Erica Mei Gamble has been a key part of Chicago’s DIY experimental- and dance-music communities for more than a decade. She has several musical projects—including Sarica, A+E, and her S&M-themed goth horror duo with Sarah Leitten, Dungeon Mother—and she’s also the scene’s most diligent video preservationist. Gamble has posted sets by hundreds of artists dating […]
At VSOP Studios in West Town, Naomi Graham sits on a black couch humming a song she’s working on called “Tainted Subs.” She has on a black hoodie and leggings and cheetah-print Crocs. She wears her hair in a black bob with a silver stripe across the front. She’s recording material for her debut rap […]
How parenthood and the 2020 uprisings impacted Tiara Déshané’s approach to music
Since 2018, Chicago singer-rapper Jean Deaux has released at least an EP or full-length every year, and there’s hardly a bum note in her growing discography. She harnesses the enticing aesthetics of R&B, reaching for the sublime with whispery percussion, lithe and steamy guitar melodies, supple keyboards in plush, downy drifts, and smokily smoldering vocals […]
“Saba’s releases are such special moments for Chicago and the west side,” Reader contributor Tara C. Mahadevan posted to Twitter this week. His previous album, 2018’s Care for Me, claimed the top spot when we polled 57 local critics about their ten favorite Chicago records of the 2010s—and Saba has three releases among the 338 […]
In late 2014, I was incredibly homesick: I’d just left Chicago for college out of state, and I was struggling to adjust to a new campus and an immediate world that looked vastly different from what I was used to. Treated like an outsider, I yearned for pieces of home. Luckily Soundcloud recommended Comfort Zone, […]
I met Squeak in Saba’s grandparent’s basement. The walls were plastered with magazine covers, the space stuffed with recording equipment and video games. A memory not easily forgotten—I’ve probably told this story a thousand times, in writing and in person. It was 2016, a year after the first time I interviewed Saba and a couple […]
Producer SqueakPivot has long been a crucial member of the Chicago hip-hop collective he’s incorporated into his stage name, applying his talents largely to mixes and DJ sets—I’m hard-pressed to think of a Pivot Gang show I’ve seen where Squeak wasn’t behind the turntables. He’s infrequently released his own music, though that began to shift […]
Tijuana Hercules drop the trash-blues masterpiece they delayed for COVID, Johnny Caluya of Verma and Surgery Boys makes his solo debut as JC Tascam, and more.
Chicago rapper D2x has poured all 23 years of his life so far into his debut album, The Color Blue. Across its 13 tracks, he delivers lines about his childhood in the south suburbs, his time playing basketball as a student at Western Illinois University, his struggles with depression, his faith in God, his recent […]
With concerts and tours on hold for most of the year, Chicago’s music scene doubled down on mutual aid and fundraising for community groups.
Femdot’s nonprofit, Delacreme Scholars, has run the Scholars Slide By to deliver groceries to hundreds of people in need this summer.
Did Chicago musicians booked for Lollapalooza know their sets might look like an endorsement of Mayor Lightfoot?
The members of west-side collective Pivot Gang have been calling themselves a boy band since long before Brockhampton was a twinkle in Kevin Abstract’s eye. Because Joseph Chilliams, Frsh Waters, MFn Melo, and Saba all rap, this self-description has caused some confusion, but as Pivot Gang see it, there’s not much to differentiate them from, […]
Pivot Gang cofounder John Walt is memorialized in Saba’s Care for Me—and by an arts nonprofit that bears his name, which holds its flagship concert fund-raiser this weekend.