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Former Oshwa bandleader Alicia Walter makes a grand entrance as a solo artist

In the 2010s, Alicia Walter led criminally underappreciated Chicago band Oshwa, who played dizzying, dramatic math-rock with the finesse of a tween Mensa member simultaneously solving three Rubik’s Cubes. Walter moved to New York in 2016, the same year Oshwa released their final album, I We You Me, but her Chicago connections remain strong: this […]

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Sound artist and onetime Chicagoan Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe adds new layers to the Candyman story

Folklore can be the ultimate game of telephone. As a historical form of collective communication, it brings communities together while expressing what makes them unique, and the content of its stories changes as newer generations tell them from their own perspectives. Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe’s score for Nia DaCosta’s new film, Candyman, exemplifies how distortion—whether […]

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Lykanthea’s Dawn Birds welcome the autumnal equinox with song

Update: Due to a stormy forecast for Tuesday morning, the performance of Lykanthea’s Dawn Birds has been rescheduled for Wednesday, September 22, at 6:30 AM. Lakshmi Ramgopal, who makes music as Lykanthea, moved to the east coast in 2016 (she’s an assistant professor of history at Columbia University in New York), but she still considers Chicago […]

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On their debut album, Central Heat Exchange envision a new indie-rock utopia

Throughout the pandemic I’ve noticed an uptick in long-distance musical collaborations, and the new self-titled debut from dyed-in-the-wool indie rockers Central Heat Exchange (Sunroom/Citrus City/Birthday Cake) is among the best. Chicago provides an anchor for the four-piece group, since more of the members live here than anywhere else: brothers Jake and Paul Stolz of local […]

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Blue Lick debut with an oblique and deadpan combo of modular synth and spoken word

Multi-instrumentalists Havadine Stone and Ben Baker Billington have played a handful of compelling local shows as the duo Blue Lick since 2017, but they haven’t released any recordings yet—probably because they both keep themselves busy. Stone has dropped solo cassettes on Reserve Matinee and American Dreams Records over the past few years, and Billington (who […]

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On their debut album, Chicago’s Tobacco City get to the roots of their wistful country

Chicago country five-piece Tobacco City formed to cover Neil Young songs for a Halloween show, but thankfully they’ve since developed their own sound. Like Young, they have a way with plaintive melodies, but their music is rooted in bluesy honky-tonk and earthy, wistful country, with supple, pop-driven harmony vocals. Tobacco City’s surefire rhythm section—drummer Josh […]

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The Chicago Children’s Choir drops a concept album inspired by the Odyssey

Since its founding in 1956, the Chicago Children’s Choir has grown into a cultural juggernaut and an essential ambassador of the city’s musical spirit. Nearly 5,000 kids ages eight to 18 participate in the nonprofit’s in-school and after-school educational programs, which prioritize racial diversity and reach students from low- to moderate-income homes via sliding-scale tuition […]