Over the years, Sweden has given the world some killer bands – all to varying degrees depending on your taste in music – Roxette, Ace Of Base, Europe, The Cardigans, and of course, ABBA.

This most recent Swedish group takes the Princess Cake. Ladies and Gentlemen… Dirty Loops.

This trio of young, fantastic musicians is causing a stir all over the world. Millions of fans have discovered them online through their videos and recordings. See, they take songs by well-known artists like Adele and Lady Gaga, twist them, turn them, and make them their own.

I, like most people, first saw these guys on YouTube tearing up a version of Britney Spears’ Circus. Not sure how you feel about the Britney Spears version, but I always thought it was, like most of her music, FINE. I think she peaked in 1999, but I digress. These guys made me love that song. It’s the jam. It’s here.

I titled this post “Cleans Up” because they are finally getting the recognition they deserve – Music mogul David Foster signed them to his Verve Music Group, and last year they embarked on Asia Tour 2012 alongside Chaka Khan and Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds. With David Foster on your side, the sky’s the limit.

They are currently working on their debut release. It was slated to be released “early 2013.” It’s September. Why do you make me wait, guys? Sigh.

I hope this is inspiring to all you artists out there, vying to become internet sensations and parlay that into legit success. It happens. Not always for the good – isn’t that how Justin Bieber was found? – but this time, the internet got it right.

Here’s another example of musical genius at work:

The 35th annual Chicago Jazz Festivafacebook/jazzphotol is right around the corner!  This free, four day musical extravaganza starts on August 29th at noon at the Chicago Cultural Center, then moves on to Millenium Park in the evening and continues through September 1st.

This year’s lineup features an amazing array of musicians, many of them native Chicagoans.  We are especially excited that the Frank Russell Band, led by Frank Russell , the bassist in Stitely Entertainment’s 312 Chicago, will be featured at the Von Freeman Pavillion starting at noon on Saturday, August 31st.  The festival has rarely presented groups led by electric bassists, and Frank will certainly tap into electricity to kick off Saturday’s festivities with a bang. You won’t want to miss it!

Our lovely event booking manager, Carly, is spending her last week with us mulling over her most important final decision: her Music Monday pick. It was worth all those sleepless nights, Carly.

This week’s featured artist is indie alternative singer/songwriter Basia Bulat. This multi-talented lady not only sings, she plays the guitar, piano, ukelele, autoharp, hammered dulcimer and charango. Follow the links under those instrument names if you’re like me and had never heard of them before now.

A musician since the age of three, Basia counts her influences as Motown, Stax, The Beatles, Beach Boys, Sam Cooke, and her very own piano teacher Mom.

Hailing from Ontario, Bulat has toured across Canada, the U.S., Europe, and Australia. This fall she’ll be promoting the October 1 release of her new album Tall Tall Shadow. Listen to the title track here and pre-order the album here.

If you’re interested in seeing this 29-year old siren local and live in Chicago, head over to Schubas on November 7.

In the meantime, check out her beautiful song “Heart of My Own,” from her album titled the same name, released in 2010.

Our in-house jazz guru Jeff has a great Music Monday pick this morning – Chick Corea‘s amazing avant-garde rendition of My One and Only Love. This social advocate was one of the primary musicians involved in the jazz fushion movement as part of Miles Davis’ band during the 1960s. If you want to see the master live, you’re in luck. He’s playing at Roosevelt University on April 5, 2014 with Bela Fleck – tickets go on sale December 6th HERE. Enjoy!

There’s nothing better in the summer than a delicious cool salad! But the days of iceberg lettuce salads are over, and today we’re featuring a protein-packed meal that’ll make boring salads blush. This dish featuring edamame, garbanzo beans, and tons of fresh veggies is super easy to make and will boost your energy for all of your favorite summer activities!

Edamame and Garbanzo Bean Salad

Ingredients:edamame salad

1 cup shelled edamame
1 can rinsed garbanzo beans
1 can rinsed black beans
1 cup diced red pepper
1 cup diced green pepper
2 diced carrots
2 stalks celery diced
1/4 c diced red onion
2 ears corn – grilled and cut off cob
1/2 cup chopped fresh parlsey
1/4 cup olive oil
juice from 1.5 lemons

Mix all ingredients together and you’re done! Enjoy!

If you’re a person who just can’t decide whether you like classical or bluegrass music more, you definitely need to check out the Goat Rodeo Sessions led by famous cellist Yo-Yo Ma and three amazing string players Edgar Meyer, Chris Thile, and Stuart Duncan. This genre-bending group combines classical, bluegrass, and even jazz influences to create a unique and inspiring style. The Goat Rodeo Sessions album was released in 2011, and won two Grammy awards in February of this year. But what is a goat rodeo you ask? It’s a complex and even hectic event where every moment needs to go exactly right in order for things to work. If you listen to the recording below, you can hear where the inspiration for the title comes from. Enjoy!

SingBABYMarcus Terell is a vocalist with the Chicago Groove Collective, one of our fantastic bands here at Stitely Entertainment. This Kansas City, Missouri boy’s got soul, and he recently sat down to tell us about his story and endeavors in music. Keep reading to learn more about the talented guy from America’s Got Talent!

Stitely Entertainment: What are the five songs you’re listening to the most right now?
Marcus Terell: Right now I’m rehearsing for my upcoming show at Chicago’s City Winery.  So I’m listening to everything from Elvis Presley’s “Heartbreak Hotel,” The Temptations’ “Papa Was A Rolling Stone” to Barrett Strong’s “Money (That’s What I Want)”.  Bruno Mars’ “Locked Out Of Heaven” and Beyonce’s “Flaws & All” have been stuck in my head for the past month as well.  Good music.

SE: Who or what inspired you to be a professional musician?
MT: Ironically enough the two artists that made me say, “I wanna do that” when I was younger were Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown.  I remember seeing the music video for “Greatest Love Of All” and thinking who is this woman?!  Bobby Brown’s music video for “Every Little Step”  EPIC!!  I WILL own a bright yellow suit one these days!!

SE: What’s your craziest event story?
MT: When I competed on NBC’S America’s Got Talent there was a point in the competition where I was completely eliminated.  Do not pass go, do not collect $200.  The Serenades and I were preparing for a night on the town in Vegas when we got a call an hour later to head back to the studios.  Before the night was over, I was in the Top 40.  That was pretty crazy!

SE: IMG_2870Do you have any regular gigs?
MT: Yes.  I am a vocalist with Chicago Groove Collective under Stitely Entertainment.  I am also a lead vocalist with The Alley Cats, an acapella Doo-Wop group.

SE: Do you play in any other groups? Tell us about them.
MT: I also have my own band, Marcus Terell & The Serenades.  Collectively we have competed on NBC’S America’s Got Talent, FOX’S American Idol, MTV’S Making The Band 4, The Glee Project, TLC’S RU The Girl, The Missy Elliott Project and TruTV’S Killer Karaoke.  We have our own Motown revue entitled, “BACK TO REALITY: A personal and musical journey through the ups and downs of reality TV.”  Set to the music of Motown, Classic Rock N’ Roll, and Soul we share our experience of competing on some of the nation’s top televised talent competitions.

SE: How did you become involved with music?
MT: I was raised in the church where gospel music was just a way of life.  From there I got more involved with various choirs and ensembles in school. My first professional gig was at Worlds Of Fun, a theme park in my hometown of Kansas City, Missouri.

SE: What was your first concert?
MT: I can’t recall my first concert, however, my all time favorite has to be the most recent.  I got to see Prince live in concert for the very first time at City Winery Chicago.  It was an unbelievable show.  I still can’t believe that I will be performing on the same stage in less than a week!  Unreal!!

SE: If you could share the stage with any musician, dead or alive, who would it be?
MT: Whitney Houston hands down.  Although I’m not sure that I would remain conscious for the entire endeavor.

SE: You are stuck on a desert island forever. Which three albums do you want with you?
MT: Whitney Houston’s Greatest Hits album.  It’s a 2-disc set so I’m kind of cheating there.  India Arie’s Testimony: Vol. 1, Life & Relationships.  That album can get me through any bad day.  Beyonce’s B’Day cause sometimes you just gotta get hype and let the inner diva out!

SE: Beatles or Stones?

Be sure to check out Marcus Terell & The Serenades LIVE at Chicago’s own City Winery Wednesday August 14th @8PM!  Tickets are on sale now at www.citywinery.com or 312-733-WINE. You can also read about Marcus featured in the Chicago Sun Times along with Tony Lucca (NBC’S The Voice) and Casey Abrams (FOX’S American Idol).


Summer is the most prosperous season for many industries, and pop music is no exception to that rule. Summer 2013 has seen the release of many songs, all clambering for the coveted top Billboard spot. Here are a few noteworthy Top 40 tracks from the summer…so far!

Get Lucky – Daft Punk

This infectious hit single dropped in April but is shaping up to be the song of the summer. It comes from Daft Punk’s long awaited album, Random Access Memories, but many fans believe Get Lucky to be the only worthwhile song on the record. If you liked Get Lucky, check out this music history inspired remix of the song, or Daft Punk’s revolutionary album, Discovery.

Can’t Hold Us and Same Love – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Although Macklemore’s groundbreaking, truly independent album The Heist (a rap album for people who think they don’t like rap) is almost a year old, two of its three hit singles continue to dominate the charts. Same Love is a powerful affirmation of the gay rights movement, and in itself is a very moving song. Can’t Hold Us is an upbeat soliloquy featuring Ray Dalton’s enticing vocals. This writer was fortunate enough to attend their Chicago concert in November, and was blown away by its quality. If you liked those songs, check out the rest of The Heist (which includes Thrift Shop, one of the most popular songs of this decade so far).

The Cup Song – Pitch Perfect

Pitch Perfect is a goofy movie about college a capella rivalries and adolescent hormones. When the lead character auditions for the club, she sings this song complete with cup choreography. If you liked this song, watch the movie (but be warned, corniness level MAXIMUM!).

Blurred Lines – Robin Thicke

Blurred Lines is super catchy, but the music video garnered controversy when the unrated version was released featuring topless models among other distasteful topics. Thicke’s album of the same name, Blurred Lines, is set for a July 30th release. He purportedly intends to feature President Obama in his next video.

You can never go wrong with a good Regina Spektor song! We’re taking our own advice today and listening to “Folding Chair” from her 2009 album Far. If you head to the beach after work this week or during the weekend make sure you include this nautical-themed tune on your beach playlist. Or if you’re planning a netflix marathon night, listen for Regina’s newest song “You’ve Got Time” in the new series Orange is the New Black. Enjoy!

Birds whistle in the trees and flora flourishes as we approach the middle of summer, 2013. Young folks aren’t ready to think of school yet, older folks are fervently wishing that September would arrive already and give the young folks something to do during the day, but the forces of nature pay no heed to those inconsequential desires. Time passes, and the inevitable draws near: Lollapalooza 2013 is coming, a fact that old and young alike can easily agree upon. With the countdown to August 2-4 hovering at just over two weeks, that world-renowned music festival is a go-to topic for conversation, and anybody not familiar with this year’s illustrious headliners should certainly take this opportunity to catch themselves up.

Lollapalooza was the brainchild of Perry Farrell, lead singer of alt-rock group and oft-headliner Jane’s Addiction. Originally intended to be a farewell tour for his band, the 1991 romp around the continent with Nine Inch Nails and Ice-T in tow was popular enough to warrant reprisals for the next six consecutive years. The festival-tour ran out of steam in 1998, however, and wasn’t revived until 2003. In 2005, Perry teamed up with C3 Presents and made a permanent home for Lolla in a section of Chicago’s Grant Park. It has since expanded to take over the entire 115 acres of the park with a multitude of stages and other attractions for one August weekend per year.

Staying in line with recent trends in the music industry, Lollapalooza has been plagued with a scalping and reselling epidemic. The phenomenon came to a head this year when three day passes to the festival sold out in an hour flat, only for thousands of tickets to reappear in online marketplaces (such as StubHub) at a significant markup. Nevertheless, Lolla remains very well-attended and is under contract to stay in Chicago until at least 2021.

Keeping an eye on the bands that come to Lolla is often a great way to keep on top of popular music trends. Here are the most anticipated bands for this year.

The Killers-This alternative group is fronted by Brandon Flowers, and is touring to support its new album, Battle Born. Its most popular songs include Mr. Brightside and Somebody Told Me (Hot Fuss, 2003), When You Were Young (from Sam’s Town, 2006), Human and Spaceman (Day & Age, 2008), and Runaways (Battle Born, 2012). This will be its third headlining spot at Lollapalooza.

Nine Inch Nails-This industrial rock group has been Trent Reznor’s project since 1988 (this year marks its 25th anniversary), and supported the first ever Lollapalooza tour in 1991. The band has been on hiatus since 2009, and is very much anticipated for this upcoming performance. It is touring in preparation for their new album, Hesitation Marks, which is due for release this September. Its most popular songs (warning: explicit) include Head Like a Hole (Pretty Hate Machine, 1989), Wish (Broken EP, 1992), Closer and Hurt (The Downward Spiral, 1994), and The Hand That Feeds (With Teeth, 2005).

Other notable, Friday headliners include Imagine Dragons (electro-pop, Radioactive), Lana Del Rey (indie pop, Young and Beautiful), Steve Aoki (electro-house, Turbulence), New Order (new wave, The Perfect Kiss), and Queens of the Stone Age (heavy rock, I Appear Missing).

The Postal Service-This electro-alt-pop moniker was meant to be used only for one album; namely, Give Up (2003). It became a cult classic among a wide audience, so duo Ben Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie) and Jimmy Tamborello (Dntel) decided to embark on a brief tour in support of the tenth anniversary of the record and its deluxe edition release, to the delight of fans worldwide. Their catchiest songs are Such Great Heights, The District Sleeps Alone Tonight, and Nothing Better, all from Give Up.

Mumford and Sons-This modern, folk-bluegrass group needs little introduction based on their ubiquity in pop culture of late. They are touring in support of Babel (2012, Best Album Grammy), but suffered a setback recently when their bassist, Ted Dwane, underwent surgery for a cerebral blood clot. They still plan to perform at Lolla, however. Their most popular songs include Little Lion Man and The Cave (Sigh No More, 2010), I Will Wait, and Lover of the Light (Babel).

In traditional Lollapalooza fashion/blunder, these two artists are performing simultaneously on stages in opposite sides of the park, which poses a tough choice to fans of both groups (of which there are many).

Other notable, Saturday headliners include Kendrick Lamar (rap, Poetic Justice–explicit ), The Lumineers (folk-bluegrass, Ho Hey!), The National (indie rock, Demons), Matt and Kim (indie pop, Daylight) and Local Natives (indie rock, Breakers).

Phoenix-Hailing from France, this alt-pop group gained a lot of popularity on the back of their poppy penultimate album, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (2009), even though they’ve been around since 1999. Their new album, Bankrupt! (2013), aims for a more experimental sound, drawing on various childhood influences as well as synesthetic concepts. Their most enticing tracks include include 1901 and Lisztomania (Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix), Entertainment (Bankrupt!), and Consolation Prizes (It’s Never Been Like That, 2006)

The Cure-Formed in the U.K. in 1976, this group rode on the coattails of the British rock age all the way to the alt-rock fervor of the ’90s, and then some. Robert Smith, the only continuous member of the longtime group, has reformed some of the original ensemble in a summer tour, culminating in the Lollapalooza set. Some of their greatest hits are A Forest (Seventeen Seconds, 1980), The Same Deep Water As You and Plainsong (Disintegration, 1989), and Just Like Heaven (Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me, 1987).

Other notable, Sunday headliners include Vampire Weekend (pop-rock, Horchata), Two Door Cinema Club (What You Know), 2 Chainz (rap, Birthday Song–explicit), and Knife Party (electro-house, Bonfire).

Go forth and converse intelligently!