Oui Ennui, aka Jonn Wallen, is one of this wolf’s favorite Chicago artists to emerge during the pandemic—he’s been recording under that name for years, but after fearing for his life during a harrowing bout with COVID-19 in April 2020, he shifted into hyperdrive. He challenged himself to put out a record every month, and since then he’s released 17 albums and EPs of beautiful and delirious synth-based music. His latest full-length, May’s Occupe-toi de Tes Oignons, is a trippy house jamboree bustling with uplifting vocal samples and insistent, driving beats—the joyful “Faim de Peau” could set off any party. Wallen had returned to live performance in late 2019, after a 15-year hiatus, only to have another hiatus forced on him by the pandemic—but now everyone can see him play in person! On Friday, June 18, he performs an outdoor show at artist-run Oak Park space Compound Yellow (244 Lake St.); tickets are $15, and the show starts at 7 PM.
- This full-length is 17th Oui Ennui release since Jonn Wallen’s COVID infection in April 2020.
Visual, performance, and sound artists Sea Heikes (aka Seah) and Mykel Boyd live in downstate Bradley; Boyd runs experimental label Somnimage, and the two of them work together in evocative multimedia project Post Doom Romance. Since March 2021, they’ve put together two massive compilations, both called Make Noise Myanmar, to benefit people and groups in Myanmar oppressed by its military regime—which in February of this year once again overthrew the country’s fledgling democratic civilian government in a coup. (Seah has a history with fellow artists in Myanmar—a decade ago, she was arrested and detained during a public art performance and protest in Mandalay, and she’s now banned from the country.) The new Make Noise Myanmar 2 contains 78 tracks from a vast array of musicians, including local favorites such as genre supercollider Fire-Toolz and Zelienople percussionist Mike Weis and a raft of internationally renowned artists, among them Hans-Joachim Roedelius, Muslimgauze, Susan Alcorn, and Senyawa. Beneficiaries include Better Burma, Mutual Aid Myanmar, and a fundraiser supporting ethnic minorities in civil disobedience. Both compilations are downloadable via Bandcamp for $10 each or in a $30 bundle with a T-shirt.
- The second Make Noise Myanmar compilation has arrived less than three months after the first.
Relentlessly locomotive local postpunk band Meat Wave had their previous vinyl release in 2018, when No Trend Records put out their split with Lifestyles. In December, the trio dropped “Yell at the Moon,” a digital-only single that hinted at a contemplative new direction, and it reappears on last week’s EP Volcano Park—along with a few more songs that explore that calm resplendence, including the languid “Truth Died.” The clear vinyl version of Volcano Park is sold out already, but you can still buy the regular black version via Bandcamp—or a digital download, of course! v
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