Posted inMusic

Chicago teen rockers Neptune’s Core celebrate their big new EP at Metro

When Chicago teen four-piece Neptune’s Core formed in 2018, they wrestled with punk, indie rock, and power pop—sometimes it felt like they weren’t quite in control of their music, but the results were always at least interesting. They self-released their debut album, Can’t Have It All, in 2020, playing snaggletoothed melodies with enough feverish energy […]

Posted inGossip Wolf

Tim Kinsella & Jenny Pulse have finally decided their new album is done

It’s been years since the duo of Tim Kinsella and Jenny Pulse (aka Jennifer Polus) dropped the name “Good Fuck” and began recording and performing under their own names. Their industriousness remains undiminished: they began developing the new Giddy Skelter, their debut full-length for Kill Rock Stars, nearly three years ago, and they made a […]

Posted inGossip Wolf

Lovely Little Girls drop a dazzling new album of grotesque, theatrical prog rock

In 2016, Reader music editor Philip Montoro profiled local progressive-rock weirdos Lovely Little Girls upon the release of the album Glistening Vivid Splash, describing their “absurd and jarring contrasts” and “knotty, intricate songs” that “heave and dance and skitter, sometimes gracefully dexterous and sometimes grotesquely lumpy.” The band have been steadily evolving since their confrontationally […]

Posted inConcert Preview, Music, Music Review

Smushie’s psych-pop will make you believe in endless summers

Smushie main man Austin Koenigstein (also half of Chicago duo Berta Bigtoe) plays psych-leaning indie rock whose relaxed, sun-dappled melodies will convince you he’s figured out the secret to an unbothered life. Radiant keys, limber bass, loose and understated guitars, and cool, in-the-pocket drums float through Smushie’s latest album, June’s self-released Doofus Casanova, and Koenigstein […]

Posted inMusic

Lifeguard make a break for indie’s big time with Dressed in Trenches

In Nina Corcoran’s recent Pitchfork Rising profile of Chicago postpunk trio Lifeguard, guitarist-vocalist Kai Slater described what draws together the teenagers in their Hallogallo scene. “It feels like everyone involved is really desperate to make music,” Slater said, “like it’s not a choice, but their natural role.” This sense of necessity invigorates the high-wire tension […]

Posted inMusic

Indie-emo group Hey, ILY come from Montana but sound like they climbed out of an N64

In the Bandcamp credits of their 2022 full-length debut, Psychokinetic Love Songs (Lonely Ghost), Montana indie-emo band Hey, ILY snuck in what looks like a mission statement. Lead guitarist Trevin Baker and front man Caleb Haynes mention their instruments, of course, but also their “average” or “above average” skill at Nintendo’s Smash Bros.—add in the […]

Posted inRecord Roundup

Nine great Chicago records to hear now

Most music outlets have already published their listicles spotlighting the best albums of the first half of the year. As usual, I’m not even thinking about picking my favorites from among every album released anywhere—I’m overwhelmed just by the volume of quality Chicago music that I haven’t gotten to write about yet. This felt like […]

Posted inGossip Wolf

Two former Electric Eels show up to celebrate an obsessively curated new compilation

Cleveland protopunk band the Electric Eels existed for just three years in the early 70s, playing all of five gigs, and didn’t release a record till long after they’d broken up. But the legend of this notoriously self-destructive band keeps growing—maybe because founding guitarist Brian McMahon published a masterfully cantankerous memoir, Jaguar Ride, via HoZac […]