IPO Chicago 2014
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Artists From Chicago
92 Degrees – IPO Chicago fan are always treated to something special when they witness a rare performance by 92 Degrees, one of the stalwarts of the ‘90s Chicago pop scene! The band features Mike G (see The Valley Downs), Steve Steffans, and Dane Svoboda. Their self-titled CD from 1995 is difficult to find, but well worth searching for!
The Abbeys – The twang is definitely the thang with these guys! Whether Brit-pop, power pop, rockabilly, or just plain jangle is your cup of tea, they can quench your thirst quite nicely. Check out their latest mp3 CD, Please File Under Twang.
Phil Angotti – The venerable musician is practically a household name in powerpop circles, and especially in his home town of Chicago. Both he and his band The Idea have released a bunch of tremendous CDs, and Phil’s latest effort, Life and Rhymes, proves he just keeps getting better! We were honored to host the debut performance of Material Re-Issue at IPO Chicago in 2011, and Phil Angotti’s lead vocals and guitar channeled the spirit of Jim Ellison as well as it could possibly be done.
The Artist Formerly Known As Vince Band – A fun new old school band whose latest record, On Display, is an actual record…on spiffy colored 12” vinyl no less! Glitter glam garage all the way, baby!
Arts & Letters – Essentially the nom de plum of singer/songwriter Joe Grazulis, who combines his British Invasion and quirky Britpop influences with a quintessentially American jazz pop flair on the Arts & Letters self titled EP. Fans of The Kinks, The Beatles, Fountains of Wayne, and They Might Be Giants will all dig this!
Bob’s Yer Uncle – Bob’s Yer Uncle plays melodic rock with a bluesy edge featuring harmonies, incorporating an array of eclectic songs with no specific influences. That said, fans of Elvis Costello, The Stone Roses, and Yes are sure to appreciate them. Check out their newly released xplod-i-mite CD!
BottlePoets – The songs on their soon to be released Plastic Neighborhood CD run the gamut from jangle and harmony laced ballads to classic Chicago powerpop to scorching arena rock, while maintaining a storyteller sensibility throughout. We can’t wait to see them do their thing live!
The Choir – They may be from 21st century Chicago, but they perfectly channel the psychedelic harmony pop spirit of ‘60s West Coast artists such as Jefferson Airplane, The Mamas and The Papas, The Beach Boys and The Monkees in their music! (Yes, they really are that good!) They’ve been releasing a single each month, and we can hardly wait for the next one!
Collectors – If their debut EP, Reverberation, marked a beginning, then their latest, Travelogue, marks a band confidently hitting its stride. Travelogue finds the band showcasing broad sonic textures, ear-pleasing psychedelic tinged pop sensibilities, tight hooks and strong arrangements that evoke the best sounds of UK rock over the years…with a hint of good ‘ol American punk pop! We’re honored to host their reunion show at IPO Chicago, so don’t miss ‘em!!
Common Shiner – These transplants to Chicago from the rubble of the Michigan roots rock scene keep cranking out captivating piano rock songs, and are sure to leave a mark on the pleasure center of your brain. In early 2013 the man-boys of Common Shiner released their ridiculously catchy album Before They Sold Out: Part 2. This album establishes them as a pop-powerhouse involving organs, hard hitting drums, rock-infused piano, thick bass lines and driving electric guitar, all the while maintaining beautiful harmonies and lyrics that will make you cry, laugh and think.
Crybaby – Planted atop the fertile soil that is rock ‘n roll music and embedded by the deep roots of the blues, Crybaby has come from humble beginnings and grown into a mighty tree with branches stretching into so many different realms of music. Their songs will appeal to fans of artists from All Day Music to Otis Redding and Voodoo Fix, so come check out their IPO show and see and hear them for yourself!
The Cubes – The Cubes first came together in 1989, but eventually called it quits after several years of playing all the cool clubs and having to replace too many drummers….but now they’re back with some tasty new tunes and a hefty back catalog, and IPO is glad to have ‘em! Their sound is an eclectic mix of guitar-based rock, a little pop, a little psychedelia, a little Revel, a little spaghetti western, a little twisted…just the way we like it!
Dad’s Magazine – A Chicago pop scene super group made up of members from Swinger, The Sun Sawed in ½, The Webstirs, and Dad Factory. You know that with this group you can expect sweet vocals, big choruses, jangly guitars, chunky bass lines and super catchy melodies….and what powerpop fan could ask for anything more?!
The Dead On – Formed from the ashes of Woolworthy, The Reputation, Empty Spaces, and Penthouse Sweets, The Dead On embody modern rock n’ roll with big, dirty guitar hooks, snotty slash and burn riffs and ultra catchy melodies. Their self-titled album explodes with the right blend of The Replacements’ gutsy rock and the gritty, melodic battle between The Beatles and The Stones. Nice!
Gretchen Erickson – A fine singer/songwriter influenced by the likes of The Who, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, Material Issue and Eva Cassidy…so you KNOW she can rock, and she’s been doing just that since she was 16! An excellent performer who loves being on stage, so come and check out her IPO show and see/hear for yourself!
Jennifer Fletcher & The Reckoning – Fletcher and her band deliver heartfelt heartland pop with a classical edge, combining elements of folk, country, and Americana pop with violin. Their music draws on influences such as Patsy Cline, The Allman Brothers, and Miranda Lambert, to name but a few!
Food and Drug – A band fronted by the dynamic duo of Rick Sparks, lead singer of This Magazine is Haunted and member of supergroup Dad’s Magazine (see above), and Kate Burns of the Chicago band, Tuffy UK. Their sparse indie-folk pop style with male-female harmonies and pretty melodies is what The Everly Brothers might sound like if they were operating in today’s indie pop scene…and one of them was a girl!
Freetoed – Freetoed brings to the stage nearly ten years of playing music together around Chicago. With roots influenced by the likes of Wilco and Badly Drawn Boy, their songs climb and fall, peeling back and layering on both the melodic and dissonant. Nowhere are these qualities better emphasized than at their live show.
Frosting – The perfect pop/poppy rock confection, their in your face hooks, catchy melodies, and searing guitars will remind you of why you fell in love with rock n’ roll in the first place! Check out their latest CD, Frosting II, and you’ll hear what we mean!
Gooey – A classic Chicago powerpop quintet, Gooey deliver punchy melodies that stick in your head overlaid with gritty heartfelt vocals. Fans of artists from Cheap Trick to The Cars to Elvis Costello will love these guys. A band definitely on the rise! Check out their latest disc, Hold On Tight!
The Hurtin Kind – Underneath all the hooks and well-crafted melodies lay songs about life on life’s terms, reminiscent of such greats as Buddy Holly, Tom Petty, and Steve Earle. The Hurtin Kind play music for grown ups about the world as they see and experience it. It’s a joyous noise, so c’mon along for the ride!
The Injured Parties – The latest project of none other than Larry O. Dean, the enigmatic and erudite mastermind of the bands The Me Decade and Post Office. An old recipe of pop sensibility, songwriting craftsmanship, intricate harmonies, breathtaking melodies, and delicate arrangements can be found in anything the man touches. Check out their latest EP, Chop House Demos, a collection of alternate versions of songs from The Injured Parties’ debut, Fun With a Purpose!
The Intimate Machines – A collaboration of old friends with a mutual love of all things rock n’ roll, their list of influences reads like a who’s who of powerpop: everything from The Beatles, Big Star and Badfinger to Guided By Voices, T Rex and The Jam, to name but a few! With credentials from previous projects including The Cells, Box-O-Car, and Big Angry Fish, you know they can also deliver the goods!
King Mixer – The latest combo to be fronted by local singer/songwriter/guitarist Eric Howell, King Mixer showcases Howell’s original songs with the Britpop harmony-driven guitar rock that epitomizes this new Chicago collective’s sound. King Mixer has spent a long Chicago winter knocking their songs into fighting shape, conjuring a sound that splits Guided By Voices and Cheap Trick down the middle with a touch of an Avett Brothers sensibility in the vocal mix. They’re planning a debut album and local tour, and preparing to melt some faces!
Kevin Lee & The Kings – Fans of modern guitar pop/rock may recognize Lee from his days as Kevin Lee and the Lonesome City Kings. Several years and several records later, Lee is back with his current band, Kevin Lee and the Kings. The 10 songs on the band’s latest album Breakout are well worth a listen for their big hooks, chunky guitars and sheer joy to rock out to. Lee is one of the hardest working musicians on the Chicago scene, and it shows in every live performance!
Magatha Trysty – Magatha Trysty was born out of a love for classic pop music, the Golden Age of Hollywood, and old-time country. Standing on a foundation of explosive hooks and harmonies, they have turned the influence of The Beatles, Cheap Trick, Patsy Cline, and The New Pornographers into their own brand of piano-and-guitar driven power-pop. Check out their debut full length, Your Clothes Will Wear Themselves, and their brand new single, Raygun, now!
Emily Martin Band – Martin is a singer/songwriter and entertainer who combines a soothing blend of acoustic folk and indie styles with a unique passion and love for creativity. Her influences span a wide range of talent, including Ani DiFranco, Iron & Wine, Laura Marling and her favorite singer/songwriter, Kevin Prchal. Whether performing solo or with her band, her passion for her craft shines through!
Mike McKenna – An up and coming singer/songwriter whose brand of Americana can be best described as “haunting and raw”, and will surely tug at your heartstrings!
Old Honey Drums – The engaging folk pop duo of Amanda Farmer and Scot Stewart specialize in happy music with banjos, ukuleles, and anything else within arm’s reach. Fans of Peter Paul & Mary and Simon & Garfunkel will dig em!
One Mighty Colin – The band originated at Rock Academy of DuPage when each member begged their parents to take them there so that they can find their place—together—in music history. They frequently perform covers of classic rock bands at Ballydoyle in Downers Grove, but have created a solid catalogue of original songs to showcase their varied talents. Driven by the perfect mix of harmonies, strong vocals, and a solid blend of musicians, “How old are those kids?” are typically the first words out of the mouths of audiences when they first experience One Mighty Colin. Just how old are the members of the band? You’ll have to come and see them to believe the answer.
The Queue – Building a reputation for their roaring guitars and unforgettable hooks, The Queue have found a way to fuse solid melodies, indelible harmonies and gritty rock to produce a sound their fans have identified with and called their own. With a distinctive British pop influence, interlaced with an American alternative sound, their style (which can be heard on their recent EP, Turn It Up, Turn Me On) singles them out from the traditional. As they say in Liverpool, “These are too good!”
The Red Wigglers – A quirky art-pop-rock combo with horns! Fans of artists such as The B52s, The Talking Heads, or Chicago indie-popsters (and IPO veterans!) Beatnik Turtle should check out their ultra-entertaining live show at IPO!
The Right Tidys – The latest project of main man Lou Galassini, also of Van Go (see below), features dual lead female vocals, courtesy of Erica Loftus and Michelle Tormey. Powerpop to be sure, but with undertones of new wavey punk. Fans of The Handcuffs will want to check them out, as will anyone who loves to dance!
Rollo Time – The describe themselves as just a bunch of guys who’ve played music together over the years who finally got together and recorded a bunch of songs. Said songs can be heard on their latest CD, Victims of the Crown, and will rock you out in the classic powerpop tradition. Think Mathew Sweet, Cheap Trick, Guided By Voices and XTC all rolled into one, and you get the picture!
The Romeros – IPO is proud to present a rare performance by this quintessential midwestern band singing classic late ‘70s/early ‘80s inspired power pop in the tradition of The Buzzcocks, Raspberries and Cheap Trick, but adding saxophone to create a whole new thing! All four members believe in the power of rock ‘n roll, and are, as the title of their debut EP claims, Cooler Than Your Boyfriend!
Rob Schultz Band – IPO audiences may recognize Schultz as one of the main men behind Swinger, but he’s also put out a couple of fine CD’s under his own name. Influences from The Kinks to The Beach Boys to Elvis Costello abound, but he brings his own unique personality and sensibilities to the fore. His work displays a wealth of hook-packed classic power pop that is earnest, tuneful, sincere, dynamic and accessible. Check out his latest, Tragedy and Comedy, and you’ll hear what we mean!
Secret Colours – Secret Colours revel in being the bastard seed of the ’60s psychedelia and ‘90s Britpop bloodlines. Their soon to be released CD, Positive Distractions, will appeal to fans of artists such as Stone Roses, Brian Jonestown Massacre, and Joy Division! Definitely a candidate for many a 2014 “best of” list!
Shortstop – Pure Chicago powerpop, led by the inventive Mr Drew Neely! His rocking sometimes humorous style offers some of the most unique and radio friendly music available in the local music scene!
Slenderband – A quartet of 8th -10th graders who, despite their tender years, have collectively amassed an amazing 26 years of musical experience! Drawing their influences from Dave Grohl, Greenday, Weezer, Blink 182, and The Wonder Years, they will riff and rock their way into your heart!
The Spindles – They cover decades of the best powerpop music and original music, too… sweet harmonies with jangly, chiming Rickenbacker 12-string and no-nonsense powerhouse drumming – who could ask for anything more?
Owen Stevenson – Stevenson’s music hearkens back to the good ole’ days of songwriting, story telling, and melodies. Influenced by artists such as James Taylor, Jim Croce, John Mayer and The Beatles, Stevenson is ready for some fun with a guitar. Check out his recent Edgewater EP!
Marc Teamaker – A singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer/recording engineer and music teacher whose music blends influences from greats such as Paul Weller, Joni Mitchell, Stevie Wonder, and Burt Bacharach, to name but a few! Check out his Empress Polecat EP, and hear for yourself!
Telstar – Most highly recommended by the estimable Mike G of local stalwarts, The Valley Downs, this band is led by Anthony Calderisi and specializes in a warm combination of powerpop and Americana which is sure to please IPO goers!
Todd from Hop On Pop – Too restless to be confined to a single genre, Todd’s latest CD, Chicken On A Bicycle, runs the gamut from electronic pop to country, bluegrass, klezmer (!), and punk! Surely something to appeal to everyone!!
Too Much Saturn – Classic Midwest powerpop served up with loads of crunchy hooks, soaring harmonies, big drums, 12-string bass, swirling keyboards and a liberal mix of crunchy, ambient and jangly guitars. Fans of artists from Cheap Trick to The Gin Blossoms to Fountains of Wayne should sit up and take notice of these guys! Check out their Moving Forward Sideways CD!
The Top Shelf Lickers – Known for their high energy shows with licks that don’t stop and songs that are guaranteed to get stuck in your head, The Top Shelf Lickers bring their unique mix of rock, punk, indie, ska and blues to IPO once again, and we are glad to have ‘em!. Their debut album, Head First, contains eight tracks chock full of harmony, energy and a sense of hope, and is packed to the brim with hooks that just won’t let go…and their recent Heart Beats Brain! EP kicks the energy up yet another notch!
The Unswept – Charlie and Ryan O’Brien relocated from sunny Sheffield, UK to a small but tiny apartment in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood, where they write and record powerpop tunes. With their hook laden songs featuring cowbell, handclaps, and sibling harmonies, we think they fit right in with Chicago’s powerpop heritage! Their debut self-titled full length should be released just in time for their IPO showcase!!
Mike Vanderbilt & The Suburban Garage Sound – Vanderbilt has graced many an IPO stage from Chicago to LA as the leader of the super-fun powerpop/punk band, The Romeros (see above). He’s back with his latest project that blends his pop-punk heritage with a slice of alt-country which has been compared to the likes of Nick Lowe, Rhett Miller, Ryan Adams, and Paul Westerberg.
Van Go – Chrome plated guitar pop-rock is the name of that tune from this foursome. Richard Milne of WXRT-Radio has cited Van Go as “one of the best bands in Chicago….great songs, great performances, great vocals….” That’s what you get on their latest CD, Pop Your Heart Out.
The Velvet Cadillacs – The Cadillac is the only car for rock n’ roll. When played with a purpose, rock n’ roll is a lethal combination of power and style – think 1962 caddy convertible with 400 hp roaring from its V8 engine. Dirt road. Sunglasses. Wind in your hair. Radio cranked. Driving faster than you should. You don’t care. Powerful. Cool. Smooth. That’s rock n’ roll…and the Velvet Cadillacs’ Pretty Little Boxes EP embodies the sound that should be playing on said cranked radio!
The Viaducts – The power trio as an art form has a special place in the musical tradition of the Windy City (and IPO!), and The Viaducts carry on that tradition quite nicely indeed! Their debut album, Mission to Destroy, is full of catchy melodies with sing-along choruses punctuated by fuzzy guitars, chunky bass lines, and a frenzied drum beat. Check it out now!
Waiflike – The current musical project of Chicago-based singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist Richard Neil Miller. Miller writes moody music that is catchy and clever and lyrics that are both interesting and intense, as can be heard on Waiflike’s debut CD, Fifty Pence Piece of Mind. Fans of The Beatles, David Bowie, Led Zeppelin, and classic Chicago power pop will want to check it out!
The Aaron Williams Band – Emerging from the studio (where they’ve been writing and recording with Grammy producer Johnny K), they come to IPO armed with new songs that carry infusions of classic, indie, and punk rock melded into an original sound they are proud to share with the world. A debut CD should be released by the time you read this!!
The Ye-Ye’s – If you like classic ‘60s girl groups, French films, and the music of Francoise Hardy or France Gall, you will love the Ye-Ye’s! These ladies sling instruments and sing ‘60s pop gems to you in French. Their live shows have also been known to feature dancers and special musical guests, and are an experience not to be missed!
U.S. Artists From Outside Of Chicago
Lannie Flowers – The 2010 CD by this Texas gent, Circles, flew to the top of many a powerpop best of the year list, and with good reason! Badfinger-esque in-your-face guitars and vocal harmonies blend with softer shifting harmonies more reminiscent of XTC. His latest, New Songs, Old Stories, continues in similar vein and rocks even harder! Fans of artists from The Raspberries to The Velvet Underground will also appreciate this one, and we appreciate that he and his band have played the IPO festival in many cities throughout the world! Kudos to this gentleman, who in 2013 won four (count ‘em) LA Music Awards!
Kylie Hughes – A singer-songwriter born and raised in Malibu, California, who has developed and coined her own unique “Calipopicana” sound – it’s a blend of California influences like The Beach Boys and The Bangles, mixed with classic pop and Americana soul. Her style is completely unique, but influenced by Sheryl Crow’s musical innovation, Taylor Swift’s real-life- experience songwriting, Katy Perry’s sassy-yet- playful attitude and Patsy Cline’s vintage feel. Her third full length CD is due out soon, so watch for it!
Jeremy – One of the most genuine, nicest people on the pop scene, as well as one of the most prolific pop artists around. His gentle, John Lennon-influenced pop is as spiritual as it is melodic, and you can hear this for yourself on all of his CDs. This Michiganian can stake his rightful place in the IPO Hall Of Fame!
The Pounders – If you like high energy pop with a dash of jangle, you will LOVE this quartet from The Motor City! Their sound draws comparisons to everyone from Elvis Costello to The Who to The Romantics and MC5, to name but a few, and their CD, You And What Army?, will also appeal to fans of Tom Petty and Neil Young. The Pounders live show is a musical experience not to be missed…so don’t miss their IPO showcase!
La República – There are many great Beatles and ‘60s influenced bands throughout Latin America, and this pop/rock power trio from Goshen, Indiana (by way of Colombia, South America!) is among the best of ‘em, as well as one of the hardest working! A brand new Live Unplugged album is due out this month!!
Dylan Sires and Neighbors – From the unlikely heartland hamlet, Waterloo, Iowa, come Dylan Sires and Neighbors! Their blend of classic influences from Frankie Valli to Bruce Springsteen to Roy Orbison and The Zombies and catchy hooks is positively addictive! Check out their latest CD, Someone, and hear for yourself!
Semi Twang – One of the quintessential alt-county/Americana pop bands of Milwaukee in the ‘80s are back and going stronger than ever! Fans of Nick Lowe, The Beatles, and Bob Dylan who missed Semi Twang back in the day will be pleased to discover them now. Their latest album, The Why & The What For, is more topical and personal than their previous albums, with a bit more R&B/soul influence that includes a few throwbacks to the duck walk days of Chuck Berry. The band features E.I.E.I.O. guitarist Mike Hoffmann!
Shimmercore – Main man Mike Contreras has performed and recorded music in the Indianapolis, Indiana area with several bands including Pop Lolita, Red Light Driver, Playboy Psychonauts, The Shivers, and many more, spanning over a decade of activity. Fans of Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Jesus and Mary Chain, and Spacemen 3 will dig their brand of electronic shoegazey psychedelic garage pop!
The Tearaways – They’ve been putting out sweet harmony-filled ear candy and crunchy powerpop gems since 1981, and are still going strong! Their music has been featured on NBC, ABC, and ESPN and several independent films, and they’ve recently finished a 39-song recording project with famed producer Earle Mankey, set for release early 2014. They’ve also recently performed on the Arsenio Hall Show after their 10th year performing at the Mathew Street Festival in Liverpool. Their new single “We’re All Gonna Drink Tonight” b/w the classic Badfinger song “Baby Blue” was just released on Robo Records/Universal Music and is now available on iTunes. Definitely one of Santa Barbara, California’s finest!
Twins – From the bowels of the pop universe (Waterloo, Iowa), a band of true misfits rise from the ash of the rock ‘n roll tradition, guided by the ghosts of Lennon & McCartney, Chilton & Bell and the Davies Brothers. This group has taken it upon themselves to stand as the torchbearers of the teenage wasteland, the point men of power pop, and the pied pipers of the entire guitar rock and roll institution!! Check out their brand new CD, Tomboys on Parade!
Beat Root – A newly formed band of folk, roots, howling blues & classic pop beats, featuring the songwriting prowess of Andrea Magee & Ben Jones (see below). The band put together their own tour of the U.S. which began in February, and they’ve been receiving tremendous response and further gig opportunities! We’re glad they’re able to make IPO Chicago one of their stops!
James Clark – Singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist, and main man of Toronto’s The James Clark Institute, he’s been described as “…a witty, concise and sometimes acerbic lyricist with moving, memorable and often hilarious songs.” (Blair Packham – Producer; Singer/Songwriter; Composer; Educator; and performer at several past IPO Torontos). Their recent five-song EP, Son of a Sideshow, is a companion piece to 2008’s Sideshow Unattraction, with songs that range from pretty folk ditties to vaudevillian quirky pop that will appeal to fans of John Lennon, Neil Finn, and Elvis Costello!
Ben Jones and The Rifle Volunteer – Jones is a very talented singer/songwriter/producer from the London/Medway area who was the main force behind The Lovedays, and has released a couple of excellent albums under his own name. His current project will appeal to both longtime fans of The Lovedays, as well as fans of artists from The Beatles to The Beach Boys, The Who, and Roy Wood! The band’s latest album, Shangri-la, may be Jones’ best work yet!