Chicago multi-instrumentalist Alex Cowling evokes the power of the great outdoors with Antarctica

Over the past few years, Chicago multi-instrumentalist Alex Cowling has released several solo albums that combine weather-beaten indie rock, spacious jazz, and easygoing folk, and he’s done it to little or no fanfare. When ...

Dale Jenkins’s private-press postpunk finally gets a proper reissue

Dale Jenkins’s 1985 oddity was released last week in an expanded version by Spanish label Guerssen and Chicago-based label Got Kinda Lost. I was already obsessed with private-press records when...

German indie veterans the Notwist draw from Chicago’s jazz community for the new Vertigo Days

Long-running German group the Notwist perfected their airy combination of lovelorn indie rock and tender electronic sounds nearly two decades ago, but once they got it just right, they apparently decided never to repeat the...

Chicago’s Waltzer reinvigorates antique rock sounds on Time Traveler

Waltzer founder Sophie Sputnik spent half the 2010s fronting Fort Lauderdale blues-punk duo Killmama from behind a drum kit—she anchored the band’s sparse arrangements in time while lighting them up with her fire-breathing ...

Englewood B.U. raps with a flair for complex storytelling

Chicago’s Englewood B.U. is as much an alchemist as a rapper, combining elements to create effects that defy easy explanation. On his new debut, 99 B.U.…

Mukqs documents pandemic living on My Most Personal Album to Date

The multifarious outlets of Chicago experimental musician Maxwell Allison include the solo project Mukqs and the improvisational ambient trio Good Willsmith, whose Twitter account he uses to opine about music. His incisive ...

CaSera Heining, producer at WGN Radio and DJ Ca$h Era

“For a couple months, I was just DJing for tips. Luckily the community that I have around me, they were pouring into me as much as I give out to them.” CaSera "DJ Ca$h Era" Heining, 25, is a pr...

Bandcamp Friday returns for 2021

You can jump-start your Bandcamp Friday browsing with nearly 100 newly Reader-recommended releases. When COVID-19 pulled the rug out from under live music in March, Bandcamp responded by passin...

Harry James of Chandeliers draws from soul, jazz, and ambient on his solo debut

New Jersey native Harry James Brenner found his footing in Chicago’s music scene partly by playing in art-rock group Chandeliers; he joined in the mid-aughts as a percussionist, and he’s since played keys for them too. The ...

Casper McFadden’s breakcore fuels optimistic dreams

In a recent video interview with New York City arts and culture site Lumka, Chicago producer Casper McFadden explained that he made his new second album, Stasis (Log), while his landlord renovated his bedroom over the summe...