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TNK Spotlight: Nine Artists You Can't Miss at Tomorrow Never Knows 2019

It’s mid-January in Chicago, and you know what that means, right? Tomorrow Never Knows Fest kicks off this week! You’ve got your 5-day pass (or at least I hope you do—they’re already sold out), and now all that’s left to do is plot out your schedule for this annual indoor winter festival extravaganza that takes place across different venues in the city, like Lincoln Hall, Schubas, Sleeping Village and Metro. If you didn’t happen to snag five day passes, some of the shows still have individual tickets available, but read up on our recommendations and act quickly so you’re not left out in the cold for this year’s TNK!


Active Bird Community

Photo Credit: Eleanor Petry

Photo Credit: Eleanor Petry

Brooklyn-based four piece Active Bird Community combines long-term friendships with a candid, yet playful demeanor to deliver a live show full of punchy riffs and inside jokes told between songs. Tom D'Agustino, Andrew Wolfson, Zach Slater, and Quinn McGovern have been playing music together for more than ten years, which translates as a true sense of camaraderie both onstage and on their records. Every time I’ve seen this band, I spent their set bopping my head along to their upbeat melodies and laughing at their stage banter, making their set one not to miss at TNK. This past Fall, they released their third album Amends, which follows up 2015’s I’ve Been Going Swimming and 2017’s Stick Around, so their set at Lincoln Hall will be sure to feature some new music. For more on Active Bird Community, check out our interview here.

For Fans Of: The Frights, together PANGEA, Vundabar

Start With: “Pick me Apart,” “Virginia,” “Amends”

Where to catch them: Wednesday, January 16th at Lincoln Hall with Charly Bliss and Girl K

Lala Lala

Photo by Matthew James-Wilson

Photo by Matthew James-Wilson

The project of London-born, Chicago-based singer songwriter Lillie West (AKA Lala Lala) has been garnering buzz throughout the city the last few years, and recently nationally since West and her band toured nearly non-stop last year with bands like Frankie Cosmos, Wolf Parade and WHY?. 2018 saw the release of Lala Lala’s second full length album, The Lamb, which showcases West’s knack for honest and introspective storytelling through her lyrics. West also fearlessly dives into different sonic territories on the album’s twelve tracks, blending together different genres that portray the various emotions explored in the songs. The Lamb is easily one of my most listened to albums of 2018, and the band puts on one of the best live shows. If you need even more reason to add this to your TNK itinerary, this gig will be the last chance to catch Lala Lala in town for a while (they embark on a two month tour afterwards). Don’t miss it!

For Fans Of: Madeline Kenney, Jay Som, Soccer Mommy

Start With: “Water Over Sex,” “Scary Movie,” “I Get Cut”

Where to catch them: Thursday, January 17th at Metro with Varsity and Snail Mail

Pool Holograph

Photo by Rachel Zyzda

Photo by Rachel Zyzda

What began as a solo, bedroom-recorded project of songwriter Wyatt Grant has since blossomed into the full four piece that is current day Pool Holograph. With Zach Stuckman and brothers Paul and Jake Stolz joining Grant, their sound has filled out and developed in order to transition well in a live setting, making Pool Holograph’s show a must-see at this year’s TNK. The group recently followed up their 2017 album Transparent World with two new singles “Contours” and “No Escape,” which both highlight the band’s versatile sound that blends together elements of post punk, art rock, and lo-fi genres— or as Grant describes their sound, it’s like “a closed Urban Outfitters store circa 2008.” For more fun facts about the band (if that one didn’t already sell you), check out our interview with them here.

For Fans Of: Omni, NE-HI, Clearance

Start With: “Heat Map,” “Contours,” “Stratus Sheets”

Where to catch them: Wednesday, January 16th at Schubas with Bad Bad Hats, Video Age, Con Davison

Varsity

Photo by Kristina Pedersen

Photo by Kristina Pedersen

With their polished indie rock sound and memorable melodies, Chicago’s Varsity has an air about their music that is familiar without being derivative. Over the past few years, the group has toured regularly and shared stages with the likes of Japanese Breakfast and SALES, earning them a well-deserved fanbase that extends outside of the city. In the midst of touring (and sharing members Paul and Jake Stolz with Pool Holograph), Varsity still managed to release their sophomore album Parallel Person and two singles, “The Dogs Only Listen to Him” and “UFO,” in 2018. On top of all of that fresh music, the band teased the possibility of another brand new song being ready for their TNK set this week, so hopefully you already snagged tickets to this sold out show!

For Fans Of: Japanese Breakfast, No Vacation, Alvvays

Start With: “UFO,” “Downtown,” “A Friend Named Paul”

Where to catch them: Thursday, January 17th at Metro with Lala Lala and Snail Mail

Jordanna

Photo by Juliet Cangelosi

Photo by Juliet Cangelosi

Whether it’s her musical transformation from lead singer of a punk band to a sweet and soulful solo artist, her thoughtful marketing strategies, or her humor on social media (I mean have you seen her lip-sync videos??), Jordanna’s artistry knows no bounds. Her buttery vocals and sultry, smooth tempos are equally enthralling and soothing for her listeners and audience members, and she brings a sense of authenticity to everything she does. Jordanna’s debut EP, “Sweet Tooth,” features tracks like “Lucky For You” and “Sugar” which will be sure to have you grooving and swaying along. Her show at TNK is sold out, so hopefully you have a ticket or a 5 day pass— but if not you can also check out Jordanna at her own annual event on February 23rd: Candyland.

For Fans Of: Your Smith (FKA Caroline Smith), Tasha, The Marías

Start With: “Lucky For You,” “Eu Quero Você,” “I’m Your Girl”

Where to catch them: Thursday, January 17th at Schubas with Still Woozy, Victor!, Monster Rally

Yoke Lore

Photo by Rachel Zyzda

Photo by Rachel Zyzda

Adrian Galvin (aka Yoke Lore) is part musician, part visual artist, part dancer, and part spiritual guru. He’s even an expert on pirates (more on that here). Despite the fact that Galvin has so many creative passions, he still manages to excel in all aspects of his art. Through his message and his music, Galvin radiates motivation and positivity that can’t help but lift your spirits when you hear it. By blending ethereal vocals, the occasional twang of a banjo, and sweeping melodies, Yoke Lore’s music is easy to love and hard to forget. Yoke Lore’s show is one of the sold out ones on this list, but if you were smart enough to snag tickets ahead of time, be prepared to be blown away at his show on Saturday night.

For Fans Of: Overcoats, Rainbow Kitten Surprise, Lewis Del Mar

Start With: “Beige,” “Goodpain,” “Cut and Run”

Where to catch them: Saturday, January 19th at Schubas with Sontalk, Shortly, Ester

Bad Bad Hats

Photo by Zoe Prinds-Flash

Photo by Zoe Prinds-Flash

Minneapolis’s Bad Bad Hats earns a place on this list as one of the few non-Chicagoan bands with their bright, effervescent indie pop-rock. The trio, consisting of Kerry Alexander, Chris Hoge, and Connor Davison, has released two albums (the most recent, Lightning Round, just came out in August), and both records deliver a multifaceted, layered and diverse soundscape. Their sophomore album especially explores different genres and hues that set each song apart as a separate chapter, yet each track seamlessly complements the rest of the album perfectly. Their show at TNK will certainly keep the audience on their toes with the band’s dynamic catalog of songs.

For Fans Of: Hippo Campus, Maggie Rogers, Hala

Start With: “It Hurts,” “Midway,” “Psychic Reader”

Where to catch them: Wednesday, January 16th at Schubas with Video Age, Con Davison, Pool Holograph

Sports

With their groovy bass lines that you can’t resist dancing to and their live production that adds an extra layer of sparkle and shine, it’s impossible not to smile while at a Sports show. The band’s feel-good, synth laden music and the infectious energy that the band members all exude with their stage presence will make their show on Sunday night at TNK the perfect end to the five day festival. This past August, Sports followed up 2016’s album People Can’t Stop Chillin with Everyone’s Invited, so their set will be sure to feature some new tunes since their last show here in Chicago.

For Fans Of: POND, St. Lucia, Triathalon

Start With: “Panama,'“ “You Are the Right One,” “Don’t Tell Me”

Where to catch them: Sunday, January 20th at Lincoln Hall with Pavo Pavo and Arlie

Girl K

Photo by  Xitlaly Viveros

The brain child of Chicago-based singer songwriter Kathy Patino, Girl K, has provided a refreshing addition to the local rock scene, making a huge splash in a relatively short amount of time. Much like a few of the other artists on this list, the project began as a solo endeavor for Patino in 2017 before she added a full roster with musicians Ajay Raghuraman, Alex Pieczynski, and Kevin Sheppard. Girl K has kept Chicago music fans hooked by regularly playing shows around the city and releasing music— In 2018, Patino released three singles to follow up her debut full length Sunflower Court, and her recent live shows have featured performances of brand new material. 2019 is gearing up to be an even bigger year for Girl K, so don’t miss them kicking off TNK on Wednesday night.

For Fans Of: Beach Bunny, Lunar Vacation, Slow Pulp

Start With: “Dog Year Lungs,” “Cinnamon,” “80’s Baby”

Where to catch them: Wednesday, January 16th at Lincoln Hall with Active Bird Community and Charly Bliss


Audiotree Music Festival 2017 Recap and Gallery: King Gizzard, Twin Peaks, Lizzo, and more!

Chicago-based music tastemakers Audiotree may be best known for some of their studio sessions with your favorite bands, but this past Friday and Saturday, they took over downtown Kalamazoo to bring some of those musicians to one stage for their annual festival. Although Audiotree, a big part of the crowd, and a few of the acts on the lineup all hailed from Chicago, the festival did a great job of curating local fare by bringing in Michigan based food trucks and beer from local breweries. The curators also succeeded in booking a diverse lineup that featured everything from psych rock to rap music. While there was never a dull moment over the course of those two days, here are the moments that stole the show.


Noname Drew in the Friday Evening Crowd

Chicago's on the rise spoken word artist/vocalist/rapper Noname has already had an unstoppable year, playing major festivals like Osheaga and Lollapalooza.  Her sunset performance at Audiotree Music Festival on Friday evening completely hooked the small, but mighty festival crowd with her compelling cadence. Her 45 minute set included some of her most popular tracks like "Diddy Bop" and "Reality Check," as well as some shoutouts to fellow Chicagoans like Saba and Kanye West. One of the most memorable moments in her set happened only a few songs in when she told the crowd they could move up, and there was a notable shift of everyone rushing forward to soak in the magnetic performance. Noname will be performing Concord Music Hall in November as part of Red Bull's 30 Days in Chicago, so make sure you catch her there if you missed her summer festival performances!

Noname performing during her sunset slot at ATMF

Noname performing during her sunset slot at ATMF

Lizzo Activated and Instilled Confidence in the Crowd

Hip Hop singer Lizzo brought a vivacious and energetic performance to the Audiotree Festival stage, but her nonstop show also featured a powerful message. While she encouraged the crowd to dance and sing along to her songs like "Phone" and "Water Me," she also encouraged everyone to take a stand in the world. Mentioning some of the current problems of the world, Lizzo said the only way to get through the horrible happenings is to come together and activate. She also instilled the confidence in her audience that they can all do whatever they put their mind to, no matter what anybody says. She put on an inspiring show just a couple weeks back at Loufest, but every time she hits a stage, Lizzo spreads positivity and love. You can also catch her in Chicago this November with Red Bull Sound Select's 30 Day festival. 

Lizzo and her ladies getting Friday night at ATMF going

Lizzo and her ladies getting Friday night at ATMF going

Campdogzz Warmed Up the Crowd During the Day's Peak Heatwave

Chicago's own Campdogzz warmed up the stage on the second day of Audiotree Music Festival. Although the seasons technically shifted into Fall a few days ago, the temperature during Campdogzz's set was reminiscent of the dog days of Summer, reaching mid 90s...with humidity. Although the temperature during their 30 minute set was nearly unbearable, lead singer Jessica Price's unique voice and the chemistry displayed between the band members still got the crowd engaged. The group flawlessly performed new songs off of an upcoming album, which all held onto their signature sound, but showcased their development and expansion as musicians since their last album.

Jessica Price of Campdogzz on Saturday afternoon

Jessica Price of Campdogzz on Saturday afternoon

Liz Cooper's Set Brought on a Wind Tunnel

The Nashville based nomad Liz Cooper and her band (aka The Stampede) kept it cool while they played through their laid back, country-tinged rock tunes. Throughout the set, the band's easygoing nature shone through, especially when Liz made the most of the fan onstage, which gave her a natural windswept look as she sang her songs with her signature earnest and raspy vocals. Throughout the set, you could tell Liz and her bandmates were enjoying themselves, which translated to the crowd getting lost in the moment too. 

Liz Cooper and her windswept look on Saturday

Liz Cooper and her windswept look on Saturday

Active Bird Community Made Their Michigan Debut

NYC's Active Bird Community has been playing together since they were in middle school, for more than ten years, but when they hit the stage on day two of ATMF, they mentioned that the festival was their first time playing in Michigan. Although they'd never played nearby before, the music hungry crowd eagerly absorbed songs from the band's earlier days and their 2017 album called Stick Around. 

Active Bird Community's frontman Tom D'Agustino during their Saturday set

Active Bird Community's frontman Tom D'Agustino during their Saturday set

Charly Bliss Played New Songs While Jetlagged

The Brooklyn based four piece fronted by Eva Hendricks also performed in the peak of Saturday's heat wave, but they still got the crowd into their show and moving in the sun. Decked out in a baby pink dress, Hendricks completely rocked the stage with her bandmates, even though they'd just gotten back from a tour around The U.K. Hendricks told the crowd they'd be performing a few new ones, and they went over incredibly well despite the jet lag. 

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Pinegrove Got Shady

Pinegrove frontman Evan Stephens Hall took the stage during Pinegrove's late afternoon set donning green sunglasses that matched his t-shirt, due to the blazing hot sun still beaming down on the audience and stage. After a few songs, Hall told the crowd that he wished he didn't have to wear the sunglasses because "eyes are the best way to show you mean it" but he asked the crowd to trust him anyways. Despite the sunglasses barrier, Hall and his bandmates still managed to connect with the crowd, who were all ardently echoing the words back to songs like "Old Friends" and "Cadmium." If you're based in Chicago and missed Pinegrove's set, go see them at Thalia Hall this November, where Hall will be performing sans sunglasses. 

Evan Stephens Hall and his sunglasses during Pinegrove's set

Evan Stephens Hall and his sunglasses during Pinegrove's set

Twin Peaks Played Some Sweet Singles

The energy of day two at Audiotree Music Festival peaked (pun intended) when Chicago legends Twin Peak hit the stage with a surge of energy that never lulled.  Their hour long set included some of their most popular tracks like "Butterfly," "Walk To The One You Love," and "Making Breakfast," but the band also performed some of their "Sweet '17 Singles" like "Tossing Tears" and "Shake You Lonely" for one of the first few times. Twin Peaks always steals the show when they're part of a lineup, but this refresh to their setlist added another layer to their usually incredible show. Twin Peaks will be taking over Chicago's Thalia Hall for three nights at the end of December, so ring in 2018 with one of their rowdy performances. 

Clay Frankel of Twin Peaks leaving it all on the stage 

Clay Frankel of Twin Peaks leaving it all on the stage 

King Gizzard Dedicated a Song to Charles Bradley

During the early afternoon on Saturday, news broke that the soulful legend Charles Bradley had passed away. A few songs into King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard's 90 minute set that night, the seven piece band dedicated a song to Mr. Bradley, with vocalist/guitarist/flutist Stu Mackenzie saying, "This one's for Chuck." Outside of the heartfelt dedication, their headlining set kept up a pulsating pace that never let up and included several live debuts of tracks from the group's first album of 2017, called Murder of the Universe. Their explosive set acted as the perfect wrap up of Audiotree Music Festival 2017. Some lucky Chicagoans got to witness a similar performance at Lincoln Hall last night, and the super group returns again tonight with Mild High Club. 

Stu Mackenzie closing out the night with King Gizzard

Stu Mackenzie closing out the night with King Gizzard

Check out the full gallery featuring Noname, Lizzo, SuperDuperKyle, Campdogzz, Liz Cooper and the Stampede, Active Bird Community, Charly Bliss, Pinegrove, BadBadNotGood, Twin Peaks, and King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard!

From Psych Rock to Rap, Audiotree Music Festival Has It All

Chicago based company Audiotree has become known as a tastemaker over the past few years. Taking artists of all different calibers and genres and giving them a means to showcase their live performances, Audiotree records live sessions in-studio and at local venues, opening up a world of discovery for music fans and a window of opportunities for musicians. In addition to these live sessions, Audiotree also puts on an annual music festival in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and this year they've got their best lineup yet. Headlined by Australian psych rockers King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard and rapper SuperDuperKyle, the two day festival has a little something for everyone. Check out the entire line up below, and grab your tickets here before they're gone. Single day tickets start at a mere $32.50 for GA with VIP options, and you can snag a two day GA pass for $60.