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Former Oshwa bandleader Alicia Walter makes a grand entrance as a solo artist

In the 2010s, Alicia Walter led criminally underappreciated Chicago band Oshwa, who played dizzying, dramatic math-rock with the finesse of a tween Mensa member simultaneously solving three Rubik’s Cubes. Walter moved to New York in 2016, the same year Oshwa released their final album, I We You Me, but her Chicago connections remain strong: this […]

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Chicago songwriter Emily Jane Powers supercharges Isometry with wild guitar work

When local folk-pop artist Jessica Risker interviewed Chicago singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Emily Jane Powers on her Music Therapy podcast in April 2020, Powers was halfway through recording an album. “I wanted to make a guitar-forward record,” Powers told Risker. “I wanted to let the guitar speak for me.” On the album in question, Isometry (which […]

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Chicago producer DJ C brings life-giving daring to his hybridized dance music on Do Radly

As DJ C, Chicago producer Jake Trussell has developed a gift for extracting the DNA from an eclectic variety of pop subgenres, then scrambling their nucleotides and recombining them—and his manipulations not only illuminate the hard-to-see strands connecting parallel musical histories but also encourage anyone with at least two brain cells to dance. Throughout the […]

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New Goo’s patchwork bedroom pop creates its own peculiar giddiness

Chicago singer-songwriter Kelso Ashby makes whimsical bedroom pop as New Goo, stacking lo-fi percussion, spectral synths, and featherweight vocals. On their new self-released album, Picture of a Picture, they draw from the magnetic, euphoric throb of house music, which dovetails with the raw underpinnings in their intimate material. “Tension” cycles among several threadbare drum loops […]

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Shamir returns to the spotlight with nostalgic, 90s-influenced alternative pop

Shamir spent the first months of quarantine directing the video for “On My Own,” the first single from their new self-titled album, entirely within their Philadelphia home. Using wardrobe and hairstyle changes, the mononymous singer and multi-instrumentalist depicts themselves in various personas: a childlike figure surrounded by stuffed animals, a confident rocker swinging her hips […]

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LaSalle Grandeur’s sanguine songs can lift your pandemic-rattled spirits

The video for LaSalle Grandeur’s optimistic pop-rap single “Euphoria” shows the Chicago rapper gleefully traipsing through a huge empty field as a light breeze billows his unbuttoned shirt. “Euphoria” appears on Euphoric (Happily Depressed), an endearing EP that’s especially winning whenever Grandeur uses his exceptional grasp of melody to summon the blissful joy of that […]