Plastic Crimewave Syndicate Credit: courtesy the artist

Chicago would have been a much more mundane place over the last two decades without the tireless efforts of musician, artist, promoter, historian (and Reader contributor) Plastic Crimewave, aka Steve Krakow. Sometimes his music can seem overshadowed by his work organizing and promoting shows of great psychedelic trip-meisters from all over the world, but a new Plastic Crimewave Syndicate album is always a cosmic event. The power trio—currently includes Anjru Kieterang on bass and Jose Bernal on drums—is about to drop Thunderbolt of Flaming Wisdom on EyeVybe (run by erstwhile drummer Karissa Talanian). Featuring contributions from Bill Vermette (synth), Bruce Lamont (sax), and Whitney Johnson (viola), the record is just a little over a half hour long, but there’s not a second of filler; from the riff-roaring “Ghost of Dread Reaction” that nails the band’s signature Stooges-like freakout style to the cooler space rock of “Future to the Ancients” to the throbbing, loping long-form jam of the 11-minute closer “No Place,” they leave no turn unstoned. The effect is never ironic but always heartfelt, and it provides a wild time-and-dimension-warping ride through decades of psych- and space-rock styles, bringing the classic Blue Cheer/Hawkwind sound through the tones of Japanese high-wire artists and chill Teutonic rhythm drivers.   v