New York artist Dreamcrusher headlines Noise Prom II on Saturday, June 15. Credit: A.F. CORTÉS

Hedra Rowan and Ari Korotkin started Chicago experimental imprint Bodymilk Tapes in summer 2017. Their motto? “No more synth bros / Bait the straights / Aspire to shred.” As Rowan says, “Genre labels aren’t as important to us as putting out absolute bangers by queers.” Bodymilk’s catalog has lots of bangers—the digital detritus on Rowan’s 19th Century Girl includes pained robot voices, scathing noise, and delightfully out-of-place Eurotrance samples. Bodymilk’s current focus is less on releasing music and more on booking a monthly DIY series in Pilsen and the annual Noise Prom. “With very few exceptions, all performers on Bodymilk concerts are trans and/or queer,” says Rowan. Noise Prom II is Saturday, June 15, at a Wicker Park DIY venue; the bill includes New York’s Dreamcrusher, Toronto artist Annacetaminophen, and Middle School Crush, Rowan’s trio with Natalie Braginsky and Vvermikulture. For details e-mail

Last week Abrams Books published Soulless: The Case Against R. Kelly, Jim DeRogatis’s exhaustively reported account of the infamous R&B star, which begins with his childhood and extends through some of the latest accusations of criminal sexual abuse against him. On Thursday, June 13, the Chicago Humanities Festival hosts a discussion with DeRogatis, writer Kyra Kyles, and the cofounders of the #MuteRKelly campaign, Kenyette Tisha Barnes and Oronike Odeleye. It’s at Chop Shop at 6 PM, and some ticket packages include a copy of Soulless.

Chicago rapper-producer Pete Sayke last released a full-length in 2017, when he collaborated with producer Lonegevity on Heaven Can Wait. On Tuesday, June 18, Sayke drops Gold & Rue, with production by Roy Kinsey collaborator Mike Jones and several others. Kinsey makes an appearance too, as do R&B singer JusSol, fiery rap duo Mother Nature, and multidisciplinary scene mainstay Phoelix.  v

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