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The modern soul of the O’My’s sounds smoother than ever on No Swimming

As the O’My’s, singer-guitarist Maceo Vidal-Haymes and keyboardist Nick Hennessey carefully control the heat they apply to their luxurious contemporary take on soul, so that it smolders instead of burning off the roof. The Chicago duo mostly stay cool and low-key on their latest EP, No Swimming. During the songs’ hushed passages, Vidal-Haymes’s almost hornlike […]

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On their first album in seven years, Anatomy of Habit continue turning over new stones

It’s been ten years since Chicago collective Anatomy of Habit released their first record, and a lot has changed since then. Anchored by front man Mark Solotroff, the band came out of the gate with long, complex, layered songs that blend doomy metal, Swans-style noise rock, bleak postpunk, heavy drones, and hypnotic guitar-looping acrobatics. It’s […]

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Four years ago, Chicago indie rockers the Walters broke up just as they were getting big—then TikTok found them

Chicago five-piece the Walters started self-releasing their delightfully light throwback rock in the mid-2010s, and once I heard it, I assumed they wouldn’t take long to break out of the city’s indie scene. They wove plenty of pop hooks and doo-wop melodies into their effervescent, self-aware spin on classic rock, and 2015’s Young Men went […]

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Robert Marovich publishes a new book on King of Gospel James Cleveland

In a 2015 Reader story, critic Peter Margasak called scholar and radio DJ Robert Marovich “one of the foremost authorities on Chicago gospel” and wrote that his then-new book, A City Called Heaven: Chicago and the Birth of Gospel Music, “convincingly establishes the city’s crucial role in the origin of the music.” Marovich has since […]

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Percussionists Hamid Drake and Michael Zerang return to in-person performance for their annual solstice concerts

Six years ago, I characterized Hamid Drake and Michael Zerang’s winter solstice concert series as “an anchor, a beacon, and a seasonal tradition in its own right.” The two drummers began performing as a duo at Links Hall in 1990; surrounded by percussion instruments from around the world, they would begin by candlelight, then play […]

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Queer nightlife fixture Cae Monāe opens for her synergistic collaborators in darkwave trio Pixel Grip

Cae Monāe’s existence is her art. Whether she’s taking over an Instagram square with her face abstracted by embellishments and makeup or adorning herself in a custom outfit and commanding a stage with iPhone beats, she demands consideration. And why shouldn’t she? She’s a Black trans woman, so invisibility isn’t an option for her. It’d […]