Broken Robots Burn It Down!: Monday Majesty

Like a pheonix rising from its ashes, destruction can be a catalyst for new life and beginnings. Just as the pheonix, Broken Robots understands the significance and power of starting anew, even through unconventional and sometimes harsh, definite conclusions. With their recent music video release, BURN IT DOWN, Kat & Tony Baker & Lonnie Phillips encourage intense self reflection as a means to an end, or a beginning.

Not being strangers to difficult situations and thoughts, Broken Robots Kat and Tony Baker create a powerful message with their success and existence. From being heroin addicted, homeless and facing criminal penalties, mental health issues and abusive relationships, the two essentially burned down the toxic lifestyle that dominated their lives in order to build upon the ashes, an empire! In a conversation with Chicago Sound Check, we get a closer evaluation of the song and videos purpose and meaning.

Tony Baker leads with some powerful insight about personal relationships; “There doesn’t necessarily always have to be a protagonist and an antagonist for a relationship to end or to kind of burn out.” He continues, “And it doesn’t mean anyone’s wrong, doesn’t mean someone’s a bad person.” Kat goes on to add, regarding the video, “Its based on a lot of different experiences… Being from relationships like in the video, relationships where you have to struggle between whether or not you should stay or go or if it’s worth keeping it or burning it down.” The video shot by Joel Lopez includes actors Jessica Ebacher & Ahmed Forero in scenes of tense interactions, creating a visual metaphor to what Broken Robots conveys lyrically. Before you know it, you will have BURN IT DOWN playing on repeat as the soundtrack for your personal self fulfilling missions!

It’s Going Down With Nobatoby: Monday Majesty

Coming across fresh faces in Nobatoby! Releasing a music video recently and bringing summer energy back into our lives. Using a song off their debut EP BRAIN STORM, the Chicago artists create a visual water park experience, creating a nostalgic vibe with the combination of music. Taking advantage of the empty amusement rides in NYC due to COVID circumstances. Adding to the diversity of Chicago music, alternative indie rock music fans would enjoy this, with a similar sound to Smashing Pumpkins and the likes, GO DOWN it is already on replay here!

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Emma Grace And Her Loving Ways: Woman Crush Wednesday

An astounding performative character, on and off the stage! Radiating confidence, independence and joy where ever she is seen. Emma Grace is an artist on another level, with quite an inspiring attitude, whether she knows it or not. First learning of Emma at an Ever Evolved open mic event, she is making noise right now with a release, and it is exciting to hear some new music from this artist!

Upon first look Emma looks like a sweet, cherishing gal, but that is changed instantly upon her behavior and talent on stage! Enveloping a room with her deep range of vocals and energy, and it is contagious. She is a rockstar! Her style of music and lyricism captures you and you cannot help but move! More than that, she can be an inspiring character for confidence on and off stage.

Emma is an artist to push boundaries no doubt, of what it is to be, look and act like as an artist. As a curvy woman, she proudly displays her beauty in a multitude of ways. From tastefully provocative photography as a model, to performing on stage, in front of a crowd with nothing on, but pasties and underwear. Whether she intended to or not, she may as well accept the banner of a role model for confidence, self love and joyfulness!

Aside from her inspiring and very welcoming attitude, her voice and work as an artist is the cherry on top of it all! With her latest release LOVING WAYS, she projects her energy through lyrics. The opening lines say it all, “Oh all the loving ways to know, yea we got a ways to go, all the loving ways to grow.” LOVING WAYS places you right in the moment, with a message to remain positive despite adversity. She articulates it much more fluidly, so press play and get to those LOVING WAYS.

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Black Lives Matter. HXLT

Chicago’s HxLT comes out with his own tribute to the Black Lives Matter movement. The short project contains just three tracks but it packs some power. Filled with distorted bass, percussion, raw lyricism and chants depicting the angst of the current social-political atmosphere. It holds more of the Punk genre audio aesthetic, with the anti-authority, anarcho attitude, audio distortion and gutteral vocals, compared to his more hip hop and edm releases. The final track, NO MORE, jumps into the 90’s militant minded, political hip hop that first shed light on police brutality in its peak popularity, and that era’s message is just as relevant today.

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I Love The 80’s With The Hood Internet: Artist of the Week

Notable Chicago duo, The Hood Internet, just finished their music time machine! The two have embarked on a journey throughout the 80’s, sampling the decades most favored songs and artists in a handful of songs representing each year of the 80’s. Why has this not been done before? – We just needed genius’s like the Hood Internet in Chicago to manifest this concept obviously. Together they mixed together artists like Kool and the Gang, Rick James, Men Without Hats, Daryll Hall & John Oats, Survivors, Michael Jackson, The Clash, Bonnie Tyler, Eurythmics, David Bowie, Corey Hart, Van Halen, Cyndi Lauper, Eazy E, Dr. Dre, RUN DMC and way more, in a seamless progression. A homage to a decade of that forever shaped the culture of music in countless ways, from disco to hip hop, rock n’ roll, synth pop and countless cultural references from hollywood movies to music icons, perfectly represented thanks to The Hood Internet!

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Blue Kubricks Addicted to Rock And Roll

With a claim to fame, the UK alternative rock band Blue Kubricks shout at the top of their lungs what they know to be true, “I’m Famous,” in their new single HEROIN. More so addicted to the feeling of the Rock n’ Roll lifestyle, the title purely a metaphor. As the the brothers from the UK would put the iconic phrase in reverse, Rock N Rock, Sex & Drugs; a more proper order. “You love me, I love me too. Oh, yea I do, Cause I’m Famous,” Blue Kubricks add to the chorus, embracing their self made situation. Similar in sound to Incubus or Smashing Pumpkins, they capture the energy of Rock n Roll music perfectly.

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Get Your Fix with Broken Robot’s “Dimes and Quarters”

Kat Baker, Tony Baker and Lonnie Phillips are the members of rising Chicago based rock band, Broken Robots. Harnessing an eclectic sound: whispery, melancholic vocals, with bass lines that sound like a cross between Seinfeld and The Faint‘s bassist, Dapose. Broken Robots have a style that cannot easily be compared.

The music video features the three band mates performing DIMES AND QUARTERS in various locations, showcasing their chemistry and tenderness. “I’ve been feeling like a fish, out of water. I’ve been trying to pay the rent with dimes and quarters.” The chorus is deeply felt throughout the song (especially if you’ve ever been broke) and it never feels repetitive. Their compositional style along with their build ups, crescendoing runs, late bridge, and even a guitar solo from Tony Baker, all feel in good taste. This song contains a well thought out and complex structure; which is appreciated in the day and age of formulaic pop rock and pop bands.

Dimes and Quarters is the 4th song from the upcoming EP THE ESCAPE ARTIST. Written and produced by Kat Baker, Tony Baker, and Lonnie Phillips, mastered by Blaise Barton working out of Joyride Studios. The music video was produced, directed, shot and edited by Joel Lopez of Lumbra Records. Broken Robots offer something different in the current saturated world of music and their single, DIMES AND QUARTERS, is in our permanent rotation.

Cover Photo: Joel Lopez

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Throwback Thursday: Chicago’s Original Guitarist Terry Kath Accidentally Shoots Himself

A legend somehow not so well known to fans of music, but guitarists and rock artists revere him as one of the greatest. Even the man we all idolize as the greatest guitar player of all time, Jimi Hendrix, is known to have uttered that Terry Kath is better than him. Born in Chicago and one of the original founding members of the band Chicago, he is in deserving of some more recognition and we are here for it.

Terry Kath was born in Chicago January 31st, 1946 and was inspired to music by his mother and father who ran a lodge and enjoyed entertaining people, according to Michelle Sinclair, daughter of Terry Kath. He learned how to play the keyboard, accordian and banjo, it was the Ventures and George Bensen that inspired Kath to pick up guitar. Getting older he would play in local band Jimmy Ford and the Executives, where he would begin to meet his future Chicago band mates.

It seemed to be natural for him to get people together as his parents did. Connecting with sax player Walt Parazaider and drummer Danny Seraphine, they would the join the Missing Links. That is when they would meet Lee Loughnane, who would be noted saying that he never saw Kath withouth his guitar. The four would finally link up with trombonist, Jimmy Pankow vocalist, Robert Lamm and bassist, Peter Cetera by 1967 and call themselves the Big Thing. The would play an amazing fusion of Rock N Roll and Jazz and Blues.

Coming to the attention of James Guercio, he signs them to a production company and changed their name to Chicago Transit Authority. CTA would later start recording for Columbia Records to produce their first LP. Their first release was actually a double LP, a rare and bold move by most musicians. It included Kath’s FREE FORM GUITAR, where you can hear where Jimi Hendrix could possibly have gotten his influence. Kath Told Guitar Player magazine one time in an 1971 interview that Jimi was playing all the stuff he had in his head, when he first heard him!

The band actually promoted their album by opening up for Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin in 1969. Walt Paradaizer would recall Jimi Hendrix quoting “Your guitarist is better than me” upon their first encounter with each other. Kath would inspire many artists like Eddie Van Halen who used a style heard in FREE FORM GUITAR. He was a great leader musically and his originality and innovative work on the guitar may be more recognized than we think, but not enough yet!

Chicago Transit Authority would change their name to Chicago after the actual CTA threatened lawsuit. The band then split off with James Guercio as manager. After six albums with Chicago, Kath began taking heavy use of drugs, parties and developed a liking for guns as well. One night while cleaning his guns with at his friend Don Johnson‘s apartment, Kath did not realize a bullet in the chamber. Johnson noted to be careful and Kath said ro him without the clip it’s harmless. He would wave his pistol around, his last words as told by Johnson being “What do you think I’m going to do, blow my brains out?” Accidentally releasing the trigger by his head, he died instantly January 23th, 1978, just shy of his birthday.

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Artist Of The Week: Punting Baxter Keeps It Groovy On “Wednesday”

Punting Baxter is making their Ever Evolved debut with their new single, WEDNESDAY and this song is GROOVY. The rhythm section is incredibly at ease throughout this one. The drums are steady and consistent in their pacing, holding down the fort incredibly well. The bass and guitar riffs are bluesy and rhythmically poignant, simmering like a midsummer barbecue. There is a certain heaviness to these riffs, yet the laid back aesthetic presented here should remind the listener not to take life too seriously.

The vocal performance here feels dreamy and animated. The lyrics are full of colorful imagery while the vocals sound heavenly in their faded tone. The way they punch through the weighty tone of the rhythm section creates a really nice blend. With WEDNESDAY Punting Baxter has yet another gem of a single on their hands. They have been busy lately between doing shows and dropping multiple singles but WEDNESDAY is a sheer indication that they are enjoying the ride.

Now available on all platforms.

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Artist Of The Week: Blaqrock Reigns In A New Era With Their New Single Mass Appeal

Ever since releasing their hit EP NO LOVE FOR BLAQKID back in 2018, Chicago rap-rock band Blaqrock have established themselves as a force to be reckoned with on the local scene. Having performed at some of the biggest indie venues in the city, Metro and Cubby Bear just to name a couple, this band has garnered as much clout as anyone. And what is even more impressive is how they have done it in such a short time span.

Back on August 2 Blaqrock closed the door on the NO LOVE FOR BLAQKID era with the release of their new single MASS APPEAL. This gem of a track possesses the same passion and energy as the material on their debut EP, except here everything is turned up a notch. In between the explosive cohesiveness of the rhythm section and lead singer, Gardner McFadden‘s feverishly intense vocal performance, Blaqrock has shown a great deal of growth and progression.

The passion and energy I spoke on before translated into an unbelievable live set at the MASS APPEAL single release party back on August 1 at HVAC Pub. Though it was a Thursday night and they did not go on until almost midnight, the venue was packed full of Blaqrock enthusiasts anxiously awaiting the arrival of their new single. There was a certain energy in the air and they tapped into it from the very beginning of their set.

Right around midnight with the crowd standing shoulder to shoulder in eager anticipation, drummer Danny Delgado let it rip on the opening drum hits to MASS APPEAL. What took place over the next four-plus minutes can only be described as magical. Every drum hit from Danny Delgado‘s kit was jaw-crushing. Every note from Myles Bacon‘s guitar was a searing streak of light penetrating your soul. Austen Goebel‘s poignant bass playing was a gentle staccato hum you can feel at the bottom of your feet. And of course, Gardner McFadden’s frenetic vocals strike you to the core to the point of numbness.

Between the intensity of Blaqrock’s performance and how the crowd reacted, the noise levels at HVAC bordered on deafening. There are not too many artists who can accomplish that on a random after hours show on a hot, muggy August night but Blaqrock showed that they are more than capable. For this reason, if you follow the Chicago scene, then I can guarantee you that Blaqrock is an artist you most certainly will not want to sleep on.

“Mass Appeal” is now available on all platforms.

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