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Five Local Releases To Get You Psyched For Spring

By Katie Karpowicz in Arts & Entertainment on Mar 14, 2014 4:00PM

Netherfriends' P3ACE is helping put a spring in our step. Photo by Michael Engelken from Netherfriends Facebook page.

Listening to fun, poppy, groovy albums during the dead of winter can be a form of self-punishment. Best not to remind yourself of warmer times when you're suffering through the third coldest winter in Chicago history.

But now we're going to make a bold prediction that spring is finally drawing near and we want to give your springtime soundtrack a bit of a jump-start with these recent local releases.

2014_03_netherfriendsp3ace.jpg Netherfriends

The latest effort from the ever-evolving mind of Nertherfriends' Shawn Rosenblatt channels some major Portugal. The Man sounds to bring us something that's psychedelic, electric and has us thinking just one thing: When do Chicago street festivals start? P3ACE is available for a $1 (or more) download now on Netherfriends' Bandcamp page.

Chris Greene Quartet
Music Appreciation

2014_03_chrisgreenemusicappreciation.jpg We learned in an earlier interview with Evanston saxophonist Chris Greene's collaborator Shawn Maxwell that Greene is a huge Prince fan. That's not all he likes though. On his upbeat new album, Music Appreciation, Greene and the rest of his quartet pay tribute to all genres that have both grown out of and influenced jazz music, be it rock, blues, soul or funk. While Greene's playing on the album is consistently solid, it's pianist and keyboard player Damian Espinosa that keeps Music Appreciation addictively unpredictable. The album is long but so are your Red Line commutes once baseball season kicks off so load up your iPod now. Listen to and buy Music Appreciation at Greene's Bandcamp page.

2014_03_willphalenthedirt.jpg Will Phalen
The Dirt and the Air and the Grass

Will Phalen's brand new record The Dirt and the Air and the Grass reminds us of the first day that we emerge from our dark apartment, adjust our eyes to the unexpected sunlight and realize that spring is here to stay. It starts with a slow rolling, dusty quality and quickly ups the tempo. "I might just spend this whole winter alone locked up in my room," Phalen sings on "Done." Frankly, that's kind of how we've felt for months now, too. Now we're ready to escape to the outdoors and rock out. Buy Phalen's new album on his Bandcamp page.

2014_03_dealsgonebadheartbreakshadows.jpg Deals Gone Bad
Heartbreak & Shadows

Let's be honest: Nothing makes us want to skank through the streets like some good ska music so Deals Gone Bad are right on time with their newest release Heartbreak & Shadows. While the title might sound a bit dark, Todd Hembrook's silky smooth vocals and the band's reggae rhythms are as strong and dance-worthy as ever. Celebrate the release of the new album with them this Sunday, March 16, at the Cobra Lounge.

2014_03_akashajoysong.png Akasha
Joy Song

Listening to Akasha's new album Joy Song is akin to floating on a warm cloud above a sunny beach (we imagine). We've still got a ways to go before we get near a scenario like that here in Chicago but it certainly makes us optimistically yearn for brighter days and higher temperatures. Simply put, Akasha's unique blend of reggae, indie pop and soul has us feeling warm and fuzzy all over. They celebrate their album release Friday, March 21, at the Hideout.