All posts by Alyssa Lee

Alyssa, 25, designer, music lover, cartoonist, coffee enthusiast. Freelance Designer at Redbox.
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Six Days of Vinyl Giveaways: The Fatty Acids

We’re counting down to Record Store Day, a major holiday for vinyl nerds and casual music listeners alike. Between April 14th and April 19th, Midwest Action is hosting Six Days of Vinyl Giveaways, a celebration of both Midwestern musicians and records. We gathered some vinyl, a mix of 7″s and LPs, from a few of our favorite artists. Each day, we’re giving away a single copy of an album, and on Record Store Day, we’re giving away all 5 records as a combo pack.

DAY THREE: THE FATTY ACIDS’ FULL-LENGTH LP BOLERO

The synthy lines and energetic, erratic composition of “Airsick” made it an instant favorite. Released in September of 2013, The Fatty Acids’ ambitious album Bolero is a collection of ten songs equally as catchy as the single. The outfit is arguably one of Milwaukee’s most popular, and the record is one of Milwaukee’s most blue and most marbled. Not sure what that means? Neither are we. Enter below.


The Fatty Acids Official | Facebook | Twitter | Bandcamp
*winners will be selected and notified on April 20, 2014.

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Six Days of Vinyl Giveaways: Saintseneca

We’re counting down to Record Store Day, a major holiday for vinyl nerds and casual music listeners alike. Between April 14th and April 19th, Midwest Action is hosting Six Days of Vinyl Giveaways, a celebration of both Midwestern musicians and records. We gathered some vinyl, a mix of 7″s and LPs, from a few of our favorite artists. Each day, we’re giving away a single copy of an album, and on Record Store Day, we’re giving away all 5 records as a combo pack.

DAY TWO: SAINTSENECA UPPERCUTTER 7″

Columbus outfit, Saintseneca, seamlessly merge folk and country motifs with soaring vocals, creating a vibrant and unique post-punk energy. This past season was filled with touring, SXSW, and their newest album, Dark Arc, out April 1 2014.

The Uppercutter 7″ was released in October of 2013. The A side features their track, “Uppercutter”, with “Visions” gracing the B side. Enter for a chance to win this album*, and then sit back and enjoy some music below.


Saintseneca Official | Facebook | Twitter | Bandcamp
*winners will be selected and notified on April 20, 2014.

COBAIN

Remembering Kurt Cobain

Written by Chantelle Moghadam.

How does the music world pay tribute to one of the most influential people in music history, who tragically committed suicide just 20 years ago from yesterday? The answer is, in a number of ways.

Recently, photos from the crime scene where Kurt Cobain was found dead were released. Without question, these photos were a heartbreaking reminder of his death. Even those of us who weren’t even born yet are affected by such a tragedy.

But we can find solace in the fact that the music world has paid Kurt the tribute he deserves. Many artists, even those who we might not think have been influenced by him, have come forward to show respect for everything Nirvana did for the music industry and to show that we will never forget Kurt Cobain.

Here is St. Vincent covering my personal favorite from Nirvana, “Lithium”:

Regardless of what you think of 30 Seconds to Mars, Jared Leto has done some pretty great stuff with film. Here is a short clip of him playing Kurt Cobain, which he did a few years ago:

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Give it a Spin: “Eating Alone” by Sayth

Splitting his time between the Wisconsin town and Minneapolis, Sayth mixes MPLS hip-hop influences with the Eau Claire aesthetic. As much as I love Justin Vernon for putting the Wisconsin town on the musical map, his style of music leaves a lot of people making assumptions about the scene in Eau Claire. Sayth’s music, however, is an awesome medium to bridge the gap between Vernon’s folksy ambiance and, well, everything else. This rapper lays down light beats coupled with introspective lyrics in “Eating Alone”, resulting in a laid-back and super catchy track.

Check out the video below. In the track, Sayth spits awesome, insightful lyrics in a video as uncomplicated as his music.

Fans of early MODSUN are going to really enjoy the work Sayth is putting out. Here’s hoping he holds onto this style because it’s pretty damn good.

Sayth Facebook | Twitter | Bandcamp

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FIVE x FIVE: Sleepy Kitty

5 bloggers, 5 questions, 1 band, hand-picked by the MWA writers. Welcome to FIVE x FIVE. This week: two piece indie rock band, Sleepy Kitty.

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Made up of drummer Evan Sult and guitarist/vocalist Paige Brubeck, St. Louis/Chicago duo Sleepy Kitty has made a name for themselves not only for their music but also for their visual art. January saw the release of Projection Room, the follow-up to 2011′s full-length Infinity City and the 2012 7″ “Don’t You Start”. Sleepy Kitty answered a few of our burning questions for this week’s FIVE x FIVE.

Do you feel that a duo structure is more delicate or firm in its roots than a larger outfit? Is there more pressure when you’re musically obligated to one person versus four or five? | Amber Patrick

There’s more pressure as a two piece, but also more freedom. With a two piece there are just fewer people who have to all agree, so that can make some things easier musically and logistically, but there are also fewer instrumentalists to play the parts to make an idea happen. I’m very aware that when I stop playing guitar in a two piece, all of the melodic instruments stop.

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Champaign-Urbana’s Elsinore begin April Tour

A chilly November album release show introduced me to one of my favorite bands from the Prairie State, Elsinore. In support of their 2013 release, PUSH/PULL, the outfit are heading to New York and back, giving their fans a chance to catch them while they’re aching to get out, enjoy live music, and generally have lives again.

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If you haven’t been introduced to Chambana’s Elsinore yet, you’ve come at a good time. Just a few weeks ago, they released a brand-spankin’-new music video for the lead track off PUSH/PULL, “The Art of Pulling”. This indie rock favorite is catchy as hell with huge guitars and dynamic vocals. Lucky for us, the band coupled it with equally as appealing visuals, and it’s below to check out for yourself:

UPCOMING MIDWEST DATES:
4/11 Northside Tavern in Cincinnati, OH
4/12 Blind Bob’s Bar in Dayton, OH
4/17 The Black Sparrow in Lafayette, IN
4/19 Cowboy Monkey in Champaign, IL
For full tour dates, including East Coast dates, visit their website.

Elsinore Official | Facebook | Twitter | Bandcamp

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MWA Approved: Carbon Tigers at Yield Bar – 3/27

Bringing a little of the Windy City up to the Cream City is none other than the Illinois quartet of indie rockers, Carbon Tigers. Founded in 2009, the outfit are alumni in band-years, having released three albums, playing the Brooklyn Vegan Lolla afterparty, and balancing a full schedule of performances at this year’s SXSW.

The Wars at Home EP is relatively new to the scene; it was released in November of 2013, and after this post in particular, you’ve got no excuse for not getting it in your ears. The album is upbeat and filled with the light, summery tunes that we’re really craving this time of year. Although The Wars at Home holds only five songs, each of them are impactful and full, and I can only imagine how beautifully it might fill a venue.

Earlier this month, you may have caught the outfit at Eastside Music Tour, and this is your chance to get familiar with them on a whole new level. If you found yourself wrapped up in the warmth of Chris Wienke’s vocals or dynamic, atmospheric way the instrumentation came together and played with the energy of the space, then we recommend seeing Carbon Tigers as they pass through the lovely city of Milwaukee for the second time this month.

The best part about this show? It’s FREE. Yes, you read right. Just head to Yield Bar around 9:00PM (or 10 or so, according to the Facebook event) and enjoy Carbon Tigers’ sweet indie melodies. They’re set to hit the studio this coming May, so get your fix while you can.

RSVP here, and enjoy the night worry-free.

Carbon Tigers Official | Facebook | Twitter | Bandcamp

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MWA Presents: Ryan Duggan of Drug Factory Press

If you’re at all familiar with the music scene in Chicago, I guarantee you’ve seen the work of Ryan Duggan. This artist and printer calls the Windy City home and has shown, and created, work all over. He’s even expanded outside of the city (and international) limits with gallery exhibitions in Toronto, Berlin, France, London, The Netherlands, and Japan. Impressive, right?

Duggan’s gig poster work, and generally his design work over all, has a fairly minimal approach. He’s got the eye of a comic artist, both with his overall style and with the quips he  works into the compositions. They’re damn funny and lighten the tone of the gig poster, which is often viewed as a serious, over-complicated piece of work. With such a distinctive style and an awesome attitude about poster-making and printing, Duggan has a good thing going.

Enjoy Duggan’s work as much as we do? Show some love by heading to his official website or Facebook and checking out more. We guarantee there’s plenty to take in.

Ryan Duggan Official | Drug Factory Press | Facebook | GigPosters.com

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MWA Approved: VAYA LP Release Show – 3/22

Even those of us with the strongest of cerebrums can’t resist the brain-melting jams of VAYA, three-­piece experimental pop band out of Chicago. Jeff Kelley, Kevin Claxton, and Eric Ridder are the creative minds behind the outfit.

Coming to you out of Logan Square, their music is genre-­bending and unique, melding rhythms, riffs, and technical agility to create weirdly accessible songs. Ever since I saw Dirty Projectors at Pitchfork, I’ve had a bit of a music-crush on them, and it only makes sense that I’m feeling the same way about VAYA. With influences like the aforementioned Dirty Projectors, Maps & Atlases, and Deerhoof, can you blame me? My fingers don’t work in a way that makes such awesome noises on a guitar, so I absolutely respect and adore the mathy riffs VAYA’s pulled through most of their album.

The group, fresh off a SXSW tour, are celebrating their LP debut tonight. Vinyl, in a jacket hand-screened by the band in their bathroom (which is now covered in blue and red ink), will be on sale for only $10, but it’s bad ass and worth much more than that. We’ve thoroughly enjoyed the LP on Bandcamp for a while now; check it out below and hope your brain stays intact (enough) for tonight.

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akasha

MWA Approved: Akasha Celebrates Joy Song Release at The Hideout – 3/21

After one hell of a winter, the Midwest needs an easy-going night of sexy reggae jams to groove us out of that winter mentality. Chicago outfit, Akasha, are taking over the Hideout this Friday evening, and for more than just heating the venue up. The outfit is releasing their newest CD, Joy Song, this evening, and my dancing shoes are already tapping in anticipation of the tunes. The album incorporates elements of the band’s trademark reggae, but this time around with a new emphasis on neo-soul and synth-based new wave. The album features cameos by prominent Chicago musicians, JC Brooks and Illuminati Congo.

For a quick and tasty sampling of Akasha’s music, check out the video below. You really get a taste for what the outfit is about, from reggae jams to soulful vocals to steady indie percussion.

Also playing this evening are SPARE PARTS and Geri X.

To join in on the fun, grab a crisp dollar bill (or ten) and head to the Hideout on March 21st, or grab a crisp credit card and pick up your tickets digitally. Doors open at 9:00PM with the celebration kicking off at 10:00PM. Will you be there to celebrate this awesome release?

Akasha Official | Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud