Among the many outstanding live acts Gossip Wolf has missed over the past 15 months, few rank higher than the LowDown Brass Band. Their mix of New Orleans-style second-line horns with hip-hop and reggae rhythms can make any venue feel like a delightfully sweaty street parade. In February, the band began releasing a series of one- and two-minute tracks, each accompanied by a video (most were shot outdoors, including on the Riverwalk, by the Calder Flamingo in Federal Plaza, and in a convertible on Lake Shore Drive). On Friday, July 2, they’ll drop all ten on an album called Mini Reel Sessions, and that night they’ll play a limited-capacity show at FitzGerald’s. Even better, another full-length is coming in November!
- A selection of the Lowdown Brass Band’s “mini reels” collected on their new album
Allen Moore, a multidisciplinary artist from Robbins, Illinois, calls his work a “social allegory, conversing with symbols and institutions conducive to the constructs of race, social class and personal introspection.” He paints, sculpts, and makes experimental music, and for his new tape, Lived a deviL (out last week on local label Monastral), he played LPs cast by hand from graphite and okra leaves on multiple turntables, augmenting their scratchy output with keyboards and electronics. On eerie, otherworldly tracks such as “Black Is Beautiful,” Moore’s crackling thumps and old soul samples sound like transmissions from beyond the edge of the known universe.
Chicago singer-songwriter Jean Cochrane makes tender, disarming indie pop as Hard Femme. Until last week their newest full-length was 2014’s Masculinity and Other Inconveniences, but the brand-new A Layer of Topsoil makes up for lost time with hook-filled songs about queerness, gender, and, um, corporate social media (“Lonely Starbucks Lovers”). Fans of sensitive indie rock a la Belle & Sebastian can buy A Layer of Topsoil via Bandcamp. v
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