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Horsegirl and the dream of a teen rock scene

In July 2019, Chicago indie-rock trio Horsegirl played the eighth annual Square Roots Festival. At the time, live shows were the only way to hear the group’s taut but disarming dream pop, with its windswept-lakefront sound—and they’d only performed a few of them. They hadn’t released any music, not even to stream, and unsurprisingly they’d […]

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Emerging Chicago band Lifeguard play noisy, retro-leaning rock without getting stuck in the past

Chicago band Lifeguard make the kind of noisy, brooding rock that’s been foundational to generations of punk and indie bands, all the way back to the dawn of hardcore and no wave. On their self-released debut album, Dive, Lifeguard dispense driving bass lines that could enliven even the dreariest postpunk tune, impassioned drumming that ratchets […]

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The new Facs album, Void Moments, shows the Chicago trio at their apex

The Facs formula has always been stark minimalism. On their first two albums, the Chicago trio—currently drummer Noah Leger, guitarist-singer Brian Case, and bassist Alianna Kalaba—built every track on tense rhythms, simple bass throbs, barely-there guitar plinking, and direct spoken-word vocals. It was like they were casting moods more than writing songs. The formula worked […]

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Trouble in Mind and Paradise of Bachelors team up for a weekend of the finest indie rock at Trouble in Paradise

Trouble in Paradise, a meeting of the minds between tastemaking Chicago label Trouble in Mind Records and North Carolina’s heady Paradise of Bachelors, takes place over the same weekend as Riot Fest, but this intimate Empty Bottle-based festival offers a musical and philosophical opposite to its sprawling counterpart. There’s no nostalgia, overhyped reunions, or overblown […]