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The Radio Dept. play detachment off fleeting melodies to create engaging dream pop

If not for the longing and deep-seated dread characteristic of many dream-pop songs, artists like the Radio Dept. would float right out of our collective consciousness like a lost balloon—there’d be nothing to keep them grounded and present among the overlapping celestial washes of synthesizers and vocals if not for the foil of gloom. Blending […]

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The ninth annual Chicago Psych Fest offers the best trips in town

One of the best bargains in the Chicago scene, this well-established festival—currently co-organized by Plastic Crimewave, aka Steve Krakow (a Reader contributor), and artist Matt Ginsberg (Dark Fog, Underground Symposium)—celebrates its ninth installment. Named after a 1968 song by Marc Benno and Leon Russell, Icicle Star Tree has a killer lineup that showcases the diversity […]

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Indie rock, techno, and classical collide on Scottish classical composer Anna Meredith’s solo debut, Varmints

Scottish composer Anna Meredith has found a niche working with classical institutions in their efforts to engage new listeners. Her piece “Connect It,” which demonstrates a canon using body percussion and beatboxing—with rhythmic patterns passed around between performers—was part of the BBC’s Ten Pieces program, an endeavor to get kids ages seven to 14 interested […]

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Chicago electronic musician Brett Naucke achieves new sophistication by exploring memories of his childhood home on The Mansion

Chicago electronic artist Brett Naucke has been a scarce presence on the local scene in recent years, suggesting that his commitment has shifted toward forging new terrain in his home studio rather than performing. He’s released a steady stream of underground cassettes since his acclaimed 2014 album The Seed, but next month he’ll drop The […]

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Igorrr creates operatic collage polka metal and it is awesome

“Raaaah! Aaaaaaaaaah! Raaaaaaaaaayaaaaaaah!” French producer Gautier Serre, aka Igorrr, starts off his 2017 album with three hysterical quivering shrieks that segue into a headbanging death-metal crunch, courtesy of Teloch from Mayhem and drummer Sylvain Bouvier. Over it all, vocalist Laurent Lunoir emits a phlegm-flecked ranting burble—like chipmunks being devoured by piranhas, or vice versa. Serre, […]