The Growlers play Thalia Hall


The Growlers are a highly original Orange County, California, band that has long playfully described its music as “beach goth.” The band is hosting its fifth annual Beach Goth Festival out West in October.

For me, I was hooked after hearing the band’s 2013 album Hung at Heart. The latest album, City Club, is another gem and will be released September 30. The StrokesJulian Casablancas produced the new album, adding some new twists to the band’s signature sound.

These guys don’t visit Chicago much more often than once a year. So catch them while you can at Thalia Hall Wednesday.

Pylon, Boris, Prix, Sunny Day Real Estate, Egyptian Lover: Collections, reissues and rarities released in 2016


The anniversary re-release of some album is becoming a bloated category but many reissues are well deserved or essentially necessary.

We’ll do a full review of reissues and collections at the end of the year but here’s a sampling of interesting archival releases through the first eight months of 2016.

Hands down, the unearthed live performance of Pylon is the best blast from the past I’ve heard. Athens, Georgia produced some extraordinary bands in the late ’70s and early ’80s, B-52s and R.E.M. among the most famous. The arty and fascinating Pylon was (somewhere) voted most likely to succeed. That didn’t happen, but do yourself a favor and check out Pylon Live.

Another great discovery this year: The Prix Historix released on Chicago’s mighty Hozac Records. Prix featured members of the last incarnation of power pop legends Big Star. Alex Chilton and Chris Bell contributed to this Prix release, which was recorded in the same Memphis studio, Ardent, as Big Star. The album was originally released in Japan in the mid-70s.

The Japanese metal band Boris wasn’t on everyone’s radar in 2005 and 2006 but its album, Pink, was pretty great. Boris’ album is released for a 10th anniversary special.

Likewise, Sunny Day Real Estate, a band tagged “emo” after their early ’90s debut, reissued How It Feels To Be Something On. I’ve always hated that term and felt it grouped decent bands (like Jawbreaker and Sunny Day Real Estate) with absolute shit acts. This third album by Sunny Day Real Estate, however, is well worth a listen.

Egyptian Lover’s 1983-1988 has to be one of the most fun discoveries I’ve made this year (in terms of archival recordings). Greg Broussard was an L.A. DJ in the early ’80s who recorded singles as Egyptian Lover.

Some bands and record companies celebrate 10-year anniversaries. Heartworn Highways is a 40-year-old documentary that explores the rootsy, outlaw country music trend. The reissued soundtrack features a lot of great folks, including Townes Van Zandt, Rodney Crowell, Guy Clark, Steve Earle and more.