Phillip-Michael Scales will perform Thursday at the Emporium in Wicker Park. Credit: Victoria Sanders

When Gossip Wolf first heard Chicago singer-songwriter Phillip-Michael Scales a few years back, the nephew of blues great B.B. King was making thumping, tuneful folk-rock as Briar Rabbit. On Scales’s new EP, Sinner-Songwriter, he’s embraced a more soul-inflected sound, swirling with bluesy alt-rock riffs. In the moody video for the EP’s first single, “Lover, Let Me Be,” a man and a woman circle each other warily around a swimming pool. On Thursday, June 21, Scales celebrates the EP with a set at Emporium in Wicker Park with Mutts and Forks of Ivy.

Last year footworker Jamal “Litebulb” Oliver, cofounder of dance crew the Era, partnered with scene documentarian Wills Glasspiegel and former McKinsey & Company consultant Drew Alt to launch the nonprofit Open the Circle. The group finds money for creative projects in underserved communities, and to start it’s focusing on African-American electronic music and dance. OTC’s 2018 initiatives include the free footwork summer camp Big Circle, a footwork documentary called 160, and new performances of the Era’s stage show, In the Wurkz. On Sunday, June 24, OTC hosts a fund-raiser at Links Hall with footwork dancing and a panel discussion.

Toastamania, launched by the members of Texas Toast Chainsaw Massacre, combines loud, obnoxious bands and pretend WrestleMania-style rivalries—if you’re lucky, you’ll get to see musicians endanger themselves approximating a ladder match. The party usually goes down at a DIY space, but Toastamania IX is at Subterranean at 3 PM on Saturday, June 23. Thrashy NYC hardcore band Leeway headlines the 18-band bill, though the logos on the flyer are so incomprehensible that this wolf could’ve counted wrong.

On Friday, June 22, Mama guitarist Dan Rico drops the solo album Dreamy (TMB Limited), full of shuffling soul-punk jams perfect for lazy, sweaty afternoons. He plays a release party that night at the Hideout.  v

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