Posted inMusic

Blood Incantation follow up their prog-death landmark with an ambient epic

Denver band Blood Incantation set the metal world on fire with their second full-length, 2019’s Hidden History of the Human Race, a technical death-metal masterpiece that smashes together mind-bending, virtuoso-level musicianship with Middle Eastern-inspired melodies, epic prog-rock twists and turns, and sci-fi moods and flourishes. The album’s brutal, alien take on death metal earned it […]

Posted inMusic Review

Dreamer Isioma yokes their wildly maximalist aesthetic to their pop-star ambition on Goodnight Dreamer

In March 2020, Chicago singer-songwriter Dreamer Isioma released their breakthrough EP, Sensitive, whose slyly funky title track became a slow-burning hit—in a little under two years, it’s racked up nearly 70 million Spotify streams. Isioma is clearly a pop star in the making, and treats the history of recorded music like a grand buffet: they […]

Posted inMusic Review

Matchess draws music from the resources of memory on Sonescent

For roughly a decade, Chicago multi-instrumentalist Whitney Johnson maintained a fairly steady developmental arc with her solo project, Matchess. Her songs, which comprised layers of viola, organ, tape loops, drum machine, and voice, progressively materialized out of a murky, analog fog; the hooky, propulsive tracks on the 2018 release Sacracorpa glided like a lucid dream […]

Posted inCity Life

Home Sweet Alone

When I moved into my first studio apartment in 2017, I got obsessed with the 1995 Jewel single “You Were Meant For Me.” In the song, Jewel has recently split with her lover and moved into her own apartment. She’s heartbroken, but she also digs having her own spot. She fries eggs and reads the […]

Posted inFilm

Interview with the film queen

Chicagoan Ramona Slick has curated a monthly meeting place for Chicago’s film nerds and queer community. In December, the erotic performer and queer burlesque dancer debuted a new event series, Rated Q, at the Music Box Theatre. Each event features a brief drag show and screening of a queer film classic. Audience members wear their […]

Posted inMusic

By deconstructing the flute, Laura Cocks’s Field Anatomies builds new worlds

When you’re ensconced in a circle of 29 piccolos, no one can hear you scream. New York-based flutist and TAK Ensemble cofounder Laura Cocks re-creates this otherworldly sonic scenario in David Bird’s “Atolls,” the first piece off their new debut solo album, Field Anatomies (Carrier). Bird says his piece derived the auxiliary performers’ pitches by […]

Posted inTheater Review

True blues

A fine cast backed by a first-rate jazz combo make Porchlight Music Theatre’s revival of Sheldon Epps’s concept revue Blues in the Night a delicious musical feast. A 1982 Broadway vehicle for Leslie Uggams, this durable jukebox musical—smartly staged for Porchlight by Chicago theater veteran Kenny Ingram—anthologizes a rich trove of 1920s, ‘30s, and ‘40s […]