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Austin doom outfit Monte Luna takes their dazed and heavy doom on the road

In 2016, Austin doom unit Monte Luna dropped their debut demo—a self-titled release with just one self-titled track more than 20 minutes long—and just a few months later followed it with their powerful first EP, The Hound. These served as appetizers for their self-titled 2017 full-length debut, which exuded confidence and showcased a trippy heaviness […]

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LOWERLIPDRIP’s brief catalog packs a lot of experimental hip-hop power

Experimental Chicago hip-hop duo LOWERLIPDRIP released four digital singles between 2019 and May 2020, each consisting of two tracks that overflow with freewheeling glee and unpredictable stylistic shifts. Those singles not only helped establish LLD as a local force to watch but also caught the attention of b4, a recently established imprint of venerable UK […]

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Chicago joins seven other cities on two continents to host the Catalytic Sound Festival

Avant-garde jazz musicians have been uniting to better control their opportunities to perform, record, and engage with their communities at least since the 1960s, when the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) first convened in Chicago and the shorter-lived Jazz Composers Guild (which included Carla Bley, Sun Ra, Bill Dixon, and Archie Shepp) […]

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Bummer’s noise-rock rippers provide a glimpse into their midwestern nightmare

Since 2013, Kansas City trio Bummer have been belting out full-tilt, bludgeoning sludge that’s heightened by their dark-humored taste for grim obsessions and disaffected existence. Over a handful of EPs and one previous full-length, guitarist-vocalist Matt Perrin, bassist Mike Gustafson, and drummer Sam Hutchinson have railed against the ennui of their dead-end daily routines with […]

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Cimafunk brings his uplifting Afro-Cuban funk fusions to Chicago in advance of El Alimento

Erik Alejandro Rodriguez, who performs as Cimafunk, is a prominent figure in a rising generation of Cuban artists, and his fusions of Afro-Cuban musical traditions with funk, hip-hop, and African rhythms have a fresh and uplifting vibe. Rodriguez’s stage name comes from the Spanish word cimarrón, which translates to “wild” or “untamed” and in the […]

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The Body and Big|Brave draw on the Band and Appalachia for Leaving None but Small Birds

The Body and Big|Brave are both known for their takes on pulverizing, minimalist postmetal, but their new collaborative album, Leaving None but Small Birds (Thrill Jockey), gazes at the infinite possibilities of traditional folk music through a warped and weathered all-seeing eye. Crafted in the studio with engineer-producer Seth Manchester (a frequent collaborator of the […]

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Byron Westbrook blurs the boundaries between natural and man-made environments on Mirror Views

There’s more than one way to immerse yourself in sound, and electronic musician Byron Westbrook seems to be working his way through as many options as he can. He’s run the soundboard for Phill Niblock, the loudest man in minimalism; under the name Corridors, he’s conducted concerts for absent instruments that involved audience members passing […]

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Former Oshwa bandleader Alicia Walter makes a grand entrance as a solo artist

In the 2010s, Alicia Walter led criminally underappreciated Chicago band Oshwa, who played dizzying, dramatic math-rock with the finesse of a tween Mensa member simultaneously solving three Rubik’s Cubes. Walter moved to New York in 2016, the same year Oshwa released their final album, I We You Me, but her Chicago connections remain strong: this […]