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Books

Move On Up: Chicago Soul Music and Black Cultural Power (By the Book)

In Move On Up, Aaron Cohen tells the remarkable story of the explosion of soul music in Chicago. This excerpt gives a taste of his engaging research into the rise of teenage culture and soul music's resistance against the city's infrastructural racism.

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Books

Was Vivian Maier's Work About Getting a Life or Recording Life?

Pamela Bannos has written a careful, touching, delicate biography that escorts Maier out of the shadows and into the light without risking overexposure.

Music

Vic Mensa: The Autobiography

While it may not be his most innovative offering, detailed execution and honesty make it worthwhile.

Music

The Curls - "Prickly Feelings" (audio) (premiere)

The Chicago art rock sextet returns with a quirky and sophisticated gem that's sure to give you goosebumps.

Music

Hiber - "What You Wanted" (audio) (premiere)

"What You Wanted" offers a great introduction to Hiber's indie/pop/rock sound.

Music

Common: Black America Again

Chicago veteran returns with his 11th album, a record that sees Common reinvigorated and at his most potent and inspired, marking another entry into one of the most consistent discographies in hip-hop history.

Music

The Flat Five: It's a World of Love and Hope

A collection of happy sounds for a troubled time, this record evokes the innocence of another era while acknowledging the artifice of such nostalgia.

Reviews

'Southside With You' Is Strong on National Character

The Obama Administration is a testament to rising from progressive grassroots politics to The White House, and a small scale indie is an ideal medium for the Obama family’s origin story.

Music

Out of the Ashes and Making Smashes: Welcoming Whitney

Born from the ashes of Chicago's beloved rock stalwarts Smith Westerns comes Whitney: a sly pop duo whose sharp changes in direction and sound may very well change your life.

Jon Harvey
Culture

Stage 773's Comedy Ensemble Unlikely Company Finds Their Footing in Farce

Unlikely Company’s talented ensemble finds both the humor and the melody in adult life, urging us to laugh at our own indulgent banality.

Music

Al Scorch: Circle Round the Signs

Chicago-based and smarter than most, Al Scorch gives us a record that feels genuine, touching and wise.

Music

Haroula Rose: Here the Blue River

Haroula Rose writes and sings about ways of escape on a record that doesn't offer easy answers but does give us hope.

Books

The City as Autobiography in Darryl Pinckney’s Black Deutschland

Leaping from one fragmented city to the next, Pinckney’s narrator uses history to simultaneously define and obscure himself.

Books

Defending Chicago's 'Defender'

It's possible to trace much of 20th Century America’s history through the pages of the Defender, a local paper with a national impact.

Music

Free Agent of Sound: An Interview with Rob Mazurek

The heralded avant-jazz great Rob Mazurek speaks of space operas, working through grief with music, and, of course, the singularity.

Music

Oozing Wound: Earth Suck

Oozing Wound are bigger and badder on their sophomore effort, Earth Suck, which definitely has a spot among the best metal of 2014.

Music

Chicago: Now (Chicago XXXVI)

Now (Chicago XXXVI) will likely make moms across the land swoon, and that’s pretty much all you can ask from Chicago by this point.

Music

Hannibal Buress: Live From Chicago

In what should have been a breakout album, Live From Chicago feels like a master storyteller retell jokes you've already heard.

Music

Owls: Two

Two is certainly a good album, and it’s absolutely the one Owls wanted to make. It’s just not always a record I want to listen to.

Books

Modernity, Rising: 'Lifted: A Cultural History of the Elevator'

Lifted is an absorbing exploration into how the introduction of elevators into buildings transformed cities and the experience of living and working in them.

Music

Ranking the Performances: The 56th Annual Grammy Awards

Was music’s biggest night worth staying up all night for? Read on to find out.

Music

Krewella: Get Wet

EDM trio's debut album proves to be enjoyable, lacks in innovative spirit.

Music

The Wild Finish: The Jacket

The Jacket is a stellar sampler of 21st century Americana punk, promising big things for the Wild Finish’s future.

Reviews

A Hardboiled Look at Chicago Politics: 'Boss: Season 2'

The second season of Boss delves further into the twisted power relations among a cast of larger-than-life characters.

Books

Chicago -- The Other Black Renaissance

The biggest difference between the Black Chicago Renaissance and the Harlem Renaissance is brand awareness. The fact is, from roughly the early ‘30s to the ‘50s, Chicago was black America’s most fruitful cultural capitol.

Books

Reflections on the Massive, Muscular City of Chicago: 'You Were Never in Chicago'

Steinberg’s greatest gift is his ability to build Chicago in our imaginations as a city that has grown from the efforts of people willing to make it their home, sometimes against unbelievable odds.

Books

Facts Don't Always Tell the Story Right: 'I Feel So Good: The Life and Times of Big Bill Broonzy'

This is a mostly chronological affair that aims to uncover the details of Big Bill’s rise from the fields of Arkansas and, more importantly, to separate fact from fiction, which is no simple undertaking.

Music

BBU: bell hooks

Chicago's BBU prove they're far more than one-hit wonders with a breakout mixtape.

Reviews

Taking It All In: The Pitchfork Music Festival 2012 (Sunday)

The final day of Pitchfork brings a barrage of guitar bands, a tight race between coasts east and west and a feel-good farewell from the boys in Vampire Weekend.

Reviews

Taking It All In: The Pitchfork Music Festival 2012 (Saturday)

Day two at Pitchfork 2012 was heavy of hip-hop and electronic acts but light on headliners able to carry major music festival.

Reviews

Taking It All In: The Pitchfork Music Festival 2012 (Friday)

The first day of Pitchfork delivered a broad sampling of genres from art rock to hip-hop and was capped by a surprisingly muscular set from Feist.

Music

Celebrating Paul McCartney’s 70th Birthday With His Most Influential Songs

Taking a look at the Paul McCartney songs that have changed music history.

Reviews

True Grit: 'Tom Palazzolo's Chicago'

Tom Palazzolo uses his camera to capture the stories of Chicago not shown in glossy postcards.

Music

The Right Now: Gets Over You

The Right Now are having their own kind of revival right now and emerging as the first true successor of Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings.

Music

Jenny Gillespie: Belita EP

Chicago singer-songwriter strips the electronics from her folk-pop to emphasize instrumental intricacy and nature-fixated lyrics. This new clarity highlights both strengths and weaknesses.

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