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Instrumental duo Zombi weave their influences into a metallic beast on 2020

It’s been five years since Pittsburgh instrumental duo Zombi released Shape Shift. In May, they whetted the appetites of their long-suffering fans with the single “Breakthrough & Conquer,” which features guitar solos from Trans Am’s Philip Manley, and this month multi-instrumentalist Steve Moore and drummer A.E. Paterra have officially slid back onto the scene with […]

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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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When the world feels barren, Chicago punk veterans the Lawrence Arms build hope

Chicago punk trio the Lawrence Arms formed in 1999, and they’re aging remarkably well. Rather than settle for the kind of navel-gazing that’s common among bands of their vintage—commemorating, say, the milestone anniversary of an old favorite album with a long tour—they’ve continued to evolve as they make new music. On their seventh album, Skeleton […]

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Ghetto Kumbé create pulsing Afrofuturistic grooves that build on the beats of Colombia’s Pacific coast

Few styles of music lift my spirits more than the drum- and marimba-driven chants born along Colombia’s Pacific coast. These ancestral grooves survived the travails of 16th-century colonization to become the musical heritage of the region’s enslaved persons who’d escaped captivity—and to my ears, they distill freedom and joy in every note. The members of […]

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The harsh noise of Evicshen’s Hair Birth will leave your head spinning

Massachusetts-based sound artist and instrument maker Victoria Shen, who performs as Evicshen, makes music that rattles your brain. Her debut LP, Hair Birth (American Dreams), is a master class in explosive cacophony driven by blaring modular synthesizers. This isn’t just unregulated noise: Shen puts thought into her songcraft, and it’s immediately apparent right from the […]