The cover of Jennifer Hall's new self-titled EP

Jennifer Hall is one of Gossip Wolf’s favorite local indie singer-songwriters. She released the dazzling LP In This in 2011 to not nearly enough fanfare, and this week she’s following it up with more studio material on the EP Jennifer Hall. Her clever alt-pop hooks, dash of Sondheimesque theatrics, and astonishing range and technique make for a dynamite combo. On Fri 6/12 Hall plays a release show at Subterranean, where she’ll have vinyl copies of the EP.

Last week Chicago creepy-drone specialist Alex Barnett released his second LP with Mamiffer vocalist Faith Coloccia; Gossip Wolf is glad to report that Weld (on adventurous UK label Blackest Ever Black) is full of the same shattered post­industrial beats and outre vocal chatter that distinguished their first collaboration in late 2013!

In February Reader music editor Philip Montoro called II, the second LP by locals Electric Hawk, “bombastic, gratuitously complicated instrumental rock.” This wolf couldn’t agree more! The band’s three members—Disappears drummer Noah Leger, guitarist Mike Burns, and bassist Graham McLachlan—all totally slay. The Hawk’s new album hit shelves in April, and they play a release show with headliners Sweet Cobra at the Empty Bottle on Fri 6/19.

Since 2008, Chicago punk wunderkind Seth Engel (Lifted Bells, Coaster) has been recording peppy pop-rock with melancholy melodies as Options. On Tuesday he released Driftwood Metaphor, and Gossip Wolf recommends it to anyone with a thing for Tony Molina and old Weezer. It’s available via Options’ Bandcamp at

Gossip Wolf loves it when acts from different genres make magic together, and “Before the War,” last week’s collaborative single from garage-rock rabble-­rousers Twin Peaks and hip-hop wizards Hurt Everybody, definitely qualifies. You can see the latter perform Thu 6/11 at a Fake Shore Drive showcase at Reggie’s Rock Club.  v

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