Irresistibly absurd music zine Roctober returns after a six-year hiatus | Gossip Wolf | Chicago Reader

Irresistibly absurd music zine Roctober returns after a six-year hiatus 

Plus: Rootsy rock collective Contorno drop their first album, and dream-pop trio Star release their second.

click to enlarge Issue 52 of Roctober publishes as a free PDF on Halloween. - COURTESY JAKE AUSTEN
  • Issue 52 of Roctober publishes as a free PDF on Halloween.
  • Courtesy Jake Austen

Last week Chicago music and TV historian, Chic-a-Go-Go cofounder, and Reader contributor Jake Austen announced that he's rebooting his long-running zine Roctober—launched in 1992—after a six-year hiatus! Roctober covers music, comics, and whatever else Austen feels like, and he says it'll come out once a year going forward. The 52nd issue drops on Halloween as a free PDF, and Austen is raising funds for a print run through Indiegogo. "You will read about the Shaggs, Perry Como, Samhain, Ozone (70s/80s spin-off of Max's Kansas City pop-punk band the Fast), Holle Thee Maxwell, Blondie, 70s pub-punk band the Destroyers, and Jobriath meets Maude," he says. To preorder the print issue, donate $10 to the Indiegogo campaign; other perks include an "ultimate back issue bundle" for $100, which is a great way to build your Roctober archive.

Rootsy Chicago rock collective Contorno, led by songwriter John Gargiulo, debuted in 2015 with "Bottle to the Blue," a single about a sad-ass night rolling solo to the Empty Bottle. (Its artwork is a misty photo of the Golden Nugget at Western and Diversey.) Last week Contorno dropped their first album, Won't Be Gone, whose expansive ripper "Cicero" arcs from balladic mandolin and ambient noise into a ripping Crazy Horse rave-up. Gargiulo surrounds himself with savory contributions from the likes of producer Robbie Hamilton, bassist Lee Ketch, and backup vocalists Angela James and Janet Bean.

Local trio Star craft hazy, intimate dream pop, and singer Shannon Roberts, multi-instrumentalist Theodore Beck, and guitarist Scott Cortez (also of shoegaze linchpins Loveliescrushing and Astrobrite) have been demonstrating on local stages since their excellent 2016 debut album, Devastator. The band recently dropped two sumptuous new tracks from their long-awaited sophomore LP, Violence Against Star, which arrives Friday, October 23, via Aussie label Half a Cow. Gossip Wolf is especially taken with the echo-laden "Last Star," which features Roberts's soaring vocals above a humming blur of smeared guitars.  v

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