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Thursday, July 19, 2018

Who or what is that on the Reader’s Pitchfork cover this year? Here are your answers.

Posted By on 07.19.18 at 03:19 PM

click image The answer key for our Pitchfork contest - JASON WYATT FREDERICK
  • Jason Wyatt Frederick
  • The answer key for our Pitchfork contest

What do Rahm Emanuel, Steve Albini, and Lauryn Hill have in common?

Not much, but all three make cameo appearances on this week's cover illustration for the Reader's Pitchfork Music Festival preview. Artist Jason Wyatt Frederick depicted 31 people, places, or things to identify, including artists playing Pitchfork this weekend and a few beloved Chicago locations. Click on the image above to enlarge it—each character that isn't a false lead is marked with a number.

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Friday, July 13, 2018

Guess who’s on our cover for a chance to win passes to the 2018 Pitchfork Music Festival

Posted By on 07.13.18 at 04:00 PM

click image Something’s different about the skyline, but I can’t quite put my finger on it. - JASON WYATT FREDERICK
  • Jason Wyatt Frederick
  • Something’s different about the skyline, but I can’t quite put my finger on it.

Donald Trump is still president. America's immigration policies have become the shame of the planet. Climate change is turning our oceans into globe-spanning acid baths. We've got to suffer through several more months of ads from two billionaires running for Illinois governor. The future of the U.S. Supreme Court almost hurts too much to think about.

If you'd like to stop thinking about the impending apocalypse for a few minutes, though, may we suggest our annual Pitchfork Music Festival cover-illustration contest?

Take a look at the Jason Wyatt Frederick illustration on the cover of next week's Reader, our annual Pitchfork preview. It's a little like Where's Waldo?, except you're trying to find dozens of people (and in some cases places) without knowing in advance who or what any of them are. With a little patience and an eye for visual puns, you'll find a bunch of Chicago fixtures (well-known and obscure) and lots of Pitchfork artists—but be warned, plenty of the weird shit Jason drew is just there to distract you from the answers.

Here's the contest part: Name as many people, things, and musical acts from the cover as you can and e-mail your list (with your full name) to The person who correctly identifies the most will win a pair of three-day general-admission passes to this weekend's Pitchfork Music Festival. To get a better view, click the image above for a bigger version. (If you're on a mobile device, click this link to zoom in.)

Deadline is noon on Thursday, July 19. Those two passes are worth $350, so why not give it a shot?

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Thursday, May 24, 2018

DIY designer Joe Freshgoods takes Chicago streetwear out of town with McDonald’s partnership

Posted By on 05.24.18 at 03:30 PM

A T-shirt from Joe Freshgoods's new capsule collection in collaboration with McDonald's - COURTESY OF MCDONALD'S
  • Courtesy of McDonald's
  • A T-shirt from Joe Freshgoods's new capsule collection in collaboration with McDonald's

Joe Freshgoods is a king of authentic Chicago DIY street fashion. A cofounder of the FatTiger Workshop, Freshgoods has gone from selling his designs out of his garage in Pilsen to heading a leading streetwear brand in Chicago. 

A notable moment for the designer came in 2017, when Chicago native and longtime friend of Freshgoods Chance the Rapper accepted the Grammy for best rap performance while wearing a hoodie from Freshgoods’s “Thank you Obama” collection, which dropped on the former president’s last day in office. Although the category wasn't featured on the televised broadcast, the moment has lived on through GIFs and other popular digital formats. Freshgood’s Chicago-area partnerships with Nike, Adidas, and the Chicago Bears came around the same time.  

Now Freshgoods has another opportunity to bring streetwear and the spirit of the Chicago DIY scene to national attention. Earlier this week, the designer announced via his label’s Instagram that he will launch an exclusive capsule collection to celebrate McDonald’s collaboration with Sprite on the new exclusive Mix by Sprite Tropic Berry beverage. Starting at 2 PM on Friday, May 25, patrons at select McDonald's restaurants in Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago will have the chance to receive an item of clothing from Freshgoods's capsule collection with the purchase of any soft drink as long as supplies last. The collection will drop alongside an exclusive track and music video by multiplatinum rapper Kyle. Freshgoods says the opportunity to create the capsule collection was offered to him through a phone call, and no doubt inspired by his recent collaborations with other companies.

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Tuesday, April 3, 2018

The Millennium Park Summer Music Series announces its 2018 lineup

Posted By on 04.03.18 at 03:21 PM

Willie Colón performs in Colombia in 2011. - LUIS QUINTANA BARNEY
  • Luis Quintana Barney
  • Willie Colón performs in Colombia in 2011.

The city has announced the lineup for this year's Millennium Park Summer Music Series, which runs from June 18 till August 16 at Pritzker Pavilion. The concerts happen on Monday and Thursday evenings at 6:30, as usual, with one exception—local indie-rock faves Whitney and Ne-Hi play Sunday, August 12. The schedule consists of ten double-billed shows, a significant reduction from previous seasons—in 2017 there were 15, and before that generally around 20.


Over the past several years, the various specialized series devoted to jazz, world music, and contemporary classical have all been eliminated from the Millennium Park season, and in response the Summer Music Series has branched out from its previous reliance on indie rock and pop—though contemporary classical, once featured in the Loops & Variations series, is missing again this year.

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Monday, July 10, 2017

Guess who’s on our cover and win passes to the 2017 Pitchfork Music Festival

Posted By on 07.10.17 at 12:00 PM

  • Jason Wyatt Frederick

Donald Trump is president. Our oceans are turning into globe-spanning acid baths. Illinois is on the verge of becoming a banana republic. But perhaps you'd like to distract yourself from the impending apocalypse with our annual Pitchfork Music Festival cover-illustration contest.

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Thursday, February 9, 2017

Dissecting Sublime Frequencies with the folks behind a recent book on the label

Posted By on 02.09.17 at 04:25 PM

The 2016 Sublime Frequencies compilation Burkina Faso: Vol. 2
  • The 2016 Sublime Frequencies compilation Burkina Faso: Vol. 2

On Saturday afternoon at 2 PM, Corbett vs. Dempsey hosts a series of readings from and a panel discussion about the recent book Punk Ethnography: Artists & Scholars Listen to Sublime Frequencies (Wesleyan). Sublime Frequencies is an influential record label founded by Alan and Rick Bishop (both of Sun City Girls fame) and their friend Hisham Mayet, and since its launch in 2003 it's released a fascinating array of previously hard-to-find music from around the globe. Mayet and the Bishops collected many of the recordings released early in the label's history while on their frequent international travels—they would tape stuff from local radio stations, make field recordings of performances, and stockpile regional music found in makeshift kiosks. They often cast light on sounds from the Arab world and Asia that rarely surfaced in the West, and many collections focused on regional pop styles usually passed over by the ethnographic labels Sublime Frequencies cited as inspiration, such as Folkways and Ocora.

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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Chicago Dancing Festival is fully booked, but there are still free shows to see

Posted By on 08.23.16 at 12:03 PM

Rennie Harris Pure Movement at Chicago Dancing Festival 2014 - CHERYL MANN
  • Cheryl Mann
  • Rennie Harris Pure Movement at Chicago Dancing Festival 2014

Every summer since 2006, the Chicago Dancing Festival has tried to put dance within reach of everyone. The citywide extravaganza, on the cusp of its tenth anniversary, is billed as "the nation's largest dance fest" and remains entirely free. It's come a long way from a decade ago, when cofounders Jay Franke and Lar Lubovitch didn't know if the concept would make it past year one.

"Lar and I used to turn to each other at the end of every festival and say, 'Are we doing this again?' " says Franke. "We obviously said yes. I'm not sure where the ten years have gone."

The same could be said about this year's advance ticket reservations, most of which have been snapped up.

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Monday, November 9, 2015

Boiler Room celebrates Chicago and Detroit's electronic legacy

Posted By on 11.09.15 at 02:00 PM

The full lineup for Boiler Room's "Chicago vs. Detroit" party. - BOILER ROOM
  • Boiler Room
  • The full lineup for Boiler Room's "Chicago vs. Detroit" party.

International pop-up party Boiler Room has enlisted some of the best producers and DJs to play RSVP-only parties in intimate spaces; the performances are then broadcast around the world. If you haven't made it out to one of Boiler Room's shows just yet you can get a sneak peek of the hubbub and easily lose several hours by scrolling through archival footage of past performances from heavy hitters such as Frankie Knuckles and Teklife masters DJ Rashad, DJ Spinn, RP Boo, and Manny. Boiler Room celebrates its five-year anniversary Wednesday with five parties spanning the globe . . . but none of those gatherings are in Chicago. Fortunately our city hasn't entirely been forgotten. Tomorrow night Boiler Room launches "Chicago vs. Detroit," a small flurry of shows descending upon our city and, yes, Detroit.

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Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Owl doesn't seem bothered by the band named Cuntz

Posted By on 10.08.15 at 02:00 PM

Force the Zone by Cuntz
  • Force the Zone by Cuntz

The last time Australian band Cuntz were in town was two years ago, and when I wrote about their shows that weekend I slightly complained about their silly name, but here we are in 2015, and that moniker is getting them into a much deeper trouble now: a promoter canceled their upcoming Seattle gig because he found it offensive. Maybe it is offensive, but not enough to bum out the people who run the Owl, because the noise-rockers are all set to play a free show at the after-hours spot tonight. Cuntz are touring the states on their brand-new LP Force the Zone (Homeless Records), a record which takes the tangled, knotty, complex noise-rock from their last LP and stretches it out into a concentrated mixture gross, sludgy grime. Cuntz is a loud and heavy blast onstage, so attendance to this show is highly recommended. Locals Wad and Heavy Times open the show and aren't offended by the band's name either. Check out "Nah Man" from Force the Zone below.

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Thursday, September 10, 2015

Self-described 'outsider torch singer' Mary Ocher performs at Analogue tonight

Posted By on 09.10.15 at 12:00 PM

Mary Ocher is about to evolve into her final form. - HADAS HINKIS
  • Hadas Hinkis
  • Mary Ocher is about to evolve into her final form.

Born Mariya Ocheretianskaya in Moscow in 1986, Mary Ocher (pronounced "Oh-chur") moved to Israel with her family at age four, then to Berlin at 20. In 2011 she caught the attention of the inimitable King Khan at a karaoke bar (he also lives in Berlin), and she recorded what's still her most recent full-length of new material, 2013's Eden, at his Moon Studios.

He's not her only famous fan either: Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs contributed a quote to Ocher's press kit. "Mary Ocher gives me the chills," she says. "She frightens me with her feral soul. Her sound is of a true outsider artist, immaculately self-possessed. Was this recorded this century? Or out of a basement that's she's been imprisoned all her life?"

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