Shit, we get bits of each in the first three songs alone. The album opens with “Lindsey,” on with very powerful vocals. “My Very Own You” has moments of the more delicate side. “Dark Matter” gets rough at the end. This carries on throughout. It’s not for everyone though. Michelle Zauner doesn’t have a perfect voice. It ranges somewhere between Mimi Gallagher from NONA and Caithlin De Marrais from Rainer Maria (other people also say Karen O. So there’s that).

Long story short, everything pretty much works on this record. It may be walking down a pretty well worn path, but it’s still a lot of fun. It’s a record that can be put on and enjoyed. It’s not trying to redefine a genre. It’s not trying to revolutionize a scene. It’s comfortable and a little familiar. There’s not a damn thing wrong with that.

Little Big League
BandCamp
Tiny Engines
Buy It