Chelsea Wolfe is no stranger to creating a distinct mood of rich velvety darkness. She accomplishes this with her recorded music and her live performance is always filled with a sense of an accomplished artist who has a profound sense of self to guide her and fills the air with a melody and texture that isn't vanquished until probably months after.
It gets really hot inside Subterranean. The second-level balconies that line the walls make the main floor seem narrower than it actually is, and looking back from the middle of the fray it appears that people stretch back forever towards the bar. The music the huge, sweaty crowd is there to see holds the key to keeping them unified and distracted from what would otherwise be a horribly uncomfortable state. Fortunately, that's what The Mowgli's have made the theme of their career: sunny California love that brings people together and shines through all situations.
When artist Amy Jo Arndt was fresh out of Milwaukee's Institute of Art and Design, she moved to Chicago for more opportunities. But just three years ago her search for an art community coincided with a spiritual journey to seek better health and wellness. After spending her days nannying part-time, she'd watch TED Talks during the evenings when she wasn't occupying herself with her own art.
Gals/other marginalized folks: what was your 1st brush (in music industry, journalism, scene) w/ idea that you didn't count'?
So tweeted music journalist Jessica Hopper, curating a conversation that desperately needed to be shared in as well as heard. In the minutes, hours, and days since that tweet on August 24, responses in numerous quantities were conveyed, all by those sharing their distinct experiences with sexism and marginalization within the music industry.
The amount of stories are limitless, spanning decades, and showcasing a patriarchal construct that has been inherently created and reinforced over time within music journalism and the industry as a whole. The conversation's wide scope, emphasized by Hopper's powerful retweets of each response, shed light on the issue for those who were either unaware or ignorant to the situations that befall women and marginalized groups in this industry each and every day. I spoke with Hopper regarding this vital dialogue, how awareness can continue, and steps we can begin to take to ensure that this system changes.
It seems like a cliché to hear artists say "it's all about the music." But on September 11th at Quenchers, that will quite literally be the case. Miss Shevaughn & Yuma Wray will bring their sunny, cosmic Americana act to Quencher's in support of Foundations of Music, a nonprofit dedicated to empowering Chicago's children through music education. This will be a great show for a great cause, with all proceeds going to Foundations of Music.
Local act The Main Squeeze is enjoying quite the successful year. With an appearance at Bonnaroo this past year, as well as an upcoming set at North Coast Music Festival, the group, who seamlessly blends funk, soul, and much more, will be releasing their next album, Mind Your Head, in the fall. They're looking forward to sharing their performance day with artists they greatly respect, including The Roots and D'Angelo, and are patiently awaiting showing a Chicago festival audience their energetic live show, as well.
I spoke with the group regarding their influences, who they would like to collaborate with, and their diverse range of musical experiences. In addition, we're giving away A PAIR of 3-day passes to North Coast Music Festival for you and a friend to enjoy. Simply comment on this article (use your email address!) with the artist you're most excited to see on on Saturday, other than The Main Squeeze, of course. The winner will be chosen today at 6pm. The winner has been chosen! Thank you all for your entries, and continue reading for future giveaways!
Anybody who has been baptized knows that the church is more than an institution. It's a culture. And like every culture, it too has its rebels. From Al Green to Jennifer Hudson, many of rhythm-and-blues' greatest voices have been disciples of gospel gone secular. But fewer are those rebels that try to embrace both the virtuous and hedonistic in equal measure.
In that effort, Chicago's own Sir the Baptist, born Sir William James Stokes, has few predecessors. And often times in his music, while attempting to bridge the gap between his past as a preacher's kid from Bronzeville and his future as a rocketing rhythm-and-blues star, Stokes' knowingly contradicts himself. Perhaps that's why when I ask if he considers his music "church music" he replies,"It is and it isn't." Or when I ask him if he thinks his music belongs to the gospel or rhythm-and-blues genre he says, "both" and then explains further ...
"What we've done in music is compartmentalize our lives so much so that we don't even know who we are. I have people who were brought up in the church that sing with me on my albums because they know I'm singing the truth, but they won't perform with me in concert because they don't want to be associated with challenging the church."
With that statement, the purpose of Stokes' music crystallizes. This music man is on a mission to reveal the hypocrisies that are inherent to any kind of life spent adhering to a restrictive dogma, which in Stokes' case is Christianity. But Stokes cannot shake his halo, nor does he feel like he has to. "I'd say I'm spiritual, bot not religious. Or if I am religious, I'm religiously free." By which he means, he tries to be the same person on Saturday night that he is on Sunday morning. And then he goes home to write music about the complexities of being an old-school preacher's kid in a modern world to tantalizing effect.
The J. Parker Rooftop at the Hotel Lincoln is packed at 6 o'clock. On an ordinary Tuesday evening, you'd probably see a few 20-somethings stopping by after work to drink up a stunning view of Lincoln Park, the lake, and the Near North Side skyline as well as a cocktail. But on this occasion, a PA system and a slew of microphones invade a square space at the east end of the roof, and people cluster in a semicircle around them, keeping up a garrulous chatter between glances at the makeshift stage.
At 6:30, a woman in a black top and floral skirt and a man with long dark hair, a massive beard, and denim from head to toe step up to the mics with acoustic guitars in hand. And after a quick introduction from the mustachioed event manager and some enthusiastic cheers, Brooklyn-based indie folksters Widowspeak smile and launch into an eight-song set with the greatest of the Great Lakes providing a stunning backdrop.
This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending one of Sofar Sounds' secret house shows. It was truly a unique experience, one that brought a genuine sense of community to the show. The group prides itself on creating this experience for the mutual benefit of the artist and audiences, placing the music on a pedestal it deserves. Upon walking up the venue, a beautiful apartment in Chicago, I had no idea of who was playing, whose home it was, or how anything would be set up. It was exhilarating and as I would quickly found out, incredibly fulfilling. Guests were greeted by Sofar Sounds volunteers, who handed a small sheet of paper detailing the evening's artists: The Kickback, Daniela Sloan, and Charlie Curtis-Beard.
Jaime Black is an institution in Chicago's music landscape, particularly through the curation of his own podcast, Dynasty Podcasts, the first as well as longest-running in Chicago. This year marks an unparalleled moment for the podcast, which has featured celebrated musicians from Billy Corgan to Perry Farrell to Chance the Rapper. Its emphasis on the Chicago music scene is steadfast and all-encompassing, and Black has worked tirelessly to hone the entity to what it has become today. Today, Dynasty Podcast has 50,000 followers on Soundcloud, and can be heard in more than 165 countries.
For the 10-year anniversary of Dynasty Podcasts, Black will be hosting a 10-hour-long broadcast on Sunday, Aug. 30, from Chicago's own Public Hotel, unprecedented in scope and welcoming a variety of Chicago talent to celebrate this achievement over the past decade. Listeners can stream the event all day at Dynastypodcasts.tv. I spoke with Black regarding his brainstorming for the event, the ever-changing podcast landscape, and his hopes for the future.
If you haven't heard of Sofar Sounds, you are missing out on a genuinely interesting musical experience. The organization brings true music lovers together to see and hear new music in intimate venues which often times end up being someone's living room. These secret house shows emphasize a reverence to music, focusing all the attention of the audience directly to the musicians. I first heard of the shows from John Mark Nelson late last year at Schubas, where he performed a song that he wrote for a Sofar Sounds concert. It was the highlight of the evening and a fantastic example of what can come of a Sofar Sounds show.
Barrence Whitfield and the Savages sound just like their name; you'd be hard-pressed to find a more stereotypical soul-blues moniker than "Barrence," and the Savages who back him up play exactly the type of distorted, raucous riffs you'd expect. Putting the two together results in a band that makes like Marty McFly and pumps old-fashioned rock 'n roll into a high wattage garage-bred overdrive. The question is whether or not bringing The Sonics' style forward fifty years holds water in the present musical landscape. And though aspects of BW and the Savages' new album Under the Savage Sky feel dated, its energy is undeniable and timeless.
Unlike many of those in attendance last night at First Merit Bank Pavilion, the only cannabis I had was printed images on my socks. I hoped they, in addition to the pungent haze resting above the crowd, would get me in the proper mood to enjoy Sublime with Rome and their legion of summery musical guests. In the end, though the concert satisfied the masses of grown-up '90s kids hearkening for a return to the heyday of Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 and a few hours relaxing in the remnants of summer, I failed to find any new or deeper meaning in the band's music--and I don't think Bradley Nowell, Sublime's long-deceased lead singer, would have appreciated that.
Inspired by dreamlike fantasies and nightmarish terrors, Chicago artist Chemise Cagoule debuted today the enchanting music video for the trippy lo-fi single "Violet."
The video, directed by Ryan Nanni and starring underground artists Jazzeppi Zanaughtti and Ben Morino, features a compilation of glamorously gritty scenes from a sex club, tour performances, frigid waters and frozen Indiana Dunes--suitable for the trippy dream-pop track.
Previously anonymous to the world, Chemise Cagoule was recently revealed to be the alter ego of local artist Jack Collier. The name 'Chemise Cagoule' comes from the term for a medieval nightdress of the Catholic church that was created to prevent pleasurable sex, which piqued Collier's interest in history, fashion, religion and sexuality.
Was anyone out there as much a fan of Kids These Days as I was? Maybe you, too, were heartbroken when they broke up to pursue other ventures. Well, have no fear, because newly formed Marrow is here to calm our woes. Liam Kazar has bided his time by touring with Jeff Tweedy, while Macie Stewart toured with Chance The Rapper. After time spent recording with the remainder of band members, Lane Beckstrom and Matt Carroll, the group is ready to release their debut album, The Gold Standard. They'll be playing a show at Subterranean this Wednesday evening in support of this new standout material.
The J. Parker Rooftop at the Hotel Lincoln is packed at 6 o'clock. On an ordinary Tuesday evening, you'd probably see a few 20-somethings stopping by after work to drink up a stunning view of Lincoln Park, the lake,...