Visit All of Chicago’s Lakefront Beaches in one Day

I’m laying claim officially here on the internet that on July 28th, 2012 Colin Loftin, Nick Lloyd and Aryn Crowley were the first to successfully swim in all of the Chicago lakefront beaches as listed on the Chicago Beaches Wikipedia Page here in one day.

Criteria to complete this feat: All members of your beach conquer party must completely submerge themselves in the water at said beach, and visit all beaches listed above in a sun up to sun down period.

Video Proof:

Joanna Newsom Tribute is out for Oxfam!

I was fortunate to play on a track that was contributed to this album a few months back.. Someone saw a youtube video we put online from a show and asked that we record a studio version of the track for this Oxfam fundraiser. Donate and download here:

Track list / Artist list here: (I’m on Baby Birch by Sarah Katheryn)
1. Billy Bragg: “On a Good Day”
2. Josh Mann: “Bridges & Balloons”
3. M. Ward: “Sadie”
4. Ian Cooke: “Monkey & Bear”
5. The Moscow Coup Attempt: “Sprout and the Bean”
6. Owen Pallett: “Peach, Plum, Pear”
7. Joel Cathey: “Book of Right-On”
8. Melissa Stylianou: “Swansea”
9. Ben Sollee: “Sawdust & Diamonds”
10. Chris Leeds: “Clam, Crab, Cockle, Cowrie”
11. This Is Deer Country: “Easy”
12. Francesco Santocono: “’81”
13. Guy Buttery: “Book of Right-On” (instrumental)
14. Ian Cooke: “Colleen”
15. Jennifer Schmitt: “This Side of the Blue”
16. Rosa Hinksman: “In California”
17. A Voice Heard on Baer Mountain: “Autumn”
18. White Elephant Gift Exchange: “Inflammatory Writ”
19. David Miele: “Soft as Chalk”
20. Sandhorse: “Flying a Kite”
21. Sarah Katheryn: “Baby Birch”
22. Kristina Forrer: “On a Good Day”

Here is the video that landed us this gig:

RPM Challenge 2009: Hello Come In, ‘You Can’t Find Your Way Outside’

Hello Come In's 2009 RPM Challenge album, 'You Cant Find Your Way Outside.'
Hello Come In’s 2009 RPM Challenge album, ‘You Cant Find Your Way Outside.’

We know it’s been years since you’ve heard from the crew over at, but fear not young maidens and noble gentlemen, the beast has not been slain permanently. After our year-long hiatus, we’ve had a productive month of February, and created the newest edition in the ongoing melodrama: You Can’t Find Your Way Outside.

This undertaking was written, performed, and recorded (mostly) in the month of February for the famed RPM Challenge. For those unaware, the RPM Challenge, costs no money to enter, does not provide any winnings of millions for the best entries, and really, is merely a catalyst to inspire people to get out of their nightly taco-flavored-Dorrito-fueled reality television watching lifestyle, and get them to make music for the sake of making music. The rules are simple: you have the month of February to completely create either 35 minutes of music, or 10 songs — whichever comes first.

Listen to our attempt at greatness: Some songs are pure genius, while others only part genius. But it’s safe to say that you will either be crying from joy, or despair, or not at all, after listening. The point of the project is not true perfection of the final product, but the process of creating and making music. We hope that comes across in these new songs.

Please leave comments here in the blog about what you love/hate/don’t care about, to help encourage us to create again, or give up for good.

Thanks and good night sweet princes.

~Aryn & Mike
Hello Come In — Chicago & Washington D.C. Divisions

Click here to DOWNLOAD the full album.


1. White Walls
2. Half Awake
3. The Winch
4. The Academy Of Birds
5. Yellow Matter
6. You Are The Sea
7. Why The Oceans Matter
8. This Is A Fire
9. Music Box

Produced by Mike Katzif
Recorded and Engineered by Aryn Crowley and Mike Katzif
Mixed and Mastered by Mike Katzif and Hello Come In
at Hello Come In Studios, Washington DC & Chicago IL; February 2009
Artwork and layout design by Mike Katzif
Cellos on “Yellow Matter” by Thomas Pierce
Special Thanks to Greg Johnson, Robin Hilton, and our dozen fans.
All Songs by Mike Katzif, Aryn Crowley and Hello Come In, Copyright 2009

Department of Eagles — Live at Schubas, Chicago IL, 1/15/2009

Last night I went to see a show that was part of the multi-day Tomorrow Never Knows winter music festival. Basically the premise is to get a bunch of indie bands together and help people fight their “it’s winter and this sucks” feelings. I went with two friends of mine, braving the negative 12 degree cold weather*.

*On a side note, we were discussing how one of Chris’ dog walking clients had asked him to put the “hipster coat” onto this lady’s dog which looked like the material that this guy right next to us was wearing in hat form. We all felt that this was something that a person who is either from Minnesota, Wisconsin, or cuts logs for a living would wear and not so much a hipster style.

We had not heard of the first 3 bands so were a little excited to hear something unbiased. So first things first though, the three opening bands in order of performance.

The Poison Arrows: Think of what would happen if Tool only studied the musical scores of John Carpenter films… and then played loudly on huge drums. I don’t think I need to see them again.

Alla: This band seemed to rely on shoegaze jams far too much, without having enough forward direction. They did have some interesting builds in their songs, but I felt like the vocals were both too hard to hear, and swallowed by way too much reverb. Ultimately, they just didn’t know when to climax and end the song.

Dissapears: Loud, washy, reverby British vocals; blah.

Finally, Department of Eagles: The band had a minimal stage setup, with small amps, shared swapping of guitars and an unassuming, almost awkward presence. Clearly this band was very good with dynamics, which was a nice change from the continually echoing noise of the previous groups.

The interplay between the members was subtle and maintained the sound of the album In Ear Park; it was nice to hear that they can actually play what they’ve recorded instead of overly relying on too many studio fixes. The lead singer Daniel Rossen’s voice was clear, and coupled nicely with the backup vocals from the drummer.

Dept. of Eagles’ drummer added a lot to the group: I am kind of a sucker for drummers who play with mallets and know when to lay out for (and turn off the snare) during a quieter sections.

Strangely, the band actually ran out of material to play leaving the audience slightly puzzled with the ending. He said something along the lines “Thanks for letting us play” and then with the audience expecting something else he said “really we don’t have any more songs.. this is awkward.” I think they just replaced the bass player and it’s possible they had not had the chance to beef up their set yet.

Oh, and the man with the red hat turned out to be the drummer, so maybe it IS a hipster hat…

Here is a video of Dept. of Eagles playing “No One Does It Like You” from Bell House, in Brooklyn NY in October of last year:


A Curious Observation on Flushing Habits

So as I now have a shared bathroom that I split with the rest of the floor, I’ve been noticing more and more that there are different types of flusher users out there. Here are the differences I’ve noticed:

The Nihilistic Flusher” – No flush. (Not so common)

The Single Flusher” – This person goes in , does their business and flushes once at the end. (Pretty Common)

The Double Flusher” – This person goes in, flushes at the start, and then once more again at the end. (Also Pretty Common)

The Intermittent Flusher” – This person may or may not flush at the start, but will flush 2 or 3 times during their stay, and once at the end. Do they need this extra noise to keep out the stage fright? (Happens more than you’d think)

And today, I’ve encountered a new breed never before heard in the wild (at least by me):

The Double Trouble Intermittent Flusher” – This guy flushed TWO toilets at the start, one or two in the middle, and then BOTH toilets at the end. That a lot of water displacement. Does he feel more manly having two handles to pull down at the start and finish? So many questions..

Did I miss any?