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New-music feast the Frequency Festival returns after taking a COVID year

Former Reader staff writer Peter Margasak has been programming the Frequency Series at Constellation since 2013, bringing in artists from across the wide spectrum of experimental and new music for weekly showcases. Since 2016 Margasak has also booked the annual Frequency Festival, which skipped 2021 for obvious reasons; the festival will return for its sixth […]

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Earthless return to form on the psychedelic Night Parade of One Hundred Demons

Earthless started releasing anachronistic 40-minute jams steeped in 70s hard-rock riffing at a time in the early 2000s when spindly postpunk seemed to dominate the underground rock landscape. A new wave of psychedelic metal was also beginning to take shape, though, and the Southern California trio’s studio debut, 2005’s Sonic Prayer, opens with a track […]

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Chicago Americana outfit Dogs at Large flirt with the comforts of lo-fi sounds

Since the mid-2010s, Chicago multi-instrumentalist Sam Pirruccello (aided by a shifting group of collaborators) has been releasing languid, Americana-inflected indie rock as Dogs at Large. In 1975, Pirruccello’s father, Bo, and Bo’s brother Frank (Pirruccello’s uncle) cofounded the delightful country-rock band Ouray, and the music of Dogs at Large has a noticeable twang too. Dogs […]

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Singer-songwriter Silvana Estrada conquers heartache on her debut Marchita

On her exquisite debut album, Marchita, Mexican singer-songwriter Silvana Estrada dissects the many bruised facets of a breakup in 11 intimate, elegant tunes. Estrada colors her compositions with her experiences growing up in a family of classical musicians and luthiers as well as her jazz studies at the University of Veracruz. On Marchita, she traces […]

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Progressive death-metal band Monochromatic Black deliver the brutality on Vicissitude

In 2018, Long Island progressive death-metal band Monochromatic Black threw down the gauntlet with a video for their debut single, “The Herd,” announcing themselves as a force to be reckoned with. The following year, they released their first EP, Pneuma, to considerable acclaim: it’s an intense, versatile, and strikingly assured burst of brutality that hit […]

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Violist Jessica Pavone brings good vibrations to the new When No One Around You Is There but Nowhere to Be Found

About a decade ago, back trouble forced Jessica Pavone to stop playing viola for nearly two years. Since her return, the impact of music upon the health and well-being of both performers and listeners has been one of the New York-based artist’s essential concerns. When she was composing the material for her most recent ensemble […]

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Krautrock legend Michael Rother and electronic explorer Vittoria Maccabruni make weird beautiful music on As Long as the Light

I was a wee lad with little journalism experience in 1998, when I interviewed German guitar god Michael Rother, who’d cofounded pioneering experimental rock outfits Neu! and Harmonia in the 70s. Not only did I hit him with a cliched question about his biggest influences, but I also pressed him when he said that no […]