The rap establishments on the coasts take only sporadic interest in what goes on in Chicago, which has not only contributed to our hip-hop scene’s famous saltiness but has also resulted in the birth of a whole subgenre of dance music kind of by accident. So it’s gratifying to see the biggest names in the rap industry tripping over themselves to sign contracts with a bunch of teenagers from the south side with punk-as-fuck attitudes. Half the releases in my latest local review roundup come from those kids, and I’m looking forward to writing about them at more length in the near future.

I also contributed to this week’s installment of In Rotation, along with photographer Todd Diederich (who shot our recent cover story on the West Humboldt Park drug trade and that amazing piece a while back on the Chicago ball scene) and Xina Xurner’s Young Joon Kwak. (Both Todd and I neglected to mention the recent rap song/dance sensation “Lookin’ for dat Rachel,” which so far only the two of us know about because we made it up at a party a couple of weekends ago.) Gossip Wolf has good news for Braid fans, bad news for fans of emo revivalists Coping, and rumors of romance among Bonnie “Prince” Billy’s bandmates. Steve Krakow’s latest Secret History of Chicago Music tells the story of outsider R&B auteur T. Valentine, “famous” for recording the ridiculous revenge song “Hello Lucille Are You a Lesbian?” This week’s Soundboard picks include the Mark Lanegan Band, Tragedy, Yamantaka//Sonic Titan, Lee Ranaldo, and more, and on top of that we’ve got a little guide to this weekend’s HoZac Blackout festival, headlined by Davila 666, Redd Kross, and Roky Erickson—plus a list of music festivals in the months to come as part of our Summer Guide package.