Nebraska native Charlie Curtis-Beard, who moved here for school and still attends Columbia College, is one of Chicago’s most promising young MCs. His debut, Childish, was among the best overlooked local hip-hop releases of 2016, and on Friday he drops his second full-length, Existentialism on Lake Shore Drive. In its loose narrative, framed by dramatized phone messages, Curtis-Beard holes up at home while his friends have a wild night out. “I just wanted to tell the story of going out to pointless parties and staying locked in my room, from both sides,” he says. It’s an ambitious, tender album full of killer beats—”Fried Chicken” is playfully self-critical, and “Can’t See Clear” is my favorite hip-house track since Vic Mensa’s “Down on My Luck.”
Founded in 2013, Chicago’s chapter of LGBTQ prisoner-advocate group Black and Pink sends hundreds if not thousands of cards to incarcerated folks every year, and in August it hosted the organization’s national meeting. On Sunday, November 19, Elastic Arts hosts a benefit for Black and Pink’s reentry working group, which helps former prisoners reacclimate to society. The Chicago-centric bill includes rappers Plus Sign and Rahim Salaam, pop-punks Polish Gifts, and underground rock supergroup Cyber Pink (with members of Negative Scanner, the Porno Glows, and Dianetics). The event also features readings by Melissa Almandina and Nancy Sanchez of Brown & Proud Press and a raffle with prizes from Drag City Records and artist Grace Mattingly.
Spa Moans is the solo project of weirdo local beat maker and pop maven Jenny Polus, whose cloudy jams have a haunted, illbient feel. Is rain-forest wave a thing? It is now! On Tuesday, November 21, she releases her new tape, Obedient Vibrations (via Portland label Drop Medium Recording Technologies), and celebrates with a set at the Empty Bottle, opening for goth-industrial Chicago creepers Hide. v
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