Chicago Sound Check turns local music scene up to 11

Brian Shamie

A music writer for the Daily Herald has turned his passion for discovering new artists and up-and-coming bands into a vibrant website that explores the Chicago and suburban music scene.

ChicagoSoundCheck.com, which officially launches this week, is the brainchild of Brian Shamie, a multiplatform editor and page designer for the Daily Herald who doubles as the paper’s local music columnist.

Billed as a digital repository for “the sounds and sights of the Chicago and suburban music scenes,” the new site spotlights noteworthy bands and includes links to new music and a guide to performances in clubs and other venues throughout the area. It also features an archive of Shamie’s “Sound Check” columns for the Daily Herald’s weekly Time Out section, in-depth stories and artist profiles, illustrated by the work of local concert photographers Neal Zeleznak and Denis Cheng.

Chicago Sound Check

“I think it’s something that Chicago has needed for a while,” said Shamie, who’s been working on the site since last fall. It grew out of his idea to create a permanent home for monthly Spotify playlists he had been posting along with other music-related content.

“It’s mostly aimed at suburban and Chicago-based 20- and 30-somethings — the people who are going out to the shows all the time, the people who are driving into the city every weekend to go catch something or the people who are going to Brauer House and Durty Nelly’s and RocHaus and BaseCamp, going out to see things in the suburbs,” he said.

“We’ve created a home for everything in one place, so music fans, bookers, promoters and other musicians can find each other on the site and explore other music. It’s also a way for the bands who are playing at the bars for the weekend to get their name out there, and for our readers to find out what’s going on around them.”

Shamie, who grew up on Chicago’s Northwest Side and later moved with his family to west suburban Wood Dale, joined the Daily Herald as a copy editor in 1997. In addition to his page design and editing duties, he’s been writing about music for about four years.

“One of the things that I love the most about what I’ve been doing is finding a new band that I just fall in love with,” he said. “That’s a big surprise. One of the most exciting things for me is getting obsessed with a band, getting to know the band and being able to talk to them one-on-one about their music, where their songs are coming from, and then taking the love for that band and sharing it with other people.

“For me it’s a passion project. I love the local music scene. I love the people that I’ve met. It’s worth the extra time and the effort to help them and help our readers find them.”

(This blog operates under an agreement with the Daily Herald. I am a full-time employee of Paddock Publications.)

Thursday’s comment of the day: Michael Gay: There’s no question Rob Johnson looks the part and is a good, serviceable news anchor. He just comes off a little wooden. It’ll be interesting to see how Brad Edwards who if nothing else has tons of personality (for a news guy anyway), does in the position. I find myself watching Channel 2 at 10 more and more lately, and realize now that Edwards’ reporting/investigations might be a big part of that. I’m not hating this move. And good luck to Rob! Doubt very seriously he’ll be on the sidelines very long.