Ty Segall raises money for ACLU with new music

The American Civil Liberties Union has been working hard this year fighting actions of the Trump White House.

Rocker Ty Segall is trying to help by raising money for the organization.

Segall just released a six-song EP, Fried Shallots, on Bandcamp. (Buy a physical version on Drag City’s website.)

Segall says profit from the album will go to ACLU.

Guided By Voices returns to Chicago for two shows

The pride of Dayton, Ohio, and former school teacher Robert Pollard, has been rocking hard since the 1980s. Pollard’s band Guided By Voices (lovingly known as GBV to fans) was scarcely heard outside Ohio until the critical acclaim of the early ’90s classics Bee Thousand and Alien Lanes. From then on, a hardcore fan base began to build.

There’s a familiarity Pollard brings to each album. Whether your last listen to a GBV album was Alien Lanes or Isolation Drills (2001) or Cool Planet (2014), you’ll find Pollard’s latest (the soon-to-be released GBV album How Do You Spell Heaven) is like catching up with an old friend. Really, it’s like no time has passed. GBV albums sound far more highly produced than the bare-bones lo-fi recordings from the early years. But, otherwise, the formula is the same. There’s that British Invasion love, an absurd tapestry of unrelated words and phrases and the highly addictive guitar-driven music.

Pollard is just shy of turning 60 but doesn’t appear to be slowing down. Despite twice disbanding GBV, he’s recorded more than two dozen studio albums with a rotating cast of musicians. And that’s just as GBV. As a solo artist, he’s released more than 20 albums. He’s also recorded and performed with multiple side projects. Earlier this year, he announced that altogether he’s released 100 albums. His song count is said to be more than 2,000.

But you can rely on him pulling out a number of well-known, often-performed GBV hits when his longtime band plays Chicago this weekend for a sold-out show at Beat Kitchen Friday and an outdoor gig at Wicker Park Fest Saturday night.

And, by the way, a GBV show is always a blast.

How Do You Spell Heaven is set for release August 11.

Sheer Mag releases debut, Need to Feel Your Love

Philadelphia band Sheer Mag walks a tightrope between power pop, punk and the 1970s guitar rock championed by bands such as Thin Lizzy.

On Sheer Mag’s debut album, Need to Feel Your Love, the band mixes it up starting with the title track, a borderline dance song (more ’70s rock than punk).

Other songs, like Just Can’t Get Enough, seem straight out of the Thin Lizzy catalog.

Still, Rank and File, Turn It Up, Can’t Play it Cool and other tracks have more of a ’70s and ’80s punk/new wave feel.

If you’re a fan of vintage arena rock or early punk — or both — this is an album worth checking out.

Photos: Pitchfork festival

Some of the early sets, including Priests and Colin Stetson, really stood out at Pitchfork fest this year.

Overall, it was a solid festival. Here are some pictures from the three days.


Colin Stetson

Thurston Moore


PJ Harvey


From Priests to Solange: Pitchfork fest must-sees


Granted, it’s a rough endurance test to weather 10-plus hours a day for three straight days of live music. Not to mention it’s summer in Chicago.

But the Pitchfork Music Festival in Union Park this weekend (July 14-16) is stacked, especially Friday and Saturday.

Here are my picks for must-see acts day by day.



Vince Staples

Thurston Moore

Danny Brown

LCD Soundsystem


Cherry Glazerr


The Feelies

Angel Olsen

PJ Harvey

A Tribe Called Quest


Kilo Kish


The Avalanches


Thurston Moore plays Pitchfork, tours new album

When I’m listening to Sonic Youth’s 1987 classic, Sister, I’m still captivated by the opener, Schizophrenia. I’m also reminded of the initial thrill of hearing an album that was truly like any other (at the time of its release). From there, Sonic Youth would become one of the most influential bands in rock music.

Fast forward to this year and Thurston Moore, without Sonic Youth or his longtime collaborator, band mate and wife Kim Gordon, is a solo artist.

Rock n Roll Consciousness is Moore’s fifth solo album (and his second since divorcing Gordon). It doesn’t break ground like Sister but it’s a clear step forward for Moore as a solo artist.

Longtime fans will hear the similarities between this album and the music of his former band, but there’s also a new creative stamp Moore is putting on this offering. There are only five songs, two of which are more than 10 minutes apiece. There’s a lot of instrumentation, dramatic plateaus and a shifting landscape of sound and yet the tracks link together to form a cohesive body of work. I recommend this album.

Catch Thurston Moore at Pitchfork Music Festival this Friday.

Meat Puppets at Chicago’s Square Roots fest

The legendary band Meat Puppets played a scorching set at Chicago’s Square Roots Festival Saturday night.

It’s been 35 years since the Meat Puppets released its self-titled debut album, an American punk classic on the storied SST Records label. On Saturday, the band, still led by brothers Cris and Curt Kirkwood, played with great energy.

Here are some shots from the show.

Saturday’s set drew from the band’s best albums, including II, Up on the Sun and Too High to Die.

Here are some videos of Meat Puppets live over the years.