My nightly TikTok binge was going as it normally would. I swiped through comedic videos made by couples; calming videos of people recounting their day as they clean their homes, shop, and go out to eat; and other videos of people dancing to dancehall, soca, and Afrobeats music. When I was new to the app, […]
As the far right wages war on women and transgender people, attacking their civil rights and access to reproductive healthcare—to the extent that Roe v. Wade could be overturned between my writing this sentence and your reading it—very little of what’s making the news feels empowering, much less joyful. So the new video for “The […]
I can’t tell you precisely how I came across URBN DK, but I’ve thought of them often since I first felt the creeping dread of “World Gone Crazy,” off the Chicagoland punk band’s 1982 self-titled seven-inch. URBN DK were hardly the only local punks to saturate their music with depravity—Deerfield’s the Mentally Ill, for instance, […]
I’ve been hyperaware of my body lately, which I realize sounds insane. How could I possibly not be aware of it? I’m living in it! And I would answer: Have you ever found a tick on the back of your neck? How long has he been there? How much of your blood has he removed? […]
Every October I go hunting for music that captures the Halloween spirit. Chicago has no shortage of options, but today I’m sharing a find from Saint Louis. Postpunk trio Trauma Harness summon the creeping dread and giddy fun of horror stories with cavernous bass lines, foreboding laughter, and sheaths of echoing guitar effects. The playfully […]
All music worth listening to reveals more about itself with repeat listens, and sometimes our interpretation of it changes with time and our own growth. This is true for albums that lay out what they’re about as though they had a sandwich board for cover art, and it’s doubly so for albums full of intriguing […]
In 2005, I was working in Los Angeles for a few weeks on an outdoor collaborative project with an art group called Temporary Services that I was part of at the time. We were gathering materials and building structures on a vacant lot in Echo Park, across the street from a branch of the Los […]
On Tuesday, September 14, my friend James Kennedy publishes his second novel, a sci-fi thriller called Dare to Know. (His first, the YA fantasy The Order of Odd-Fish, was reviewed in the Reader in 2008.) I’m not going to attempt to rate the new book, because I’ve destroyed my credibility on that front by admitting […]
Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, begins this evening, and for the second year in a row I have to figure out plans that stay within my pandemic comfort zone. That means forgoing anything resembling a large celebratory dinner full of friends, their relatives, and strangers whose vaccination status is unknown to me. As I […]
I was walking through Fulton Market on my way home from a work event a few weeks ago when “Yes, I Know” floated out into the summer air from the PA of a nearby restaurant. The song appears on Jiaolong, the 2012 full-length debut of Daphni, a dance-music project by Dan Snaith of Caribou. It’s […]
Joan Armatrading isn’t always recognized here in the States with the same kind of accolades that she receives in her native England, but her new album, Consequences (released in June on BMG), showcases her seasoned voice and songwriting skills in a way that should convert some more Americans. Armatrading played her first concert at age […]
Qari’s new solo EP IGOTPROBLEMS emphasizes his soulful melodicism.
The new album from pioneering Gothenburg death-metal band At the Gates confronts the absurdity of existence.
Steel Pole Bath Tub made lurid, thrilling, messy noise rock that didn’t sound quite like anybody else.
Chicago label Parlour Tapes recently released four experimental solo cassettes from its four founders.