Posted inBest of Chicago

Best 4 AM bar for live music

The Owl The Owl is more than just another 4 AM bar filled with already-drunks pining to extend the night further into the wee hours. While the Logan Square hideaway has several features that pair well with fun mistakes—dim lighting, mirrored walls, a decadent waterfall flowing behind the long, curved bar—it also books obscure acts […]

Posted inBest of Chicago

Best cross between the Breeders and Lightning Bolt

Melkbelly Melkbelly wrangle the tidal-size tension and release of noise rock with expert hands, pushing its blown-out frenzy inch by inch toward endearing indie pop. On last year’s Pennsylvania (Automatic) the four-piece contort cinder-­block bass, scraggly guitars, and brash, crackling art-punk drumming into all sorts of different shapes; the album’s longest song, closer “Scrupulous,” has […]

Posted inBest of Chicago

Best band primed to break out this year

Ne-Hi @nehi_band OK, maybe not so much “primed” as “teetering on the edge of.” Indie-rock four-piece Ne-Hi dropped their raw self-titled debut a little over a year ago via local label Manic Static (which has since issued a second pressing), so by now its wistful, reverb-washed melodies, perfectly simple guitar leads, and swooshing, all-for-one choruses […]

Posted inBest of Chicago

Best hot dice

Crown Tap Room 2821 N. Milwaukee 773-252-9741 There are hundreds of ways to get fall-over hammered at a local drinking establishment. And so many of them involve a fiery-eyed yahoo—someone you likely met that same night—demanding “Shots!” A staggered line of shot glasses on top of a well-worn bar isn’t as much a slippery slope […]

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 […]

Posted inBest of Chicago

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 […]

Posted inBest of Chicago

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 […]