It’s going to be a big year for CU musicians. The new Headlights record leaked to much praise, and has seen a 4/5 star review (Paste) and an 8/10 (Under the Radar). A solid seven or higher from Pitchfork could make all of the ridiculous indie kids who still worship everything that Web site says finally take notice. Either way, they’ve crafted their most solid release yet. They aren’t the only ones though. Steve Ucherek has been mighty busy, with efforts coming from both Tunnels (at the Highdive Feb. 16 with Gentleman Auction House — another band with great new material to unleash this year — and Cameron McGill & What Army) and The Living Blue. Elsinore (having finally made the decision to capitalize the ‘e’) is shopping around new material, which has taken a strong step away from the Americana sound and landed more squarely in the indie rock field. In less than a year, Common Loon has managed to play the right shows and wow audiences along the way, and they will offer up a new 7” shortly. If you haven’t checked them out, you can stop by myspace.com/commonloon. Or, read the next paragraph.
On Friday evening, the Canopy Club will open its doors for an early show to benefit the V-Day movement (a global effort to put an end to violence against women and girls). A solid line-up of local talent has stepped up to the plate with the hopes of raising money for the cause. Headlining the show will be jigGsaw, the indie-punk band with a solid pop sensibility (recently seen performing as Rancid at The Great Cover Up). They will play alongside New Ruins, Common Loon and relatively new-to-the-scene Books Died On (an iPod-augmented, semi-acoustic act). The event begins at 6:30 p.m. and will cost $7. Go to show your support for the cause and stick around to see the excellent bands. Also, check out vday.org.
Jumping back a day, the Highdive will offer a solid rock show Thursday night. This week you can catch (dial ‘E’ for) Elsinore in their first local appearance since playing Beck at The Great Cover Up. If you haven’t checked out their new songs at myspace.com/elsinoremusic, head there now. You’ll be able to hear those songs and some new material, as the band shares the stage with Memphis band Giant Bear (RIYL: Drive By Truckers; seeing Angie Heaton sing Dolly Parton and play the cowbell) and Chicago’s The Johns. Kickoff is at 9:45 p.m. and there is a $7 cover charge.
Mercifully, the Courtyard Café finally has something scheduled that is worth writing about. Milwaukee band Maritime will make a long overdue visit to the CU area supporting one of the best releases of 2007 (Heresy and the Hotel Choir, on Flameshovel Records). A fan of the band since its first release, I welcome any stop in town — even if it has to be at a place where the sound could either be great or atrocious (and rarely anywhere in between). Still, seeing Davey von Bohlen (ex-the Promise Ring) sing these songs live is worth the trip. Let’s hope for a Glass Floor track or two—maybe “King of Doves … ” Inspector Owl is set for the direct-support slot, which is good news for attendees. The DeKalb band will certainly get people moving. It all starts at 9 p.m., $5.
The back half of the week will bring in the usual residencies. Highdive’s new Sunday event, CHILLAX, rolls on; it features some of the area’s best DJs spinning across all genres (so long as the tracks stay chilled). 10 p.m., no cover. The Canopy Club also has a free show, but starting at 9 p.m. and with live bands instead. New Sound Sundays offer up new acts and $1 cans of beer. Plus, at least one band name per week tends to be flat-out awful (generally the one that’s misspelled on purpose — thanks a lot, Slightly Stoopid). On Mondays, you could go one of two very distinct routes: Chester Street bar offers Nekromancy — an industrial/goth night — at 9 p.m. ($2), while the Highdive offers the ’80s and some of the ’90s in all their glory in the form of DJ mingram (me) at 10 p.m. with no cover.
One last thing to note: On Wednesday evening, Ludo will play an early show at the Canopy. Sure, you’ve probably already heard of them (they’re quite big in the Midwest), but I feel that any band that I’ve seen pull off a note-perfect rendition of Faith No More’s “Epic” deserves a mention. 6:30 p.m., $8.

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