Song Of The Day: Mogwai – Teenage Exorcists

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1x1.trans Song Of The Day: Mogwai   Teenage Exorcists

“Teenage Exorcists,” the lead single off of Mogwai’s upcoming EP, Music Industry 3. Fitness Industry 1, is about as close as Mogwai comes to writing a pop song. It also comes with a glorious video. It’s rare that I’d want to see a music video adapted into a full length feature, but this one may be the exemption. The Craig Murray directed clip is full of enough abstract, trippy, cosmic imagery that I’m left wanting more. I’d watch a film based on this video or even a graphic novel – I’m sure Mogwai’s countryman Grant Morrison could come up with something suitably weird to match the video.

Speaking of weird, I’m left wondering if Mogwai’s inspiration for this song was the actual Teenage Exorcists, three young women from Arizona who supposedly perform exorcisms. I thought I’d share with you a few choice quotations from their website:

“I do have a very adventurous life! Between casting out demons, keeping up with demanding schoolwork and traveling all over the world, I have had some crazy experiences!”

Demanding schoolwork? Whoa, that does sound crazy …

“An increasingly popular holiday, Halloween is far from an uplifting and moral holiday. It is an ancient tradition that goes back to the druids, full of evil and Satanic worship. Demons gain power during this time of year as death and terror are sold in stores, theaters and haunted mansions all across the country.”

We may scoff at this, but after seeing that sexy ebola nurse costume, I wonder if there’s something to this idea.

“Not everyone who has a demon is ready to be exorcized. Three factors affect this decision: the willingness of the victim, the spiritual preparedness of the exorcist, and the weakened condition of the demons.”

This totally makes sense. I’m sure many folks want to take the time to get to know their demons first before being too hasty and casting them out. I mean, there’s probably some friendly demons out there, right? Like Hot Stuff from Harvey Comics. He seemed pretty nice, and he enjoyed a Hostess snack cake from time to time too, so you know he wasn’t all bad.

So now you know about the Teenage Exorcists. And knowing is half the battle. Go listen to some Mogwai and eat a Hostess fruit pie.

Concert Review: Deafheaven, November 21, Opera House

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1x1.trans Concert Review: Deafheaven, November 21, Opera House

Hipster metal. It’s a term that gets thrown around a lot and an easy way to dismiss a band, though I doubt there are any bands out there who self identify as hipster metal. I don’t really know of anyone in general who would self-identify as “hipster” and it would strike me as a little weird if they did … unless they happen to be Harry “The Hipster” Gibson. That cat’s earned it. Regardless, the term is out there  now and Deafheaven are probably the number one target for the ire of those who see themselves as far too “trve” or “kvlt” to listen to anything Pitchfork would dare to write about. The fact that Deafheaven have been playing a series of shows put on by a sneaker company might possibly add fuel to the fire for the haters, but whatever – everybody’s gotta wear shoes, right?

Sure, Deafheaven may not have inverted crosses and severed goat heads as part of their stageshow, they wear no corpsepaint nor bullet belts, and the shoegaze component of their sound is just as prominent as the black metal influence if not moreso, but make no mistake – they put on a plenty heavy show.  Frontman George Clarke comes across as quite an intense fellow during live performances and definitely knows how to work a crowd … not that the crowd really needed that much work to get riled up.

Deafheaven may have their detractors, and call them hipsters if you must, but they’ve got the goods live and ultimately that’s where it counts.

Concert Review: Bailiff, Split Single, November 21, Lincoln Hall

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1x1.trans Concert Review: Bailiff, Split Single, November 21, Lincoln Hall

Chicago is a city of unexpected delights – you just never know what you’re going to get. Sometimes the entire city smells of chocolate. Sometimes Lake Michigan fills with zombies. Sometimes you look outside your window and see people playing bubble soccer.

Chicago was at its most magical when it produced local bands Bailiff and Split Single for a show at Lincoln Hall Friday night. I’ve never felt more Chicagoan than right there, at my favorite Chicago venue, holding a green line beer, watching Josh Siegel, Ren Mathew and Owen O’Malley take the stage as Bailiff.

The group is bare-bones in the best of ways – with Siegel on lead vocals and guitar, Ren Mathew on drums and Owen O’Malley tearing it up on bass (I mean, I always understood theoretically that it was an important instrument, but now I actually get it. Good call Ms. Trainor) the threesome has exactly what it needs to produce rich and memorable songs with no unnecessary frills. The group obviously has a good local following, because Lincoln Hall filled out and got moving for them. Working their way through “Love Like Mine” “Helicopter” and “Golden Hour” the threesome not only produced some seriously wiggle worthy tracks but they also told some great stories, including how they finally moved up to a full sized van and said goodbye to their old ride ‘Jean-Claude “Minivan” Damme’. I’d see these guys again in a heartbeat just for the stage chatter.

Split Single took the stage next – that is all of Split Single besides frontman Jason Narducy, who took to the sound booth to sing to the audience from the back. There were several seconds of confusion until everyone got reoriented and enjoyed the sounds of (my personal favorite of theirs) “Waiting for the Sun.” Narducy, who hails from Evanston, a suburb of Chicago, and was a prominent member of the Chicago punk scene back in the 80′s, started the group in 2012 and put out his first record (with spoon’s Britt Daniel providing bass on the album) Fragmented World this past March. He and the band worked their way through a wide range of tracks (and musical genres – everything from indie to punk to shoegaze) with “Searches” “Last Goodbye” and (speaking of pleasant surprises – bringing it round full circle) the group finished up with a surprise cover of “Teenage Wasteland.” A delightful ending to a delightful night.

Concert Review: Dream Police, November 19, Smiling Buddha

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1x1.trans Concert Review: Dream Police, November 19, Smiling Buddha

In the immortal words of Cheap Trick, “talk is cheap and those rumours ain’t nice.” So in the interest of dispelling any rumours right off the bat, I will let it be known that Dream Police is, in fact, not a Cheap Trick cover band. I know, I’m sad too. Those of you disappointed in that fact can take some comfort in knowing that, if you’re so inclined, such a band does also exist. Hopefully, you can also take some comfort in knowing that Dream Police is a project featuring Nick Chiericozzi and Mark Perro, two members of new York’s The Men, who in my humble opinion are one of the finest rock and roll outfits going these days. While Dream Police shares some musical DNA with The Men, Chiericozzi and Perro differentiate it from their main gig by going deeper into fuzzed out, electronic textures. Their debut album, Hypnotized, is aptly named, as the group delves into krautrock and psychedelic influences that can border on the hypnotic at times.

For their debut Toronto performance, the band played to a rather sparse crowd, as the first snowfall of the year had obviously scared a lot of folks away from coming out for the evening. Dream Police put on an intense yet brief set, impressively not just going through the motions despite the fact that there were only a handful of people in attendance.  It makes sense – why worry about the people who didn’t come out when you can focus on those who did?

There was actually a larger crowd downstairs for some other bands. I don’t really know what was going on downstairs, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that those of us upstairs caught the better show and that the group gathered downstairs to (presumably) see their friends’ band play should have come upstairs to check this out instead. Their friends would get over it … eventually.

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