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Horsegirl and the dream of a teen rock scene

In July 2019, Chicago indie-rock trio Horsegirl played the eighth annual Square Roots Festival. At the time, live shows were the only way to hear the group’s taut but disarming dream pop, with its windswept-lakefront sound—and they’d only performed a few of them. They hadn’t released any music, not even to stream, and unsurprisingly they’d […]

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Paul Natkin, concert photographer

Chicago native Paul Natkin is a prolific concert and portrait photographer who’s shot more than 4,300 musicians and celebrities since he started his career in 1975. He’s also worked as road manager for the likes of Brian Wilson and Alice Peacock and tour photographer for the Rolling Stones. His images have appeared in so many […]

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Makaya McCraven doubly decodes Blue Note classics with Deciphering the Message live shows

Drummer Makaya McCraven has always been a bit of a rabble-rouser. He mixes audio from his live gigs with studio overdubs in intricately layered tracks that feel like jazz approached with a DJ’s sensibility. Like McCraven’s 2020 Gil Scott-Heron tribute, We’re New Again (XL Recordings), last year’s Deciphering the Message remixes snippets from a source […]

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The Pride Bands Alliance celebrates 40 years with a symphonic-band blowout and two world premieres

In October 1982, members of seven LGBTQ+ concert and marching bands from across the U.S. met in Chicago and formed the Lesbian and Gay Band Association. Though the LGBA changed its name to the Pride Bands Alliance in 2021, it still provides “an international network of LGBTQ+ and affirming bands in all stages of development” […]

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In their second incarnation, Racetraitor find a progressive movement ready for their politics

After Chicago political hardcore powerhouse Racetraitor disbanded in 1999, a fog of legend grew in their wake. Motivated by their frustration at the bilious 2016 presidential campaign cycle and the fury and urgency of the burgeoning Black Lives Matter movement, the band reemerged with a fiery reunion a couple weeks before the election, but they […]

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Chicago bassist Nick Macri celebrates some roots and branches on his first solo release

Chicago bassist Nick Macri is the model of versatility. He has appeared with a formidable gallery of jazz, folk, and rock musicians, including Ken Vandermark, James Elkington, Laetitia Sadier, Bobby Conn, and instrumental combo Stirrup. Adept on electric bass guitar and acoustic double bass, he can be unassumingly supportive or assertively tuneful, depending on what […]

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Emma Hospelhorn of Ensemble dal Niente releases a scintillating solo debut as Em Spel

Gossip Wolf always likes to hear about a new solo album from a member of Ensemble dal Niente—the long-running local contemporary-classical corps has built a spotless reputation for adventurous programming and technical excellence, and its members often pop up in far-flung musical contexts around town. Among the most prolific is multi-instrumentalist Emma Hospelhorn, who has […]

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Elastic Arts’ AfriClassical Futures series continues with the Honourable Elizabeth A. Baker

Since January 2020, vocalist Julian Otis and Elastic Arts executive director Adam Zanolini have programmed AfriClassical Futures, a series offering an antidote to the overwhelming whiteness and deadness of the classical canon. Each AfriClassical concert invites a Black artist working in or springboarding from the Western classical tradition for an intimate live performance and conversation, […]

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London label Touch brings its 40th-anniversary celebration to the International Museum of Surgical Science

London-based Touch isn’t a record label in the traditional sense; it’s far more multifaceted. It might be more accurate to describe Touch as a collective that also extends into publishing, performance curation, and site-specific multimedia events driven by a loosely defined stable of international avant-garde electronic and sound artists, who include guitarist and producer Fennesz, […]