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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 occasionally blogs about the local music scene (usually Wednesdays) on Between the Bylines.


'Know Your Sins'
Underground Railroad to Candyland
Recess Records CD/LP
Release date: 4/26/2011

Rating: 4/5


San Pedro, Calif.'s Todd Congelliere (Toys That Kill, F.Y.P., Stoned At Heart) not only fronts Underground Railroad To Candyland, as well as the aforementioned groups, but he put out his band's new record April 26 via his label, Recess Records.

The first time I heard URTC's debut record, "Bird Roughs," I thought it was really weird. It was a kooky, progressively jumpy album with songs that didn't really make sense. But the more I listened to it, the more I fell for it. I saw the band live a couple of times and really got a feel for what they're all about; having fun and partying and not taking yourself too seriously. Then it all clicked and the senseless made sense all of a sudden.

That being said, when the opportunity to review "Knows Your Sins" came along, I jumped, much like their backup singer, Jack Blast, does during the band's live performance.


Jason's review, after the jump.

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


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Social Distortion: "Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes"
January 18, 2011
Epitaph Records


Last month, Social Distortion released its first album in seven years titled "Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes." In the 33 years Social D has been a band, they've blossomed from their Orange County punk roots, cross-pollinating with blues, rock 'n' roll and a little outlaw country, making them a well-versed hybrid.

Social D's last record, 2004's "Sex, Love and Rock 'n' Roll," was a soundtrack of love and loss. The band said in an interview that they wanted this one to be different. The album features 11 tracks, some of which the band has been playing live for several years, but all are finally recorded.


Full review, track list and band line-up, after the jump.

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


Octogenarian rock n' roll icon Chuck Berry collapsed in disappointment at his keyboard about an hour into his set on New Year's Day at the Congress Theater in Chicago.


Chuck Berry at the Congress

Chuck Berry, before collapsing Sunday at the Congress Theater in Chicago


He opened the show with "Roll Over Beethoven," but it quickly took a turn for the worse as Berry would just stop playing mid-song. He became obviously frustrated with his backing band, whom he never practiced with.

The band seemed to do everything it could to follow Berry, but it wasn't enough. Berry kept changing songs mid-song and then tuned his guitar for half the show, either stalling or being legitimately out-of-tune the entire time. He walked over to the keyboard player, and would hit the keys, to tune to the notes and then told the keyboard player his keyboard was the one out of tune.

"I'm not saying it's your fault," Berry said.

It was horribly sad witnessing an 84-year-old man's intent and then watching him struggle and fail to deliver. He walked over to the keyboard, sat down and started playing/hitting keys, and then slammed his hand on some low notes and put his head down for a minute before being walked off stage by the Chicago Fire Department.

When he came back out later, he said he had "no strength." He looked defeated.

We were all thanked for coming out. Most of the people left. My friends and I stuck around with a bunch of others, and towards the back of the stage, Chuck suddenly walks out, puts his guitar on, and tries to play.


What happened next, after the jump.

Top 10 albums of 2010

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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 occasionally blogs about the local music scene (usually Wednesdays) on Between the Bylines.


This year wasn't so good in retrospect. An earthquake in Haiti killed 230,000 people. Monsoons left 20% of Pakistan under water. An Antarctic collision between an iceberg and a glacier gouged out a chunk of sea ice the size of Luxembourg. An Icelandic volcano ticked off a bunch of Europeans. Winter was so warm that Canadians couldn't even make fake snow for their Olympics.

Man just made things worse -- between the BP oil leak and this country's lawmakers not being able to balance a checkbook, it's been a stressful year to be an American.

But you know what? Despite all that, at least some great records came out in 2010. Here's my Top 10 of 2010...


1. Iron Chic -- Not Like This

2. The Dopamines -- Expect the Worst

3. Sundowner (of Chicago) -- We Chase The Waves

4. The Brokedowns (of Elgin) -- Species Bender

5. The Riverdales -- Tarantula

6. Alkaline Trio (of Chicago) -- This Addiction

7. The Methadones (of Chicago) -- S/T

8. Old Wives -- See You In Hell

9. Off With Their Heads -- In Desolation

10. The Queers -- Back to the Basement


What were your favorite albums, songs or artists of 2010? Share your thoughts below, in the comments!


-- Jason Duarte, Freelance Writer

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for danahey2 copy.jpgHere is a follow-up of sorts to my outsider's impressions of Drum Corps International's live simulcast of its championships last August.

It turns out, there's even more fabulousness in store for Drum Corps International fans next summer.

According to George Hopkins, "Seven corps had some ideas for a new format for corps events. We met over the summer and fall, and recently in Indy we agreed that within DCI there would be placed some special events for the top eight corps to try out some different formats and plans. The formats were voted by the board. All was agreed to in a very supportive process."

Hopkins oversees the Cadets of Allentown, Pa.


What could this possibly mean?! 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 got really excited this morning when I read that WCIU's seven-time Emmy-award winning Svengoolie is coming to Elgin.

Legally known as Rich Koz, Svengoolie will be signing autographs and gracing Elgin with his presence from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 30, at The Hemmens Cultural Center, 200 N. Spring St. Svengoolie introduced me not only to the bizarre town of Berwyn, Ill., via television, but also cult classics like "The Car" (1977) and movies I later bought on DVD such as "Santa Claus Conquers the Martians" and "Attack of the Killer Shrews."


That's not all! What else is coming to Elgin, 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.


At 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 30, the Elgin Symphony Orchestra will present a Halloween "Spook-tacular," the first part of the ESO Family Fun Series.

The orchestra will perform John Williams' music for the Harry Potter films. Tickets to each show in the Family Fun Series are $45 per adult and $30 per child.


More about the conductor, upcoming ESO Family Fun Series shows, 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.


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.

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