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Hana Vu carves new pop landscapes with Public Storage

Storage units, with their heavy padlocked doors and stockpiles of intimate possessions, are ripe for metaphors about emotional compartmentalization. On her debut album, Public Storage, Los Angeles guitarist and songwriter Hana Vu finds inspiration there, drawing on memories of the storage units her family used during their frequent moves and her subsequent feelings of displacement. […]

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Four Chicago venues join forces for a celebration of local rock, metal, and punk

Update, January 10: The Save the Rock ‘n’ Roll Festival has been postponed. The new dates are Friday, April 29, through Sunday, May 1. In April 2020, just weeks after COVID-19 shut down the live-music industry, four Chicago venue operators—Louie Mendicino of Cobra Lounge, Herb Rosen of Liar’s Club, Robby Glick of Reggies, and Dave Hornyak […]

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Karen Valencia, aka Karennoid of reggaeton DJ collective Agua de Rosas

DJ collective Agua de Rosas spread the gospel of reggaeton, and though they’re based in Milwaukee, they have an evangelist in Chicago too: Karen Valencia, better known as Karennoid. In November, the trio (Valencia, Julio Cordova, and Gabriela “Chanchita” Riveros) played their first Chicago gig at emerging underground dance haunt Podlasie Club. They opened for […]

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Lydia Loveless hits new highs on a recent pair of digital singles

Update as of 12/31/21: Both of Lydia Loveless’s concerts at FitzGerald’s have been postponed in deference to the COVID-19 surge. New dates have not yet been announced. In August, Lydia Loveless released two songs digitally that deserve a proper vinyl seven-inch treatment. For the B side, I’d pick “You’re Leaving Me,” a moody country torch song […]

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Chicago rockers Touched by Ghoul make up for canceling the world with a raucous New Year’s Eve show

Can some people subconsciously sense what the future holds? It’s fun to consider, especially in the context of something as good-natured as the new second album by Chicago art-rockers Touched by Ghoul: it bears the unintentionally prophetic title Cancel the World. Vocalist and guitarist Angela Mullenhour (formerly of Sybris), guitarist Andrea Bauer (formerly of the […]

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Wadada Leo Smith joins forces with guitarists Henry Kaiser and Alex Varty on the aquatic Pacifica Koral Reef

Trumpeter and composer Wadada Leo Smith, who turned 80 earlier this year, is seemingly at the height of his creative life—despite having already catalogued decades of accomplishments across dozens of releases, both in the company of AACM masters and as a bandleader. In May he issued a pair of three-disc sets, one focused on solo […]