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Gossip Wolf: Shred Like the Wind

The national air-guitar championship comes to Chicago. Plus: the Whistler takes over Summer Sessions, the Mad Decent Block Party makes big plans for Chicago, and more

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Last week US Air Guitar, the official association for people pretending to rock out, announced that the 2011 national finals for wannabe ax bros will take place July 23 at Metro. Air-guitar icon and author Björn Türoque, star of the documentary Air Guitar Nation, tells Gossip Wolf: "There's an obvious joke about air guitar coming to the 'Windy City,' but we at US Air Guitar disdain the obvious joke. This is some serious shit going down in America's heartland." In case you're looking to show off your imaginary six-string skills, Chicago's regional competition heats up May 12 at the Double Door; for more info, see usairguitar.com.

Kinsella Watch: They say you can't go home again, but Birthmark main man Nate Kinsella is packin' his bags and heading back to his ancestral village of Minneapolis in October. Nate-dog says he's psyched to get a move on, but admitted that said excitement will likely diminish midwinter. He's also following the lead of his cousin Tim and attempting to fund Birthmark's next record via Kickstarter. Polyvinyl will release the album, and Jason Cupp—who helmed the newest Maps & Atlases long-player—will produce. The pledge incentives are pretty sweet, and the big item is a three-day recording session at Pieholden Studios, with Nate engineering. In other B-Mark news, last month the band canceled a Japanese tour due to the recent disaster; now Nate is donating all the proceeds from online T-shirt sales to the Japan Red Cross Society. Pick one up at joanfrc.com.

The Whistler's Billy Helmkamp has replaced Suzanne Schultz as booker for Summer Sessions on the Square, the free concert series at the Logan Square monument. Helmkamp says he plans to hew to the event's original "Unity Through Music" mission and present a diversity of genres, but he's also hoping to showcase some higher-profile acts and Whistler faves. The series, which runs every fourth Saturday of the month, kicks off June 25.

The Mad Decent Block Party, the free multi-city daylong fest sponsored by Diplo's label, will return to town this summer. While no acts have been confirmed, Gossip Wolf has it on good authority that Mad Decent's newest signee—Chicago's Dawn Golden & Rosy Cross—and the Freddie Gibbs/Chip tha Ripper/Cool Kids project Pulled Over By The Cops are likely to appear. Gibbs, a former kinda-local (Gary counts!), returned for a show Saturday, where he announced he's joining Young Jeezy's CTE label after self-releasing approximately 871 tracks.

This Wolf is a bit confused by Black September after catching a glimpse of their live set Saturday at the Empty Bottle. Is the Chicago quintet black metal, crust metal, or death metal? They rip it all up! Last week the band announced that they'd inked a deal with Prosthetic Records. On June 6 the label will reissue Black September's debut album, The Forbidden Gates Beyond, which the band self-released last year. They'll open for Megaton Leviathan (see the List) on Thursday at Memories, 4358 N. Cicero.

Speaking of reissues: on Tuesday Japanese label Happy Prince will rerelease the 2010 debut album by Chicago indie-pop act Very Truly Yours, Things You Used to Say, with two bonus tracks. To celebrate, the quintet will play Subterranean next Friday. This Wolf thinks the two-girl, three-boy band sounds a bit like twee from across the pond, kinda like Belle & Sebastian or the Pastels, and they'll be crossing said pond in July to play a twee British fest called Indietracks. Let's hope they know how to work all the Anglos! The group is using crowd-funding site IndieGoGo to get to the UK; make some Very Truly Yours swag truly yours and help them buy plane tickets at bit.ly/vty-igg.

Names Divine is kinda like the band Chicago. First of all, they're a big group—they roll 11 people deep! The collective also has horn players, members who wear berets, and clever song titles like "The Golden Phallus, His Holy Waifs and the Coming of the Eucharist." Fortunately, the similarities end there; instead of jazz-rock twaddle, Names Divine songwriter and ace howler Kendra Calhoun crafts harsh, apocalyptic dirges. Suck on that, Peter Cetera! The band just dropped a digital version of their official debut, Something Vague and Maybe Rotting, out on Calhoun's Perilous Records; download it for free at bit.ly/nd-bc. Before heading east for a summer tour, they'll play a CD-release show May 13 at a local venue that's more underground than a snake warren; for show info, e-mail everything@perilousrecords.com.

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