Smile Politely

Local Music Roundup: May 2011

Greetings. It’s been a while since we’ve done one of these, spring has brought a veritable bonanza of new releases and reissues, so those first:

• A self-titled release from Take Care. Copies have sold out at Exile, so you’ll have to get in touch with the band to hear it.

• The Curses’ full length Old Magazines

• Easter’s Demonstration

 The Dirty Feathers – Pistol Hills 7″

• Grandkids’ Sister Walls EP

• the Fresh Kills – Don’t Sweat It demo. Look for these tunes to pop up on a full length later this year.

• Teenage Ghosts – Dreams (some of the best shoegaze we’ve heard in a long time. Recommended.)

• a Terror Suspect / Smoke Coke split tape

• Zach May and the Maps – Vantage Points EP

 That’s No Moon’s debut EP, entitled simply E.P. 1

• Roberta Sparrow’s A Fury to Behold, comes out June 1st on Path Less Travelled Records, but you can pick up a digital copy right now.

 The Palace Flophouse’s Bad Friends Forever

• Reissues of material from two of the scene’s godfathers: the Martyr’s self-titled 1983 LP, and a new Vertebrats compilation entitled Screaming Like a Mad Choir

 Neoga Blacksmith have put up a teaser EP of tracks from their upcoming full-length, which comes out June 11th

 New Geppetto’s Sessions from a whole slew of people, including Easter, Tim Reynolds (of Horrible Things), Leonard Hatred, Rusalka and Twin Differencs.

(full disclosure: one of Smile Politely’s music editors lives at Geppetto’s and is involved in the technical side of said recordings)

• We Must Dismantle All This! – What Remains

• Last Legs – Everything is Wrong

 Great Life’s – Azure EP


Lots of bands are in the midst of booking summer tours:

•  Kilborn Alley are on the home stretch of a large European tour, which wraps up tomorrow at B.B. King’s Blues Club in London

•  Grandkids kick off their summer tour, which includes a stop in the McConnell hometown of Dixon, IL, with a June 28th house show in Urbana

•  the Duke of Uke will tour the Northeast from August 4th – 13th, hitting up Bethlehem, Pennsylvania’s Musikfest on the 6th

•  the Diamond Stretch and Mammoths will do a four-day run of shows in July. TDS will also be recording for their split 7″ with Rusalka around that time.

•  After an extremely successful first show on May 5th, all-ages space The HUB will host shows from Burnoutbright and Mammoths (June 2nd) and Maltross and Rvins (July 8th)

• Though they have no immediate tour plans, The Curses have been spotted around downtown Champaign recently, busking at various bars. Fun.


The Leadership just contributed a new song entitled “Torn y Dios” to the May Daze compilation. Check it out over at the Clothesline Productions Bandcamp


The Ellnora Guitar Festival has announced its initial lineup, which includes artist in residence Luther Dickinson (Black Crowes, North Mississippi All Stars), Calexico, Daniel Lanois and Adrian Belew, among others. Check out the full press release here.


Two new recording studios have popped up in town: Sunflower House Recording, which is run by Ed Rice (aka Jack Kilroy) and Auricle Recording, run by Morgan Orion. Check out the Facespaces for more information. 


Streetfest season is starting to roll around again, and Taste of Champaign and the Urbana Sweetcorn Festival have each announced several artists. Laurie Morvan and Good Luck Jane will perform at Taste, while the Brat Pack (who else?) will open up Friday night of the Sweetcorn Festival.


After cancelling an April 28th show at Highdive, Tenacious D’s Kyle Gass popped up on-stage with, of all people, local cover band 90’s Daughter. And yes, that’s a flute.

C-U Folk and Roots Festival has moved to November 4th – 5th, and earlybird tickets are on sale now for just fifteen bucks (that’s only five Piano Man Long Islands). While we like that it won’t conflict with Pygmalion anymore, we also like seeing shows outside.

Santah have inked a deal with No Sleep Records — better known as the home of midwestern emo luminaries like La Dispute and Into It. Over It. — to re-release last year’s excellent White Noise Bed. Festivities go down on June 17th at Cowboy Monkey and June 18th at Schuba’s.

We won’t get into a he said/she said here, but it appears local booking agency Nicodemus* and Santah have parted ways. The split does not appear to have been amicable.


Not sure if they’re still in high school, but local rockers The Band Geeks are organizing a local music fest on June 3rd at the IMC. It’s called Cockfest 2011, which probably confirms the high school thing. Check out the lineup here.


While Jam Econo Fest will no longer be occuring at the Red Herring, the festival is still going ahead as planned other. Look for a lineup and new venue announcement sometime in early June.

The punk scene continues to produce new bands at an alarming rate. While they’re currently without websites, look for the names Bed Time, Sophie Crane and Kowabunga! Kid to start popping up on shows this summer. Tim Reynolds (Horrible Things) has also started a project called Hospital Job, which includes members from The Copyrights.

Elsinore made their return to the stage after a four-month hiatus last month with shows at the Illinites Music Festival and Exile on Main Street’s Record Store Day blowout. The band has also headed into Pogo Studios to begin tracking an EP scheduled for a late-summer release. Below, they peform “Ultraviolence”.


Garage-punkers Deathtram will release a series of demos this summer, leading up to their debut full-length in August. They’ll also play Canopy on June 7th along with Canyons of Static and Leonard Hatred (in what seems to be their first ever non-house show).


Dearly departed twee-folksters blanketarms have tossed a few of their albums up on Bandcamp. We highly recommend giving Sweet & Sour a listen if you’re yet to hear it.


After winning a slot on last year’s North Coast Music Fest in Chicago, DJ Belly is back at it, trying to earn a slot at Lollapalooza in this year’s Remix Throwdown.


Crippled Sound Records, a locally-run distro specializing in cassette releases (mostly of noise artists), just released the first issue of a zine called Negative Noise. Issue one contains a feature on Easter (among other bands), and can be picked up locally at shows or via the CSR store.


Random live recordings from the much loved Mabel’s venue have started turning up on Youtube. Below, the Didjits perform “Signifies My Go-T” back in 1991.


We tried to get some local jazz updates, but we failed due to some people being out of the country. If you have information, please feel free to share. We do know the 5th annual Nature’s Table reunion will take place at the end of July. And we hear there’s been some amazing performances over the last couple of weeks with the end of semester performances and recitals. If anyone has some YouTube videos, let us know and we’ll post them here. For the lastest updates on local events, be sure to check out


Last but not least, we’d like to point out that fuckin’ Travis Tritt is playing the Mattoon Bagelfest, which is just going to be awesome any way you cut it.

*Nicodemus is run by SP’s Managing Editor Seth Fein.

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