October 5, 2012

Friday night live at Transistor: Randi Russo, Justin Turner (Tin Tin Can) and Jesse Hanabarger (The Hit Back). Sound by Jon Monteverde.


There is a toughness and tenderness in singer-songwriter Randi Russo'ssongwriting and performances that has led to comparisons to fellow New Yorkers Lou Reed and Patti Smith. Her songs deliver emotionally stirring melodies, as her "honest, provocative lyrics" cut deep. Her music ignites a fiery sound that can flare up into intense explosions of emotion or simmer with a calm fury. Cynicism meets optimism in her "dark, brooding outsider anthems." (Lucid Culture)

After a few overseas tours and shows in the U.S., Randi earned a spot at the Milwaukee Summerfest, playing alongside main stage artists Crosby, Stills and Nash. She has shared bills with quite a few better-known indie acts (Kimya Dawson, Regina Spektor, Nicole Atkins and Jeffrey Lewis), and has been on an Antifolk compilation along with cult hero Daniel Johnston. In the summer of 2012, she will be featured on a compilation with Evan Dando and Robert Pollard, among others. The Village Voice has said, "Randi's someone to keep your eye on... all she needs is one gig opening up for someone like Cat Power and her fame is pretty much guaranteed."


Formerly of Hot Springs, Arkansas, Justin Turner (above) has been a Chicago singer-songwriter for about six years now. He is pretty spectacular. His current band is called Tin Tin Can and they are also pretty spectacular. You can hear their newest record here. It's pretty spectacular.

Jesse Hanabarger (vocals/keyboard/guitar) is one half of Chicago-based indie pop duo theHit Back, who set up camp in the netherworld between heavy electronica and organic pop on their debut "Who Are These Weird Old Kids." Recorded over the course of four months with some overseas help from Swedish musician and producer Lindefelt (Fredrik, The LK),"Who Are These Weird Old Kids" possesses an uncommon confidence for a first effort. Uncompromisingly sweet pop hooks brush against thick electronic textures, diverse arrangements, and lean sonic landscapes reminiscent of Kings of Convenience's folk sensibilities. Their piano-based tracks recall a young Ben Gibbard, with more atmospheric instrumentation. The percussive assault on "Tagalong," sweeping piano ballad "And You're the Night," and electroclash-evocative "Me and the Kid" brilliantly demonstrate their sonic breadth. No microgenres, no niche approaches, just timeless and ornate music. Their solid first statement to the world is just the beginning for Jesse Hanabarger and Seth Weidmann. Keep an ear to the ground. Stream the album.

Poster by   Chien-An Yuan

Poster by Chien-An Yuan

Jon Monteverde

Jon Monteverde

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