Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Crosspromotionalpalooza for yooza!

Special thanks to Eric Schwab Photography and Ivory for our new band photos! If you're in a band... if you're getting married... if you're a model or an actor... do yourself a favor and contact this man.
photo by Eric Schwab

We've got bunches of shows coming up... maybe you could come to one or seven of them? Please feel free to mix and match:
April 6th in Champaign (or nearby), IL with Fight With Monsters    
April 7th in Decator, IL with Fight With Monsters    
April 21st house show in Chicago with the Palace Flophouse
April 26th for a CAU showcase at Goose Island in Chicago

I can hardly believe how fast the time has gone by this winter... So much has happened since the last post! But before I get into all that, I want you all to know about some of the extra classy indie bands we've seen and/or played with recently:
Nathan Kalish and the Wildfire (Grand Rapids, MI) 
One of the best live bands in the Midwest. They recently released a brand new album and will be playing with Smoking Popes in Grand Rapids, Michigan on March 17th at the Pyramid Scheme. The Wildfire are an old-school rock band blending dirty rock riffs with bouncing keys, melodic bass, and driving rhythms... sort of like if Tom Petty had a genetically modified baby with ACDC and Wilco. Get their new album HERE. And make sure you don't miss them next time they're in Chicago!
The Plurals (Lansing, MI)
No matter what happens I will always need some form of punk in my life. Thankfully the Plurals are once again on their way from Lansing to provide my fix! The trio includes Tommy, Timmy, Hattie, and a fiery scoop of molten rock syrup. Lucky for you (and me) they are coming to town on Thursday March 15th to play at the House Cafe in Dekalb. I will definitely be there... hope you can come too! Here's the event for the show on March 15th. Click it!
BeCo (St. Charles, IL)
BeCo is a band who's been filling DuPage with amazing music for several years without me even knowing it. At the core of the band are brothers Adrian (guitarist/vocalist) and Jason (drums/percussion). A few weeks back we got to play with them at Cairo in West Chicago and I was blown away. From what I understand they usually play as a two piece... just an acoustic guitar and drums. And goddamn they really know how to get the job done! Adrian's unique and powerful vocals are backed by Jason's tastefully insane drumming. Refreshingly original, their sound is remeniscent of bands like Mars Volta, Two Gallants, and Rusted Root. I'd highly recommend you check out their live show asap! And by "asap" I mean "how about you click on this link and go to the charity show they're doing for the Salvation Army March 5th?" I'll be there, hope you can come too!
Chris Darby (Chicago, IL)
If you know anything about Facing Winter, it should come as no surprise that Chris Darby's name is once again being mentioned. Chris is one of the hardest working, most passionate and genuine folk artists in all of Illinois (and the known universe). His songs are raw, sometimes dark, and always thought provoking. In a few months Chris will release a very unique album... it'll be musicians from all over the country covering his songs. It goes to show how truly influential his music has been over the years. If a dozen artists want to cover your material for an album... you've certainly done something right. Jeff and I are each covering a song for the project (in fact, Jeff is recording his vocal tracks as I type this!). Check out and stay tuned for info on upcoming shows and his new album!
The Palace Flophouse (Champaign, IL)
These guys are one of the coolest bands in Illinois. By combining keys, guitar, group vocals, and intricate rhythms they've created a sound that is fun, thought provoking, and trance inducing. Their style is remeniscant of bands like the Shins, Death Cab for Cutie, Pedro the Lion, and (old school) Jimmy Eat World (like the album "Clarity" when J.E.W. was still good). The Palace Flophouse is fronted by the incredibly talented combination of Bradley and Gretchen Bergstrand. Much to our excitement, they'll be coming to Chicago to play with us on April 20th and 21st. Go buy their latest album "Bad Friends Forever"... I have it and it's awesome!
Jennifer Hall (Elmhurst, IL) 
Jennifer's songs are of the indie rock/jazz/soul variety. They have a classic kind of sound to them... like Nina Simone or Ella Fitzgerald but with some Jeff Buckley, Massive Attack, and Portishead mixed in. I caught her show at Subterranean in Chicago a few weeks ago and holy %$&# was it good! She's got one of those voices that is so strong and emotive it draws you in on a subconscious level. Her band is very tight live and quite creative. If you ever get the chance to see them you definitely should! In fact, why don't you go to their show at Martyr's on Saturday March 24th.
Jack Avery's Kin (Naperville, IL)
We met John of Jack Avery's Kin at Widow's Peak festival last year. His old-timey songs are incredibly catchy and make you feel like you're being taken back to a simpler, folksier time . He plays a very percusive style... he's got a kick pedal attached to a Cajon that he sits on giving him the ability to create driving beats while he sings, strums, and plays harmonica. John plays regularly in Naperville and all around the Midwest... go check him out!
And now I shall relay the tale of Facing Winter's latest exploits...
                Star date: 10/2011-02/2012
photo by Eric Schwab
At the end of October 2011 we did a weekend tour in Wisconsin. The first night we had the pleasure of playing with our long lost compadres El Tin Fun at Mickey's Tavern in Madison. I believe the last time we played with them was about 5 years ago in Chicago. Mickey's was a fun place to play, and it ended up being a great night filled with good people, good music, and FREE New Glarus... yum!! Afterwards Jason Lambeth of El Tin Fun was kind enough to let us crash on his floor.
After the Mickey's show we headed to the Green Power Co-Op in Two Rivers Wisconsin where the fine folks of Music Without Boundries hosted a show for us. The building was a unique, artsy type of place managed by Mary Dryja. Inside there were all kinds of instruments and artwork lining the walls. Less than a block away was the shore of Lake Michigan... it was a really nice day so we spent quite a bit of time lingering around on the beach playing music and reading. Later that night we did an extended set of acoustic songs... a lot of which were recorded and uploaded to YouTube, click here to check it out. Thanks so much to Brian Powell, David Smith, Mary Dryja, and everyone from Green Power Co-Op and Music Without Boundaries!
Here's a video from that night of Jeff and I playing one of our newest songs called "Unknown"
The final show of the mini-tour was at the House Cafe in Dekalb. It's always a great time when we play there, and this night was extra good because we got to play with our friend John of Jack Avery's Kin. A lot of our friends showed up... even Chris and Julious all the way from Chicago! Just when I thought the night couldn't get any better... Jolly Baba (manager of the House) brought forth a gigantic chocolate cake! We all shared in the glory and got this fantastical shot to document the event:

Good hearted and talented people of all ages sharing cake at a bar on a Sunday night... what could be better?
A few weeks later we had our first big rock show with Dan Perdue and Brad Jewison at Cairo in West Chicago. We played two sets and debuted six brand new songs. Dario Giraldo and DJ Von B were kind enough to share the stage.

After 3 months of not playing rock shows, it felt SOOO good to be back to full strength.

To the right: Multi instrumentalist/singer/songwriter Dario Giraldo performing at Cairo

Thanks to Andrew Massih, DJ Von B, Dario Giraldo, and all of you for making it such a fun night!

In November we headed South East and did a few shows. The first was at Mike 'n Molly's which is near the campus of U of I in Champaign. We played with one of my favorite Illinois bands the Palace Flophouse. We also met and shared the bill with some new friends in a band called the Hathaways. One of our favorite things about Champaign is getting to see our friend Todd Durnil. Todd is an indie rock saint with whom we go waaaaaaay back. We can't thank him enough for his support all these years! Later that night Bradley and Gretchen of the Palace Flophouse kindly lent us their floor.

Left to right: Justin, Jeff, Bradley, and Gretchen.

The next day we headed a bit further South to one of our favorite spots called Jackson Avenue Coffeehouse (aka JAC). The place is run by a painter/musician/all-around renaissance man Dan Reible. 

To the left: An original painting by Dan Reible which will also be used for Facing Winter's new album artwork.

JAC is a friendly, cozy type of place... the music room is made of all wood and is filled with custom artwork. The stage is really nice... the room sounds great. Thanks so much to Dan and Vicky Reible for taking such good care of us!
FW acoustic on stage at JAC

Our final show of 2011 was a crazy one. It was on a cold night in December... Jeff was going to meet Brad and I downtown after work. So we loaded up the "trusty" band van and headed out at about 5:30pm. At about 6:30pm the van stalled out on I-290 about two miles from the venue. Unfortunately this had happened several times before... and we knew from experience that it would take at least 45 minutes before it would start again. So we waited. And waited. Then waited some more. But no luck. Eventually one of those gigantor big-city police tow trucks came and informed us he would have to tow us off the interstate. So that's what he did... and I got to ride in the van while he towed us... which was pretty awesome. Here's quick little video from part of the ride:

The tow truck driver was really nice so we gave him a copy of "Gifts from Gravity". Sadly, the van never restarted for us that night. A commercial tow truck came and we had to have it towed all the way back to West Chicago. Thankfully, we were able to transfer all the equipment out of the van and into other cars... slowly but surely we made our way to the venue (called Stage Bar). After a couple beers the transportation ordeal was forgotten and it turned into a really good night... one of our best attended Chicago shows of the year... sure glad we made it!
For most of December and January we focused on recording and various other projects. I filled in the gaps by going on an open mic rampage. Those of you familiar with the open mic scene know there's probably no better way to make new friends and try out new songs.
Our first official show of 2012 was at a fun little house-venue in Chicago called Polite Elephant. It was a very relaxing night and the perfect way to kick off 2012.
This month (February) has been extra fun and productive. We did a three hour show at Muldoon's in Wheaton a few weeks ago. It's been a long time since we did an extended set like that... it felt great!
After that we played at Cairo in West Chicago with our new friends BeCo, the Peachtree, and Aaron Kenny. It was one of my favorite shows in awhile... all the bands were awesome and it was great hanging out with our hometown homies.
So that about brings us up to date... For the rest of the Winter and into the Spring we'll be working on finishing up our 6 song EP... we're hoping to have it done by late April and it'll be released with the music video for our song "October". Silmultaneously we're also working on a new full length album which will (hopefully) be released by late Summer or early Fall.
In conclusion, I'd like to leave you with a special performance by Whole Hill Will... which was one of the highlights of fall 2010 and the hardest I've laughed in a long time... enjoy:
(if you watch carefully you'll notice he gets so disoriented that he starts rolling back up the hill!)
Thanks Will! You rock.
And thank you all so much for the friendship and support! Hope to see you soon,

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