2018 is here, and while there were a few sleepy weeks after the holidays, the local scene didn't take much of a rest. There are dozens of local bands and artists worth highlighting, so the hope here is to single out some acts and focus on what they are up to at any given time. Former Music Editor Ben Valocchi used to do these run downs from time to time — though this one here is a bit different than his iteration.

I'll do my best to keep things coming along in the coming months, but if you have a project, or have information about an act you know, feel free to shoot us a line at music@smilepolitely.com with all of the pertinent information.

CJ RUN has shows forthcoming at Mission Creek Festival, Raccoon Motel

Rapper CJ Run will perform at this year's Mission Creek Festival in Iowa City, which is a hell of an event and one that deserves your attention. I've been to Mission Creek a few times, and it is quite a good time fill with a variety of awesome programming — music, literature, and more. On top of that, Run will perform with their full band for that show, and in Davenport, Iowa at the Raccoon Motel on April 4th.

DEWCLAW is recording a live album

As I discussed in last week's SPlog post Dewclaw is the project by Liz Faermark and Cody Jensen (of Bones Jugs), and they're in the process of compiling and recording a live album — they're collecting recordings from 3-4 shows during the winter and spring of 2018. With the help of Charlie Harris (of Bones Jugs as well), this should soon become a reality.

Their next show is Tuesday at the Iron Post, starting at 8 p.m.

SPANDRELS is releasing a new single in the coming months

Spandrels is a new-ish outfit here in Champaign-Urbana, and they recently opened up on the sold-out Bully show at Cowboy Monkey on January 18th. Spandrels' first show together was in July 2017, so they have a handful of shows under their belt at this point in time. They'll be performing at the Great Cover Up on Friday, February 2nd at the Canopy Club.

Watch the video for their new single here, recorded by fellow local band Motes:

Photo by Veronica Mullen.

NECTAR signs to Infinity Cat recordings

Punk outfit Nectar has signed to Nashville's Infinity Cat recordings, which is home to a ton of awesome nationally touring bands — JEFF the Brotherhood, Diarrhea Planet, Colleen Green, and plenty of others that are worth your attention. When the band announced the signing, they posted a short little snippet of a song, which you can check out in the SPlog post.

We'll see what they have cooking up in the coming months, given this signing.


New project EX CATHEDRA announced, performs first show, releases single

Ex Cathedra is a new noise/metal project by Nick Pitingolo — he performs in acts Øde Vinter, Voidbringer, and Acidfunderal. Acidfunderal is a project that landed on our top albums of 2017. This new project relased a debut single, "COSMIC MASS GRAVES", on their Bandcamp — you can stream it below. They performed for the first time this past weekend at the IMC with a handful of other locals, so I'll be interested to see what comes next for this new metal group.

SNAYL conducted a Kickstarter in efforts to fund new album
 
Austin Duncan's experimental/electronic project Snayl recently concluded the Kickstarter project in an effort to get the new record funded. The new record is slated to be called WITHOUT, and the outfit is hoping to get it produced in a variety of formats — including pressing some vinyl copies.
 
For the time being, you can listen to a new single, "Warm Rain", below:
 
FIONA KIMBLE releases new record, video for "Who Are You"
 
Singer-songwriter Fiona Kimble released her new record, Your Playground, last month — you can stream the whole thing via her Soundcloud page. In addition to that, Kimble's new video for "Who Are You" is now available, and you can watch that below. Your Playground is her follow up from her debut in 2015, No Regret.