Singer-songwriter Angela James, wearing a sleeveless flowered dress, looks directly into the camera against a backdrop of greenery
Angela James Credit: Marzena Abrahamik

Gossip Wolf doesn’t parent any wee pups that need nighttime lullabies, but the gentle hush of the children’s music on Angela James’s 2019 album, Quiet Nights, is enrapturing no matter your age. On Friday, April 22, the local singer-songwriter releases her fourth LP, Now That I Have You, where she returns to making outstanding music that’s obviously for grown-ups—her honeyed croon and skillfully crafted Americana-tinged melodies give her arresting songs a lovelorn, wide-screen melancholy. The arrangements on James’s new album feature contributions from coproducer David Vandervelde, a multi-instrumentalist who’s also toured as Father John Misty’s guitarist. James is releasing Now That I Have You on a double LP with the overdue vinyl debut of her second album, 2016’s Time Will Tell, and on Saturday, April 23, she celebrates with a live set at Constellation. Opening the show are new Chicago trio Alta Vista (guitarist Chet Zenor, drummer Andy Danstrom, and bassist Jakob Heinemann), who specialize in stretching the expressive limits of Americana.

Angela James’s new album comes out this Friday.

Chicago hip-hop label and collective Why? Records has been busy. A couple weeks ago, Gossip Wolf covered Black Seinfeld, a new duo from Why? cofounder Malci and affiliate Fluidi-G. On Friday another Why? cofounder, rapper-producer Joshua Virtue, dropped the spacey, rejuvenating full-length collaboration Spectacular!!—he created it with Milwaukee producer Randal Bravery, who’s likewise part of a spectacular underground label and collective, Nashville-based Ruby Yacht. They made 50 cassette copies of Spectacular!!, and this wolf expects that edition to sell out fast. On Thursday, June 9, Joshua Virtue’s duo Udababy opens a show at Epiphany Center for the Arts with coheadliners Open Mike Eagle and R.A.P. Ferreira (founder of Ruby Yacht, formerly known as Milo).

Spectacular!! brings together members of Chicago’s Why? Records and Milwaukee’s Ruby Yacht.

Chicago hip-hop has produced a phone book’s worth of pioneers who haven’t gotten their flowers, but documentarian Dave Steck has put in the hours to honor one of them. Steck is working on the documentary Catalyst: Duro Wicks & Chicago Hip-Hop, about rapper and promoter Duro Wicks. In the early 1990s, Wicks ran an open-mike series at Lower Links, helping to build the infrastructure that let Chicago hip-hop blossom. The film is mostly done, but Steck and Wicks have been covering its costs out of their own pockets; last week, Steck launched a Kickstarter to help pay for additional filming and the restoration and licensing of old video footage. He hopes to raise $15,000 by Monday, May 9, and the fundraiser is all-or-nothing.

Got a tip? Tweet @Gossip_Wolf or e-mail