Midnight Dice issue a passport to hesher heaven | Gossip Wolf | Chicago Reader

Midnight Dice issue a passport to hesher heaven 

Plus: Dependable indie-pop five-piece Varsity release album number three, and Avondale record shop No Requests throws in the towel.

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click to enlarge Midnight Dice are four-fifths of the defunct Satan's Hallow. - CHAD LARSEN
  • Midnight Dice are four-fifths of the defunct Satan's Hallow.
  • Chad Larsen

Gossip Wolf somehow failed to cover local trad-metal masterminds Satan's Hallow before they went on hiatus in 2017, but thankfully four of that band's five members kept going as Midnight Dice. If you enjoy banging your head till it falls off, cutting the sleeves off denim jackets, and making out with a hottie while blasting Dokken, then you'll dig Midnight Dice's new five-song EP, Hypnotized. This wolf especially loves the delightfully punishing "Starblind," with Mandy Martillo's lacerating vocals and a ripping solo from guitarist Steve "Lethal" Beaudette. Hypnotized should be out on CD, vinyl, and cassette this fall, but you can buy a Bandcamp download now if you don't want to wait for an epic blast of adrenaline!

Since Gossip Wolf first wrote about Chicago indie-pop veterans Varsity in 2015, they've become one of the city's most consistently excellent bands, balancing clever hooks, airily diverse arrangements, and the trenchant, insightful lyrics of singer and keyboardist Stef Smith. On Friday, May 29, Varsity dropped their third full-length, Fine Forever, via Boston label Run for Cover, and it's as wide and open as a long drive through a midwestern summer afternoon. Standouts include the divinely sprawling "The Memphis Group," about a crew of entitled jerks who collect nice furniture, and the crisp, effervescent "Reason to Run," which features superlative jangle from guitarists Dylan Weschler and Patrick Stanton. A multicolored vinyl version is available via Varsity's Bandcamp.

Avondale record shop No Requests, which opened in February 2019, will close at the end of June—co-owners David Beltran and Diana Bowden, who also run the FeelTrip label, say they can't justify renewing their lease during the pandemic. The shop is open by appointment till June 28 (reserve a time on the FeelTrip site), and curbside pickup is still available. Beltran and Bowden will keep selling music online, even without a physical store.  v

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