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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Woman Crush Wednesday: Nicole Amine

AJ Abelman Photography

Detroit and Chicago have a lot in common when it comes to music, most significantly through techno and house music origins. Today we recognize our connection through the talents of an ambitious blues player residing in Chicago. Coming from our neighbors across Lake Michigan, Nicole Amine establishes her sound in Chicago after growing up on the sounds of Motown, Soul and Rock and Roll music. Originally studying at Columbia College to earn a degree in vocal performance, like the Rolling Stones, she began to explore her love for Chicago Blues music, which turns out to become a heavy influence in her own.

Starting out releasing cover tracks from artists like the Temptations and Amy Winehouse especially, giving justice to a very talented voice; Nicole’s voice is just as strong. Following up with a couple of demos, shortly after as she gets more comfortable as an artist. Working her way through solo performances Nicole organizes a band and really gets the fire starting, performing in random venues in Chicago. In a short period of time this student & listener of music establishes a foundation and presence in Chicago’s local music scene.

After finding her band and perfecting her sound she debuts with her single WINE SONG, giving us a real glimpse of Nicole’s creativity. Following WING SONG she comes up with NEED THAT SOUND and TRAPPED, both can stand on their own as well. Reaching further Nicole pursues bigger spotlights from the stage and enters in NPR Tiny Desk contest and had a performance on Sofar Chicago. Her ambition to be her best self through vocal education, challenging herself onto bigger stages with original singing, songwriting and guitar playing lands her at this weeks spotlight for Woman Crush Wednesday. You can expect more new music from her in 2020 so follow her progress in the links below!

Nicole Amine | Soudcloud | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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Header Photo AJ Abelman Photography

Throwback Thursday: Happy Birthday to Verdine White; Long Time Bassist of Earth, Wind and Fire.

The year is 1951 on the 25th of July. The bassist Verdine White, who is most known for playing with Earth, Wind, and Fire, was born in Chicago Illinois. Verdine White is ranked as being the no. 27th all time bass player by Bass Player’s List of the 100 Greatest Bass Players of All Time. He started playing with Earth, Wind, and Fire at the age of seventeen due to his older brother Maurice White being the founder, main record producer, and co-lead singer. Today his net worth is over 10 million dollars. These are the types of success stories that define Chicago music and culture in history.

In an interview with Microphone Check with Frannie and Ali, Verdine White got to sit down with the platform to give a little insight into the history of himself and the great band that became Earth, Wind, and Fire. His older brother Maurice and Ramsey Lewis originally were going to name the band Salty Peppers (Salt N Peppa ended up being a thing years later ironically enough) until Maurice decided to name the band after his astrological chart which did not contain the element water. It only had earth, air, and fire; Maurice decided to rename air to wind. And thus a legendary band is born.

According to Verdine White his older brother Maurice instilled a foundational sound and musicality in the group through his extensive study of Miles Davis and John Coltrane. He credits Maurice with his and the entire bands legacy and success. Verdine White’s father was a saxophonist and a drummer by passion and a doctor by trade. He instilled an attitude of strict proper musicianship in his sons according to Verdine. Maurice was ten years older than Verdine elder and the two technically did not start playing together till they were out in California.

Verdine says Maurice was always encouraging and always took him seriously although, Verdine was not ready to keep up with his brother for years. One day Maurice told Verdine, “I need you at the studio in case the bass player doesn’t show up“. Even though the bass player did show up that day, the energy that Maurice wanted to give Verdine and uplift his little brother as a musician was definitely there! Even though it took years for Verdine White to end up playing with his beloved brother, that is now past on, from age ten onward Verdine’s life has been nothing but music.

It was interesting to read about his experiences in Chicago through the 60’s, according to him music related things were happening constantly. Whether Verdine was practicing to keep up with his brothers and father, attending shows with his mother, putting on events for Maurice, or just studying and learning from his older contemporaries, Verdine was always entrenched within the culture of Chicago music. And to me the most awesome fact is that, according to Verdine, he was completely sober and focused through his teen years due to what was required of him as a musician. He did not party, he did not do drugs, there was only one thing he had to do back then and that was play music. Happy birthday to a real Chicago legend, Verdine White of Earth, Wind, and Fire!

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Artist Of The Week: The Mild West Band

One of the things find most exciting about being a music fan is continuously discovering brand new artists. The most recent addition to that list is Chicago pop-rock band The Mild West. They just dropped an instant hit with their debut single entitled ORANGE GROVE, which is why they are this week’s Artist of the Week. On ORANGE GROVE The Mild West show a great deal of musical cohesiveness as the instrumentalists move steadily as a unit. The pulse of the song is consistent as it is contagious. This is definitely a song you can get down on the dance floor to. Lyrically The Mild West show a great deal of maturation as well. Despite the carefree, poppy aesthetic, ORANGE GROVE is a poetic tale that paints a vivid portrait of a growing love story. The lines are pensive and contain a logical flow. Though they only have one single out The Mild West is definitely a band to watch on the Chicago scene in the coming years. The Windy City has a rich history of commercial music and The Mild West look like they will surely help carry on that tradition. In a city whose music scene is as crowded as Chicago’s, it is surely exciting that bands such as The Mild West are coming up with their own sound in 2019. “Orange Grove” is now streaming on all platforms.

The Mild West Band | Facebook

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