If some sort of god or higher power exists, it clearly has a dark sense of humor—otherwise why send us plagues, floods, and fires, till even nonbelievers start to worry about the end times? And only a divine being with a cruel streak would’ve taken the Reverend Marvin Yancy from this earthly plane so young, […]
Since 2004 Plastic Crimewave (aka Steve Krakow) has used the Secret History of Chicago Music to shine a light on worthy artists with Chicago ties who’ve been forgotten, underrated, or never noticed in the first place. It’s hard to believe that in more than 15 years of the Secret History of Chicago Music—at least 350 […]
Modern digital avenues for music discovery can make it hard to remember what “underground” used to mean. Before the Internet, underground music was hard to find and often hard to even know about—and that amplified its significance for the outcasts who loved it. In the mid-80s, when speed was king in heavy music, a small […]
People often ask me how I keep finding subjects for the Secret History of Chicago Music after more than 15 years. I don’t have one answer to that question—sometimes I stumble on a record I didn’t know about, sometimes I go down a research wormhole in books or online. But one of my favorite ways […]
Update on Tue 8/24: This show has been canceled. I was nine years old when I ordered Modern English’s second album, 1982’s After the Snow, from Columbia House. I bought it for “I Melt With You” and discovered that the rest of the songs sounded nothing like that hit single—the record quickly submerged me in […]
Founded by Lorna Donley and David Thomas of DA!, the Veil broke up in 1989 without a formal release—but this month they finally get one.
This is the first time I’ve reviewed a soundtrack without seeing the movie, but a good soundtrack should stand on its own. And in the case of Annette (which comes out August 6), the soundtrack was created by Sparks—a band I’ve loved since I was a young lad—so I was more than up for the […]
Irish dream-pop genius Joe Cassidy lived in Chicago for more than a decade and became a beloved part of our music scene.
Ari Brown hasn’t often sought the spotlight, but his blend of bebop rigor and avant-garde daring puts him on par with the likes of Fred Anderson and Von Freeman.
James Holvay is best known for writing the Buckinghams’ “Kind of a Drag” and cofounding the Mob, but he’s still making music more than 50 years later.
It’s a common misconception that true, filthy rock ’n’ roll died in the early 80s after being eclipsed by new wave, whose shiny commercial sound piled on the gated reverb, drum machines, keytars, and New Romantic vocals. In fact, noisy rock and garage punk flourished underground during that era, thanks to the likes of the […]
Skanking Lizard’s new vinyl retrospective, Original Chicago Reggae: 1978-1996, quadruples the number of formally released tracks in their discography.
In his tragically short life, Ron Haydock careened through rockabilly, monster magazines, pulp novels, and exploitation films.
Jackie Ross had a smash with “Selfish One” in 1964—but that just happens to be the best-selling single from her decades of great songs.
Chicago singer-songwriter RJ Griffith has released a cover of his uncle’s old R&B band the Fabulous Turks.