Infamous North Center/Lincoln Square bad boys Smith Westerns are home from tour and making big plans. After an unflattering profile in the Tribune earlier this winter, wherein the band dissed Chicago and complained about playing opening slots, speculation raged that they were likely to pull up stakes for Brooklyn or some other hipper hipster haven more to their liking. Smith Westerns front man Cullen Omori confirmed to Gossip Wolf that, in fact, the band is considering a new hood: “We want to move to Rogers Park if we stay in Chicago,” Omori says, though they’re in no rush. “It’s too much money to move. We have a pretty good deal. We’re still young. So, a lot of other bands have to get practice spaces and stuff, but for us, we’re young enough that it’s appropriate that we practice at our parents’. We’re not 28, so it’s not shameful.”
Rita J—the lone female MC in the All Natural crew—returned to Chicago last year after leaving for Miami in 2005. She’s currently working on Innosphere, a “jazzier, mellow side project” with her longtime producer, Kenny Keys, and vocalist Nina Rae.
Love of Everything debuts a new live lineup this weekend in Champaign. Bobby Burg is teaming up with fellow Vacations bandmate Matt Holland (Like Pioneers), who replaces drummer Elisse La Roche; Burg and La Roche recently divorced. Love of Everything appearances may be scant for a while—Burg, longtime sideman in Joan of Arc, will be busy much of 2011 supporting the JOA album due out later this year on Polyvinyl.
The Eternals, the dubbed-out punk duo of bassist Wayne Montana and vocalist Damon Locks, are releasing their fourth full-length, Approaching the Energy Field, February 15 on local label Addenda. To these hairy old ears, it sounds like Sun Ra scratching out electro sides with Prince Jammy. But Montana tells Gossip Wolf that the band recorded and mixed the album at his home studio, Publicat, after trimming down about two and a half albums’ worth of material. Their release show is February 11 at Schubas.
Chicago trio Eleventh Dream Day—Freakwater front woman Janet Beveridge Bean, guitarist Rick Rizzo, and Tortoise bassist Doug McCombs—haven’t released an album in five years. Apart from playing the very occasional show, they’re practically hermits! The band’s tenth full-length, Riot Now!, is due via Thrill Jockey on March 15. Recorded locally at North Branch and Mayfair Studios with Mark Greenberg and Ryan Neuschafer, Riot Now! features contributions by Sally Timms of the Mekons and Jim Elkington of the Zincs. The trio are playing a record-release show at Lincoln Hall.
Local doom quartet Indian are releasing Guiltless, their first album for famed metal label Relapse after several releases on local imprint Seventh Rule, on April 12. Indian recorded it at Chicago studio Semaphore, which closed at the end of 2010, with engineer Sanford Parker.
Jay Ryan, one of two bassists in local trio Dianogah (and the beloved poster maker who runs the Bird Machine screen-printing shop), is now a daddy. Ryan and wife Diana welcomed their daughter Isabel into the world January 5.
Steve McMichael of the ’85 Bears—the team you may remember from a little ditty of yore, “The Super Bowl Shuffle”—was at the Hideout this past weekend as a guest on the Interview Show. According to our source, McMichael “charmed the shit out of everybody. Hung out at the bar for a few hours after the show, eating everything in sight. [He] wore a black leather duster and a lot of bling on the fingers and skirt-chased in a way only old men/Bears get away with.”
CHIRP Radio, the local nonprofit Internet-only station that provides major solace to the earbuds of anyone with a working Internet connection, is celebrating its first anniversary at Beauty Bar on January 14 with a night of DJ sets: Mad Decent signees Depressed Buttons, featuring dudes from midwestern electro-goth pioneers the Faint; Heaven Malone; and CHIRP on-Internet personality Dr. Drase. Cover is $5.