Chris Connelly and Jessica Gallo release a tribute single for late drummer Bill Rieflin | Gossip Wolf | Chicago Reader

Chris Connelly and Jessica Gallo release a tribute single for late drummer Bill Rieflin 

Plus: new rap projects from activist Mohawk Johnson and experimental duo Angry Blackmen

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click to enlarge Chris Connelly and Jessica Gallo - PHOTOS BY JOLENE SIANA AND JENNY JAMES
  • Chris Connelly and Jessica Gallo
  • Photos by Jolene Siana and Jenny James

Drummer Bill Rieflin lived in Seattle, but he made an indelible mark on Chicago industrial music as a founder of Pigface and longtime member of Ministry and Revolting Cocks. (He'd go on to play with many other notable bands, including King Crimson, Swans, and R.E.M.) Rieflin died in March after a long battle with cancer, and on September 30—which would've been his 60th birthday—his friend and collaborator Chris Connelly released a tribute single, "Prayer," with harpist and certified music practitioner Jessica Gallo. Based on an instrumental from Connnelly and Rieflin's 2000 album Largo, its otherworldly ambience melds Connelly's lovely, wavering vocal melodies and Gallo's sparse clusters of twinkling notes. Proceeds from the single benefit the Floyd & Delores Jones Cancer Institute at the Virginia Mason Foundation, where Rieflin received care—and where Gallo played for him as a CMP.

Chicago rapper and activist Mohawk Johnson has been under house arrest for months—he was arrested at the Loop protests August 15, and this month the state's attorney's office indicted him on felony battery charges for allegedly hitting a cop. His next court date is Wednesday, October 14, and he's set up a Linktree that includes ways to support him—such as streaming or buying his intense, incisive new album, Fire-Type. Johnson flits between vulnerable humor and triumphant gravitas, and his ironclad verses stand tall against his blustery instrumentals. Details at linktr.ee/FreeMohawk.

Early this month, Chicago rap duo Angry Blackmen released the album Headshots! via Los Angeles indie Deathbomb Arc. It fits right in with the label's many other noisy hybrids of pop and experimental music: on "Dance!," for instance, Brian Warren and Quentin Branch trade staccato verses atop a low hum that sounds like a slowed-down siren.  v

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