Gossip Wolf wasn’t there when dazzlingly fleet-fingered guitarist and singer Charlie Baran cofounded “punta rock” group Banda Blanca in Honduras in the early 70s, so it’s hard to say if he’s even better today. Baran now lives in Chicago (he used to play in Casolando), and in 2011 his talent inspired Dan Abu-Absi from JT & the Clouds to form a band around him: Radio Free Honduras perform Baran’s tunes and well-chosen covers with a revolving-door cast of younger musicians. On Friday, June 28, Radio Free Honduras drop Mis Sueños, their first album since 2014. Lead single “Suavecito” is delightfully radio friendly, but where RFH really shine is as a live band, as anyone who’s danced up a storm at their monthly California Clipper shows can attest. Friday night they play a Logan Square Arts Festival aftershow at Sleeping Village to celebrate the new record, opening for Kaleta & Super Yamba Band and Esso.
Chicago rapper Xavier Holliday is one of many great voices to emerge from the scene this decade. This week, though, he’ll cap a series he started five years ago, dropping Need to Know III: Nova—which he considers his finale. This wolf hopes Holliday’s retirement isn’t permanent: the Nova track “POV” combines lilting guitar with wrenching lyrics about structural inequality, making for one of the year’s most memorable Chicago rap songs.
On Friday, June 28, Chicago archival label the Numero Group hosts an open house at its Little Village HQ. Starting at 4 PM, everything in its Factory Outlet is 20 percent off, and you can try out the forthcoming Escape From Synth City video game; the first 50 people get a free tote filled with goodies. At 5:30 PM, Numero will screen a selection of films and TV shows, and at 8:30 PM veteran yacht rocker Ned Doheny makes his Chicago debut—followed by DJ sets from Numero staff and the team at label and record reseller Paradise Is a Frequency. Plus it’s all free! v
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