The Sleeping Giants
I have a question for every self-respecting radio station DJ, Program Director, and it’s subsequent ownership: are you aware that Chicago (according to radio-media.com) is the THIRD largest market in radio? Because if you are, you are complicit in the demise and ruin of radio in my fair city. For that, I say “SHAME! SHAME ON YOU!” History will show at one time Chicago was a major player & influence in rock n’ roll radio. 50,000 watt blowtorches like WLS and WCFL ruled the airwaves, not to mention innovative and downright kick-ass rockers like WKQX, WMET, WDHF and the imitable WLUP set the standard for rock radio. This isn’t a blog about the history of Chicago radio (save it for another day) but it does give a point of reference. What happened to the great personalities and innovative programming for which Chicago radio became famous?
Local music. Original compositions. Innovative rock stylings.
Call it whatever you like, but truth be told, Chicago radio has all but forgotten what makes up the Chicago “sound.” I rarely listen to Chicago radio anymore unless I have to – at work or in the car. Outside of an abundance of “classic rock” radio, there’s a handful of country stations (don’t even get me started on THAT) and a few Top 40/Alternative/Trip Hop/Dubstep EDM stations. There is a place for all of this music, but there is quite a bit missing, too. Local music has been relegated to a lonely hour at best on WXRT, or a short-shift program on the low-end college or high school stations. The Blues, an essential part of rock music, fairs even worse. One only has to go out and explore the local rock or blues or metal scene to see there is a boatload of talented bands & musicians playing some great, innovative new music. It’s exhilarating and big, huge fun! Bands like Donkey Hotel, Black Bear Rodeo, Faith in the Fallen, Blackmarket Democracy, Paragon, The Mike Wheeler Band….the list is a long one. So why isn’t there at least one radio station that will support these artists?
The question is too important to try to answer right here, right now, but goddamn it, you can bet Tommy & Crage are going to a shine a big, fat light on it. It starts with local live shows, the scenes & bands you need to see and where to catch them….stay tune, we’re just getting started!
As a band, Faith in the Fallen want to be a part of a vibrant rock scene in Chicago, the tri-state area…hell…the entire mid-west. I know I’m not alone, I turn on the radio and as much as I like the rock from the 70s, 80s, 90s and this millennium, where can a fan go to actually hear new music—new energy—new voices—new perspectives?
The “big” bands feel it too. There are musicians out there that, if I were standing in the same room, I’d be pulling a Wayne Campbell, dropping down to my knees and shouting, “I’m not worthy! I’m not worthy!” But even these gods in my eyes can’t get airplay on FM band…can you say corporations spoon feeding…oops…tangent for future deep thoughts…so then…what’s a local band to do??? Aside making music for the right reasons…we need to keep on keeping on…put ourselves out there and as a community, we’ve got a role to play in helping music find its way to the people.
Harp, harp, harp, preach, preach. Big deal. What’s the point? I’m rocking new music all the time. Playing with FITF, I have the opportunity to listen to new, local bands and if they’ve got a CD for sale, I’m picking it up. If not, most have songs to download for free or cheap on Itunes. As I’ve been collecting, I find myself jamming to these bands’ tunes all of the time and getting super pumped when they come on my Ipod during my 6000 song shuffle, because as much as I love listening to my AIC Dirt album…I’ve had it since the f’ing day it was released!! It’s over 20 years old…when I was growing up, we called that classic rock!! So why shouldn’t I get excited to hear something new that ROCKS BALLS!
I’ve pulled some of my favorites here for you from my playlist from some of my favorite Chicago rockers. No, it’s not completely representative, but these are the ones I listen to most as they pop up on the shuffle or when I just feel like listening to a local album. Some of them are signed, many are not. But they are all right here in our back yard
The one criteria for this local list is that Faith in the Fallen has shared the stage with them all at one point (except for a couple exceptions I had to include). You’ll find links to download or stream. Some are free downloads and some are a couple of sheckles on iTunes or a $5/$10 CD at a show.
I’ve ordered them as if I’m making a mix tape for someone special…that special someone is you… Do you put out?
- Black Market Democracy – Buckshot Republic
I always explore bands before I play with them. Last Spring, we were on the same bill and I went to their webpage and heard this. Instant download. You’ll love it.
- Emperors and Elephants – Bring it Down
Have had the opportunity to play with them twice now. These guys are working hard and going for it. I highly recommend checking them out and getting behind them. Not only do they rock, but they’re a fun bunch of bad ass dudes. Remember when your Aunt would say things like, “I remember seeing yadayada band in a small club with 100 people…yadayada”. This is your chance to catch a group that’s about to jump to the…hmmm, let’s call it…more costly ticket prices! This entire record is solid and you can get this track for free. Hard to pick one, but I love this one because I remember them opening with it too.
- Paragon – Supposed to Be
Somehow we got lucky enough to jump on a show with these guys at the last minute. They’ve got a great heavy rock sound coupled with funk stylings—Plus they just look chill on stage and when I saw them perform they were completely in the zone. This song is almost like an anthem. Hadn’t heard them before, but if you see them live, you just jump in and start chanting the chorus with the crowd. Love it – and excited that we’ll be rocking with them on July 17th! Stay tuned!
- Driven Under – The Bitter End
These guys are on the up and up for sure. They work hard and are really committed to the scene here. Spent the most time talking with Brian and Ryan (Bass/Backup Vocals and Lead Guitar)—who are real down to earth artists. Meeting guys in bands like this give me hope that there is a chance to create a rock community that shall RISE!! They’ve got some great shows coming up this summer so definitely check them out. Not exactly sure when, but they have an EP on the verge of release. Gonna pick it up, fo sho.
- Daylight Dawns – Fade
Okay…so I haven’t played with them yet, but one of these days… Seen them twice. Great performers and they are supportive musicians / artists . Strong, melodic , heavy. A great talent. They play out very selectively, but they’ve got a couple gigs in April and are trying to get a slot on the Warped Tour – click here to listen a bunch of tracks and help them get there.
- Punch Cabbie – Revenant
For sure the heaviest band on this list (but… I have a penchant for that.) These guys are amazing live – super tight, super heavy, but find the time to get you with some melodic hooks. And they are a force on this local scene. I’ve been reading about them for years. I have a couple discs – This is the track I listen to most. They release their new record this week…you can download Repress right now on iTunes, but I’m going to wait for the record. Plus all this week they’re streaming one song from their new record leading up to their release party…this weekend I think. I’m already loving the direction of the new EP. Definitely as heavy, but some different hooks that make me want to shout…lift my hands up and shout…throw my hands up and shout. C’mon now.
- Hired Goons – The Homer
I F’ng love Hired Goons. Not just cause my bud Paul is one of the brain childs, but I think they have a great concept. Ramones-esque songs with Simpsons Themes. They’ve got two records. Aside from Stupid Sexy Flanders (a staple from the first), I’ve always loved the Homer. If you watch the Simpsons it’s hilarious to see some of your favorite episodes brought to life through their style. This links to their site where you can stream both records. They are on a bit of a hiatus as they look for a new Guitar Player – if you’re interested in auditioning, contact Paul Czarnowski or message us.
- Kill the Gunman – Everywhere You Go
These guys were just in the BOB competition we were in and unfortunately they didn’t make it through. Nevertheless, before that contest, I discovered them and this song and I dug the shite out of it. Another band that we haven’t played with yet, but hope to in the future. They’ve got some other tracks online too. Check them out.
- Phosphene – Antidote
Now we haven’t played with them yet…but we are April 24 (DON’T MISS IT!). So I’ve just started really exploring their catalogue. Don’t want to buy on iTunes, because I’m going to pick up copies on the 24th. But…real driving stuff. Cool electronic additions throughout. Their new album is about to release. Check them out. Here’s the newest single.
10. Wrecked – Hey [email protected]#@ker
Gotta keep it clean for the kids right? Great guys in Wrecked – Getting back in the scene but long time players. Had a chance to meet them in January and looking to get back on a bill with them soon. This is just a bad ass anthem Plain and simple. But you could say this song is NSFW unless your W is crackin skulls and busting snot boxes.
11. Amicus – We Are The Truth
I actually think we played with them on one of their first shows. A real clean heavy sound. The above link goes to their entire EP to stream – I always loved the kick off track and the entire EP actually. They released a new one since then, Collapsing Chemistry, that’s also solid.
12. A.D.D. – Hear Me Now
A.D.D. is blowing up. Caught them, like, almost four or five years ago at House of Blues and been listening to both their initial CDs ever since. Hear Me Now is a killer track. And their first album (which, at least when I bought it was only available for download purchase) is top to bottom solid. They JUST released their new album Core and the reviews are great. Haven’t heard it yet, but expect to soon. Prepare to be pumped.
13. Faith in the Fallen – Miracle
You really can’t lose with any track from FITF and their singer looks just like Brad Pitt in Legends of the Fall….But seriously, aside from looking like Brad Pitt, we, like many of the bands on this list, love creating music and playing out. We’re all five guys devoted to family, friends, and rocking out. One of the luckiest decisions I made was answering the Craigslist ad to audition for these guys resulting in a great group of friends and artists to collaborate with.
Alright folks, that’s all for now – Let me know what you think and don’t forget to check out FITF’s next show – April 24 at Q Bar in Darien, IL – Playing with Phosphene, Little Angry Mob, and 13 Monsters – Tickets at www.suburbanticket.com or show up at the door. I’m always checking out new tunes, so expect more lists in the future. And if you’re interested in exploring more local rock there are some great podcasts available through Rock in Chicago and Tim Lamping’s Local Loft. Also look for the Forge (Midwest independent / rock / metal) as it transitions to K Metal Rock within the next couple of days.
In any case…on behalf of myself and my brothers in FITF—peace and keep rocking. Hit me up on FB or other means if you’d like to chat more.
Guy @ FITF
Faith in the Fallen’s next show is February 21 at Cobra Lounge. We were fortunate to jump on this bill because it’s a chance to share the stage with a couple of fantastic groups we had the chance to play with last year—Driven Under and Blackmarket Democracy. So it’s great timing to be able to write about these guys and share some of their music…because they were both on our list to begin with!
Driven Under—it’s in the title—Hard ‘Driving’, straight up kick ass rock.
As mentioned, we played with them last Spring / Summer at Another Hole in the Wall—with Emperors and Elephants and Tantric. Before that show, we had been hearing their name all over the place. They’re set DID NOT DISAPPOINT. Talked with their Bass Player / Vocalist, Brian Yelm, afterwards and since then, bumped into him at our show with Paragon this past November…And even later hung out with Brian and guitar player Ryan Reinking at Citizen Bar—Adam Miranda hosts a Chicago Musician Networking event on a monthly basis (Next event February 18th!)
Great guys (I think they just got a new drummer)! They are putting it all out there and are another example of the type of hard working, high quality bands that the Chicago Scene is producing…(We are all over the place!)…As a band they’re not only representing on stage, but they promote and support other deserving groups throughout the area.
Driven Under just launched their new website in the last few weeks– www.drivenunder.com. You can stream a bunch of songs from there (we also have some embeded below from their Reverbnation page) and you can buy their single, The Bitter End on Itunes. They’re all good, but my personal favorite on the site is “The Devil in Me” (That’s Guy typing). They’re due to release their new EP this Spring—and we have high expectations for it!
Driven Under is doing a lot of things right. It’s a great time to get into a new group and support local music. You can say you were one of the first—and ticket prices were still reasonable.
Like we typed a week or so ago, FITF wants to be a part of helping promote and grow the Chicago scene! Looking forward to writing about Blackmarket Democracy and some of the other bands we’ve had the pleasure of sharing the stage with.
On February 21, we’re also playing with Veritae and No Need to Adjust. We’ll share some more information about them before the show too.
Click here for info on the show and contact a member of Faith in the Fallen for tickets on Facebook or email us at [email protected].