Shows are a bit scarce this week, but for those looking to go out, the weekend offers a couple of great choices. Milwaukee, Wisconsin, band White, Wrench, Conservatory (guess where the name comes from!) will make the trip to CU to play at the IMC in downtown Urbana. The IMC (located in the old post office next to Lincoln Square Mall) offers shows sporadically, and also doubles as an art space and radio station. White, Wrench, Conservatory lands somewhere in the shoegaze genre, with female lead vocals and washy guitars. Their MySpace page asserts that they sound like “death’s vagina.” They’ll share the stage Friday with “tragedy’s penis” (Me, Him and Charlie Miller) and “life’s G-spot” (the Duke of Uke and His Novelty Orchestra). Showtime is 8 p.m. and the cover is $5. The show is all ages and there is no alcohol allowed.
Mike ‘n Molly’s is the place to be on Saturday night. At 10 p.m. a hip-hop show will kick off, featuring Cornbread, Eureka Brown, and Curb Service (former Lorenzo Goetz frontman Larry Gates). The show is $4 and the bar is 21+. It also packs one of the best beer selections in town, so try something new. The Curb Service track “Brooklyn,” featuring guest appearances from Brandon T. Washington and Eric Fisher, came in at #11 on iChannel.fm’s top 100 songs of 2007. You can hear a new remix of the song by DJ Spinnerty at www.myspace.com/curbservicemusic.
On Tuesday, the Office (in downtown Urbana) will once again present The Surreal Deal for free. Starting at 10 p.m. you’ll be able to hear lots of great classic songs (Grateful Dead, Eric Clapton) played by some of the best musicians in the area.
And now for something completely different …
Was your New Year’s resolution to “check out new bands”? Yeah, probably not, but whatever ­— here are some local and regional acts you should be checking out:
Tunnels (myspace.com/tunnelsgroup) — For those who think, “well, it probably just sounds like the Living Blue,” because it’s fronted by Steve Ucherek, it’s time to check out this band. Tunnels has a debut EP slated for a spring release, and their MySpace page features a video shot by Matt Harsh. And speaking of The Living Blue, you can find four tracks from their forthcoming CD at myspace.com/thelivingblue.
The Wandering Sons (myspace.com/thewanderingsons) — Sure, most people reading this have seen or at least heard of the sons, but you might not know that the Appleton, Wisconsin, band (that has officially absorbed former CU band The Elanors into its ranks) has signed to RCA records. The band is recording a new album, but a hop to the Myspace page will land you a listen to some live recordings. The page also features Youtube videos of the music video for “A Sinner’s Waltz,” as well as a video of Cory and Adriel performing in Los Angeles onstage with Jackson Browne, the Roots, Keb Mo, Erykah Badu, and more.
KaiserCartel (myspace.com/kaisercartel) — Former Midwesterners now living in New York City, Courtney Kaiser and Benjamin Cartel tour as a very deceptive duo, filling a room with more sound than you should hear from two people. The harmonies are fantastic and they’ve been known to unplug and walk around the room to sing right into people’s faces. “Okay” has quickly become one of my favorite songs, period. It can be found on their MySpace, along with some tracks from an excellent live EP.
Casados (myspace.com/casadosmusic) — Nic and Heather Dillon have been on a whirlwind journey in the last couple of years. They’ve found kindred spirits in new bandmates, released an EP, and tour the country several times. With each show their sound has gotten better and better, and the album that they’re currently working on should be a great release. Look for scattered shows throughout the winter.
Rachel Ries (myspace.com/rachelries) — Rachel was one of the biggest surprises of the fall for me. The songs on her MySpace page are great, but her live performance (with her on guitar/vocals, with Ariel Bolles on upright bass/background vocals) is captivating in a way that shushes noisy crowds. The guitar licks are great and the harmonies are pretty. Hopefully this Chicago songstress will make many more stops in CU.

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