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Top 15 Chicago Songs of the Year: No. 15

Over the next two weeks we are going to count down our favorite Chicago tracks of 2009. We would love to get your feedback and find out what your favorites are. Feel free to leave your picks in the comments section. Number 15 is Scotland Yard Gospel Choir “And The Horse You Rode in on” from the Bloodshot records album of the same title released this past September.

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Last Minute Plans: Sissy Mena Free Show

I know it is cold out there but perhaps you are looking for a reason to update your foursquare account. If you are may I suggest a free show at the Double Door that will feature four quality Chicago bands? The starts at 8:00pm and will feature Sissy Mena, California Wives, Future Ghosts, and Satellite 66. It will be a night of fun, load music, and who knows maybe a drink or two.

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Concert Review: Loyal Divide at The Empty Bottle 12/10/2009

There is something in the air when it comes to Chicago band, Loyal Divide, as is evidenced by the near sub-zero temperatures that haunt their gigs. Thursday night was the 3rd time in 2009 that I have witnessed the band perform on a single-digit evening with only their most dedicated fans out to support them and their electro-rock oeuvre.

Playing at the Empty Bottle on the December 10th with Flights, Alpha Centauri, and Color Radio, Loyal Divide headlined an evening of synthesizers, epic keys, and raised voices. The size of the crowd hardly fitting the budding bands' large sounds.

'09 has been a big year for Loyal Divide. Beyond making the rounds of Chicago's garage band venues, they opened for Chromeo at The Congress Theatre, filmed a music video, began recording their first full-length album. and booked SXSW 2010. Their continued development is no surprise as there is no lack of ingenuity amongst their ranks. The Empty Bottle found them testing new material on their audience with tunes like, "Ancestor," "Originoto," and "Baladron" that venture out of the band's typically brooding sound and into slightly sunnier territory. One cannot help but give Loyal Divide kudos for continuing to push themselves to evolve past work weighed down by outside influence.

However, despite their deserved success, on Thursday night, Loyal Divide was missing a sharpness characteristic of earlier performances. The new songs played sounded fresh, but tried and true work from their 2008 EP, Labrador, skimped on the intensity that has drawn listeners in the past. The screams in "Vision Vision" weren't as painful, and the roiling beats of "Labrador" weren't as dance inspiring as one has come to expect.

Thursday's set could have stood for more of co-frontman Chris Sadek's falsetto vocals and quirky fervor, leaving cohort Adam Johnson to fiddle with the gadgets he attended to and perhaps work on smoothing transitions between songs. Where the flow of the concert was interrupted with incongruous and goofy samples of valley girls, Loyal Divide would have been better served with work on gracefully fusing one song to the next, keeping the audience in the world of their music.

But if experimenting with new material was the bent of this performance at the Empty Bottle, Loyal Divide picked the right night. Supported by a mostly familiar crowd who appreciated their work, it was the appropriate moment to test new elements of the act. Though one expects a little more than from a group with such talent, this show was no deterrent.

Check out Loyal Divide at The Felix Culpa album release party at The Metro on January 23rd at 6:30pm. – Erin Keane

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Infernal Devices meet PGDM

Brooklyn’s Infernal Devices have brought their club beats to the Pretty Good Dance Moves track “Leave Me Alone”. The track again feature Bjorn Yttling and Angelina Lucero. The original track is taken from the duo’s self-titled full-length debut which has yet to surface.

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Nature’s Over

A new video from Bird Names has surfaced. “Nature’s Over” is the first track from the 2009 release on Upset the Rhythm, Sings The Browns. The band will be spending the month of January touring Europe.

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