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Posted inMusic

Chicago’s record stores make for minimally miserable Black Friday destinations

Record Store Day usually takes place in the spring (well, before the pandemic it did), but in 2011 its organizers launched a Black Friday spin-off. Since then I’ve become increasingly weary of this invented retail holiday. Even though RSD promotes independent brick-and-mortar music shops—unquestionably a good idea—its list of special releases has become saturated with […]

Posted inMusic

Round Trip Records opens its brick-and-mortar shop after almost two years of pandemic delays

Chicago has a brand-new record store: Round Trip Records in North Park! Co-owner Paul Nixon says the shop has been in the works since November 2019, when he left his longtime gig at Laurie’s Planet of Sound. Shortly he and Round Trip co-owner David Baker started selling records online and at the Chicagoland Record & CD […]

Posted inMusic

Chicago rockers Kirby Grip explore low earth orbit on Portrait of Bliss

Chicago rockers Kirby Grip debuted in 2019 with American Cheese, an upbeat EP that animated its clean power-pop hooks with excitable emo propulsion. American Cheese standout “Chopped Party,” though, adopted a space-rock sound paired with stargazing lyrics, hinting at a direction Kirby Grip are now exploring in earnest on the new self-released full-length Portrait of […]

Posted inMusic

Elenna Sindler teams up with Hasco Duo for an EP of haunting art songs

Late last month, local contemporary classical composer and pop musician Elenna Sindler dropped a new collaborative digital EP, Lullaby Baby, with Hasco Duo (aka soprano Amanda DeBoer Bartlett and guitarist Jesse Langen, both of Ensemble dal Niente). Sindler, who sings the lead vocal parts on the EP, describes it as reflecting “different fears and anxieties […]

Posted inMusic

Chicago rapper Mick Jenkins points out the Elephant in the Room

On “Stiff Arm,” three songs into Mick Jenkins’s new Elephant in the Room (Free Nation/Cinematic Music Group), Chicago performer and activist Ayinde Cartman delivers a scorching rumination that doubles as thesis statement for the album, identifying a key paradox of Black life in America. “Our existence is the elephant in every boardroom,” Cartman declares. “How […]

Posted inMusic

Chicago bruisers Nequient drop a new EP to soften you up for their next album

In 2018, Gossip Wolf weighed in on Chicago metallic hardcore neck breakers Nequient, calling their debut full-length, Wolves at the Door, a “major D-beat shit storm.” In the years since, the four-piece band—drummer Chris Avgerin, bassist Keenan Clifford, guitarist Patrick Conahan, and vocalist Jason Kolkey—have earned a sterling rep as an onstage juggernaut, but only […]