Last week, long-running independent label Matador announced its signing of Chicago teen-scene rock trio Lifeguard. The band’s drummer, Isaac Lowenstein, is the younger brother of Horsegirl guitarist-vocalist Penelope; last year, her band issued their debut full-length, Versions of Modern Performance, through Matador. Not only that, but Brian Case, father of Lifeguard bassist Asher Case, put out music through Matador in the 2000s as a member of psych-garage band the Ponys. Lifeguard guitarist-vocalist Kai Slater doesn’t have any relatives on the Matador roster, but he does have exciting news (aside from the signing, that is). On Wednesday, March 1, Slater drops Turtle Rock, the debut full-length from his new solo project, Sharp Pins. Its first single, the effervescent, lo-fi “You Turned Off the Light,” has convinced this wolf that Slater could help trigger a new wave of local power pop! Slater is releasing a batch of hand-dubbed Turtle Rock cassettes via Hallogallo Tapes, the microlabel that’s grown out of teen indie-rock collective Hallogallo. (Slater is part of the collective, and he publishes a zine of the same name.) If you want a chance to congratulate Lifeguard in person, you can go see them open for June of 44 at Beat Kitchen on Saturday, March 4. Tickets are $25, and the show is 17+.
The brand-new solo debut of Lifeguard guitarist and vocalist Kai Slater
The most recent Lifeguard release is the EP Crowd Can Talk from summer 2022.
On Saturday, March 4, Metro hosts Last Night on Planet Earth, a memorial honoring veteran Chicago new-wave DJ Dave Roberts, who died February 6. (Roberts cofounded long-running weekly party Planet Earth in 1994.) Metro founder and owner Joe Shanahan hosts the event, with help from Roberts’s close friends and members of his family. Three of Roberts’s peers in the scene have provided prerecorded DJ sets: Greg Haus, Jeff Moyer, and Suzanne Shelton. The memorial runs from 7 to 11 PM; it’s free and 21+.
Gossip Wolf has long admired the work of Lynx Project, a local nonprofit that works to amplify “diverse voices and connect communities through new song commissions, inclusive concerts, and innovative educational programming.” Lynx works through the medium of art song, which can be simply defined as poetry set to music; it’s usually sung by a solo vocalist accompanied by a pianist. Over the past five years, Lynx Project’s Amplify Series has commissioned dozens of acclaimed composers, pianists, and singers to create songs with lyrics by primarily nonspeaking autistic poets. Last year, Lynx released Beautiful Small Things, an album of 18 Amplify Series pieces written between 2017 and 2020, which American Composers Forum editorial outlet I Care If You Listen described as “potent” and “starkly powerful.”
On Sunday, March 5, at Epiphany Center for the Arts, mezzo-soprano Quinn Middleman, baritone Samuel James Dewese, and pianist Florence Mak will perform songs by five composers from this year’s Amplify Series (Eugenia Cheng, Shane S. Cook, Corinne Klein, Paul Novak, and Matthew Recio). To make the concert more comfortable for all attendees, the venue has prepared a sensory-relief space outside the concert hall and asked for hand-waving or snapping in lieu of applause; the atmosphere will be relaxed, such that moving about during the performance is permitted.
Comfort Station has been one of the city’s most lovingly programmed community-driven nonprofit event spaces for more than a decade now. The Logan Square arts hub hosts more than 150 events per year, all of them free, and on top of that it’s adorably cozy! Comfort Station is currently accepting applications from peeps interested in working there: it’s looking for social engagement programming assistants, a marketing coordinator, staff for its monthly art exhibitions, programmers for weekly Wednesday film screenings and Thursday music events (especially Spanish-language programmers), and more.
Comfort Station relies heavily on volunteers, but it also recognizes the inequity baked into that approach—so it’s stepped up its fundraising to allow it to pay whenever it can. The organization explains that “positions may include an honorarium based on the need of individuals, the amount of work taken on over the course of the year, and our capacity to do so.” The window for applications closes Wednesday, March 15, and you can apply at comfortstationlogansquare.org/volunteer.
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