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Emma Hospelhorn of Ensemble dal Niente releases a scintillating solo debut as Em Spel

Gossip Wolf always likes to hear about a new solo album from a member of Ensemble dal Niente—the long-running local contemporary-classical corps has built a spotless reputation for adventurous programming and technical excellence, and its members often pop up in far-flung musical contexts around town. Among the most prolific is multi-instrumentalist Emma Hospelhorn, who has […]

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Mystery Actions debut a new blast of anti-war punk rock

Local four-piece Mystery Actions remind Gossip Wolf of the cool, slightly intimidating kids from the Chicago street-punk scene in the late 80s and early 90s, when it centered on Clark and Belmont—specifically Punkin’ Donuts and the Alley. Perhaps that’s because the band—vocalist Nikki Mouse, guitarist Lucy Dekay, drummer Rose Beef, and bassist Mikhael Hell—crank out […]

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Sound artist Rocio Zavala debuts with an album of otherworldly drone

In May 2020, during the isolating depths of the first large-scale U.S. COVID-19 lockdown, Gossip Wolf caught a live online performance by Rocio Zavala as part of Experimental Sound Studio’s Quarantine Concerts series. A sound and visual artist from Mexico who’s now based in Chicago, Zavala crafted an alluring, otherworldly drone with her own handmade […]

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Experimental Sound Studio unveils an archive devoted to beloved saxophonist Fred Anderson

On March 22, 2022—what would’ve been Fred Anderson’s 93rd birthday—Experimental Sound Studio and its Creative Audio Archive announced the acquisition of a collection devoted to the beloved Chicago saxophonist, venue owner, scene anchor, and mentor. The CAA describes itself as “formed for the historical preservation of recordings, print, and visual ephemera related to avant-garde and […]

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Half-Ukrainian musical jack-of-all-trades Pasha Pear drops a hallucinatory new dance single

Born to a Ukrainian mother and a Russian-Armenian father, Chicago-based musician Pasha Petrosyan grew up living in Moscow during the school year and Kyiv every summer, till his family moved to the suburbs of Chicago when he was 11. Since moving into the city in 2013, Petrosyan has become a jack-of-all-trades in its independent rock […]

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Venerable jazz guitarist George Freeman celebrates 95 years with a new compilation

Legendary Chicago jazz guitarist George Freeman has been honing his dynamic, explosive style since the 1940s, working with dozens of the genre’s hall of famers, including Charlie Parker, Richard “Groove” Holmes, Gene Ammons, Jimmy McGriff, Buddy Rich, Shirley Scott, and his brothers Von and Bruz Freeman. On Sunday, April 10, Freeman turns 95, and to mark […]

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Young indie rockers Friko celebrate a sophisticated new EP with a springtime show

Friko front man Niko Kapetan is a key player in Chicago’s young indie-rock underground. His band belongs to a tight-knit community that also includes like-minded acts Lifeguard, Post Office Winter, Dwaal Troupe, and Horsegirl—the connections among them are too numerous to list here, but to pick one example, Kapetan helped engineer and produce Horsegirl’s 2020 […]

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Psych-folk project the Singleman Affair debuts album number four at Constellation

Even before local singer-songwriter Dan Schneider released his first album as the Singleman Affair in 2006, his psych-folk solo project had become a fruitful nexus for collaboration. Schneider has not only brought together amazing musicians—including folks from Mucca Pazza, the Cairo Gang, Califone, and Fruit Bats—to perform and record with him, but he’s also regularly […]

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Chicago jangle-pop group CalicoLoco drop their sharpest single yet

Since 2019, local jangle-pop six-piece CalicoLoco have been dropping singles whose smart, rigorous songwriting sensibility reminds Gossip Wolf of 80s UK indie-pop masters such as Prefab Sprout and Aztec Camera. Last month, the band released their sharpest single yet, the emo-tinged, radio-ready “The Bad Hair Day”—and it has to be the catchiest jam about fringe […]

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Garifuna singer Ifeanyi Elswith drops a powerful, poignant Valentine’s Day single

In summer 2020, local Garifuna musician Ifeanyi Elswith released the album Everything Festyle, which Gossip Wolf hailed as a “star-making turn” that feels like “an intimate conversation with the coolest girl on the block.” Needless to say, this wolf has been on the lookout for new tunes from this velvet-voiced singer ever since! Last month, […]

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Synth-pop songwriter Warm Human shines even on odds and ends

Gossip Wolf first took a shine to the synth-pop jams of Meredith Johnston, aka Warm Human, when she dropped her standout debut full-length, Ghastly, in 2019. Over the past few years, Johnston has proved impressively prolific, releasing a string of radio-worthy singles and album-length projects whose tone ping-pongs all over the place—she mixes up misty […]