Synth-pop singer-songwriter Meredith Johnston, aka Warm Human
Synth-pop singer-songwriter Meredith Johnston, aka Warm Human Credit: Courtesy the artist

Gossip Wolf first took a shine to the synth-pop jams of Meredith Johnston, aka Warm Human, when she dropped her standout debut full-length, Ghastly, in 2019. Over the past few years, Johnston has proved impressively prolific, releasing a string of radio-worthy singles and album-length projects whose tone ping-pongs all over the place—she mixes up misty ballads and tuneful, club-tinged bangers that wouldn’t sound out of place on Kanye’s 808s & Heartbreak. Last week on Bandcamp, Johnston dropped Hold Music, a collection she describes as “a little bit of everything: voice memos of piano improvisations, demos, ambient tracks, and forgotten or abandoned songs.” To this wolf, it’s an enlightening peek into the notebooks of one of the city’s most engaging songwriting talents. 

Must be nice when even the stuff you didn’t really finish still sounds this good.

You may know veteran Chicago guitarist Matt Clark from Pinebender or White/Light, but have you heard about his latest project, Otherpeace? Using that new name, Clark has assembled a full-length of dreamy songs that combine his delightfully languorous vocals with a beautiful blend of sun-beaten, country-tinged folk and contemplative ambient music. The album is still forthcoming, but this week a two-song EP dropped on Bandcamp. You can catch Otherpeace onstage this Thursday, February 10, at Schubas, when Clark opens for Young Man in a Hurry; the show starts at 7:30 PM.

Matt Clark’s Otherpeace project will shortly follow this two-song EP with a full-length album.

Last Friday, the eponymous label of foundational Chicago footwork collective Teklife released 888 (Infinity) by producer Sirr TMO. For the album’s hypnotizing tracks, TMO drew upon Eastern spirituality and Sufi trance music—the thunderous, hornlike sample that creates the core rhythm of “On Your March, Get Set, Go!” should hook into the meditative part of your brain within seconds.

Sirr TMO’s latest gives footwork music a globe-trotting metaphysical flavor.

Last Tuesday, Chicago arts group and label Palettes dropped Synthesis, a dazzling experimental dance EP from local DJ and producer Kailyn Slater—it’s part of Slater’s final project for their master’s degree in communication from the University of Illinois Chicago. All proceeds from the sale of Synthesis benefit Molasses Chicago, a collective of Black trans and gender-nonconforming organizers and artists.

Kailyn Slater thanks Ariel Zetina, Jeremiah Meece, and Akeem Asani for “production guidance and support over the years.”

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