Coming March 30th, a newsletter dedicated to what's new and next in Chicago visual and performing arts.

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Posted inMusic

Sleaford Mods stir up dark energy on the focused new Spare Ribs

When I first heard Nottingham duo Sleaford Mods, Jason Williamson’s unhinged vocal delivery immediately captured my attention. Their minimalist music—which is simply Williamson ranting about working-class struggles over Andrew Fern’s sparse, chintzy electronic beats—could appeal to anarcho-punks, hip-hop heads, and Mark E. Smith devotees alike. Williamson is a force: wide-eyed and frothing at the mouth, […]

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Kelly Lee Owens’s Inner Song is laser focused and immersive

Welsh producer Kelly Lee Owens begins her sophomore album, Inner Song (Smalltown Supersound), with an instrumental cover of Radiohead’s “Arpeggi.” Her version is all about effervescent electronics, and it can evoke the feeling of being underwater—isolated from the rest of the world with only your thoughts. When Owens’s vocals arrive on the following track, “On,” […]

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Deafkids and Petbrick join forces to make subversively twisted psych on Deafbrick

Music festivals as we’ve known them may be in jeopardy due to a virus, but festival culture keeps on giving: this summer’s bounty includes Deafbrick, the new album by brain-rattling São Paulo psych-punk trio Deafkids and maniacal London-based electro-noise-rock duo Petbrick, aka musician and producer Wayne Adams and Sepultura and Cavalera Conspiracy drummer Iggor Cavalera. […]

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The personal and spiritual growth doesn’t stop in Burna Boy’s Twice as Tall

As much as mainstream Western music-media outlets compare contemporary African artists to one another, often flattening the expansiveness of their sounds under a single Afrobeats umbrella, some musicians from the continent continue to prove they’re in a league of their own with every new release. Burna Boy’s new fifth studio album, Twice as Tall, is […]

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Lianne La Havas moves between love and loss on her new self-produced, self-titled album

Born in London to a Jamaican mother and a Greek father, singer and guitarist Lianne La Havas takes inspiration from both branches of her family tree and beyond, finessing diverse influences into charming, sophisticated, and often heady alt-pop. She made her full-length debut with 2012’s acoustic guitar-driven Is Your Love Big Enough? and then slipped […]