When Garbage broke out with their self-titled debut album in 1995, their alluring but abrasive sound—dark power-pop melodies topped by Shirley Manson’s alternately growled and whispered vocals—enticed listeners like sweet pink candy with a messy center. Their second album, 1998’s Version 2.0, expands on this recipe of fuzzed-out guitar and distorted vocals with multilayered tracks […]
Chicago punk multi-instrumentalist Seth Engel can deliver a sweet, melancholy riff so gracefully that you’d think he lives inside the guitar chords from Jawbreaker’s Dear You. Engel, who records solo material under the name Options, is a busy young man about town. He drums with mathy progressive trio Pyramid Scheme as well as heavy indie-rockers […]
The alternative-rock boom of the 1990s resulted in lots of outre musicians landing major-label deals that would’ve been unthinkable in any decade before or since. Chicago four-piece Cupcakes, who emerged in 1996, both exemplify and transcend that era. On their sole album, 2000’s Cupcakes, released on Dreamworks, they mold arena rock bombast, power-pop hooks, and […]
Chicagoan Jonathan Scott founded his indie-rock band Doleful Lions in 1996, and though they’ve been active ever since (albeit with a revolving-door lineup), they’ve mostly gone overlooked. That could be in part because Scott has avoided aggressively promoting his group, but I still wonder why more people haven’t found and fallen for Doleful Lions. Their […]
Veteran pop auteur Matthew Sweet, who has a new album on the way, plays Park West on Friday night.
An outstanding track from his latest release for Burger Records.
The local four-piece is about to release a double seven-inch of Automatic Recordings.
The hardcore dude channels Big Star and the Mats on his new LP.
Today’s 12 O’Clock Track is the title track from the Dwight Twilley Band’s power-pop classic Twilley Don’t Mind.
Epicycle’s brief career ended more than 30 years ago, but this North Shore punk band is still inspiring reissues today.
A glammy power-pop preview from Warm Soda’s upcoming LP.
Julian Leal’s 1987 gem “Get Away” is Illinois-bred pop perfection
Kontiki, the excellent second album by obscure Austin pop band Cotton Mather, is back in print.