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Haley Fohr of Circuit des Yeux gives the local premiere of her score for the 1923 silent film Salomé

Anyone who regularly reads my writing in this paper probably knows about my growing admiration for Haley Fohr, a vocalist, composer, and improviser whose stunning creative growth over the last few years is matched by her rigor and ambition. Last year her long-running project Circuit des Yeux dropped a knockout album, Reaching for Indigo (Drag […]

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Chicago art-pop duo Ohmme assert themselves as one of the city’s best bands on Parts

Sima Cunningham and Macie Stewart are only in their 20s, but both of them have already become stalwart figures on Chicago’s music scene, nonchalantly cutting across disparate communities. Cunningham largely sticks to Americana and indie, touring or collaborating with artists such as Jeff Tweedy and Twin Peaks, while Stewart is just as comfortable playing free […]

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American Primitive guitarist Daniel Bachman dramatically opens up his sound world on The Morning Star

Virginia guitarist Daniel Bachman regularly demonstrates curiosity and practice outside of the hazy contours of the American Primitive style of acoustic guitar made famous by John Fahey. While those excursions have been limited and discreet—and he’s generally veered back to his comfort zone—they’ve neverthless indicated his admirably restless creative streak. He dives in completely on […]

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Rocker Alejandro Escovedo draws from his family history to meditate on the smearing of the immigrant experience

On the forthcoming The Crossing (due September 14 on Yep Roc), veteran Austin rocker Alejandro Escovedo refracts his life as a second-generation Mexican-American in a concept album about two immigrants from Mexico and Italy who meet while working in a Texas restaurant, focusing on the shared and disparate personal experiences that brought them to the […]

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Arborea guitarist Buck Curran expands his meditative solo practice on Morning Haikus, Afternoon Ragas

In his long-running duo Arborea, guitarist Buck Curran skillfully spun lines of gossamer beauty and tenderness into a sparkling blanket under the sweet cooing of his musical collaborator and then-wife, Shanti Deschaine, occasionally descending into meditative treacle. Since he began making solo records a couple of years ago, his liquid fluency has taken a more […]

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Chicago jazz mainstay bassist Joshua Abrams switches gears with a rigorously visceral new solo album

Bassist Joshua Abrams’s importance to Chicago’s jazz and improvised music scene over the last few decades is indisputable. He’s laid down the harmonic anchor in loads of disparate ensembles, providing muscle and shape to bands led by reedists Dave Rempis, Ernest Dawkins, and Jason Stein; cornetists Rob Mazurek and Josh Berman; flutist Nicole Mitchell; and […]

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John Zorn explores heavy, precise rock music in Simulacrum, and will play with the trio in Chicago

Back in the late 80s, John Zorn famously crammed many of his disparate musical interests into the work of a single ensemble. His quintet Naked City embodied his rapid-cut aesthetic; every couple of bars the ensemble abruptly and precisely switched tone and style, communicating a short-attention-span ethos that foreshadowed the age of information overload. In […]

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Two of Chicago’s best rock bands come together to celebrate a pair of classic Neil Young albums

Throughout its thirty-five years as a band, Eleventh Dream Day has regularly sprinkled its incendiary sets with carefully chosen covers of obscure and well-known rock songs. Since I started listening to them, I’ve accumulated many vivid memories, such as hearing them trace the seething rise and fall of the Dream Syndicate’s “Halloween,” embrace the idiotic […]

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On Shelter British singer Olivia Chaney retains the intimacy of British folk while escaping its confines

British singer Olivia Chaney emerged on the British folk scene nearly a decade ago, harmonizing behind Scotsman Alasdair Roberts and writing her own music. Over time her repertoire and ideas have broadened; on her 2015 debut album, The Longest River (Nonesuch), she placed gems by Chilean nueva canción pioneer Violeta Parra, baroque composer Henry Purcell, […]