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Chicago duo Conjunto Primitivo concoct an irresistible blend of reggaeton and industrial

In March 2020, when I wrote about underground industrial label Chicago Research and the tight-knit community that surrounded it, I heard that local duo Conjunto Primitivo planned to release their debut full-length through the label. Considering how that month ended, I’m not surprised to see that album coming out only now—and I can’t argue with […]

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Chicago guitarist Melody Angel sings blues-rock that celebrates life and demands justice

Chicago guitarist and vocalist Melody Angel combines fiery celebrations of life with equally fearless and uncompromising demands for social justice. Her style of blues-rock mixes genres and influences as freely and as pointedly as her lyrics assault the boundaries between the personal and the political. Angel counts Hendrix and Prince among her idols, and though […]

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Back Alley Jazz renews a south-side tradition

In 2018, Back Alley Jazz, an offshoot of the Hyde Park Jazz Festival, thrummed the heartstrings of nostalgic south-siders when it resuscitated the popular neighborhood-alley jams that took place in the community from the mid-1960s into the ’70s. Since then, this riff on tradition has become a tradition itself, turning unassuming corridors and street corners […]

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Cat Power brings catalog cornerstones and reworked classics to Thalia Hall

Chan Marshall, who’s performed as Cat Power since the mid-90s (she adopted it from the name of her first band), refreshes even the most weathered motifs with her smokestack voice. While she’s amassed a formidable catalog of soulful originals, she’s most renowned for refracting other artists’ radio hits and obscure B sides through her singular […]

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Chicago’s Lilac headline a heavy triple bill with North Carolina’s Wailin Storms and local trio the Poison Arrows

Lilac are essentially a Chicago supergroup of musicians who’ve done time in underrated bands. They include former Cacaw and Coughs front woman Anya Davidson (also an underground comics artist and author and occasional Reader contributor) on guitar and vocals, Kenny Rasmussen (late of Anatomy of Habit) on drums, and two veterans of Baltimore outfit Witch […]

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Northwest Indiana punk firestarters Liquids are the best opening band you’ll see all summer

Northwest Indiana’s punk scene would be a lot less thrilling without Mat Williams—he’s been the engine behind many of the local bands whose names have filled homemade gig flyers around the Region. If you consider yourself a connoisseur of midwestern punk, you’ve likely collected a cache of his music, whether by Pukeoid, Dagger, Guinea Kid, […]

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Hulder spreads the dark wings of her black-metal hybrid on her first full-band tour

Named for a type of eerie forest spirit from Scandinavian folklore, Hulder is the project of multi-instrumentalist Marz Riesterer (aka Marliese Beeuwsaert, formerly of Bleeder, where she was known as “the Inquisitor”). Born in Belgium and based in the Pacific Northwest, this one-woman force of nature commanded attention for last year’s full-length debut, Godslastering: Hymns […]

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Monobody guitarist Conor Mackey gets even wilder with the IDM project Lynyn

Conor Mackey plays guitar in postrock group Monobody, which is how you know he has unpredictable energy—any musician tasked with creating rogue jazz flourishes and postmetal freakouts while Nnamdi Ogbonnaya plays his high-wire drums is definitely operating on another level. Mackey studied music theory and composition at St. Olaf College in Minnesota, and since graduating […]