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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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Moritat find ecstasy in art-rock’s odd angles

Moritat’s new self-released album, Vermilion, settles in like the night. The Chicago art-rock band’s subtle, magnetic polyrhythms simmer with the allure of a backyard bonfire or an open-air midnight dance party, and their cool, melodious synths feel like a predawn drive on an empty road lit only by stars. Moritat’s core members—Venus Laurel, Corey McCafferty, […]

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Helado Negro’s down-home pop is as invigorating as it is intimate

For more than a decade, Brooklyn-based artist Roberto Carlos Lange has crafted down-home pop music as Helado Negro. Each of his seven albums has shown a graceful evolution of his sonic palette, introducing scrappy psych-folk excursions, midtempo synth-pop odysseys, and other elements, but they’re all connected by an overarching gentleness at their core. Lange’s music […]

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Vijay Iyer builds a superpowered septet in tribute to Eve Ewing’s Ghosts in the Schoolyard

The creative and intellectual spheres of Eve Ewing and Vijay Iyer are so expansive they’re pretty much impossible to abbreviate. So the news that Iyer is in town for the pandemic-deferred premiere of his musical suite inspired by Ewing’s writing, Ghosts Everywhere I Go, should inspire eager anticipation and knowing nods. Ewing and Iyer are […]

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Underground rapper Defcee connects with Closed Sessions producer BoatHouse on For All Debts Public and Private

If you need an introduction to Defcee, you haven’t been paying attention to underground hip-hop in Chicago. The rapper had a banner year in 2021, thanks to three collaborative releases that nudged him further into the national spotlight: June’s We Dressed the City With Our Names, a collaboration with beat maker August Fanon; September’s Sunday […]

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Congotronics International is a supergroup as big as the world

Congotronics International is rooted in Konono No. 1 and the Kasai Allstars, two bands from the Democratic Republic of the Congo that released music through legendary Belgian label Crammed Discs in the mid-2000s. Those groups’ hyperamplified, percussion-heavy sounds, which Crammed released in a series dubbed Congotronics (also the title of Konono No. 1’s 2004 album […]

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Cynthia Plaster Caster broke the mold

Kind. Funny. Genuine. A sweetheart, an artist, a legend. If the true sign of a life well lived is a tidal wave of emotional tributes when you die, then Cynthia Albritton—better known to the whole wide world as Cynthia Plaster Caster—lived a very good life. So much so that writing about her after her passing—she […]