State & Madison (Record Release Show)

7 releases in 6 years. Somewhere in the range of 100,000 flyers distributed at shows played in no less than 15 states. From Minnesota to Texas, Ohio to California and several places in between, STATE AND MADISON is forging it's own path ahead. Since the band's inception in October 2005, it has self-released music to an ever growing group of fans, starting first with their hometown friends and family on the South-side of Chicago. These are the facts.

What makes these facts more astonishing is that all of it was done alone. The tours were self booked. The records, self funded and distributed. No labels. No record deal. Nothing. Motivated only by the belief that honest, hard work eventually pays off, STATE AND MADISON hasn't stopped. Won't stop. Can't. This is all they know how to do.

After releasing their debut EP in May 2006, the group slowly but surely developed a loyal, hometown fan-base by becoming staples of the local scene, obsessing in the time-honored Chicago tradition of working the local circuit by promoting with flyers and burned demos. “We literally built our following from the ground up” says singer/songwriter Nickolas Blazina. “If you were going to see a rock show in Chicago, you were going to see us there, and you were going to get a CD”. The hard work did indeed begin paying off, as STATE AND MADISON was tapped to appear on the infamous VAN’S WARPED TOUR and Milwaukee's mega SUMMERFEST. Praise began pouring in from across the country, with glowing features in the CHICAGO TRIBUNE, CS MAGAZINE, REDEYE and THE MEN’S BOOK. ALTERNATIVE PRESS magazine featured the band as a Chicago Hometown Hero, and in their 2010 issue of their annual AP&R, the magazine praised the band’s "melodies made for top 40", comparing them to major label acts Ludo and Panic! At The Disco. The band's song "Hot Damn!" was also eventually featured on the hit MTV reality show "Made". After closing out 2011 to a sold out crowd at the band's 6th Annual Fall Formal, an event that has become a staple of Chicago's thanksgiving weekend celebrations, STATE AND MADISON charted a course towards brand new territory - their first full length record, entitled Tar & Feather.

Slated for national release in May 2013, Tar & Feather is the documentary of a band hitting its stride. From the opening track "Goodnight Sun", a larger than life dream in which two lovers drown together if only to never again leave each other's side, to the album's epic 7-minute opus "Since Last She Was Sad", STATE AND MADISON is a band that has found its voice. Songs like the first single "Dearest Restless" and the crowd favorite "Don’t Give Up Now" see the band at the top of the energetic pop/rock heights from which they've made a name; showcasing why indeed their live shows have begun to sell out anytime they play Chicago. Given the larger canvas that an LP provides though, the band has also been able to extend its reach to new musical territory with songs like "Come Back From The Sea", a song that would be as comfortable as an AC radio single as it would be in a Pop/Country setting; think Civil Wars meets Ryan Adams. For fans of Jimmy Eat World, the Foo Fighters, and Jack's Mannequin, Tar & Feather is STATE AND MADISON at its best.

It’s because of that unique combination of music that STATE AND MADISON stands out in an ever more competitive musical landscape. Blazina’s melodies and arrangements are unabashedly pop, so strong in fact, the darker lyrical themes that permeate most of his songs could be easily missed by the casual listener. But despite being catchy and upbeat, there’s a depth to the music that reveals a strong ethos, one that is painfully aware life isn’t fair, but regardless, refuses to be negative. It’s an ethos the band lives by. “We can’t afford a van, so we tour in our parents' old truck.” explains Blazina. “Nothing is going to stop us from living our dream.” That’s because, for STATE AND MADISON, the journey is part of the destination. With the release of Tar & Feather, that journey has just begun.

The foundation of any band is musical kinship. Within the exposed confines of a trio, this rapport is amplified, leaving an indelible mark on the songs. Glance through rock history and we see this repeatedly; the groundbreaking strut of Cream, the irresistible pop of The Police, the undone roar of Nirvana. Remove any member and the band's core unravels. For Chicago-based trio, The Sweeps, this affinity is vital. Their core is firmly intact.

Each member of The Sweeps--Bob Dain, Santiago Torres, and Chris Dye (ex-Chin Up Chin Up)--brings a hefty presence to their lean arrangements. Challenging the sonic boundaries of a trio, both Dain and Torres sing with longing, conviction and fury. Dain's dexterity, equal parts pedal-board and guitar, ranges from a delicate strum to an incandescent wail. Countering Dain, Torres brings a solid bass thump; playing slinky, soul-inflected rumblings along with fractured melodic fuzz. Dye's hook-heavy drumming supports Dain and Torres, while lending a swaggering rhythmic architecture to the songs. Live, the band explodes with an infectious adrenaline that has ignited their strong Chicago fanbase, propelling them toward building a national audience.

On the band's full-length debut, Swift Armour (scheduled for a March 26, 2013 release), The Sweeps capture a live immediacy, yet further explore and refine their craft. Recorded at Chicago's Minbal Studio with the help of producer/engineer, Benjamin Balcom, Swift Armour is an emotionally rich and honest evolution for the band. It is a collage of loud guitars and chanting vocal hooks, an intimately pounding cadence, a call to arms. It is a record with a strong sense of place, Chicago to be precise---the historic struggles, the dying and thriving neighborhoods---all inhabit these 13 tracks. From the lush death march of the opening title track to the dark pop hymn "1600cc Engine," this record is equal parts confession, exultation and vindication: embittered but embracing. Swift Armour is an ode to Chicago: a battle between the harsh and the beautiful.

Honey & The 45's

Sultry Chicago-blues meets hard-hitting harmonic invasion. That’s Honey & the 45s, exclusive winner of the 2014 Chicago Independent Music Award for Best Blues/Jazz band.

Fusing elements of rock, blues, jazz, funk, Americana and soul with powerful vocals and pocket grooves, Honey & the 45s tosses it up in the air and what lands is an eclectic collection of soulful surprises.

Formed in Chicago in October 2009 as a folk/acoustic group by core members lead singer-songwriter guitarist Kristina Cottone, and singer, violinist and saxophonist Kim Kozel, the band’s unique sound evolved by adding bassist Sean Tatum, lead guitarist Jon Gould, and drummer Jarad Kleinstein. Dubbed “The band of Chicago” Honey & the 45s pulls from jazz and blues roots but delivers a new rock sound with a retro feel.

The band appears at time-honored and historic venues throughout Chicago and St. Louis including House of Blues, The Metro, The Field Museum, The Wildey Theater, BBs Jazz Blues and Soups, and Blueberry Hill.

Their popular debut album, The Need, was released in September 2012. 5 of the songs off The Need were remixed and mastered by Grammy award winning engineer, Fred Breitberg and released in November 2013 for a radio push. The remixed EP “Honey & the 45s” has been played on over 100 radio stations nationwide, and the band is invited regularly to perform live in-studio sessions. In April 2013, Honey & the 45s won the Championship at the battle of the bands "Battle For Catalano" in Milwaukee, WI -- securing a slot on the U.S. Cellular Stage at the world’s largest music festival, Summerfest 2013. In February 2014, Honey & the 45s provided an exclusive performance at the Chicago Kia Auto Show press event. In April 2014 Honey was named best blue/jazz act in Chicago. A much anticipated EP is set for release in late Summer 2014 with music tours planned right around the corner.

Fletcher began as a basement project between brothers Oscar and Harvey Baker and their long time friend Tom Fry. While two of the members are originally from London, England and the other from Chicago, IL, the band has been able to create a new strand of new age British Rock with quirky melodies and brain tingling music. Insisting on sticking to a three-piece band, Fletcher has created a vigorous and chemistry driven connection between each member. After collaborating for just under nine months, Fletcher has gained a reputation around Chicago and beyond, for demonstrating that great music can form in the blink of an eye.



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