Steve Summers Credit: Courtesy of Clear

This week local underground electronic label Clear released Counter-Factuals, a brooding techno 12-inch from producer Jason Letkiewicz, better known as Steve Summers. Summers made his name pumping out subterranean techno in Brooklyn, but he now lives in Chicago—where he’s collaborating with folks who understand his dark streak. He joined Melvin “Traxx” Oliphant III and Beau Wanzer in Mutant Beat Dance, turning the duo into a trio in time for their sprawling, self-titled 2018 debut. Counter-Factuals is Letkiewicz’s second record for Clear, and the tantalizingly spooky vibes of its hypnotic EBM should make the scariest Halloween season of the century a little more fun. Wanzer also just dropped the 12-inch Kitchen Clock via Delroy Edwards’s chic label, L.A. Club Resource. If you stay alert, you might find vinyl copies of both before collectors snap them up!

Gossip Wolf can’t help but think of colossal 90s east-coast squads such as the Gang Starr Foundation and Wu-Tang Clan when listening to Chicago crew Gold Standard Collective. GSC’s members include standout talents Philmore Greene, Rashid Hadee, Neak, Thaione Davis, F.A.B.L.E., and Since9ine6ix, and their ace new compilation, Deli Slice (which hits streaming services Friday), balances intricate raps with sparse, soulful production. In the video for the album’s swaggering title track, GSC members trade potent verses in a high-rise parking lot.

This wolf’s healthiest pandemic ritual is listening to Ester bandleader Anna Holmquist on their Bad Songwriter Podcast, which over the past few months has featured local pals such as Macie Stewart, Emily Jane Powers, and Jessica Risker. Holmquist is in fact a really good songwriter, and under the Ester name they recently contributed to an episode of Weekly EP, a podcast where guests discuss a new album they’ve composed and recorded in seven days. The resulting EP, Weak, which Holmquist recorded solo, is naturally more stripped-down than Ester the band, but it has all the spellbinding, sweeping melodicism of the group’s earlier work.  v

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