Two copies of the first issue of Hallogallo, published in early 2021, with a cartoon sheep on a red background
The first issue of Hallogallo, published in early 2021 Credit: Courtesy Hallogallo

“Hallogallo” isn’t just the name of a song by 70s Krautrock band Neu!—it’s also a term that a group of Chicago teenagers have adopted to apply to almost anything associated with their DIY music and art community. That includes the zine Hallogallo, launched in early 2021, which has done terrific work documenting this scene. It’s edited by Kai Slater, who plays noisy, spindly postpunk in Lifeguard and scruffy, wide-screen indie rock in Dwaal Troupe, but anyone in the community can contribute to the zine. The fourth and latest issue, for example, includes an essay on Black womanism and Marxism by 19-year-old Chicago anarchist and abolitionist Shayla Turner. The Hallogallo team understand that zines can encourage countercultural thinking even with their visual style, and they avoid staid layouts in favor of detailed collages and judicious sprinkles of color. As the primary organ for a fast-growing scene, Hallogallo generates excitement about what’s happening within that scene: issue two includes news about Horsegirl signing to big-time indie label Matador. The zine also provides a richness of detail that seems engineered to engage outsiders: issue four taught me more about Dwaal Troupe’s charming 2021 album, Lucky Dog, than I ever would’ve known to ask.

Best of Chicago 2021 is
presented by

Green Thumb

sponsored in part by

Goethe Institut
Chicago History Museum

Refer to the closed final ballot to see all the categories and finalists that were voted on.