Sampa the Great, Stuck, Sterling Hayes Credit: Photos courtesy High Road Touring, by Vanessa Valadez, and by Troy Gueno

For many Chicagoans, going to shows at small clubs and DIY venues is a way of life. So during our shelter-in-place order, we’re not only missing close friends and loved ones, we’re also missing the sights, sounds, and camaraderie of our local music community.

But pandemic or no pandemic, the concert previews in our April 2 issue (assigned weeks ago, before all the shows were canceled) were going to be something special. The Reader typically covers a mix of local and touring artists, and when we’d publish our usual 11 show previews each week, a handful might be about Chicagoans. This time around, though, we’d lined up seven record-release shows by some of the city’s most exciting underground artists, including postpunk bands, rappers, an R&B group, an avant-garde cellist, and more.

We can’t celebrate with these artists in a live setting, but we can sure as hell celebrate their musicianship and accomplishments. We’re still running the show previews that we could repurpose as record reviews—and that means nine this week. When you stream the new albums listed below, try closing your eyes and picturing yourself at one of Chicago’s beloved neighborhood venues with your best concert buddies. You just might come out of quarantine with a new favorite local band.

New albums from Chicago artists:

Deeper, Auto-Pain

Drama, Dance Without Me

Facs, Void Moments

Sterling Hayes, Flirting With Death

Helen Money, Atomic

Melkbelly, Pith

Stuck, Change Is Bad

Other reviews added this week:

Sampa the Great, The Return

Thom Yorke, Anima

Last week’s reviews:

Blacks’ Myths, Blacks’ Myths II

Irreversible Entanglements, Who Sent You?

Lil Wayne, Funeral

Lord Dying, Mysterium Tremendum

Midnight, Rebirth by Blasphemy

Bill Nace, Both

(Sandy) Alex G, House of Sugar  v