In March 2021, Gossip Wolf was bowled over by the debut demo from local grindcore crew Organ Failure. The band packed four merciless rippers into three thoroughly unwholesome minutes, whetting this wolf’s appetite for even more disgusting noise to come! Late last month, Organ Failure followed up with the delightfully putrid Neurologic Determination of Death, […]
On December 13, I took a long drive to Des Plaines to pick up relatives of my friend Perry Kanlan, a showbiz-adjacent eccentric known as Dancin’ Man. The time on the road gave me the chance to reflect on the circumstances of my relationship with him. I formally met Perry in 2011, when my friend […]
Vivian Carter and James Bracken formed Vee-Jay Records in 1953 to produce the “good music” that listeners of Vivian’s radio broadcasts and customers of her record store in Gary, Indiana, wanted to hear. By “good music,” her audience—largely southern-born African American migrants to the Chicago region—didn’t mean classical or pop. They hungered for electric blues, […]
As I’ve complained here before, women often get left out of music history—a problem that seems especially bad in soul music. I’ll never understand why Loleatta Holloway, Holle Thee Maxwell, and the Fascinations aren’t as widely known as the Dells, Major Lance, and Curtis Mayfield. All-woman Chicago group the Opals had ties to all those […]
Eddie Thomas was one of Chicago’s greatest music promoters, and he might’ve been the most humble. While his name is linked in more ways than one to Curtis Mayfield’s, throughout the 1960s and 1970s he guided myriad R&B and disco artists through the process of making records and getting them played. When I talked to […]
James Holvay is best known for writing the Buckinghams’ “Kind of a Drag” and cofounding the Mob, but he’s still making music more than 50 years later.
“When I was working in politics, we always went to the community for answers. Community organizations are going to be around a lot longer than any politician.”
Production duo Bless the Mad discuss the classic hip-hop, soul, gospel, and jazz records that inspired the reverent sonic collage on their debut album.
The Artistics could match the quality of the Impressions and the Chi-Lites, but not their chart success.
The Year of Chicago Music has had less music in it than anybody anticipated, but we still have plenty to celebrate.
Holle Thee Maxwell’s long career has taken her through several genres and across the world—but it’s never made her a star.
Toronzo Cannon’s 2016 breakout debut album for Alligator is titled The Chicago Way, but it doesn’t include a song of the same name. Since that release, the homegrown bluesman has become so enamored with the phrase that he wrote a song around it in time for his next album, The Preacher, the Politician or the […]
Current musical obsessions of VJ Darrell Gordon, DJ Ken Wong, and Reader listings coordinator Salem Collo-Julin
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.
Amy Rigby’s new memoir, Girl to City, crackles with the kind of sharp insights and perfectly chosen details her fans already love.