This was one of our strongest artist submission-driven playlists to date. The majority of bands submitted music stylistically fits in from the indie, post rock, and alternative rock genres. I’ve also added in a few classic tracks from the 90’s, 2000’s and 10’s that I’ve been going back to lately.
|AM Gold 75||Bad Bad Meow||Rick Rubin and Steve Albini Had Nothing to Do With This Record|
|Vagabond||Natalie Grace Alford||Vagabond|
|Last Night In A City||Baby Jesus Paper Boy||Baby Jesus Paper Boy|
|Working Class Hero||MANCHO, Ryan Behling||Plastic Oh No (2020)|
|Summertime Fling||Gorilla Social||Summertime Fling|
|Kidding||Impulsive Hearts||Cry All the Time|
|Over Under||Fall Classic||Equals|
|Down and Blue||Fine by Me||Down and Blue|
|Volatile||Oh My God||Interrogations and Confessions|
|Five Finger Exploding Heart Technique||OK Cool||Five Finger Exploding Heart Technique|
|Panic Attack||Indoorsmen||Panic Attack / Be Like This|
|Ride of the Devils Teeth||Devils Teeth||Ride of the Devils Teeth|
|How Amazing||Hidden Hospitals||Headstones|
|The Night Rat||Gentle Gene||The Night Rat|
|Full Moon Afternoon||Mofo Rising||Mofo Rising|
|Self Service||Ganser||Just Look At That Sky|
|Honeyslide||Eleventh Dream Day||El Moodio|
Following the playlists, you can also check out who the featured artists are for the week. Click here for the profiles.
On the Rocks PlaylistCurated by Erik Oldman
Chicago quintet Polarizer creates what they call “loud, spacey epic rock,” combining heavy walls of sound with echo-laden, introspective passages and progressive-rock sensibilities. Garnering comparisons to Muse, Rush and Jane’s Addiction, the band has played extensively in the Chicago area and has toured regionally and opened for national artist the New Regime. The band, which formed in 2011, has released one full-length album and two EPs, and has a new LP slated for release in 2021.
The self-titled debut has recently made several Top Albums of 2020 lists and has been getting a lot of play on several radio shows including pfunkradio.com with P-Funk alumni Gabe Gonzalez and Larry Funkster Jones, the KPFA Radio’s “The History of Funk” hosted by Rickey Vincent since 1997 out of the San Francisco Bay Area, and Uncut Funk with Phil Colley.
MOFO RISING is a Detroit native, Chicago based group steeped in heady, heavy psychedelic funk, and employing an arsenal of old school instruments from the era. We are undoubtedly inspired by the pioneers who laid the foundations, but still decidedly pushing boundaries and stretching out on it like our funky superheroes taught us.
MANCHO is the moniker of Marshall Greenhouse, a Chicago based musician, producer and music educator. As a performer, he currently works with KAVA, AfroZep. As an educator, he teaches at Old Town School of Folk Music and Drum Chicago, and produces drum clinics with world-class drum talent. He also is the owner and founder of Livin’ Live Teen Music Conference, a one-of-a-kind interactive platform that connects budding musicians, producers, and promoters with veterans in their respective fields.
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of John Lennon’s debut solo album “Lennon/Plastic Ono Band” release, Chicago-based MANCHO has reworked each track for a new tribute album, Plastic Oh No (2020), which became publicly available Friday, December 11, 2020.
Plastic Ono Band could not be more relevant in 2020; fifty years since its release, the lyrics seem prescient and cathartic in a year defined by COVID-19, political unrest, economic instability and the effect quarantine has had on relationships.
MANCHO’s new album delivers a unique outlook on the tracks, while preserving the message and integrity of the source material. On Plastic Oh No (2020), MANCHO experiments with instrumentation, time signatures and feel while retaining song structure and lyrics. Twelve guest vocalists appear throughout the album as well as 11 instrumental contributions, ranging from theremin and tabla to oud and harmonium.
Grammy Award Winning engineer Rollin Weary was instrumental to the development, production, and release of the album. In essence, Rollin was the “fifth Beatle” for Plastic Oh No (2020).
Natalie Grace Alford
Natalie Grace Alford is a singer-songwriter based out of Chicago.
Natalie creates a well-crafted fusion of indie and art-pop with aspects of soul, to support their unique and wide-ranging vocal abilities. There’s a certain quality – the word I keep coming back to is brilliance – with their music. It’s got a richness and compositional sophistication of someone with musical chops who also understands the balance of keeping things interesting yet tangible for the listener.
The featured track, “Vagabond” is a delightfully lush acapella vocal arrangement with some wonderful syncopated layering.
I’m looking forward to hearing more of their music.
In 2011, Fall Classic began carving their unusual paths through Chicago’s expansive indie rock scene. Adventurous combinations of the rhythmically-syncopated, socially-conscious African kings like Fela Kuti and the expansive introspection of Radiohead were present even in their debut Nerves. Years of musical refinement, personal tragedy and 3 albums later, one of the must-see Indie acts of this generation continues to look forward.
Ryan Jeffrey Smith (guitar & vocals) and Jonathan Kolar (bass) met at Berklee College of Music in 2006 and performed together on various projects in the Boston music scene. But, it wasn’t until a reunion in 2011 and the addition of Chicago-native Christopher Grandberry (drums) that Fall Classic made their debut.
As a working musician in southern California, Ryan Jeffrey Smith backed up countless artists but never stepped into the spotlight himself. When self-doubt and self-destructive habits prompted a relocation back home to Chicago, he started exploring his own voice as a songwriter, inspired by the styles of Sam Cooke, D’Angelo, and Jeff Buckley, among others. Smith began sharing demos with long-time collaborator, fellow songwriter and Boston-based Andrew Fatato (vocals), and a collection of songs (half penned by Smith, half by Fatato) quickly presented themselves accompanied by the desire to record and perform the fresh material.
Sessions for the debut Nerves began in December, 2011. Nerves reflects the pop-sensibilities of the day (The Kings of Leon come to mind) and the excitement of individuals hearing something bigger than themselves. Fall Classic performed the duration of 2012 and spent the year finding their new voice writing material as a group. Man / Other Beasts quickly came together and was recorded in March, 2013.
Still based in Boston, Fatato began to step away from the project, but the remaining threesome continued their productive writing habits, expanding on their clever lyricism, complex rhythmic structure and angular songwriting styles. Over the next few years, Fall Classic’s trend toward more aggressive guitars, angsty vocals, and gritty production work would lay parallel to the eroding personal demons: drugs and alcohol, health, and issues of self-worth.
While another collection of tunes brewed, the group began to garner attention around town as a hard to describe but no-less exciting live act. In 2014 the group released the successfully crowd-funded album, Gospel, on which Fatato penned his last two tracks with the group (Montreal, Cracks). He amicably left the group later the same year.
Gospel enjoyed some press, but Smith, Grandberry and Kolar (now officially a trio), continued to feel the group evolve. 2016 saw the release of Both Ends of the Rope, a collection of 5 songs accompanied by 5 “short film” music videos.
Fall Classic began laying the foundations for Polarity of Being in the summer of 2017, but soon ran into a brick wall. In October, Smith’s mother died suddenly from complications related to
smoking. In the months surrounding her death, the other members of the trio would separately experience a major health scare and a miscarriage.
Derailed by grief upon grief, productivity ceased. But after months of devastation, resolution set in. Smith quit his own smoking habit cold, and this propelled the group to change everything. Fall Classic traded in cigarettes and beer for yoga and water, redefining their image and rediscovering themselves in the process. Smith would go on to lose 150 pounds.
Focus returned to completing Polarity of Being, filled with appreciation for the transience of life. On this new record, Fall Classic addresses the dichotomous sides of social issues of the day, including systemic racism, the importance of self-care, and the Flint water crisis. In the face of constant conflict and identity politics, we are often compelled to choose a side or be washed away in a sea of noise. Knowing what they’ve gone through to get to this point, Fall Classic welcomes the storm and invites you to weather it together.