Tijuana Hercules as they appear on the 2019 Skin Graft compilation Chicago vs. New York, with John Vernon Forbes second from right Credit: Mr. King

Gossip Wolf has Loved the delightfully cracked musical mind of Tijuana Hercules bandleader John Vernon Forbes since the 1990s, when he fronted local noise-rock killers Mount Shasta for a sizzling run of albums on Skin Graft Records. And it seems like Skin Graft feels the same way! On Friday, July 10, the label will drop Evening Dressings, a blistering seven-song Tijuana Hercules release full of what Forbes and company call “hillbilly trance.” Cut at Forbes’s Frogg Mountain Recording Studio, it features the bandleader on guitar, keys, synth, and theremin, plus Joe Patt on drums, Doug Abram on baritone sax, Mike Young on “junk percussion,” and Sam Crossland on keyboards. Tracks such as “Let’s Make Our Own Action” and “Gas Pump Woman” shuffle, stomp, glide, and stagger like a drunk couple on a sticky roadhouse dance floor.

In 2013, Chicago producer Miguel Baptista Benedict (aka Michael Benedict) released the impossible-to-pigeonhole album Super(b)-Child-Ran on Flying Lotus’s Brainfeeder label. Since then, the quality of his work has increased, but his fame hasn’t. “I have been releasing independently as to avoid the bureaucracy of the mainstream music industry,” he explains. His arresting discography mixes dystopian soundtrack atmospheres, noisy digital effects, and melancholy late-90s-style jazz and postrock. Highlights from Benedict’s Bandcamp page include May’s Voyage sur la Route and last year’s Lamprophonic Fringe Culture, a collaboration with drummer and producer Mitchell Blase Settecase that orbits a black hole of disintegrating electronics.

Last Friday, one of Gossip Wolf’s favorite local zines, The Sick Muse, published its 13th issue—also its first digital-only issue. Its contents include interviews with up-and-coming R&B artist LeSage Williams, indie-electro trio Pixel Grip, and high-energy rap duo Glitter Moneyyy. It’s free to download from thesickmuse.com.  v

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