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Chicago’s Thomas Comerford assembles a cast of local musicians for an album of beguiling country

Chicago has its share of bands playing country or alternative country, but Thomas Comerford’s lonesome sound is in a category of its own. Comerford straddles the singer-songwriter era of the 1970s and the dusty, deadpan observations of psychedelic iconoclasts such as Bill Callahan. He’s also an independent filmmaker—he teaches film and art history at the […]

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Julien Baker expands her vulnerable sound on Little Oblivions

Julien Baker’s 2015 debut album, Sprained Ankle, and its 2017 follow-up, Turn Out the Lights, centered the singer-songwriter’s sometimes fragile but always sincere voice as she journeyed through addiction and came to terms with her sexuality and spirituality. Her songs were bold in their lyrical honesty and unadorned presentation: Sprained Ankle featured just Baker and […]

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Chicago singer-songwriter Nayla Jungheim juices up her tender debut album with pop-punk muscle

Chicago indie singer-songwriter Nayla Jungheim knows that putting her own needs first is the best defense against a cruel and indifferent world. She made her new debut album, the lively and big-hearted This Might Be Healing (self-released digitally and available on cassette via Solidarity Club), using largely acoustic instrumentation as a retort to people in […]

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Xoe Wise’s intimate indie folk makes the world feel a little more welcoming

Since this spring Chicago singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Xoe Wise has been parking her scooter at intersections around town for small, outdoor pop-up performances—a series she calls “Curbside Live,” where she collects tips via Venmo to donate to local venues and businesses. Wise plays magisterial indie folk that retains its grandeur even when she pares […]

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Daniel Knox captures Mister Rogers’s care and generosity on his new tribute album

Chicago singer-songwriter Daniel Knox can conjure whimsy and tenderness with subtle shifts in his commanding baritone voice. That ability suits him well in his new album-length tribute to everyone’s favorite neighbor, Fred Rogers. You Are My Friend: The Songs of Mister Rogers honors the original spirit of the material; Knox plays simple piano melodies that […]

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Singer-songwriter Gia Margaret shifts focus to instrumental ambient for Mia Gargaret

Chicago singer-songwriter Gia Margaret makes what she calls “sleep rock.” Its mellow vibes make it well-suited for early-morning or late-night listening, while its catchy melodies and driving beats can get heads nodding—albeit gently. Margaret’s 2018 debut full-length, There’s Always Glimmer, creates inviting atmospheres with crisp production and varied instrumentation: Margaret’s double-tracked vocals glow amid a […]

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Songwriter Cat Clyde journeys beyond the blues on Hunter’s Trance

Stratford, Ontario, is famous for its long-running annual theater festival, which leans heavily on productions of Shakespeare. Singer-songwriter Cat Clyde has spent most of her life in and around Stratford, but you’d be hard-pressed to call her rootsy music theatrical, despite her poet’s knack for enveloping listeners in her stories—her primary influences belong on the […]