The Bleader | Blog + Reader + Music

Music

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Saba confronted grief and found joy in his Pitchfork set

Posted By on 07.21.18 at 11:18 AM

Saba performs on Pitchfork’s Red Stage on Friday afternoon. - TIM NAGLE
  • Tim Nagle
  • Saba performs on Pitchfork’s Red Stage on Friday afternoon.

Saba
is one of Chicago's best current musical exports. He's spent most of April and May touring the U.S. and Canada in support of the alternately scalding and beautiful Care for Me, and his late-afternoon Red Stage set on Friday at Pitchfork was his first hometown show of the year. The emotional epicenter of that self-released album, which came out in April, is "Prom/King," a vivid, even-handed recounting of the 24-year-old rapper's friendship with his murdered cousin, Walter Long Jr. They didn't always get along growing up, as Saba acknowledges in the song, but their friendship crystalized after Long offered to find his cousin a prom date. In 2012 they helped found west-side rap collective Pivot Gang, and Long took on the name John Walt for his music. It seemed like everywhere Saba went, Walt was by his side. They weren't just family who made music together—they'd become best friends.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Friday, July 20, 2018

The Pitchfork Music Festival and more of the best things to do in Chicago this weekend

Posted By on 07.20.18 at 06:00 AM

How many of this year's Pitchfork acts can you identify in this illustration? - JASON WYATT FREDERICK
  • JASON WYATT FREDERICK
  • How many of this year's Pitchfork acts can you identify in this illustration?

There are plenty of shows, films, and concerts happening this weekend. Here's some of what we recommend.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , ,

Chance the Rapper owns Chicagoist—now what?

Posted By on 07.19.18 at 01:11 PM

Honestly, if you live here, you should know who this is by now. - JACK PLUNKETT / AP
  • Jack Plunkett / AP
  • Honestly, if you live here, you should know who this is by now.

A young black Chicago philanthropist has purchased a dormant local news site. But because that philanthropist is Chance the Rapper, and because he made the announcement in "I Might Need Security" (the best of the four new songs he dropped last night), the good news comes with an asterisk. What good news doesn't?

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Chicago soul singer Christian JaLon wants you to know what love means to her

Posted By on 07.19.18 at 11:45 AM

Christian JaLon - MATT HARVEY
  • Matt Harvey
  • Christian JaLon

Growing up in the church is a common backstory for black R&B and soul musicians. The choir director is often their first vocal coach, and "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands" is often the one of the first songs they learn, second only to the ABCs. For Chicago soul artist Christian JaLon, the church is a house of worship, a springboard into musicianship, and something greater than both—it's the home of love.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Hitting the road on the gig poster of the week

Posted By on 07.18.18 at 06:00 AM

unnamed.jpg

ARTIST: John Garrison
SHOWS: Kali Masi's summer tour, which kicks off at Cobra Lounge on Thu 8/23 with Turnspit, City Mouth, and Super Neutral
MORE INFO: johngarrisonart.com

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Sixties garage rockers the Riptides won their only studio session at a talent show

Posted By on 07.17.18 at 06:00 AM


Since 2004 Plastic Crimewave (aka Steve Krakow) has used the Secret History of Chicago Music to shine a light on worthy artists with Chicago ties who've been forgotten, underrated, or never noticed in the first place. Older strips are archived here.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Monday, July 16, 2018

Pirates of Penzance and more of the best things to do in Chicago this week

Posted By on 07.16.18 at 06:00 AM

Saltbox Theatre Collective's Pirates of Penzance, at Stage 773 - RACHAEL NUCKLES
  • RACHAEL NUCKLES
  • Saltbox Theatre Collective's Pirates of Penzance, at Stage 773

There are plenty of shows, films, and concerts happening this weekend. Here's some of what we recommend:

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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 pitchfork@chicagoreader.com. 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?

Tags: , , , , , ,

iLLANOiZE Let's Get Social music showcase gives a platform to Chicago's rising hip-hop stars

Posted By on 07.13.18 at 03:33 PM

The upcoming Let's Get Social showcase will feature some of Chicago music's rising stars. - COURTESY ILLANOIZE
  • Courtesy iLLANOiZE
  • The upcoming Let's Get Social showcase will feature some of Chicago music's rising stars.

Chicago based hip-hop media company iLLANOiZE is hosting the third installment of its Let's Get Social event series, a music showcase featuring rising hip-hop and R&B artists from across Chicagoland. The Let's Get Social series is the brainchild of hip-hop artist Bekoe, the founder of iLLANOiZE. Bekoe launched iLLANOiZE in 2012 with the clothing line iLLANOiZE Apparel, a brand inspired by the meteoric rise of the Chicago hip-hop scene.

"During that time Chicago was the center of hip-hop culture," says Bekoe. "Even so, there still was a lot of really good artists being overlooked."

That’s where iLLANOiZE came in. Bekoe expanded iLLANOiZE into a digital media company, conducting interviews and providing release news that covered artists from around the city. Alongside cohosts Pretty Riot and Illinois Jones, he now broadcasts on iLLANOiZE Radio, a channel dedicated to the promotion of the artists that he’s been championing. For Bekoe, the only thing that matters is the music.

"I understood that as an artist myself," Bekoe continues. "There was so much politics that went into who was on the radio and who wasn't; who got to book venues, and who didn’t; who got to play shows and who didn’t."

It was with this in mind that Bekoe began the Let's Get Social music showcase. He uses the social media engagement of the Chicago hip-hop audience to determine the lineup for each event. The iLLANOiZE Radio team takes into account how often and how effectively each artist communicates with his or her fan base, then they share their music via iLLANOiZE social media pages and gauge the response from their own audience. "Social media can sometimes be superficial but it can also show you who’s putting in the [groundwork] to get themselves heard," says Bekoe. Ultimately, though, it is the quality of the music that trumps all. That distinction was especially important to Law tha Dragon who, along with Mika Luciano, is slated to perform at the showcase as The Wonder Twins.

The Wonder Twins, Mika Luciano (left) and Law Tha Dragon - COURTESY LAW THA DRAGON
  • Courtesy Law Tha Dragon
  • The Wonder Twins, Mika Luciano (left) and Law Tha Dragon

"We see it all the time, where these mainstream media outlets and venues will pay more attention to the image artists maintain, rather than the music," Law says. "Mika and I stand out for [plenty of] reasons but the most important thing to us is that we can both rap."

But social media plays an important role in propelling an artist's career. For R&B artist LaJé, who is currently preparing for the release of her upcoming mixtape and pushing her single "Lemonade," mastering the use of social media has become a career skill in and of itself.

"I basically had to teach myself how to use it to my advantage," she says. "Using things like Twitter analytics, I'm able to determine the peak times to make posts in order to maximize engagements, and what types of posts are getting the most acknowledgement."

Through giving artists the platform of iLLANOiZE radio and their various showcases, Bekoe wants to see the Chicago hip-hop scene become even more fruitful than it was when he started his company. The artists appreciate his work.

East Rogers Park rapper OG Stevo is also slated to perform at Let's Get Social - COURTESY OG STEVO
  • Courtesy OG Stevo
  • East Rogers Park rapper OG Stevo is also slated to perform at Let's Get Social

"I want everything we're doing in the music business send the message that this is possible to do, even while we're young," says 18-year-old producer turned rapper Rick Stevenson. "People like Bekoe giving us this platform is necessary in being able to do that."

Stevenson is also scheduled to perform at the upcoming showcase and was recently featured as a guest on iLLANOiZE Radio discussing his art.

Bekoe has made it a point to stress the uniqueness of his angle in hip-hop media to the artists that he hopes to share his platform with.

"I want them to know that, as an artist, I've been in their shoes. I still am."

iLLANOiZE presents Let’s Get Social showcase Sat 7/14, 8-11 PM, AMFM art gallery, 2151 W. 21st, 312-971-7502, $15 at the door.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Agenda Teaser

Performing Arts
Guards at the Taj Steppenwolf Theatre
June 13

Tabbed Event Search

The Bleader Archive

Popular Stories