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Concert Preview: Treaty of Paris EP Release Show @ Metro

Power-pop outfit, Treaty of Paris, debuts their latest EP, Currents, Saturday at Metro. The EP is the follow-up to 2007’s Sweet Dreams, Sucker. Although fans will recognize the familiar ToP pop formula, Currents boasts a new maturity, incorporating heavy piano and percussion instrumentation into the mix. ToP plans to debut six new tracks at Metro, backed by an impressive local lineup, including AM Taxi, The Insecurities, Last Fast Action, and The Victory Gins. Tickets available at Metro's website and eTix. Doors at 5:30pm show at 6. All ages. - Neph Basedow

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January 2010
All Things Lucid
"All Things Lucid
"
mp3

Although All Things Lucid has been putting out music since 2005, their latest album marks their first self-titled release. All Things Lucid keeps in true following with the band's sound and style but ups the ante with a little something new. This was my first All Things Lucid album, so many of my observations may not be new or fresh from previous reviewers. A first listening experience can either make you embrace a band or disown them, and All Things Lucid was by far the former. The band's increasing fluency in sound captures you right away. Lead singer Miles Benjamin has one of the more unique voices in the Chicago area. It's not smooth but it's not caustic, not soft but not gritty. It's not nasally, guttural, or throaty. It has it's own category of timbre and quality that is rarely found but greatly liked. Benjamin's voice on "Take it Easy Joe" and "The Lesson Learned" leads you in like a barker at a carnival into a song that will "astound the senses" or "boggle the mind." All Things Lucid has a certain bluesy quality mixed with good ol' fashion rock and roll - none of that fake pop crap you hear on the radio that tries to pass as such - and Benjamin's voice weaves easily between the band as well as the addition horn and string parts. The recording quality is also fantastic and adds a lot to the band's finished product. Since All Things Lucid is meant to be purchased on vinyl, each track has a warm sound with more definition than a digital release or CD could offer. Even just listening to it on your iPod you can get a true sense for the direction that All Things Lucid wanted to go with their sound. It's rare to find a band that doesn't want to slap a glossy coat of high-end production on their album with no regard for how it'll affect their final product and call it a day. You can hear the extra effort All Things Lucid put into their album, and it makes a hell of a difference. A great album to kick of the New Year for Chicago music. – Amy Dittmeier





CD of The Month: All Things Lucid

Although All Things Lucid has been putting out music since 2005, their latest album marks their first self-titled release. All Things Lucid keeps in true following with the band's sound and style but ups the ante with a little something new. This was my first All Things Lucid album, so many of my observations may not be new or fresh from previous reviewers. A first listening experience can either make you embrace a band or disown them, and All Things Lucid was by far the former.

The band's increasing fluency in sound captures you right away. Lead singer Miles Benjamin has one of the more unique voices in the Chicago area. It's not smooth but it's not caustic, not soft but not gritty. It's not nasally, guttural, or throaty. It has it's own category of timbre and quality that is rarely found but greatly liked. Benjamin's voice on "Take it Easy Joe" and "The Lesson Learned" leads you in like a barker at a carnival into a song that will "astound the senses" or "boggle the mind." All Things Lucid has a certain bluesy quality mixed with good ol' fashion rock and roll - none of that fake pop crap you hear on the radio that tries to pass as such - and Benjamin's voice weaves easily between the band as well as the addition horn and string parts.

The recording quality is also fantastic and adds a lot to the band's finished product. Since All Things Lucid is meant to be purchased on vinyl, each track has a warm sound with more definition than a digital release or CD could offer. Even just listening to it on your iPod you can get a true sense for the direction that All Things Lucid wanted to go with their sound. It's rare to find a band that doesn't want to slap a glossy coat of high-end production on their album with no regard for how it'll affect their final product and call it a day. You can hear the extra effort All Things Lucid put into their album, and it makes a hell of a difference. A great album to kick of the New Year for Chicago music. – Amy Dittmeier

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Concert Review: Gun Hat @ Reggie's

I spoke to the male lead of Gun Hat a few weeks before the show on the 29th at Reggie’s; Andrew was a little nervous. With good cause, one can suppose, as he had found out that they’d been booked to open for Country-Rock legends Supersuckers. Their first night of a three night cycle of shows culminating in a New Year’s Eve show. Andrew knew there would be quite the crowd and quite the show, he expressed a genuine desire to go on stage and give the audience the show they came for. This conversation represented the entire crew’s approach to their set and their attitude on stage. Comprised of the vocal stylings of Andy and Sarah, a Tenor and an Alto, Gun Hat’s steady country song structure is melodic and pleasing to the ear. The melodies are well underscored by the strings that Andy, Laura, Tara and Nick all deftly leverage towards this unique group’s sound. Held together by the classic and steady beats, as laid down by Andy’s wife Ann, these folks don’t disappoint.

Disposing of the modern notions involving “country” music they are a rare breed of music that shares few local comparisons. Perhaps The Golden Horse Ranch Band or The Steepwater Band may give you a hint as to what you might hear; but you wouldn’t be close. Everyone on stage was free of any twang or pop sensibilities, with this home-made style of American Rock N Roll, harking back to the early big bands of Little Richard or Elvis Presley. Even with that early rock swagger, they remember the roots of American music and provide the simple flavor of a country tempo and structure to delight the ear and the audience.

Full of energy and all evidently very happy and grateful to be there, Gun Hat gave a wonderful show. With a 10-song set they all had a great time and interacted with the audience as a family might. Clearly a tight knit group this can often translate into the performance of their songs. From “When You Lie” or “Theme from Gun.Hat” you can tell they all have a good sense of each other. Their easy smiles and friendly demeanor was a breath of warm air on a brisk Chicago morning. Gun Hat’s unique Country-Rock sound is definitely refreshing in a world oversaturated with honky-tonk-hijinks and pop-tarts. If you want a fun band to take friends or family to see, keep your ears perked for these guys. The well-written songs and lively performance will not disappoint and will surely put you in a Rock-N-Roll kind of way. - Ben Kessell

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The Flexible Entertainer

 On January 26th Pit Er Pat and Thrill Jockey will team up once again to break down some musical walls. As Butchy and Fay of Pit Er Pat put it, “It has been just 10,992 hours since the last album”, but it is what remarkable is what they have accomplished in that time. Their new lp is called The Flexible Entertainer, and as I listen through the layers of sound I can see just how fitting that title is. These two are flexible in how they develop songs and sounds and in the structure and instrumentation they utilize. In their words they “freak you hard with banging mpc”, but the album has more depth than that statement may allude to. A mixture of instrumental jam sessions and vocal tracks, it the diversity of sounds that make it such an enjoyable listen. The duo is calling it a “brave new sound” and in a way it is. There is really no classification, it’s danceable, it has guitar, it has drum machines, it has mpc, but really what is it?

Aside from this wonderfully dense and complex collection of tunes Pit Er Pat have hard at work collaborating with the like of Soft Circle, Hecuba, These Are Powers, Rainbow Arabia, and others. These are two talented and creative musicians and other bands are seeing this and wanting to work with them in some capacity. There is no word yet, but hopefully their will be a tour this Spring to support this impressive album.

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