Like most weekends in Chicago, there’s no shortage of great things happening this weekend. We’re here to try and help you sort through it all the great shows as we stress ourselves over the fact that we can’t be in three places at once (yet). Topping my list of things to do this Friday night is the Circles record release show at The Empty Bottle. I don’t really ever need much convincing to go to the Bottle on a Friday night but this one should prove to be pretty special.


Opening up the night is a band that has been a huge part of Chicago’s psych pop scene for years now. Outer Minds seem to get better every time I see them, and I’ve seen them a lot. Their jangly 12-string guitar melodies are flanked by keys, flute, tambourines, and a gorgeous mix of vocal harmonies. Their last self-titled release on Southpaw records may be a few years old now but it’s stayed near the top of my records stacks pretty consistently. On top of that, their live show is hard to beat.

You might remember hearing about Circles some months back when we reviewed their EP “Are You Watching the Masters? Because the Masters Are Watching You”Since that release I’ve been anxiously awaiting more from this band comprised of former members of France Has The Bomb, The Ponys, & a other notable figures in the Chicago music scene.Last month they added 6 new tracks to their incredible 6-track debut. Making Shadowgraph, the full-length LP that we’ll all be celebrating Friday night.

Even with a break in recording, a few new additions to their lineup, and a now out-of-town lead singer/guitarist, the band hasn’t broken their stride. They don’t find their way back to Chicago all that often lately so this is as good a time as ever to catch their live show. Check out one of the new tracks from Shadowgraph, available on CD and Vinyl at the show.

Another Chicago super-group of sorts, Bare Mutants brings together members of The Ponys, Mannequin Men, The 1900s and Like Pioneers into one wall of laid back psychedelic sound. Another project of former Ponys frontman Jered Gummere, Bare Mutants is particularly exciting for those of us that were around when The Ponys reigned as one of Chicago’s best garage rock acts. Honestly, they were one of the first local bands I ever got into when they came onto the scene in the early 2000’s.

Jared Gummere’s songwriting has grown quite a bit since his days of writing catchy three-chord garage pop tunes. The music of Bare Mutants is a bit more refined. Their debut single “Without You” is gorgeous piece of psych-pop that seems to just swirl around you as it builds into a brilliant climax of guitars & drums. Their first full-length LP, The Afflication, came out in 2013 on In The Red Records (the label that was home to the first 2 Ponys albums). It’ll be great to see them back on the Empty Bottle stage this Friday.

DJs Hollywood & Lust will be on hand to spin records in between sets. $10 bucks gets you in the door, advance tickets are available via ticketweb. Doors open at 8:30pm, show at 9pm, 21+

Join the almost 200 other people who have RSVP’d via Facebook here, we’ll see you on Friday.

Bare Mutants Official | Facebook
Circles Bandcamp | Facebook
Outer Minds Bandcamp | Facebook