Posted inMusic

Freak-folk superstar Joanna Newsom comes to Thalia Hall on her first tour in three years

Ever since her 2004 debut, The Milk-Eyed Mender, singer, composer, and harpist Joanna Newsom has been one of those artists where you either get it or you don’t. Her eccentric, literary lyrics are eminently quotable, and the fey changeability of her music makes it hard to pin down stylistically. Though she’s only produced four albums […]

Posted inMusic

Chicago’s Countess Williams summons the theatrical panache of classic blueswomen

Blues singer Jean Williams, known as the Countess, delivers her music with a theatrical panache that recalls the classic blueswomen of Bessie Smith’s era; skilled thespians as well as gifted vocalists, they often transformed their songs into melodramas that they carefully acted out onstage. Born in Chicago in 1966, Williams cultivated her musical tastes by […]

Posted inMusic

Steve Hackett revisits Genesis’s Selling England by the Pound and decades of solo work

These days, record nerds seem keen to categorize the sounds of the past in newly minted genres such as “proto-metal,” “acid folk,” and “pastoral prog.” The terminally unhip Genesis—and especially their groundbreaking 1973 classic, Selling England by the Pound—might fit into any of these categories. No matter how anyone describes it, the album is one […]

Posted inMusic

Sequoyah Murray was born to make uncategorizable pop

Twenty-two-year-old Atlanta singer and multi-instrumentalist Sequoyah Murray grew up in a musical family, and you can tell. He makes music the way a dolphin swims—effortlessly, playfully, and with supreme confidence. Murray’s remarkable debut full-length, Before You Begin (Thrill Jockey), recalls Prince not so much in its approach or themes as in its ambitiously openhearted eclecticism. […]

Posted inMusic

Keyboardist Sarah Davachi brings her church space-inspired compositions to Rockefeller Chapel

Rockefeller Chapel has hosted some remarkable concerts in recent years. The organization Ambient Church, which presents atmospheric music in visually and sonically exalted spaces, chose the 91-year-old structure as the site for the concert it staged in Chicago last December. Rockefeller has also hosted minimalist composer-performer Charlemagne Palestine, drone-metal group Sunn O))), and local sound […]

Posted inMusic

Antonio Sanchez composes jazz-rock anthems that celebrate immigrant journeys

The most immediately striking aspect of Antonio Sanchez’s music is its lush, cinematic feel, which the drummer also demonstrates in the percussion-only music he composed for the 2014 film Birdman. A native of Mexico City, Sanchez began playing drums at age five, and after performing professionally in rock, jazz, and Latin bands in his teens, […]