Smushie main man Austin Koenigstein (also half of Chicago duo Berta Bigtoe) plays psych-leaning indie rock whose relaxed, sun-dappled melodies will convince you he’s figured out the secret to an unbothered life. Radiant keys, limber bass, loose and understated guitars, and cool, in-the-pocket drums float through Smushie’s latest album, June’s self-released Doofus Casanova, and Koenigstein […]
When Something Is Waiting formed in 2016, the band consisted of five dudes whose stacked resumés included stints in several Chicago heavy favorites, and on their first few releases they focused on big, mean, chaos-bringing noise rock a la Unsane. Over the past few years, though, they’ve charted a new direction, trading in nihilistic bludgeoning […]
Trying to make sense of the times can feel like an exercise in futility, but it can also be a powerful tool of self-expression. That’s the modus operandi of Clamm, a young Melbourne three-piece founded in 2019 by two childhood friends—guitarist and vocalist Jack Summers and drummer Miles Harding—and soon rounded out by bassist Maisie […]
Many words describe letting your partner have sex with other people.
“I’m a twentysomething / Don’t you think it’s about time?” Chicago singer-songwriter Claudia Ferme, aka Claude, sighs on “Twenty Something,” which opens her debut full-length, A Lot’s Gonna Change (American Dreams). The track breathes and pulses through dream-pop heaven with swirling, chiming guitars and distant, mellow horns. It’s meant to be redolent of a certain […]
Experimental metal trio Locrian have spent the past 17 years branching out into unknown realms, but lately they’ve been reexamining their roots. Formed in Chicago in 2005 by guitarist André Foisy and keyboardist Terence Hannum, Locrian started out mining darkness from their bleak soundscapes by layering grimy, pitch-black, doomy ambient noise with swaths of sounds […]
Wolfgang Amadeus Aleksandr “Aleks” Fa has a lot of baggage. The protagonist of Joe Meno’s new novel Book of Extraordinary Tragedies has that name, after all—which also serves as a clue about what burdens the young man. Born into a perfectionist but impoverished Bosnian/Croat/Polish family in Evergreen Park on the border with Chicago’s south side, […]
In 2019, the Tang Museum at Skidmore College presented The Second Buddha: Master of Time, an exhibition concerning Padmasambhava, the guru credited with bringing Buddhism to Tibet during the eighth century. Along with lectures and exhibits both visual and virtual, the museum commissioned a concert—conceived as a “musical bardo exploration”—by Susie Ibarra, a Philippine American […]
It’s a story about a storyteller who is creating a story about how mythology (stories) are created. It is also an acute reminder of how easy it can be to hide secrets in plain sight.
Filmmaker Danny Cohen gave Barnett a Dictaphone and asked her to talk into it as she traversed the world on tours over three years, in support of her celebrated second album in 2018, and onward.
In March 2020, when I wrote about underground industrial label Chicago Research and the tight-knit community that surrounded it, I heard that local duo Conjunto Primitivo planned to release their debut full-length through the label. Considering how that month ended, I’m not surprised to see that album coming out only now—and I can’t argue with […]
Clothing reseller Sasha Smith, 20, claims to dress like a “pink 2000s bimbo Harajuku ballerina.” She’s inspired by dolls, the Playboy universe, and the now-defunct Japanese street style magazine FRUiTS. The day she was photographed, Smith was headed to a hangout with a friend. She was covered head to toe in her favorite rosy hue, […]
Chicago audiences love the Music Box and Film Center, so, naturally, I wanted to ensure that MUBI GO is as exciting a premise for them as it is for viewers.
Bernardo Medina’s mother chased him into art with a foam rubber flip-flop. “Latina mothers call it a chancleta,” says Medina, a San Juan, Puerto Rico-based pop artist and publicist. “It is the weapon that they use against you as a kid. I was very hyper, and since there were no medications for it, it was […]
Most rappers can only dream of making a song as powerful as PGF Nuk’s breakout single, “Waddup.” Superficially it sounds like a pretty standard drill track—terse verses in a wrought-iron flow, lean percussion, a sparse synth melody as chilly as a dusty pipe organ—but Nuk puts it over the top with his style. The Englewood […]