Tuesday, May 4, 2010


First of all, I love cover songs! I'm not talking about the cheesy bar bands that cover "Jessie's Girl" in hopes of banging that drunk girl in the front drinking a pitcher of Long Island Iced-Tea. I'm referring to established bands and musicians who take the time, and creative effort to put their personal touch on a song that they enjoy or has influenced them along the way.

For those of you not familiar with The A.V. Club, it is an entertainment newspaper and website published by The Onion. Unlike The Onion it is not satirical, but still possess a humorous, witty tone. They review new music, films, books, DVD's, etc. The print edition, which is included in The Onion, is available in select cities across the nation including our very own Chicago!

Anyway, long story short, for the last couple months they have been posting videos from the Chicago office of their new mini-series called Undercover. Watch the video and check out the latest cover performance of M.I.A.'s "Paper Planes" here.

Introduction to A.V. Undercover

Monday, April 5, 2010

As Tall As Lions Prey On Chicago

After 12 years of touring in support of other bands, soul-indie rockers As Tall As Lions embark on their first headlining tour next week—and they’re kicking it off in Chicago tomorrow night (4/6/10) at The Bottom Lounge.

“We have played Chicago probably eight times or so, and we love coming back,” singer/guitarist Dan Nigro told RedEye. “The venues are great, and the crowds get bigger every time.”

The New York band has toured relentlessly, opening for such acts as Cage The Elephant, Mute Math and Minus the Bear. Now, with a more mature sound, they will visit 23 cities in support of their latest album, “You Can’t Take It With You,” which was released last fall on Triple Crown Records.

Nigro talked more about the new album, what he loves about Chicago and the band’s upcoming debut appearance at the Coachella Music & Arts Festival.

“You Can’t Take It With You” has been described as a “Tour de France” of soundscapes. Was there a plan to make a larger sounding album?

“To be honest, I think the record came out the way it did because of a lack of focus. With the first record we had the plan of making ten groove heavy pop songs, but with “You Can’t Take It With You” we weren’t sure where we wanted to push ourselves so it was more about experimenting which lead to adding more texture and layers and making things more ethereal and spacey. I wouldn’t say it was a conscience effort of “okay we’re going to make it sound like this” because when it came out we were like “oh, it’s done…cool. I wasn’t expecting this, but I like it.”

There is a lot of heavy subject matter throughout the new album, what inspired the band to write such an in depth collection of songs?

“I think it was more about just experiencing certain things…I think we were all feeling a certain amount of pressure coming out of touring off the first record. We were all very young when we started recording, so when we came home after two years of touring we had experienced a couple of heavy things and reality kind of set in that we are growing up a little bit—anxiety attacks of “what are you doing with your life”, and it became a little bit more real. The first album had more of an innocent perspective on life.”

You guys are about to start your first headlining tour…what does this mean for the band?

“It’s a really exciting moment for us because when we opened for other bands we were kind of restricting ourselves. You start out saying “well screw the audience we are going to play whatever we want to play” and then a few days in to the tour we always end up switching it up because the audience isn’t picking up on certain songs. You may start out playing some of your fans songs, but 85% of the audience who doesn’t know you are looking at you like “why are you playing a six minute ballad right now?”

So there’s more freedom when you headline a tour?

“Exactly! The people coming to the show know your music and you’re able to get away with much more and feel much more confident in playing songs that you wouldn’t feel as confident playing as an opener.”

The tour kicks off in Chicago, what makes your live show great?

It’s all about the chemistry that’s formed on stage and I think the fans can say that the music is much better in concert than it is on CD. We’re proud of what’s on the CD, but when someone tells you it’s ten times better live, that means a lot more to us.”

What’s your favorite part about Chicago?

I love the Wicker Park area. I always find myself hanging out around there and checking out all the clothing shops and finding a nice little place to get lunch. Definitely one of my favorite hang out spots.

So what’s the craziest thing to happen to the band?

“You know people have asked that question every once in a while and I say literally there’s something crazy that happens to us everyday in our lives. Being on the road is an alternate universe and you cant explain the things that happen—you have to go on tour with the band for a few days just to see how much its not a reality.

In addition to Chicago, another big stop for the band is the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival. Are you guys pumped?

“Yeah for sure…we have done smaller fests, but nothing on such a grand scale. I mean, I went to Coachella six years ago when I first got to L.A. I got to see Radiohead and The Flaming Lips; so to actually be a part of it is surreal.

Any bands that you want to check out while you’re there?

“Yeah… Gorillaz are one of my favorite bands so the fact that I will finally get to see them is really amazing!”

So do you expect it to be completely insane?

“Yeah I guess [Laughs]…the thing about festivals is that by the end of the day you’re exhausted so its not the most amazing thing in the world, but at least we have a place to sleep so that’s a good thing [Laughs].

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Friday, March 26, 2010


Psychedelic cosmic rockers MGMT rose to stardom over night in 2007 with their debut Oracular Spectacular; a glamorous mega-production through and through.

The time has come for their sophomore effort, Congratulations, and a brand set of tour dates. Luckily they will be making a stop here in Chicago on June 18th and tickets go on sale tomorrow at 10AM. I suggest you act fast before you find yourself trading sexual favors in an alley with someone who likes to be called "Daddy" that posted a couple of tickets on Craigslist....OH HELL NO!

The new album goes in a different direction from their first, but after listening I was pleasantly satisfied. It has the perfect balance of laid back melodies, space oddity inspired outros ("Siberian Breaks") and thought provoking lyrics such as, "FLASH the mirror ball's throwing mold/ the hot dog's getting cold"-- from their first single "Flash Delirium." There is even a song about multimedia artist Brian Eno...'nuff said.

I suggest you head to the MGMT website and preview the album for yourself (only available for the next 3 days!). You can thank me later!

Honest Engines

The locals' latest is about a confused captain trying to navigate a ship. See the band's Chi-Tunes interview and listen to "Captain's Log" here.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Local Artist Sums It Up...

Add- 2 – “Luxury”

By: Matt Kuhnen

For: The RedEye - Chi-Tunes

Next Show: 3/3/10 @ Subterranean / $7 (FREE before 10PM) / Show @ 10PM

Website: www.myspace.com/add2

Andre Daniels, A.K.A. Add-2, is a true Southside Chicago hip-hop artist that is literally trying to “add” something to the rap game.

“My stage name comes from a phrase my father would say to encourage us when we were kids” said Daniels. “He always told us to never take anything away from what you do…always add to it. For me it was a symbol of progress and to keep pushing myself and building my career as an artist-- never compromising my art, but always improving it”

Add-2 has already been compared to Kanye West, Twista and Common, but not just because they share the same area code. Add-2’s lyrical delivery is as flawless as his predecessors, and with a top single on MTVU’s video countdown and a SXSW gig coming later this month, his national fan base is rapidly growing.

The RedEye caught up with Add -2 to talk about his latest mix tape, his live show, and his obsession with a certain cartoon family.

How do you describe your sound?

I would consider it “True School” Hip-Hop. Its new school hip-hop, but at the same time it’s rooted in the true foundations of 90’s hip-hop – it’s conceptual and intellectual, but it’s also party music.

Tell me about your latest mix tape.

It’s my third release and it’s called Tale of Two's City Vol.3: The Rise & Fall and it’s presented by Okayplayer & 2Dopeboyz. At the time I wrote it, I was focusing on my everyday life and what I was experiencing. There were some dark times in my life at that point and that’s why I called it The Rise and Fall. Despite the fact that I was getting further in my music career, emotionally, I was going through hell. Everyone has ups and downs in life and you just have to deal with it. No one can stay up forever.

What was the idea behind your video for your single “Luxury”?

The song itself is basically about talking to a girl who is used to the finer things in life, but you aren’t able to give her those things. The concept of the video has me playing the “everyday man” cutting her grass and seeking her attention, but later on she sees me for who I really am. Everyone’s video is up in the club throwing money around with the nice cars and the jewelry, but nobody has that in the beginning-- we really wanted to keep it real.

What has being a part of MTVU’s “The Freshman” done for your career?

It’s definitely a good place to show case new artists and rising talent. With the way the music business is today there aren’t a lot of opportunities for an artist to emerge, but I was picked as the only Hip-Hop artist and based on viewer votes my video for “Luxury” came in at number one on the countdown and its still in their current rotation. I believe it has already taken my career to a whole new level and I’m very grateful to MTVU for giving us the opportunity.

What are most people surprised to learn about you?

Most people are surprised at how down to earth I am. I’m not an egotistical rapper at all, and I try to keep myself as available as possible to all my fans. I try to let my fans know I’m not above them—I’m just an everyday person like they are.

What makes your live show great?

Performing my best whether the crowd is five people or five thousand people is what makes my show great. I’m not just rapping at the audience—if I see someone really getting into it I will pull them on stage. When the crowd leaves I want them to say “Wow…THAT was a show!”

Tell me something totally random about yourself.

One random fact about me is I watch The Simpsons every night! I have seasons 1-9 on DVD and I will literally fall asleep every night watching an episode. I’m working on throwing some Simpsons references into a song.

What’s next for Add-2?

March 20th I will be doing a performance at SXSW down in Austin, TX which is a big platform for emerging artists. There have been some deals on the table, but nothing that I think is going to change my life. Right now I just want to maintain the work ethic that I have and maybe shoot some more videos, but definitely I want to keep creating music from the heart.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

When I Wear My Gold Pants I Like To Dance!

Leslie Hall is the perfect blend of the spandex bedazzled clad girl that sat in the back of class farting with a twist of Lady Gaga... if Lady Gaga worked at the flea market. Previously never hearing any of her music, I was pumped to check out the show based on photos alone. I had the pleasure of attending Leslie's show last night in Chicago, where she spat glamorous craft inspired rhymes over garage band created beats, whilst infomercials and 80's workout videos flickered on the canvas screen above her bumped-up hair do. Needless to say this girl owned the crowd and has quite the cult following. I wouldn't be surprised if you saw her and her lovely pear shaped body on TRL next week. Wait...TRL is still on right?!