Girl Group Chicago
Girl Group Chicago Credit: C.B. Lindsey

Like many east-coast businesses laid low by Hurricane Sandy, archival garage-rock label Norton Records (“Where the Loud Sound Abounds”) has found recovery to be slow going. Most of Norton’s inventory and much of the personal collections of founders Miriam Linna and Billy Miller were lost to flooding at their Brooklyn warehouse. A few benefit shows have been held around New York, but Norton could still use help. The folks from local fanzine Roctober are doing their part—on Fri 6/7 they host a “HurROCKane Relief” revue in the Volcano Room at Bottom Lounge with raffles, “surprises,” and live sets from outsider R&B auteur T. Valentine and other locals paying tribute to acts near and dear to the Norton folks, including Girl Group Chicago as the Shangri-­Las, Gentleman John Battles as Hasil Adkins, James Porter as Sam the Sham, and the Polkaholics as King Uszniewicz & His Uszniewicztones.

Last weekend Gossip Wolf visited the Humboldt Park home studio of bedroom-­pop musician J. Fernandez as he put the finishing touches on Many Levels of Laughter, whose mellow, resplendent music sometimes sounds like a more engaging High Llamas touched with Sufjan Stevens’s detailed songwriting. Fernandez says he got help from Michael Gillilan (drums) and Matt Fields (sax), and Tom Owens is mixing the album for an August release on London’s Morning Ritual Recordings. Fernandez will play new tunes at the Empty Bottle on Wed 6/12 with Free Time and Bigcolour.

To Gossip Wolf, New Canyons sound like OMD and the Cocteau Twins playing to each other from either side of a lonely valley—but these dreamy local synth-­poppers are bringing them together! On Mon 6/3 they’ll celebrate the release of their sophomore LP, Everyone Is Dark (via Good People and BLVD), with a free show at the Empty Bottle—and today you can download the pleasingly chilly “Ghost & Water” from Bandcamp.

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