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  • Martin Kobylarz
  • Rollin Hunt

Rollin Hunt’s name should be familiar to readers who love Chicago musicians with a flair for experimenting with pop. His name first appeared in the Reader in 2007 when Jessica Hopper decided to forgo attending the massive summer festivals that fill Chicago’s summers in favor of checking out a few underground acts; Hopper’s take on Hunt’s “savant-garde doo-wop” sound and raw self-released demo, Dearly Honorable Listener, kept the singer-songwriter on the Reader‘s radar through the years.

In the time since, Hunt has been tinkering away on his debut full-length, The Phoney. The album is a sea change, as Hunt diverts from the hazy, lackadaisical aesthetic of his earlier work while keeping his outre characteristics intact. Those changes are quite obvious on “Criminal” and “Castle of Nothing,” which local imprint Moniker Records originally released as a seven-inch single two years ago; on the vinyl version of “Castle of Nothing” Hunt morphed his vocals into something resembling a misanthropic, water-damaged supercomputer from the 80s, but on the new version he sings so clearly you can hear his voice quiver slightly at certain points. Moniker will release The Phoney on Tue 4/30; the Reader has the exclusive stream of the album until its release next week.