Posted inMusic

Joliet band Molder dig death metal right down to its bones

Joliet four-piece Molder know what’s awesome about classic death metal—and that includes its deliberately disgusting aesthetics. “I think some of it goes a little overboard and it’s a little silly, but to each their own,” guitarist and vocalist Aaren Pantke told Invisible Oranges last July, when Prosthetic released Molder’s second album, Engrossed in Decay. “It’s […]

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The ladies who sing from the back

The 2013 film 20 Feet From Stardom tells the stories of background singers who’ve supported stars such as the Rolling Stones, Madonna, Ray Charles, and Donna Summer. The movie, which won the best documentary Oscar the following year, focuses mostly on singers based in Los Angeles and to a lesser degree New York, among them […]

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Improvisers Mats Gustafsson and Joachim Nordwall make blockbuster-worthy music on a new collaborative album

Free improvisers, experimental musicians, and foley artists differ in their methods, but practitioners of all three arts can unite around their attraction to sounds that’ll raise your hackles. This collaboration between improvisational woodwinds player Mats Gustafsson and electronic musician Joachim Nordwall (of the Skull Defekts and the iDealist) could soundtrack a bookshelf full of straight-to-video […]

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Algiers bring the sounds of Atlanta’s strident past and joyous present to Sleeping Village

The cover imagery on Algiers’s new album, Shook, can be interpreted as empowering or forsaken. A black wolf with feral or fawning eyes—you decide—stands in profile with its head lowered, a chain dangling from its mouth. I like to think that the wolf isn’t genuflecting but rather holding the tools of its oppressor between its […]

Posted inGossip Wolf

Late jazz pianist Bob Dogan gets a tribute show at Elastic Arts

When Chicago pianist and composer Bob Dogan died in Tallahassee, Florida, in 2020 after a brief illness, our city lost a jazz giant. In 2005, longtime Reader writer Neil Tesser hailed his small-group compositions for their “strong, meaty lines with attractive harmonic schemes that engage and propel the soloists,” while also noting the airy, economical […]

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With an album-release show at Adler Planetarium, Rob Mazurek’s Exploding Star Orchestra plot an intergalactic return to Chicago

Rob Mazurek’s Exploding Star Orchestra sounds like a tributary of Chicago’s avant-jazz traditions. In 2005, the Chicago Cultural Center and the Jazz Institute of Chicago commissioned the multidisciplinary artist and trumpeter for a concert at Pritzker Pavilion, which inspired him to assemble a supergroup of the city’s bleeding-edge creative musicians. Together, they bundle the cosmic […]

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They Are Gutting a Body of Water make a case for wackier shoegaze

Philadelphia band They Are Gutting a Body of Water toy with shoegaze like Van Leeuwen screws around with ice cream—their delightfully askew music draws me in, though, while Van Leeuwen’s Hidden Valley Ranch flavor repels me. TAGABOW have made a lot of creative choices that depart from shoegaze’s traditional wall-of-sound warmth. They’ve collaborated with Chicago […]

Posted inThe Secret History of Chicago Music

It’s never too late to give soul-blues master Bobby Jonz his flowers

We Americans don’t seem to want to deal with this pesky pandemic anymore—not to take precautions and certainly not to grieve our country’s losses, which topped one million lives almost a year ago. Even our president, who at first seemed to have our backs, has declared the crisis over. Meanwhile the body count keeps climbing, […]

Posted inGossip Wolf

Gossip Wolf: Chicago Afro-soul singer Nola Adé releases her long-awaited second EP, Royal

For the better part of a decade, Chicago native Nola Adé has released standout music, including her 2016 debut EP, The Love Dance, and a smattering of well-received singles on which she wrapped her luxurious voice around popping, radio-ready Afro-soul production. (Gossip Wolf remains especially partial to her track “Make Move,” a booming love song […]