Chicago-based Sam Vicari is an unassuming musician, who yesterday released his third album, Giving Up. The short record (comes in at a cool 26 minutes stretched over 10 songs) see Vicari channel some of rock’s and indie rock’s heavyweights musically and lyrically – from Elliott Smith to Rivers Cuomo. It’s a jangly little album, one with wailing guitars, a bit of distortion, and just fun, personal stories.

Even though he’s releasing a new album, Sam agreed to be this week’s author of the Artiste 5. Like Zachary Cale last week, Sam isn’t a native Chicagoan, although he’s from nearby Crown Point, Indiana. Gathering the insights of someone who has moved to a city offers a different perspective on that urban center’s music scene.  Here are five hidden gems from Chicago with all the related links (website and/or Facebook page and place to purchase their material). And don’t forget to check out Sam’s new album, which can be ordered at Sip City Records.

Sam Vicari on the web, Facebook, and Twitter.

Sam Vicari 2 - Christine Fielder


Sam Vicari’s Five Hidden Gems from Chicago

Hello! Here are, in no particular order, five rad Chicago bands. I bet you’ll think they’re rad, too.


FEE LION is this girl Justina Kairyte. She has a really captivating, interesting live show, and that’s not easy to do when you play solo. Definitely a talented lady.

BandcampFacebook – Twitter (@1800FEELION)

2. Strawberry Jacuzzi

Strawberry Jacuzzi are extremely rad. The two girls who sing have this really great, bratty energy on stage. Plus, it’s super catchy. Bratty and catchy…what more do you need! Their album is called Love is for Suckers. The whole album is awesome, but this one is my favorite.

BandcampFacebook – Twitter (@StrawberryJacuz)

3. Villa Coola

Villa Coola is my dear friend and label mate, Gehring Miller. This is the first song from his first EP. He just finished a new record and it’s coming out this summer!

Tumblr – Twitter (@villa_coola)

4. Sunken Ships

Sunken Ships rule! Their live shows are VERY, VERY LOUD (not a bad thing!). They also have an album out. Here’s my favorite song from it. If you’re ever in need of a Husker Du tribute band, Eric (Sunken Ships lead singer) has one called Husker Dudes.


5. Meat Wave

I was at a random show at Empty Bottle one night, and this band headlined and I loved them. In fact, I bought one of their t-shirts. It’s my new favorite shirt (has a dude holding a giant ice cream cone on it).

BandcampFacebook – Twitter (@meatwaveband)


As far as venues go, I’d have to say that my favorite one in Chicago right now might be Quenchers. My friend Sam books all the bands there. The really nice thing about Quenchers is they book a lot of unknown touring bands, so it’s good to know that Chicago has a place where bands can come and play their first show here. If you want to find more info on the interwebs, they’re at

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