Jessica Risker
Jessica Risker Credit: Photo by Rachel Winslow

In 2018, Reader critic Peter Margasak described Jessica Risker’s album I See You Among the Stars as “creating a warm, watery, almost womblike space.” Risker isn’t just a folk-pop artist but also a professional therapist, and her more-or-less-weekly podcast, Music Therapy, has been a bright spot in this bleak year. Recorded live on Instagram, it features conversations with local musicians, artists, and fellow therapists: Brianna Tong of Cordoba, Angel Marcloid of Fire-Toolz, and Isabel Cristina of Half Gringa discuss creativity, identity, and the music business, for instance, and Malory Dahl of the Chicago Counseling Center addresses seasonal affective disorder. Risker also uploads Music Therapy to Spotify, YouTube, Google Podcasts, and Apple Podcasts.

  • Episode 49 of Jessica Risker’s Music Therapy podcast, released in November 2020

When local shoegaze band Diagonal dropped their 2018 debut album, Tomorrow, Gossip Wolf joked that they must have access to a time machine. Since then, the band have dropped tantalizing singles (such as “Anticipation” and “Negatives”) that look back even further, to the space rock of Hawkwind and the potent grooves of Krautrock masters Can. Both tracks appear on their new self-titled album, due Friday, February 26, via Portland label Little Cloud Records. The CD version has two bonus tracks, including the entrancing 2019 single “Detroit.”

Footwork dance collective the Era haven’t slowed down for the pandemic. In the spring, they partnered with nonprofit Masks4Chi to distribute cloth masks to locals in need (the Era delivered 4,000 themselves). They’ve also been making short dance films, including an homage to Indigenous Peoples’ Day called “Eschecagou.” On Tuesday, February 16, the Era dropped “She Pick the Speed,” a dreamy rap single produced by DJ Spinn; the crew has been “footworking with words” for about five years, and the new track spotlights their smoothness on the mike.  v

  • The video for the Era’s “She Pick the Speed,” directed by Jason Pinkney and Brandon K. Calhoun

Got a tip? Tweet @Gossip_Wolf or e-mail