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NEWS
December 6, 2012 | By Stephen Markley, @stephenmarkley and For RedEye
*Editor's note: This column originally was published Dec. 4, 2011. As a person who thinks all organized religions have been a net "bad" for human civilization, I gotta say, I still really enjoy Christmas. You get days off work, you get to see your family, your friends, there's good food, alcoholic eggnog, presents, the lights are pretty and tend to put women in an amorous mood - don't ask me why. Therefore, I'm anti-"War on Christmas. " But I'm pro-"War on Christmas Music. " There's not really a way to sugarcoat this, but people who like Christmas music are morons.
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NEWS
March 5, 2012 | By Melinda McIntire, for RedEye
The guy who frequents Ukrainian Village coffee shop Atomix is much more than a guy named Phil. He's actually Phillip-Michael Scales, a Ukrainian Village resident and frontman of Briar Rabbit , a local Chicago act that recently dropped a new album, "The Great Routine," and is currently on tour throughout the Midwest.  Briar Rabbit's tour has made stops in college towns including Des Moines, Ames, Madison, Grand Rapids and Iowa City....
ENTERTAINMENT
September 17, 2012 | By Ernest Wilkins and RedEye Sound Board
***1/2 (out of 4) You're going to see a lot of flowery reviews for the first “crew” album from Kanye's G.O.O.D Music collective that mention things like “brash delivery.” I'm not going to do that. In order to properly encapsulate this undeniably great record, I'm going to tell you specifically what sucks and, far more significantly, what doesn't on “Cruel Summer.” What doesn't suck: •    Pusha T: On “Cruel Summer,” he proves that he's the Arn Anderson to Kanye's Ric Flair.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 9, 2013 | By Matt Pais and RedEye Sound Board
*** (out of four) On 2009's “Brand New Eyes,” Paramore singer Hayley Williams couldn't believe the Tennessee outfit was still a band. On the record, which had its moments but often failed to excite like breakout predecessor “Riot!,” Williams sang about what it takes to stay together and the perspective that comes from being a hugely popular group. Two of Paramore's founding members since have departed, and the band now soldiers on as a trio for their self-titled new album, an effort to start fresh and do things the way Paramore 2.0 sees fit. Williams still leads the charge, while songs like the excellent “Still Into You,” the heartfelt “Daydreaming” and the huge, echoing “Now” command as much as Paramore ever did. Over 17 tracks, though - three of those are interludes, featuring just a ukulele and Williams singing about moving on - Paramore stretches out, coming off like a few different bands.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 19, 2012 | By Emily Van Zandt, RedEye
Beyond the Apple-induced glow of the North/Clybourn Red Line station sits an oasis. Large and utterly forgettable from the outside, Joe's Bar on Weed Street could be any other crowded sports bar on a Friday night. If you could just ignore the cowboy hats. With patrons in plaid shirts, cowboy boots and hats (required dress for cover-free admission on "Country Fridays"), Joe's may seem out of place in the city - but it's packed. Sold out, even. People drive miles, or walk blocks, for the one thing it offers that few other venues in the city will touch: country music.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 5, 2012 | Matt Pais and RedEye movie critic
*1/2 (out of four) The concert documentary “Katy Perry: Part of Me” may appear fascinating to anyone who did not realize that pop stars sometimes don't wear makeup and that people experiencing relationship problems sometimes cry. It may also rivet those who remain oblivious to Perry's widely reported conservative Christian upbringing, which becomes a borderline non-issue in the film considering the lack of conflict between Perry's parents...
ENTERTAINMENT
August 20, 2012 | Andy Downing for RedEye
California Wives' full-length debut "Art History" is littered with song titles taken from cities both near ("Los Angeles") and far ("Tokyo"). According to frontman Jayson Kramer, however, the guitar rockers, who first got together in 2009, have yet to spend much time outside the Midwest. That's all set to change in the coming days as the group sets off in a newly purchased vehicle--dubbed the Silver Bullet Van in honor of Bob Seger's longtime backing crew--for a nationwide tour that will take them from Portland, Maine to San Francisco.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 27, 2012 | By Taylor Ervin, RedEye
Jamie Lono is a 22-year-old Chicago area resident who performed on NBC's "The Voice" Feb. 20. The Vernon Hills resident sang Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues" on air and impressed the judges Cee Lo Green and Adam Levine enough to move on in the competition. Since then, he's become an overnight sensation. RedEye caught up with Lono to find out more about his musical background, experience and Chicago influences. Were there any Chicago musicians that you idolized growing up?
ENTERTAINMENT
April 2, 2012
Chicago rockers Color Card answered our Chi-Tunes questionnaire . Do the same and your band could appear in RedEye! What makes your live show great? All three of us play multiple instruments, so we fill up the sound really well. We see our recordings and live performances as separate entities, but we are writing in a direction that closes the gap between the two. Describe your sound in five words or less. Experimental, textured. Tell us something random about the band, and why that's significant.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 15, 2012 | By Dana Moran and RedEye Sound Board
Regina Spektor has performed in Chicago numerous times, including a Lollapalooza stint in 2007, but while she's in town you won't find her at the clubs favored by the Rihanna-Katy Perry-Ke$ha set. Instead, before her performance Wednesday at the Chicago Theatre, Spektor was most excited to spend time with an elderly family friend who ran the first fertility clinic in Russia. “Every time I go to Chicago, I always go to her house and we hang out, so I'm super excited about that,” she said by phone from New York last month ahead of a months-long tour to promote her latest album, “What We Saw From the Cheap Seats.” It's not difficult to see that Spektor, 32, doesn't much resemble the vast majority of female solo artists hitting the airwaves--though her songs have been featured on TV shows like “90210” and “Grey's Anatomy,” and in movies like “(500)
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