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Fotocrime and the Austerity Program explore two points on the electronic-music-meets-rock spectrum

On the Jesus Lizard’s 1989 debut EP, Pure, the noise-rock institution were still figuring things out. Working as a trio, the band hadn’t yet discovered their distinctive mutant swing, instead suspending the metallic scrape and twang of their guitars in the flat, mechanical rhythms of a primitive drum machine. But drummer Mac McNeilly joined the […]

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On their debut album, Chicago’s Tobacco City get to the roots of their wistful country

Chicago country five-piece Tobacco City formed to cover Neil Young songs for a Halloween show, but thankfully they’ve since developed their own sound. Like Young, they have a way with plaintive melodies, but their music is rooted in bluesy honky-tonk and earthy, wistful country, with supple, pop-driven harmony vocals. Tobacco City’s surefire rhythm section—drummer Josh […]

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Bnny make David Lynch-ian pop music for mourning

From its first reverb-laden guitar notes, Bnny’s new Everything (Fire Talk) makes me wonder whether the Chicago band have logged some hours watching Twin Peaks. The hushed, ethereal whisper of vocalist and songwriter Jess Viscius channels dream-pop singer Julee Cruise (who sings on the show’s soundtrack), while guitarists Adam Schubert and Timothy Makowski lean into […]

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Chicago indie duo Orisun draw power from lo-fi rock on their debut EP

Chicago indie-rock duo Orisun indulge in their lo-fi proclivities without ever giving in to slacker entropy. On their self-released debut EP, May’s This Is Orisun, multi-instrumentalist Kai Black and front person Asha Adisa artfully employ gossamer guitars, sophisticated keys, precisely programmed percussion with dampened drums, and relaxed, alluring vocals to calibrate moods that test the […]

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Mexican Institute of Sound electrifies traditional Latin rhythms

Camilo Lara, who makes music as Mexican Institute of Sound, is hardly the only Latinx artist to meld traditional rhythms with contemporary electronic dance genres (Colombian group Bomba Estéreo, Ecuador-based producer Nicola Cruz, and fellow Ruido Festers Los Amigos Invisibles immediately come to mind). Lara is one of the most high-profile, though; he’s done production […]

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Annihilus’ Luca Cimarusti brings Chicago musicians along on his experimental black-metal journey

Chicago multi-instrumentalist and Reader contributor Luca Cimarusti is having a busy summer. In July his minimalist postpunk trio, Luggage, dropped the album Happiness, and now he’s about to put out the second full-length from his black-metal solo project, Annihilus. Cimarusti originally wanted to keep this project anonymous, but he dropped that idea after releasing his […]