will the light be enough to see/will the love be gone...

This past Saturday I had the pleasure of hosting the 2nd Music Means Family House Show, with the talented Small Houses, as well as Chicago local Ty Maxon. On this particular quiet, August evening, as the last rays of sun disappeared behind the Chicago skyline, we sipped ice-cold beer and watched two wonderful musicians, sweat pouring down their brows, capture the attention of everyone in the beautiful gallery space at 914 N. California.

Small Houses - Music Means Family
Small Houses - Music Means Family

We had the pleasure of hearing a slew of new songs, as well as old favorites from both Small Houses and Ty, and each song was as spellbinding as the last. If you have a chance to catch Ty before he holes up to record his new record, or Jeremy (Small Houses) as he traverses the U.S. and Europe before settling down to record, you'd be doing yourself a disservice if you didn't go.

Ty Maxon - Music Means Family
Ty Maxon - Music Means Family

I had the pleasure, with the help of the wonderful Lev Kalmens and Dan Kolen, of getting some exceptional photos and video of this evening. Here's a bunch (more) of those photos, courtesy of Lev - video will be up soon!

Small Houses - Music Means Family
Small Houses - Music Means Family

I'll be announcing 3 or 4 more house shows over the next two weeks - and I'm really excited about them. Check back often!

Ty Maxon - Music Means Family
Ty Maxon - Music Means Family

I can't tell you enough how grateful I am for the opportunity to put on these shows. Everyone who has performed, who has showed up to watch, who have helped out in countless ways. Thank you.

Small Houses - Music Means Family
Small Houses - Music Means Family

And again - to Jeremy and Ty - thank you. There was no better way to spend a late summer evening.

Can't wait to see everyone at the next house show!

I'm Alive!

Holy long hiatus Batman! So, I've been gone for a month. I got quite sick, started dating a pretty fantastic girl, and had to get some recovery time in, but I'm back (and hopefully better than ever)! Some updates - I'm working on a slew of things. One is a mix for y'all to get you through the end of winter, and to welcome in the beginnings of spring. The next is (if all goes well) a pretty exciting series of house style shows in the coming months with some really amazing artists. On that note, if you're a musician, and you're reading this, and you like playing music for people, please e-mail me! Third, I'll be updating this blog in the next two months or so so that I have my own fancy little domain. This should go hand in hand with some more features and some more content for those of you who read this, which I'm super excited about.

Anyway, you come here for music, so let's get to some music. A lot has happened in the last month!

I'm obsessed with "Agape", the new EP from Bear's Den. When I hear the title track (see video below) I get that butterflies-bouncing-in-my-heart feeling that The Head and the Heart get me with all the time. Check it out, then head over to Amazon or iTunes and get a copy for yourself.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0FMdORf5iGs&w=560&h=315]


The new Local Natives album is out, and it's everything I hoped for and more. "Gorilla Manor" has gotten countless plays from me, "Hummingbird" will follow suit. Check out this amazing Blogotheque video for "Heavy Feet" and then go get the album. Do it.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9AvNpJrBYw&w=560&h=315]


If you haven't seen this video of The Lumineers doing an amazing new song in San Francisco as a part of a Take Away Show, you're in for a huge treat. This song might be the epitome of things that give me the warm and fuzzy feelings.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b07gcIuKUYk&w=560&h=315]


I desperately want it to be summer already, and so I've been listening to Prairie Empire's stunning album over and over and over and over again. And watching this video of Prairie Empire's Brittain Ashford, and taking breaks to imagine grass between my toes and summer sun on my shoulders.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPct6aM9j5I&w=560&h=315]


Everything Caroline Smith does is worth watching/listening to. I promise. This gem that was a Reddit exclusive is not to be missed. Really beautiful.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KvYeRo9BCN4&w=560&h=315]


Small change of pace, but I love everything HAIM does, and their new EP looks like it won't be any exception. They're a great band to listen to when dreaming of spring. Trust me, and check out the track "Falling" below.

[soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/78796179" width="100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]


And, as Adam over at Songsfortheday will tell you, it's been a Night Beds kind of month. So watch this video of "Ramona", and sleep a little better tonight.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qLMeIsA1xDc&w=560&h=315]

Well guys, really glad to be back, and I'll get that mix out ASAP. ANd seriously, if you, or someone you know wants to play a house show - e-mail me at musicmeansfamily@gmail.com.

Peace, y'all!

New Years is over...No excuses.

So, I took a bit of a break at the end of December. It was my birthday, then I got sick, then it was Christmas, then I got sick, then it was New Years, then I had to go back to work. So, lots of easy excuses. Well, no more. For my first post in 2013, I want to take the time to do something I meant to do at the end of the last year, but late is better than never! As some of you may know, I went to 100 concerts last year. Approximately 2 a week. It was intense, awesome, exhausting at times, and really, really fun. I saw some bands twice, or three times, and some bands that I barely knew until I saw them live. I saw big concerts, little concerts, festivals (Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza), and introduced some of my friends to some really cool live bands. Since I did this, I wanted to spend a bit of time and a blog post to comment on my favorite concerts of last year, and hopefully encourage you to see some of these folks live in 2013.


(The videos below are most likely not from the actual show I attended. Sorry!)


1. Noah Gundersen - 11/6/12 (SPACE in Evanston)

Seeing Noah Gundersen on election night, in this intimate, wonderful venue was an unforgettable experience. Noah, and his sister Abby, who I rave about every chance I get, kept an entire audience of people with election night jitters totally silent and unmistakably moved for well over an hour. His stage presence is phenomenal, and I'm so glad I had a chance to experience this one.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3txd7MUfZVo&w=640&h=360]


2. The Head and the Heart - 3/8/12 (The Vic)

The Head and the Heart are one of my favorite bands, and certainly one of my favorite live bands. They have an impeccable knack for getting me dancing, while feeling absolutely all of the feelings I could possibly feel. I saw them three times this year, and this show was probably my favorite. Drew Grow and the Pastors' Wives blew me away with their opening set, and The Head and the Heart followed it up with a set with a lot of new songs I hadn't heard, and wonderful renditions of those I had heard countless times. The video below is from their Lollapalooza set, which I was also at and was also incredible. Go see them live. As many times as you can.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-YL3LoTsMHk&w=640&h=360]


3. Hey Rosetta! - 6/7/12 (Bonnaroo)

We left Alabama Shakes' Thursday night headlining set at Bonnaroo because the energy wasn't there and the sound was awful. In doing this, we happened to stumble upon Hey Rosetta! playing a 1 am set at a tiny stage in the middle of the woods, well outside of the actual Bonnaroo stage area. They played till almost 3 am, covering most of their material, and providing an unbelievable, unforgettable end to what had already been an incredible day. Their ability to write catchy rock music with astounding musical and lyrical twists and turns just makes for such an awesome set.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nv0udRjXqFs&w=640&h=360]


4. Daughter - 10/25/12 (Schubas)

Elena Tonra, who performs with her band under the moniker 'Daughter', has an eery, expansive folk sound that is inescapably beautiful live. Her show at Schubas came right on the heels of them getting in a car accident that day, and even though they were visibly shaken up, they managed to encompass the entire crowd with their enthralling sound. Really a beautiful show, and one I'm so glad I was at. I expect them to get bigger and bigger, and they really are meant to be seen in that size venue (200 or so).

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55XNinX7HhU&w=640&h=360]


5. Bowerbirds - 11/12/12 (SPACE)

The first time I saw Bowerbirds was in a slightly larger venue, and it had left me feeling a bit unsettled. Seeing them at SPACE was perfect, and I got to spend a lot of time just letting the music of a band I've loved for 4 years or so wash over me. We also got to spend some time with them before and after the show, and Phil and Beth really are some of the sweetest, most interesting people I've ever met. They played a gorgeous set, and I truly am grateful I had a chance to see them in this space (no pun intended).

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5WxpLngaDo&w=640&h=360]


6. The Lumineers with Kopecky Family Band - 4/13/12 (SPACE)

This show was exceptional if for no other reason than the fact that The Lumineers had already clearly blown up well beyond the size of SPACE, and it felt like a tremendous privilege to be there. Not to mention, Kopecky Family Band put on an incredible set as well, and are some of the coolest artists I've met. This show was unbridled energy, explosions of feelings, and a hell of a good time. When The Lumineers closed their encore with a cover of Talking Heads 'This Must be the Place (Naive Melody', the entire audience felt like it was crying and jumping for joy at the same time. What a show. (Posting a link for this video, because the embed code is breaking everything. Sorry.)



Those were really the ones that blew me away in 2012, and I can't wait for 100 more in 2013! (Also, a new mix should be on the horizon in the next 2 weeks or so!)


Happy new year y'all!