Locals On Love

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It is that lovey-dovey time of the year again! Whether you are a sucker for Valentine’s Day or think that it is just another Hallmark holiday, you cannot deny a good love song! The Chicago-land music scene has pumped out many gorgeous ballads and up-beat anthems recently with themes ranging from “I have a crush” to “I have found the one”. Struck by Cupid or not, these tunes by some of my favorite local musicians are sure to melt your heart. 

1.) “Crush”- Ava Morse 

Listening to this song, I was taken back to 7th grade where I had my first major crush. His name was Jake and his resemblance to Kurt Cobain was uncanny. “Crush” will turn the nostalgia dial all the way up! Ava does a wonderful job at explaining the special feeling that you have when you crush on someone. Listening to the song, you can practically feel all those butterflies in your stomach! It is fun, sweet, and catchy. Warning: “Crush” will be stuck in your head for several weeks after your first listen.  

2.) “Loving You”- The Darling Suns 

I can picture this song being featured in an Indie film where two people embark on a road trip to anywhere and fall in love along the way. “Loving You” makes me think of a long drive or picnic in the park with that special someone. Sadly, it is not the best time to set up a picnic in snowy Chicago right now. However, this song will warm your heart! The Darling Suns know how to write a song that pulls every last heart string and that is proven by their debut full-length album “Midnight Feelings”. My favorite lyric from this tune is: “Love like a best friend or not at all”.  

3.) “Just Kidding, It’s Trust”- Each Day 

Each Day does a fantastic job encompassing the vulnerability it takes to love and be loved in their song “Just Kidding, It’s Trust”. It is scary to be open and let people into your heart! Despite how a great amount of people can relate to this, I have not heard many songs that have this message. The soft harmonies and melodic guitars make “Just Kidding, It’s Trust” a beautiful listening experience. My favorite lyric: “You have my heart and the power to hurt me”. 

4.) “Sexy Woman”- Saltwater Tap 

Although “Sexy Woman” is not claiming to be a love song, it talks of two people who find themselves in their own little world. The line “So here we find ourselves sitting In esoteric, solitary song” makes me think of a couple who is alone in a state of mind that only they can understand. The instrumentation is stunning. The violin contributes greatly to making it as moving of a tune as it is. “Sexy Woman” is a great song for one to slow dance to with their lover. 

5.) “Our Wedding”- Peter Hunt and The Great Outdoors 

Peter Hunt and The Great Outdoors is known for the lively, big sound that they have in every song they put out there and “Our Wedding” is no exception! With the vibrant horns, bright acoustic guitar, and witty lyrics, this song will leave you with a smile on your face the whole time. It is a song that is perfect to listen to when daydreaming about walking down the aisle with that special someone someday. This one is definitely a favorite of mine on their new album ‘Downers Delight’. 

6.) “I Do”- Christian JaLon

Christian’s angelic and powerful voice soars in “I Do”, a song all about believing in love. “I Do” speaks of being swept by love unexpectedly, which is something many of us could relate to. Although she did not see this love coming and does not know what the future holds, she is confident in her bond with this person. The part where all the vocals layer up that starts at 2:45 gives me chills. There are many parts that leave you breathless on Christian JaLon’s album, ‘If You Let Me’. My favorite line is: “I’ll be the sunflower to your summertime”. The music video is also extremely charming and would be a great viewing for you and your sunflower.

7.) “She’s There”- Larry Anthony

“She’s There” is such a great tune to walk down the street to. The beats add a bouncy-feel to this feel-good, electric song. Larry Anthony sings about young love and overcoming obstacles like long distance. The music video is equally as vibrant and fun. There is another layer of genuineness that is added to it with the female love interest in the video being Larry’s real-life wife, Emilie Lesniak. I cannot handle this extreme level of cuteness!

8.) “Cheers”- Sam Trump

This song is possibly the most romantic song that I have ever heard. Sam Trump praises the love that he has found in “Cheers”. This love is strong, passionate, and long-lasting. Sam’s smooth voice and the sultry groove sets an intimate tone. It is a beautiful song off of a beautiful album titled ‘Love Notes’. ‘Love Notes’ is the perfect album to listen to with your person this Valentine’s Day.

If these songs do not make you believe in love, I do not know what will. Click here to check out these and some more local love songs in a playlist! Do not forget to request your favorite Chicago-land artists every Sunday from 8-10 pm for Local Chaos!

‘Real’ By Dezirae Schalice Review

I’ve been gushing over Real by indie-pop singer-songwriter Dezirae Schalice for weeks now. Since its release on September 16th, I’ve been captivated by Dezirae’s work during my walks on campus and in the studio. Dezirae remarkably infuses electronic keys, distorted guitars, and honest, metaphorical lyrics in her songs about topics such as gaining independence, confronting demons, and questioning what is “real.” There was a lot of excitement and anticipation over this album after Dezirae’s 2018 single “Beautiful People,” and several others came out and left many craving a full release. Real was undoubtedly worth the wait! Below are my thoughts on 5 tunes off of Real:

Loosen Up My Tongue 

Kicking off the album with “Loosen Up My Tongue” was a smart move. The atmospheric guitars at the beginning draw the listener in. This song has a sense of psychedelia and contains cool musical elements that give it its trip. The use of the bells is highly mind-bending. “Loosen Up My Tongue” invites us into Dezirae’s world and captivates listeners right off the bat. 

My Demons 

The vulnerability it takes to write a song like “My Demons” is incredible. The lyrics are truly heartbreaking and honest. Many can relate to being at war with themselves and feeling hopeless. One can hear the raw emotion in Dezirae’s voice, and the harmonies are stunning and add to the power behind this enchanting song. “My Demons” confronts internal struggles that resonate with many. 

My Fault 

Twisted and sexy are two words I would use to describe “My Fault.” The line “Maybe I took the apple just to bite it/And maybe I liked it,” is possibly the favorite line of mine off the album. “My Fault” has a sultry and mischievous tone. The drums stick out to me with how they build up to the chorus and the neat fills tucked in throughout the tune. Also, I love myself a good horn section. The effects on the vocals and the call-and-response technique frequently used are unique aspects of the “My Fault.” 

Not This Time 

“Not This Time” is the boost of empowerment I’ve been longing for in a song! Lyrics like “This is my own damn story/This is my own damn song,” and “I’m granting myself grace/Excuse me for the lack of shame,” are ones that are likely to be shouted in the shower. “Not This Time” is about taking charge of your life and not being so hard on yourself. Whether you’ve recently quit a job that didn’t serve you well, or left a partner that hindered your confidence, this song will leave you feeling strong and loving your new-found independence. “Not This Time” is an example of the many positive messages that that you can find in Dezirae’s work. 

Real 

The beautiful piano ballad that is “Real” shook me to the core. It makes sense why this is the title track, with its gripping lyrics and the power behind Dezirae’s voice shining through. The line “Slowly how you crept it/ stealing drops of serotonin/making me see what you want and leaving me distraught,” is an example of how transparent “Real” is. The song presented itself to me as being about how despite the fact manipulation can distort one’s perception, one can become “free” and overcome with a new sense of self. Dezirae’s vocals and words leave a lasting impact in “Real,” and I can only imagine how intimate this song is performed live. Dezirae sings every word with raw emotion, and it’s truly captivating, and the song gave me major goosebumps. 

I urge you to listen to “Real” in its entirety. Dezirae Schalice is one to look out for in the Chicago-land music scene! Her uniqueness, creativity, and talent make her the star that she is! Make sure to follow her on Instagram and Facebook! She’ll also be joining me in-studio for Local Chaos on October 6th for a live performance and interview! Don’t miss it!  

Local Chaos at Empire Open Mic Night

Meeting and listening to musicians from all over the Chicagoland area was an awesome way to flip around my long, tired Tuesday. I’m a regular at Empire Burger and Brew’s weekly open mic night, but I’ve never seen the place as crowded as it was this last time around. It was my first-time as the open mic’s host, and I had a wild time! There was a great mix of fresh faces who’ve never hit Empire’s stage before, and folks that are constantly coming back for another Tuesday night jam. There’s a great variety of people and music every Tuesday night, and it’s a positive and friendly environment, as well as a fantastic way to connect with local musicians.

I had the pleasure of watching rising pop-singer and songwriter Ava Morse, a Naperville native, who impressed the audience with her strong vocals. This was my second time seeing her perform at Empire, and I can see how much growth she’s had in the last couple of months. She belted her newest single, “I Should Be Leaving,” and left the crowd wanting more! Check her out on Instagram (@avamorseofficial) and Facebook to keep up with her upcoming releases!

Another artist that I was stoked to see back at Empire was Derek Vaden. Derek brought the house down with his explosive energy and incredible guitar riffs. The first time I saw him play live, my jaw dropped to the floor; this time around was no different. When he got on his knees and soloed in his tune, “Novel America,” he left the crowd shook. Derek’s stage presence is uber exciting and makes it very difficult for one to look away. Alongside Derek was Mike Dooley on the drums and Antony Picardi playing bass. Before their set, Derek announced that Mike came out all the way from Colorado to partake in the local music celebration. If you’re interested in keeping up with these guys, go give Derek Vaden a follow on Instagram (@thegroovefreak) and check out his videos on Youtube!

There were many more musicians that blew me away the other day at Empire. I had a lovely time with 89.1 FM music director, Tyler Mason. It’s always a great time to discover new music that can one day be played on our station! Live music is always great to witness but it is even better when you get to support your local music community! If you’re interested in getting to hear up-and-coming musicians from your backyard, get down to Empire every Tuesday night for their rockin’ open mic. It’s totally free to attend and participate, and sign-ups to perform are at 8:30 with performances starting at 9:00. Listen to Local Chaos every Sunday from 8 to 10pm to hear about more chances to get involved in and support the Chicago local music scene!