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Thumbnail image for jason.jpgNOTE: Freelance writer Jason Duarte books shows in Elgin and Chicago, is part of a band and blogs about the local music scene Wednesdays exclusively on Between the Bylines.


Remember that band from our awesome city I was talking about a few weeks back? You should. They were called The Brokedowns.

Anyway.

All went as planned, and the band's debut album on Red Scare Records, "Species Bender," was released Tuesday, Sept. 14. This Saturday, Sept. 25, The Brokedowns will be hosting a release show for "Species Bender" at Ronny's (2101 N. California Ave.) in Chicago with fellow Elginites, Bust!, Vacation Bible School and The House That Gloria Vanderbilt and Double Bird, from Minneapolis.


More about the show, after the jump.

Thumbnail image for jason.jpgNOTE: Freelance writer Jason Duarte books shows in Elgin and Chicago, is part of a band and blogs about the local music scene Wednesdays exclusively on Between the Bylines.


I found out yesterday that Mad Maggie's is no more. In fact, the signs are being taken down today.

But that doesn't mean there will be a lack of music.

After one of the Mad Maggie's owners, Ted Kurita, bought out his partner Sean Davis, the place is in need of new management, said Evie Ferrie, former co-manager of The Gasthaus. Ferrie and former Gasthaus co-manager Larry Herman met with Kurita, who them an offer to be his partners. They accepted and will be managing what is to be called The Hangout, opening Friday and taking the place of Mad Maggie's.


What this means for Gasthaus, the local music scene, after the jump.

Thumbnail image for jason.jpgNOTE: Freelance writer Jason Duarte books shows in Elgin and Chicago, is part of a band and blogs about the local music scene Wednesdays exclusively on Between the Bylines.


Friend, informant and popcorn aficionado Katie Anderson informed me the Small Mall on Route 31 in South Elgin, across from the Foxtrail Restaurant, had a sign in the window that read something like, "Vintage LPs, $3 each."

Curious, I went in and checked it out last week. Their selection was surprisingly large. They had mostly classic rock, pop and new wave records.

After tracking down the Cheap Trick stock to see if there were any LPs I didn't have, more records at the opposite end of the store caught my eye. There were the 7-inches, hundreds of them, unsorted and most without sleeves. There was a lot of polka on red vinyl and old music I never heard before on blue vinyl.


What else? After the jump.

Thumbnail image for jason.jpgNOTE: Freelance writer Jason Duarte books shows in Elgin and Chicago, is part of a band and blogs about the local music scene Wednesdays exclusively on Between the Bylines.


My best friend showed me a "messed up video" on YouTube not too long ago. The song was called "Supertime," and the artist was David Berndsen from Iceland. The video was this dude with a red beard and a suit dancing on an upside-down car with his friends pulling the injured and dying passengers out and dancing with them.

After that, I found a video for the title track of his debut album, "Lover In The Dark." I was amazed. Sold.

"Lover In The Dark," made up of 11 tracks and totaling 36:23, starts off with an instrumental electronic intro building up to the title track from the video, "Lover In The Dark."



It feels like you're inside of a game of Tetris backed with dance-y electro-pop. Which rules. In the video, Berndsen's mission is to spread love with a ray gun of sorts. He sees people punching each other, zaps them and voila! They hug, and his heart meter goes up. The message: You're just a lover hiding in the dark.


The rest of the tracks, after the jump.

Thumbnail image for jason.jpgNOTE: Freelance writer Jason Duarte books shows in Elgin and Chicago, is part of a band and blogs about the local music scene Wednesdays exclusively on Between the Bylines.


I wasn't aware downtown Elgin had a vinyl-exclusive record store until Between the Bylines editor Emily McFarlan added a link to Rediscover Records' Facebook page at the end of one of my previous posts. Intrigued, I looked up its whereabouts and decided to check it out.

I walked past it a couple of times until I realized the shop shared space with an antique store at 207 E. Chicago St. On the right side are records, and the rest of the store is chandeliers, mirrors, glassware and other antiques. The nostalgia of the records blends right.

I approached the vinyl corner of the store, and the first thing that caught my eye was the $1 LP crates. I am a big fan of these, so I scoured through them. Most of what they had was classic rock and pop, but they also carried punk and metal albums by bands like The Clash, The Cult, Talking Heads, Ministry and Black Sabbath.


Find out what else Jason discovered, his review of the shop, after the jump.

Thumbnail image for jason.jpgNOTE: Freelance writer Jason Duarte books shows in Elgin and Chicago, is part of a band and blogs about the local music scene Wednesdays exclusively on Between the Bylines.


Gruff and throaty, yet melodic punk rock band The Brokedowns made a name for themselves around Elgin and Chicago late last century and have maintained a loyal fan base throughout.

In 1998, the Elgin four-piece released a demo tape followed by a few demo CD-Rs before the band saw its debut full-length release, "Let the Disappointment Begin," on Big Action Records in 2002. Since then, the band's released two more full-lengths and a handful of split 7-inches with other punk rock bands, like The Copyrights, The Arrivals, Turkish Techno and Sass Dragons.

BDownsCoverSmall.jpgThe Brokedowns haven't had a full-length release since 2007's "New Brain For Everyone," but in June, an indie label with a successful catalog based out of Chicago called Red Scare Records decided it would put out the new Brokedowns album and added them to its roster of Teenage Bottlerocket, The Menzingers, The Lillingtons and others.

"There's so much going on right now with the label, and as we all know, these are bleak times for small indies like Red Scare," said label owner Tobias Jeg in a punknews.org article.

"But when I heard these songs, I just knew I had to make this happen. It reminds me of
Dillinger Four meets Black Flag meets (Naked) Raygun meets F***ed Up. It's thunderous punk rock but with great, stinging melodies and a little bit of fruitiness to make things fun."

Jeg will release the band's fourth full-length, "Species Bender," on Sept. 14.

A sneak peek at the album, upcoming shows, after the jump

jason.jpgNOTE: Freelance writer Jason Duarte books shows in Elgin and Chicago, is part of Rex Catapult and blogs about the local music scene Wednesdays exclusively on Between the Bylines.


Today, MP3 players and car CD players make it easy for us to listen to music on the go, as opposed to just a few decades ago, when we'd have to sit at home within earshot of analog audio. But did you know that although digital formats have replaced vinyl records, many record labels are still pressing albums to vinyl for those of us who do like to sit at home and listen to music?

And, being there is a small, but present demand for vinyl records, labels are making it easy for vinyl enthusiasts to take part in the luxury that is "music on the go" without having to buy the album on two different audio formats.

In the past couple of years, purchasing vinyl came with a nice added perk. Depending on if the label chooses to or not, many records now come with a slip of paper containing a URL and a one-time use download code.

The coolest part about this is, you have the music in its raw analog format on the record, which some would argue sounds better and more full because what you're hearing is the raw, recorded sound that needed no condensing or converting. (Digital audio is condensed from its original analog format.)

In other words, digital audio doesn't capture the complete analog sound wave, but takes "snapshots" of it (digital takes 44,100 "snapshots" per second). So, if there is a very quick transition in say, a trumpet, the digital version may sound distorted because the instrument's fast change doesn't carry over to digital as fluid as it would sound recorded as it was played. Converting it is approximating the original sound, at best. Get it?


More about getting records, free digital versions, after the jump.

jason.jpgNOTE: Freelance writer Jason Duarte books shows in Elgin and Chicago, sings backup in Rex Catapult and blogs about the local music scene Wednesdays exclusively on Between the Bylines.


After devouring a delicious sub sandwich for dinner, I headed over to Mad Maggie's (51 S. Grove Ave., Elgin) Monday night to catch a good ol' weeknight punk show. Headlining were The Dopamines, touring from Ohio in support of their new album, "Expect the Worst," out on Paper and Plastick Records. And supporting were some great Elgin/Chicago bands that have a tightly-knit following, but always have flown under the radar.

Elgin's The House That Gloria Vanderbilt and Bi-Furious and Chicago's Das Kapital opened the show. The House That Gloria Vanderbilt features Todd Pot, better-known as the vocalist from his former band, Apocalypse Hoboken. Bi-Furious features members of Elgin's Vacation Bible School and Sass Dragons, and Das Kapital features Marc Ruvalo, owner of Johann's Face Records. Vacation Bible School and Rex Catapult were supposed to play but couldn't.


More on the Elgin bands, links, after the jump.

Thumbnail image for emily.jpgNOTE: When I (Emily McFarlan) took over as your Readers' Reporter, lo those many years ago, and asked you, readers, what you were interested in reading, one of the very first responses I got was, "Did you know Elgin has an AWESOME music scene?" That launched a short-lived, semi-weekly Readers' Reporter column about local artists in The Courier-News' "Our" pages I had to drop after we made some changes to those pages. But this blog is supposed to be a place for those things we can't fit into the newspaper. And a place for conversation between readers and reporters.

Staff writer Katie Anderson has found a reader excited to write about the local music scene: Jason Duarte will be blogging Wednesdays exclusively on Between the Bylines. Here's a little bit more about Jason...

jason.jpgCourier-News reporter (and close friend, former co-worker and classmate) Katie Anderson asked me to write a music blog for the Courier the other day. Immediately, I said OK. Actually, I think it was more along the lines of, "Yes! I've been longing for a writing outlet! Rad! Thank you!"

I had a weekly music blog at Eastern Illinois University's Daily Eastern News when I was the associate editor for The Verge, the DEN's weekly entertainment paper, from 2007 to 2008. I'd write about USB-equipped turntables, review albums and shows, interview musicians and write about not just music, but all things entertainment. After class and newspaper obligations, starting at 10 p.m., I worked with Katie at EIU's printing press throughout the week, developing the next day's newspaper. Around 2 a.m., I'd walk home with "news from the future," as I liked to convince my drunken college neighbors.

During my last semester at EIU, my Verge editor (now current Daily Herald reporter), Marco Santana and I, won third place in Illinois at the Illinois College Press Association for "Best Entertainment Supplement." We dug it, to say the least.


More on Jason's music cred, after the jump.

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