In this era of instant access, Chicago's music scene has managed to retain its insularity largely intact. Internally, the North and the South (Sides, that is) have never really understood each other, there's not a punk scene but rather several bickering micro-scenes, and everyone talks tall shit about the SAIC kids while still attending their parties, stealing their beer, and ripping off their bands.
Where does Heavy Times enter into this? To a non-Chicagoan, they'll probably sound like they came from Timbuktu, while many Chicagoans probably dismiss them as "too [SAT adjective goes here]." "Sick Listens," another fine Prio Male chartbuster, isn't a coherent statement, like their LP, but a collection of musical sketches, which makes sense, this being a collection spanning five years. It works well: just when you've pegged Heavy Times as an intentionally retarded neo-Phil Spector project, they switch into something the Pitchfork dweebs might like, yet there's a unified undertone to "Sick Listens." It's consistently pleasant, without being coy or boring.
This is perfect music for cruising down LSD one fine June evening in a stoned haze, en route to your favorite basement venue or hole-in-the-wall dive bar. Pop this in the cassette deck (er, twirl your ipod), groove to the hooks, and glory in being from Chicago! I.e., talk as much shit as you like about those assholes you've never met who run that shitty venue two blocks away you've never been to! Right on!
After that, pop over to Priority Male and pick up the real deal-doods this talented really shouldn't be drinking tall boys 'o' Old Style.
*Edit, 6.29.12: The download link is fixed, and should work. Lemme know if it don't.*