Over the past few years, Randy Finell—the enigmatic 21-year-old Ohioan releasing music as Brakence—has avoided interviews and other press appearances while racking up tens of millions of streams. He lets his openly confessional music speak for itself. On “Fifthenigma,” a Soundcloud upload from 2016, he mixes samples and jittery beats under his warbling vocals, crafting […]
By focusing on the song rather than the man, the filmmakers create an arc that keeps viewers engaged.
Secret History readers often assume I know every Chicago musician who ever lived, but luckily I’m still capable of experiencing the joy of discovery. One of my bigger thrills in life is buying a random LP by an act I barely know, being floored by the music, and then discovering the artist is from the […]
In a self-aggrandizing public announcement last month about the return of Lollapalooza, Mayor Lori Lightfoot tweeted a cringey promotional video where she played music for Department of Public Health commissioner Allison Arwady onstage at the Petrillo Music Shell in Grant Park. Early in the clip, Lightfoot changes the soundtrack from a Foo Fighters tune to […]
Bluesman Johnny Shines spent the late 30s on the road with the great Robert Johnson, then lived long enough to win a W.C. Handy Award in the 90s.
Chicago rapper Taurus Bartlett, better known as Polo G, rose to national prominence so quickly that new listeners could be forgiven for assuming he’s been a star for at least a few years. He broke out in January 2019 with “Pop Out,” a collaboration with New York MC Lil Tjay, where Bartlett mixes irrepressible joy […]
For two decades, a short stretch of Michigan Avenue hosted a concentration of creative entrepreneurship whose influence on Black popular music is still felt today.
Last year Florida rapper Dominic Fike landed a multimillion-dollar deal with Columbia Records on the strength of a string of songs totaling just shy of 15 minutes. The label wasn’t wrong to see Fike as a Soundcloud-rap star in the making: his music is about as transgressive as jaywalking, but his tracks are great at […]
Justin Broadrick of Godflesh talks drum machines, Crass, and 80s hip-hop with producer Sanford Parker.
David Grubbs on why the experimental music of the 1960s was so rarely recorded at the time—and what changes when we listen to it today.
Bluesman Ernest “Little Son Joe” Lawlers was overshadowed by his wife, the great Memphis Minnie, but you might remember his “Black Rat Swing.”
“Still Bill,” a documentary portrait of soul singer Bill Withers, screens Thursday 12/3 at Chatham 14.