Posted inBest of Chicago

Best new music blogger

Lorena Cupcake at storebrandsoda.com @lorenacupcake Lorena Cupcake, 28, founded Store Brand Soda with the even more pseudonymous Hotdish Ramone in August 2014, inspired by the combo of music calendar and blog at garage-rock clearinghouse Victim of Time. Friendly, playful, and no-bullshit, Cupcake’s posts use a dirt-under-the-fingernails familiarity with Chicago underground rock to convey unpretentious, all-aboard […]

Posted inBest of Chicago

Best new south-side nightlife spot

The Promontory 5311 S. Lake Park 312-801-2100 promontorychicago.com Whatever your feelings are about the food and drink at Hyde Park’s the Promontory, you’d be hard-pressed to find much wrong with the venue’s performance space, a gorgeous room with atom-shaped chandeliers, a great bar, and clean acoustics. But what distinguishes the Promontory are the acts it […]

Posted inBest of Chicago

Best musical anniversary

The 50th year of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians With the exception of the anniversary of my marriage, I tend to be pretty ambivalent about such celebrations—they happen every year, after all. But the achievements of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) since its foundation in 1965 are so […]

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Best punk-rock LGBTQ night

Glitter Creeps “I would have killed for a rock ‘n’ roll-themed gay night when I was 21!” says Donnie Moore, front man of local punk band Absolutely Not and founder of Glitter Creeps, a monthly LGBTQ night at the Empty Bottle that hosts some of Chicago’s best underground acts. Taking place on the third Wednesday […]

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Best reason to hang out at an arcade bar after midnight on a school night

Killer Queen at Logan Arcade 2410 W. Fullerton 872-206-2859 loganarcade.com Even drinking the beer with the highest alcohol content at one of Chicago’s ever-growing roster of arcade bars can’t mask how poorly 1980s arcade games have aged. Asteroids is dreadfully boring, and Donkey Kong now feels more like a Sisyphean exercise in frustration than a […]

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Best way to footwork in an art gallery during off-hours

The Era’s Lab Sessions 2233 S. Throop highconceptlaboratories.org Last year footwork collective the Era launched Lab Sessions, an intermittently operating club night that brings the hyperfast, athletic style of dance to High Concept Laboratories, an “arts service organization” cum gallery in Pilsen. It’s an informal gathering, with members of the Era chopping it up with […]

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Best nomadic collective for weird, druggy, hard-hitting underground techno

Tied When this clandestine collective of “like-minded people tied together” first appeared, it was to throw parties that bounce from one nondescript location to the next, start at hours during which most folks are calling it a night, and showcase artists at the forefront of underground house and techno music. Though the organizers occasionally collaborate […]

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Best classical label

Cedille Records @CedilleRecords Founded in 1989 by James Ginsburg, Cedille Records is hardly a secret in the world of classical music, where it’s widely recognized as one of the most important independent imprints. Calling it the best classical label in Chicago, where it’s arguably the only established example, may feel like faint praise—but Cedille has […]

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Best progressive cumbia and tropical bass night

CumbiaSazo 1572 N. Milwaukee 773-489-3160 doubledoor.com Hosted by Double Door every fourth Saturday of the month, CumbiaSazo is part live music performance, part dance instruction, and part art exhibit, all dedicated to the musical styles of cumbia and tropical bass. Both genres—rooted in cross-cultural music traditions from South America, Africa, and Spain—continue to grow in […]

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Best instructional dance video

“Big Sexy Slide” by DJ Maine @maineofficial In late 2013, bop kings Dlow and Lil Kemo combined their wild, euphoric dancing with the sort of party rap that’s made for it, releasing songs of their own with videos designed to teach you their moves. “The Dlow Shuffle” and “Kemo Step” were both regional hits, but […]