chicago

Stanley Ipkiss: Year Of The Nice Guy EP

Mike Schpitz (aka Love Jones) is making his Block Starz debut on August 3rd with his new ep Stanley Ipkiss: Year of The Nice Guy. The ten track ep was inspired by Jim Carrey's character from the 1994 box office smash "The Mask" and takes listeners on a cinematic ride through everyday life as viewed from the offbeat perspective of Mike Schpitz. The heart and soul of this album are the big beats provided by Rob Bates. The combination of Schpitz and Bates seems natural and at times explosive. This is an album to roll down the windows and blast.

   

Green Velvet @ Millenium Park

Curtis Jones (a.k.a. Cajmere and Green Velvet) can create some crazy beats, but when remixed by Felix Cartel it gets even more insane. His latest release as Green Velvet was released this week and is called Harmageddon. The ep features remixes of the title track from both Felix Cartel and Santiago & Bushido, as well as a track called “I Feel The Love”.

Green Velvet will be playing a DJ set at Millenium Park this Saturday (July 3rd) at 12:00pm as part of the Edible Audible Picnic.

   

CD of The Month: Hey Champ

I don’t believe that Hey Champ would dislike this classification, in fact it seems like they have embraced it, but this album, the band’s debut, is pure pop. Star collects the various singles and club hits like “Cold Dust Girl” and “Neverest”, but adds new and more rock based tracks like “Shake” and “Steampunk”. While listening through this album the main comparison that came to mind was New Order, or for a more current comparison Awesome New Republic.

The connection is not only sound, but in the mixture of dance pop and political themes that the band mixes in. Songs like “World=War”, “So American”, and “No Future” brings a very forceful political message while still allowing the listen to dance. I don’t feel that political messages in pop music are as unusual or jarring as they once were, but the album does, in certain points, begin to become a little weighted down by these themes. I suppose it all in what you are looking for. Do you want you dance music light of fun or do you want a line like “lay down your sword because you would be ill advised to fight anymore”? This is still an album to playing at the pool or the summer barbeque, but it walks that fine line. Overall, Star is an impressive debut and is more effective and focused than I expected give their diverse pool of remix work. I suppose we can call it dance pop with a purpose.

Star will be released on July 13th, but can be pre-ordered right now for just $4.99. The band will be performing on August 1st here in Chicago at the Lolla Remix Throwdown.

   

Hey Champ

CD Name: 
Star
Music Link: 
http://www.heychamp.com/
Album Cover URL: 
http://i211.photobucket.com/albums/bb186/bbehrends17/star.jpg
body: 
<p>I don&rsquo;t believe that Hey Champ would dislike this classification, in fact it seems like they have embraced it, but this album, the band&rsquo;s debut, is pure pop. <em>Star</em> collects the various singles and club hits like &ldquo;Cold Dust Girl&rdquo; and &ldquo;Neverest&rdquo;, but adds new and more rock based tracks like &ldquo;Shake&rdquo; and &ldquo;Steampunk&rdquo;. While listening through this album the main comparison that came to mind was New Order, or for a more current comparison Awesome New Republic. The connection is not only sound, but in the mixture of dance pop and political themes that the band mixes in. Songs like &ldquo;World=War&rdquo;, &ldquo;So American&rdquo;, and &ldquo;No Future&rdquo; brings a very forceful political message while still allowing the listen to dance. I don&rsquo;t feel that political messages in pop music are as unusual or jarring as they once were, but the album does, in certain points, begin to become a little weighted down by these themes. I suppose it all in what you are looking for. Do you want you dance music light of fun or do you want a line like &ldquo;lay down your sword because you would be ill advised to fight anymore&rdquo;? This is still an album to playing at the pool or the summer barbeque, but it walks that fine line. Overall, <em>Star</em> is an impressive debut and is more effective and focused than I expected give their diverse pool of remix work. I suppose we can call it dance pop with a purpose.</p>
   

CD Review: Mazzzes

When I first heard that Mazes were releasing a remixed version of their debut record (dubbed Mazzzes this time around), I was a little skeptical. Why mess with a great thing?

The answer, it turns out, is “Why not?” The remixed tracks on Mazzzes are more like reimaginations, offering completely new perspectives. Lo-fi, breezy tunes sit comfortably next to avant garde and electronic mixes, and while none of it is necessarily better than the original, it’s all interesting and certainly worth a listen. The Dana Okon mix of “Manual Systems” stays true to the essence of the song, adding a fuzzy effect that makes it sound like you’re listening to it on an old radio. It’s an approach that works well with Mazes’ aesthetic, and the Pierce Doerr remix of “I Have Laid in the Darkness of Doubt” likewise takes a page from this book by imitating the locked groove of a broken record.

Several tracks are almost unrecognizable, but it’s never a bad thing. Jeffrey Thomas’ “Cat State Comity” would fit in well on a Frank Zappa album, and “Heather Kissing Heather on the Dancefloor” (Joshua Dumas’ take on “Heather on Heather”) sounds like something you’d listen to on your way home from a rave in 1996. These mixes couldn’t be further from the originals, but they’re great in their own right. When it comes down to it, that’s what makes Mazzzes a success: it achieves the perfect balance of familiar sounds that Mazes fans are bound to love and daring noise that they’ll love for completely different reasons.

Mazes are performing tonight (July 2nd) at The Hideout with Hotel Brotherhood at 10pm. - Bonnie Stiernberg