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With Love From: Chicago (Part 1 of 2)

With Love From: Chicago (Part 1 of 2)

Wednesday 8th September, 2010 12:48PM

Here we have the second compilation in our With Love From series where we get in touch with NZ musicians living abroad, see what they’re up to and get them to share with us the music they love from the cities they now live in.

A couple of months ago we tracked down expat musician Renee-Louise Carafice who now lives in Nashville, moving from her previous US base of Chicago earlier this year. Renee has kindly put together not one, but TWO compilations of tracks she loves which we are going to stream in two parts. The first includes artists she discovered while living in Chicago where she moved in 2006 and recorded her debut album Tells You To Fight (2008) with Nick Abbott at Steve Albini’s legendary Electric Audio studios. The second from Nashville from where she will release her new album I Will Raise A Bird Army later this month.

We asked her to tell us a  bit about her life in both cities and the new album….

Chicago…. "Life is good here. I am very happy. Things with music move very slowly and so it's really important to have a day-to-day real life that you're happy with... so while you're waiting for the big things to happen you are enjoying the little things. I feel like I've really achieved that here. I'm in a good phase of my life where everything feels quite ideal. I lived across from the zoo in Chicago and could hear the wolves howling when I was going to sleep."

Nashville…"In Chicago I have been deeply involved with a d.i.y bike gang, who have acted as my family over here. We make bikes, weird bikes, and ride them through alleys going through people's trash. In Nashville we have a chapter of the same club, and I came down here for a bike club party at the end of last year and felt that this place was where I wanted to be. It's such a cool town. Everyone knows each other and everyone is in a band. Life is simple and good here. There's a lot of sitting on porches in the sun, a lot of bike riding, a lot of shows."

I Will Raise A Bird Army…"I recorded the album with Jamie Stewart from Xiu Xiu, my favorite band. That was so cool. His ideas worked with mine perfectly. I feel like this album is a whole lot more what I want my music to be. Obviously my first album was recorded 5 years ago, so it's not a mirror of who I am anymore. This one is. I am going to be starting my own label in the next couple months and releasing this one myself."

We will be previewing the album on it's release on September 27th but you can download the first single right now from her site: Also don't miss seeing  Xiu Xiu who are in NZ this weekend!

And without further ado - here is the With Love From: Chicago compilation, listen via the player below Renee's awesome introductions to each artist.

With Love From: Chicago

Ian loves David Bowie. He loves loves loves David Bowie. Maybe that’s why he and I are kindred spirits musically. But Ian comes to the party with his own supply of excellent pop compositions that are distinctively his own, and that have in them his contagious joyful craziness.

David Cohen, aka Serengeti, is a tortured soul. Perhaps this is why he makes such damn strange and wonderful rap songs that redefine what he is expected to do in the hiphop genre. At any rate, people are paying attention, giving him tours alongside Deerhoof and Dan Deacon, as well as signing him to a hiphop-nerd’s ultimate label, Anticon.

This was one of the bands I saw in Chicago that I insisted on having play alongside me whenever I got a show. These boys, now called Royal Ospry, went through dozens of band names over the years, but consistently come up with music that is insightful and gorgeous.

Eric Osborne was recording at Electric Audio at the same time as I was, many years ago. His beautiful, mournful folk songs are pulled off in a way that separates him from the thousands of dumb folk acts swarming out of Williamsburg these days. He plays quietly, with a low muttering voice, and with such sincerity that it sends chills up the spine.

I’ve always had a thing for one-man-band acts, me being someone who similarly likes to perform alone but do a bunch of stuff at once. This Chicago kid, originally from Memphis, pulls off a damn good one-man act, with ghostly guitar loops, weird new-agey synths and distorted vocals.

When this tall, nerdy boy busted out a Tina Turner cover in the chicken shed in Chicago where he was doing a show, I danced until I had to stop for fear of throwing up. His dry, comedic lyrics and pop-nerd musicality makes Granny Frost an act to see by any means necessary.

I was obsessed with this band. I went to any shows I could, and brought people with me every time who hadn’t seen them. This group of young super-weirdos from Chicago create such mental messes of songs that it would be easy to confuse them for untalented fools. When you see them pull the same songs off time and again with the same wild juvenile perfection, you realize they are dedicated to being something truly different.

This group is a traveling band, a boyfriend and girlfriend who travel all year from town to town playing shows at people’s houses. This song, so tender and funny and cool, caught me out by reducing me to tears in front of fellow audience members, not once but twice, when they came back through town later on and I’d forgotten how great the song was.

We hope you find something you like -  the second compilation will be posted tomorrow.

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