Posted inMusic

Prolific Chicago producer Casper McFadden finds nirvana in the chaos of breakcore

Casper McFadden’s breakcore tracks hum with hyperactive energy—the Chicago producer sounds like he can’t sit still, and he releases music often enough to prop up that impression. Two months after Vancouver label Kitty on Fire released his Stasis (Log) in January 2021, Casper dropped the full-length Original Soundtrack and an EP called PPP Parasites Eve, […]

Posted inMusic

Radkey explore the personal and political with their new single and video

When teenage brothers Isaiah, Dee, and Solomon Radke emerged as Radkey in the early 2010s, their hook-driven garage punk made an immediate impression. The Missouri band probably weren’t trying to split the difference between the over-the-top spookiness of the Misfits (guitarist Dee sang a little like Danzig did in his devilock days) and the unabashed […]

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 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 inMusic

Chicago underground heroes Cheer-Accident stay joyously weird on their 24th album, Here Comes the Sunset

When I moved to the Windy City in 1995, “psychedelic” and “progressive rock” were dirty words associated with patchouli-scented hippies. A few local bands were boldly mining this expansive territory, though, including Sabalon Glitz, Frontier, and Cheer-Accident. Led by drummer, singer, keyboardist, and trumpeter Thymme Jones, Cheer-Accident always put on a thrilling, even hilarious live […]