• It’s an understatement to say that Surfer Blood as a band has been through a lot. After parting ways with their bassist and losing their guitarist to cancer, most bands would crumble without question, but Surfer Blood strived. Before they finished loading up the van for the rest of their Midwest tour, I got a chance to talk with frontman John Paul Pitts about their 2017 album and the growth of the band. T- So your new album Snowdonia has been met with […]

  • Beloved Florida indie rockers Surfer Blood are coming to Urbana and they’re bringing their signature surf-washed sound and catchy guitar hooks with them. The four-piece band has had some huge obstacles to overcome—notably the tragic death of guitarist and songwriter Thomas Fekete in 2016—understandably, many weren’t sure what to expect from the band after the loss of such a pivotal member. Surfer Blood as a collective, heroically overcame tragedy and channeled their grief deeply into the lyricism of their newest […]

  • The Pygmalion Festival hosted St. Louis stand-out Smino at the Canopy Club in Urbana Last Thursday night. A sizeable crowd gathered to first hear Illinois student and rapper CJ Run heat up the stage. Joined by a live band consisting of a saxophone, bass, drums, keys, and a backup vocalist, CJ energized the crowd with fast paced rhythms accompanied by melodies from their band. CJ had huge amounts of crowd participation from old and new fans alike throughout their half […]

  • This past Friday night in Urbana, local self-proclaimed emo-punk act Jarring debuted their first full-length album, and along for the ride was a slew of great opening acts from the Champaign-Urbana area and beyond. Opening for Jarring came Terribly Happy, Spandrels, and Puzzlequest in that order. Each brought their own sound and spirit to the show. Peoria based group, Terribly Happy,  opened with a distinct atmosphere for the show. Led by energetic and angsty vocals, the audience followed the dynamic […]

  • I jumped at the opportunity to see Fela Kuti’s youngest son, Seun, and had heard good things about Charles Bradley (though when I learned he used to be a James Brown impersonator my enthusiasm waned). It turned out that Seun Kuti did not make an appearance at the House of Vans that night. Despite this, I thought the show was entertaining. The opening rap duo, The Cool Kids, delivered an upbeat, old-school flow with production reminiscent of Beastie Boys. Lively and […]