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RedEye Rock 'n' Vote 2012 Top 10

April 25, 2012|By Matt Pais | RedEye Sound Board

The Kickback
Home base:
Lakeview/Logan Square
Need to know: The band, started by brothers Billy and Danny Yost in South Dakota, came to Chicago in 2009. Its catchy, sophisticated take on melodic rock receives an extra dose of swagger on new track “Scorched Earth (Do-Da),” which will be released on the group’s full-length debut “Sorry All Over the Place” later this year.
Influences: Spoon, The Strokes, David Foster Wallace, “an overwhelming fear of death.” FYI: The title “Sorry All Over the Place” comes from a footnote in a Wallace novel.
Live show: “We’ve recently acquired a certain level of finesse that we didn’t have before,” says bassist Eamonn Donnelly, 25. That kind of thing will happen with experience like …
Claim to fame: Played a March residency at Schubas

Marina City
Home base: South Loop/Plainfield
Need to know: The rock sextet came together when all of the members’ previous bands broke up. As 19-year-old singer Ryan Alan puts it, “Let’s press the restart button and actually make this happen.” The band formed in September 2011 and released the “In the Wake of Dreaming” EP earlier this year, featuring “aggressive pop-punk with a dance twist to it,” says Alan. Most importantly: It’s extremely catchy, with choruses guaranteed to stick in your head.
Influences: Go Radio, Mayday Parade, Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Destroy Rebuild Until God Shows
Live show: “No one will leave the show without their heart beating fast,” promises Alan of the band’s energy. Vote for them if you want him to prove it.
Claim to fame: Playing a sold-out show at House of Blues with the Action Blast

Goodbye Ilene from Phil Doherty on Vimeo.

The Retar Crew
Home base:  Lincoln Square
Need to know: That name might seem offensive, but it’s not. The group came together in 2007 when working a summer roofing job in Kentucky. Their specialty: Re-tarring roofs. The group, who delivers drum-heavy, melodic hip-hop with honest lyricism and a sense of humor, also travels around the world educating kids about hip-hop, which they will do again in the Kidzapalooza section of Lollapalooza in August.
Influences: The Clash, J Dilla, De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, Frank Zappa
Live show: When’s the last time you saw 4 MC’s rapping and singing while doing Temptations-style dance moves, with a horn section? “We’re kind of like an adult boy band,” says Jax, 30. “A really dirty, self-deprecating boy band.”
Claim to fame: “Blackhawks Song (We Love the Hawks?),” a riff on the bandwagon that flocked to the team in 2010 that has nearly half a million views on YouTube.

Santiago x The Natural
Home base: Streeterville
Need to know: South Side native rapper The Natural (real name: Jeffery Z. Stephens) has collaborated with producer/vocalist (Lawrence) Santiago since 2004 but officially teamed up toward the end of 2011. They combine ‘90s hip-hop love—“for us that was like the golden era of music,” says Stephens, 27—with rock, electro, dancehall and an island feel, informed by the background of Santiago, a Native American who grew up in Guam. He now resides in L.A. but will move to Chicago in August.
Influences: Sublime, 2Pac, Jack White, Born Jamericans, Nas, Gorillaz, Lauryn Hill, Jackson 5, Outkast, Kanye West, Black Thought, Lee Perry
Live show: “We put it all out there when we're up on stage ... we look at it as both an artform of emotional expression and an instantaneous means to connect with people in the most visceral way we know how--beats to move to, sincere lyrics, and melodies to sing-along with," says Santiago, 29.
Claim to fame: The group’s song “Warriors” was chosen as the official theme song for professional lacrosse team the Minnesota Swarm, who will soon fly out Santiago and The Natural to perform at halftime. Individually, The Natural has opened for Akon, the Clipse, Mya and Cake, and Santiago has opened for Wyclef Jean, Lyfe Jennings and Avant, and appeared in Terrence Malick’s “The New World” and the Steven Spielberg-produced miniseries “Into the West.”

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