A Reader staffer shares three musical obsessions, then asks someone (who asks someone else) to take a turn.
Leor Galil, Reader staff writer
The October issue of the Wire When I saw Chicagoland footwork experimentalist Jlin on the cover of the newest issue of the Wire—with text printed across her photo that included “A user’s guide to Yellow Magic Orchestra”—I wasted no time buying it. I have yet to read the articles about Jlin or YMO, having been distracted by front-of-the-book pieces on Portland’s Little Axe Records and Los Angeles label Black Editions, which is dedicated to reissuing the catalog of Japan’s legendary P.S.F. Records. Once I’m done with this issue, I really have to get around to buying a subscription to the Wire. (Dear friends: my birthday is coming up!)
G Herbo, “Street” Chicago rapper G Herbo is one of the most gifted storytellers in hip-hop, and he opens his brand-new debut album, Humble Beast, with a song that rides a triumphant soul instrumental by local beat maker Thelonious Martin. Herb became a phenomenon by pouring out his soul in hyperfast raps atop scorched-earth drill tracks, but he can also match the mood of beats like the one on “Street,” which isn’t engineered to bludgeon you into submission—and if anything, I admire him more for that. He’s as earnest and observant as ever on this track, rapping about growing up in Terror Town, where every door seemed closed to him—but also about moving his mom into a nicer house now that he’s a star on the rise.
Jawbreaker’s Riot Fest reunion set Holy shit, I still can’t believe that happened.
Leor is curious what’s in the rotation of . . .
Shannon Candy, guitarist and singer for Strawberry Jacuzzi
Coffee & Donuts podcast What better way to spend your morning than drinking coffee and listening to records with a buddy? That’s exactly what Coffee & Donuts is. Each episode features a guest who brings in some favorite 45s and talks about them with host Tim Quinlan while drinking absurd amounts of coffee. The music tends to be all over the place—Al Green, Sonic Youth, Japanese Christmas songs, the Pretenders. The conversations that happen between the songs are super fun too—lots of good tidbits about the music, but also completely off-topic rants about basketball, Chicago, or the Olive Garden. Grab your favorite coffee and give this podcast a listen.
Peach Fuzz I picked up this Chicago band’s Laundry EP a month or two ago at Bric-a-Brac, and it hasn’t left my tape player since. Peach Fuzz make me feel good—like it’s my day off, I’m at the beach, and maybe there are some chill animals nearby. Their harmonies are so damn good, and I get their song “Elijah” (from their self-titled 2016 Dumpster Tapes release) stuck in my head constantly.
Bev Rage & the Drinks Fronted by a bratty drag queen named Beverly, Bev Rage & the Drinks are a fast, catchy queer-punk band who fucking love snacks. The most recent time I saw them play, they raffled off the opportunity to shave their guitarist’s beard onstage. Check out their music video for “Honk If Yer Hungry” to get a taste of what makes them the most fun band in the city.
Shannon is curious what’s in the rotation of . . .
Rahim Salaam, host of the What About Chicago?! podcast
Grandpa Bay I am lazy and love convenience, but usually you have to pay top dollar for it (did I mention I’m broke). Thanks to the amazing human beings at Grandpa Bay, a former DIY venue turned “record label,” I can sit in the comfort of my four-cornered room and listen to some of the most diversely inspired, genre-breaking music that Chicago (and the universe) has to offer. Created by Nate Amos and Ryan Murphy, with the assistance of fellow local artists Marc Drake and Zach Wilson, Grandpa Bay has managed to curate a massive collection of mind-shifting albums from Chicago’s abundant DIY scene and beyond.
Young Camelot All the “wild shows” and “parties” at this defunct DIY space have been revealed and highlighted (sometimes, if not most times, a bit overblown), but Young Camelot still pushes forward, making available an audio archive of the greatest voices and expressions Chicago has produced in generations. Led by one of the venue’s founding “knights,” Chris Lee, YC continues to amass an almost infinite variety of live musical recordings from the local underground/DIY scene. Hot bangers from the backyard and basement for sure.
Eye Vybe Records How would I survive the mean streets of Chicago, driving in my 2001 Toyota Camry without an aux connect and only a tape deck, if it weren’t for Eye Vybe Records? Led by Karissa Talanian, Eye Vybe has resurrected the cassette deck with my local psychedelic favorites.