May Your Fave Be Unproblematic

“I’m so sorry, but this is a Famous Dex fan account now,” I tweeted, an hour before r&b artist Tish Hyman posted a surveillance video of the Chicago rapper chasing a woman down a hallway and beating her (video is disturbing; please exercise caution before viewing).

Before the footage was released, Dex was one of the South Side’s fastest rising stars, aided by an alignment with Atlanta’s Rich the Kid and an ability to release new material at a lightning pace. In a city captivated by angelic backpackers, scrawny Dex stood out as deeply weird with facial tattoos, bright red hair, and an off-kilter delivery that fit right in with the rest of the new crop of emerging “mumble rappers.”

I became a vocal fan after listening to Kanye off May’s OhhMannGoddDamm mixtape. I couldn’t stop replaying or talking about the compact and catchy track that captures everything I love about being young, successful, and killing it in Chicago. “All this money on me, all this designer on me, baby, call me Kanye,” Dex urges in a radio-ready hook as samples of ohhmanngodddamm echo behind him.

Dexter’s third mixtape of 2016, Dexter the Robot, was available for download for less than 24 hours when Hyman’s footage became public. The Puma x Pink Dolphin collection he recently modeled hasn’t even hit stores yet. Though it’s hard to say for certain in a world where a Chris Brown hook on your song isn’t enough to keep it off the Hot 100, common sentiment seems to be that his extremely short and fertile career has been cut off at the bud.

I’ve written before on how to evaluate the careers of artists who were abusive to those around them during their lifetimes. All of the examples I used had the luxury of a degree of academic distance for me. The perpetrators were dead, or so deeply sus I never engaged with their work on a deep level; rumors about Woody Allen and R. Kelly have been around forever.

I’ve recently had to wrestle with quandries much more unexpected and closer to home, however. Freddie Gibbs’ track Harold’s, a Madlib-composed ode to Chicago’s iconic fried chicken, fries, and mild sauce, was already a part of my heart when I heard he was battling charges of drugging and sexually assaulting a victim while on tour in Austria.

Kodak Black created one of my all time favorite love songs, a uncharacteristically sweet track called Honeybun off the mixtape Heart of the Projects. The Florida rapper probably has as many mug shots as he does press photos; I wasn’t any stranger to seeing him booked for drug and weapons charges, or hearing colorist or otherwise problematic statements in his lyrics. When he caught felony charges for allegedly sexually assaulting a victim in a South Carolina hotel room after a show, I was given pause. Should I have seen this coming? Should I already have disowned his music? Where do you draw the line?

Some people draw the line uncomfortably far; it’s not difficult to find rambling Snapchat diatribes and earnest tweets from Team Breezy pleading for folks to, yet again, disregard Chris Brown’s abusive behavior. If you draw the line all the way at the other end – throwing any music with sexist, racist, or otherwise oppressive content in the dustbin – you’re ruling out the vast majority of rap, which I’m not willing to do.

The question of when it’s appropriate to stop supporting an abuser is hardly limited to the sphere of hip-hop, however. I spent this last weekend at Riot Fest, a three day exercise in punk rock nostalgia. I was surprised to see a woman wearing a Swans shirt and tried to put myself in her shoes. How would I feel if I had that in my closet when Larkin Grimm came forward to accuse her collaborator and abuser, Michael Gira of Swans, of a long campaign of sexual harassment that culminated in raping her and dropping her from his label? I personally couldn’t see myself wearing the t-shirt anymore. Not to a music festival.

Part of the danger of supporting the new and the novel is that you don’t necessarily know what you’re getting yourself into. Hell, it’s part of the danger of supporting anyone at all. It’s impossible to know someone’s entire history, or predict their future actions. I refuse to stop vocally supporting artists, both emerging and established, because it may turn out that they’re mortal, with all the attendant messiness and pain that goes along with being part of the human race. At the same time, how we respond when allegations come to light says so much about how we feel about justice for victims, acceptance of a societal status quo, and whether we feel fame and adulation are unconditionally granted or earned.

Do we treat a case like Kodak Black’s assault, where our only information about an incident is filtered through a racist police state, differently than when unmistakable evidence is put into our hands through social media? Why do I feel ok listening to Gucci Mane, who almost certainly killed at least one person? Is Famous Dex’s career really over?

I’m not sure there are any absolute answers in situations like these. All I know is that Kanye, Harold’s, and Honeybun are incredible works of art, ones that I won’t ever be able to divorce of association with their authors. When I think of the playlist that I want to soundtrack my life, they’re not on it.

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Exclusive: Clearance Public House Sessions

clearance.jpegLofi locals Clearance have more of their patented poppy alt rock coming out on our favorite record label run by a man who might actually be Bigfoot. To celebrate the Are You Aware 7″, which you can totally buy from Tall Pat Records right now, we’re premiering live sessions of three songs recorded in the Public House studio, including the A-side for the 7″ and two other songs (including a Soft Boys cover, “The Queen of Eyes.”)

View the full post to watch the three videos, and don’t forget to pick that 7″ up next time you’re seeing a show at Bric-a-Brac.

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Glamour Hotline’s Calling with a New Ep

Photo by Kyle Goldberg

I recently had the opportunity to sit down and talk to one of my favorite Chicago bands over spaghetti and garlic bread. Listen to their new EP on Bandcamp (or Spotify!) and read the piece for Bandcamp Daily.

I’ve always been partial to their fuzzy sassy grrl power musical vibes, but I really enjoyed the chance to delve into music business and branding strategy with the trio. If you’re in a band and you want inspo on collborating on an aesthetic identity, you’d be well served to check the interview out!

Glam Hot’s got two upcoming shows on the recently updated Store Brand Soda guide to all your DIY / indie pop / weirdo rock / punk af needs:

Gula Gila, Not For You, Ze’ev, Glamour Hotline
Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood
Sat, August 6 / 8pm / $5 / respect the space / ask a punk

Glamour Hotline, When Ships Collide, Roach Beach, Beachoven
Emporium Arcade Bar, 1366 N Milwaukee Ave
Tue, August 9 / 8pm / 21+ / free

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Two Years of Running the Best Music Blog in Chicago: Lil Yachty & Pink Skateboards

About a year ago, my life was turned upside down when the snowball of press & social media attention around my article about harassment in punk culminated in an editorial pick for Best New Music Blogger in The Chicago Reader (#savethereader). I was presented with a new opportunities, some which worked out, some which didn’t. The biggest one was joining the Do312 team. Every time I tell someone the story about how I ran a music blog and show calendar and ended up doing the social media for an event discovery/promotion outfit that throws parties with sloths and bouncy houses, they’re like, “That makes sense.”

At the same time, it’s hard to come home from 9 hours of working on promoting local music for money and sit down to do 4 more hours for free. I’ve shifted from being a music journalist to a copywriter. I spend more time in Facebook Power Editor than green rooms. I’m not drinking right now, and rock and roll is deeply exhausting to me sober. I mostly just go to rap shows where half the attendees have X’s on their hands and impeccable teen streetwear outfits that dunk on my entire life.


I was shocked recently to find out that Store Brand Soda had won the popular vote for Best Local Music blog in the Reader’s new Best of Chicago issue. Like, Fake Shore Drive is an INSTITUTION.

I’m grateful to my coeditor Emily and our Dead DIY Spaces columnist Eric for keeping this lil punk rock music fanzine alive. I’m touched that people still care; that people stepped in to help fill in our calendar when we got overwhelmed (thank you especially to Eileen Marshall, who recently started writing some incredibly touching essays about her relationship with music and the world). That people wrote in our name to nominate us, then selected us in the final round of voting. That’s huge, and if I’m gonna be real, it gives me the power to keep going.

I don’t know if I’m going to keep writing about music in the same way I always have. But I know I’m not going to stop.

If you miss me talking about noisy rock and garage, I recommend you read this feature I recently published on the paranoid synth punk of Giorgio Murderer over on the new Bandcamp Daily. For now, here’s two music related things I’ve been digging lately.

Lil Yachty – Lil Boat


My endless Twitter thread about Lil Yachty is a running joke on Twitter that’s gotten more people into this deeply weird mixtape than I can count. “Darnell Boat,” the narrator of the tape’s intro track & interludes, introduces us to the bifurcated personalities of the eighteen year old rapper & singer Miles Parks McCollum.

Lil Boat’s Southern rap flow is boastful and confident, and not without accolades – Chano himself gave him the nod for best feature on Coloring Book, which also featured verses from, you know, Kanye West and Future, who have a few years on the King of the Teenagers.

Darnell describes the little Lil Yachty persona as “a little bit nicer” and “a little more emotional,” with an angelic sing song that tackles the album’s more vulnerable and intimate lyrics. The wavers and warbles in his voice are the cracks in the Liberty Bell; they’re warped rather than polished by Auto Tune and lend an eerie sincerity to the overarching message of positivity and the belief in serendipity.

My friend Tom floated the idea on Twitter that “Lil Boat and Coloring Book are viable treatments for depression and that doctors should study their effects on the human psyche.” When I’m singing along with “We Did It (Outro) *Positivity Song*” every morning while doing my eyeliner, I can’t help but agree.

Club 75 x Vans sneaker collaboration

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I spent 2008 obsessed with Bertrand de Langeron, the art director of Ed Banger Records. He was always there, open shirt and French accent, sleazing in the background of tour photographs from Justice’s whirlwind superstardom in the wake of their single D.A.N.C.E. (he directed the iconic video and their escandaloso documentary) and in Cobra Snake photos of fucking Fool’s Gold parties or whatever. I’ve always loved his palette of bright primary colors and fleshy pinks, endless handlettering finesse, and his ability to elevate a cartoony style that bubbled out of club flyers into a cohesive identity across a record label, web publication, and fashion label.

And now: sneakers! I love this throwback to those all-over print hoodies littered with tiny drawings, this time a souvenir print for an idyllic imaginary French seaside. I’m also digging the “Locals Only” embroidery on the Era iteration.

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Locals Done Good: Dumpster Tapes & Chicago Singles Club Celebrate Landmarks

I couldn’t be prouder of our homegrown scene here in Chicago. Despite major setbacks in the past year (the shuttering of YC & WW not insignificant among them) our creative community keeps evolving and mutating and oozing our sweat and Schlitz all over the midwest if not the world.

Two local outfits especially caught my eye this month; our buddies at cassette-smuggling ring Dumpster Tapes, and Chicago Singles Club, which puts together monthly profiles on local bands complete with slick photos, an exclusive song, a video interview and….lots of Malört.


Dumpster Tapes has recently put out some pretty sick tapes from the likes of Jollys, Dumpster Babies (no relation), Cass Cwik and more. They’re putting out their second compilation full of local rippers with no repeats from the first tape. You can (and should) stream it here, but if you’re REALLY cool you’ll hand Alex or Ed a cool fiver at the show and get your own monument in magnetic tape.

Dumpster Tapes Release Party
Crosstown, Skip Church, Pink Torpedo, Easy Habits
Cole’s Bar, 2338 N Milwaukee Ave
Sat, April 30, 9pm / 21+ / free


After three solid years of putting out an immense amount of slick, polished, and perfectly home produced media each month, Chicago Singles Club has to take a step back from their relentless monthly schedule. Dude, who can blame them. You’ll continue seeing the CSC team (Jeff, Kerri, Kevin, Iris, and Kelsie as pictured above, plus former crew Ron, Cassie, and Jordan) at Cole’s Bar every fourth Friday.

If you miss them the rest of the month, there’s always the thirty-six singles and interviews from disparate and innovative Chicago bands over at to keep you company.

Chicago Singles Club Finale
Grandkids, Oshwa, The Gold Web, The Runnies
The Empty Bottle, 1035 N Western Ave
Mon, May 2, 9pm / 21+ / free

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Show Horoscope: March & April 2016

Your favorite beer-soaked mystic fires up the lava lamp and a jammer and looks deep into the future to make some killer predictions on what shows you want to see. This go-round we’ve got two months of shows for DIY show rats, noise freaks, tender youths, & daydream believers.

Let’s Fucking Party This Weekend, Dude

If you have it, crush it up and rail it hard this week because it’s an unstoppable vortex of cool shit to leave your house for. Let’s make bad decisions, overdraw our bank accounts, find six-packs in the street and lose our innocence in alleyways. What Would Mean Jeans Do.

Faux Ferocious, Basement Family, Power Haunts
Over on my public liability of a Twitter account, I’ve been participating in journalist Gary Suarez‘s #mwe. I’m planning to include all 29 mini-reviews in an article soon, but here’s a sneak preview. I first saw these guys playing a tiny record store and immediately knew they were the band for me. They generally play everywhere when they’re in town because they’re the most down-to-rock out bluesy psych punks of the century.
The Empty Bottle, 1035 N Western Ave
Thu, March 3, 9pm / $5 / 21+

Flesh Panthers, Honduras, Faux Ferocious (DJ Set)
What did we say about down to party? AFTER the Bottle show, roll through Wally’s hallowed halls for a witching hour rock and roll insomniac freakshow with Flesh Panthers (have you bought their LP on Tall Pat Records yet?)
Wally World
Thu, March 3, Midnight / $5 / 21+ / byob or cheap bar

Poison Boys, American Breakfast, The Glyders
I personally want to die on Friday every time I party on a Thursday, and Cole’s can get real het up on a Friday night, but I caught Poison Boys unapologetically stumbling in studs at a northside DIY spot & immediately fell in love with their glammy, nasty leather pants punk.
Cole’s Bar, 2338 N Milwaukee Ave
Fri, March 4, 10pm / free / 21+

Coneheads, The Bug, Bruised, Tigress, Dagger
Oh my god. You want me to leave the house AGAIN? I woke up covered in blood last night. I’m running on roller dogs from 7-11, generic caffeine pills from CVS, and Coco Cafe. Let me die in peace.
Except Coneheads rule, so…
Weenie Hut Jr’s
Sat, March 5, 7pm / Benefit for ABC & Oso Blanco / $5-7 Donation PWYC / QTIPOC to the front!


Photo of La Luz by Kris Alan Carter.

Sunshine & Lollipops

“Twee” doesn’t do you justice; you radiate kindness and creativity with every tremor of an eyelash. You have a crush on Audrey Tautou and Enid Coleslaw. Your summer plans include laying in a kiddie pool in that Bulls bodysuit from F21 and feeling yourself while fuzzy garage pop tapes play on your pastel boombox.

Your power crystals this month are citrine, rose quartz, and pink lemonade weed popsicles.

LA Witch, Sugar Candy Mountain
LA Witch’s fuzzed out surf pop is maudlin & melodic, with wry and wary vocals, a warning issued over crashing waves of reverb. It’s good for sunny morning nudity in bed over cigarettes and coffee, and should be filed next to the Froth and La Luz in your record collection.
The Empty Bottle, 1035 N Western Ave
Tue, March 8, 9pm / $5 / 21+

Heaters, Shah Jahan
You like 60s psych garage? Cool. You’re gonna like this show.
The Empty Bottle, 1035 N Western Ave
Wed, March 9, 9pm / $10 / 21+

Space Blood, Daymaker, Pussy Foot
Daymaker’s sound ranges from the fuzz of dream pop to the broken glass of experimental poetry.
The Empty Bottle, 1035 N Western Ave
Fri, March 25, 9pm / $5 / 21+

Dressy Bessy, Mope Grooves, The Injured Parties
I’m like 99% sure that hearing “If You Should Try to Kiss Her” turned me gay. Thank you, Dressy Bessy.
The Empty Bottle, 1035 N Western Ave
Fri, March 11, 9pm / $12 ($10 adv) / 21+

Tacocat, Lisa Prank, Swimsuit Addition
We love Tacocat’s cynical, sassy, & sweet homages to everyday bummers, and the members/DNA they share with fellow Seattle band Childbirth. Also, Swimsuit Addition fucking rules and if they’re reading this, I owe you guys one. You know why.
The Empty Bottle, 1035 N Western Ave
Fri, April 8, 9pm / $10 / 21+

La Luz, Sick Sad World
Sick surf riffs and the rising, foamy swell and recess of lovely harmonies; La Luz is a beachside daydream.
Subterranean, West North Avenue
Sun, March 20, 9pm / $12 / 17+


Photo of La Luz by Kris Alan Carter.

For the Rare Heads

You like noise and psych and synths and experimental music. You’ve been to at least 3 shows where someone rolls around in basement filth while a rat king of guitar pedals slowly performs mind control on a crowd dressed in black hoodies, all headbanging in extremely slow motion.

This month you are in danger of falling prey to outside bummer influences. Carry a black crystal such as tourmaline, onyx, or black obsidian either on a necklace or in your pocket. Walk in a long circle around your home sprinkling salt. Take extra time to lay in bed eating pudding cups [editor’s note: substitute whatever food you enjoy as much as Cupcake enjoys pudding cups]. If allergies allow, hug as many dogs as possible.

Potions, King Tuts Tomb, Chicago Jim, Organsm
I saw new wave graveyard freakout King Tuts Tomb in the glass block bubble of Wally World, shaking dusty bones out of closets with post-punk synths. Catch them at the tenth birthday party for Pretty All Right Records.
The Empty Bottle, 1035 N Western Ave
Sun, March 20, 9pm / $5 / 21+

Acid Mothers Temple, Mounds, Plastic Crimewave Syndicate
The ultimate trip. Very heavy indeed. The kind of music that makes you feel weird, physical, phantom sensations in your body.
The Empty Bottle, 1035 N Western Ave
Tue, March 29, 9pm / $12 / 21+

Levitation Chicago
The Chicago outpost of The Fest Formerly Known as Austin Psych Fest takes over Thalia for two days straight.
Thalia Hall, 1807 S Allport S
Fri, March 11 – Sat, March 12 / $40 GA / $300 Opera Box


Store Brand Soda is For the Children

As always, I rounded up my personal picks for shows that allow those below drinking age that didn’t fit in any other area. These are not the only cool all ages shows happening; for that, you gotta check out our full calendar.

For our younger readers, we recommend journaling, forgiving yourself, and the novel The Miseducation of Cameron Post.

Ok, so I am obviously biased because I work for Do312, but this party we’re throwing with experimental creative studio VAM and 4 different DIY houses (YC, Dojo, Dollhouse, & Echo) is going to be LIT. Check out this line-up: Glass Lux, Daryn Alexus, DJ Taye(TEKLIFE), Sirr Tmo (TEKLIFE), Acid Daddy (Jarvi), Daymaker, WITCH HAZEL, The Gnar Wave Rangers, WINGTIPS, Soddy Daisy, Owen Bones. It’s free, it’s 18 and up, the whole space will be filled with exotic art and performances, & the first 100 people get secret presents. Come.
Wesley Kimler Studio, 2046 W Carroll Ave
Sat, March 12, 9pm / RSVP here for free entry / 18+

Los Crudos, MK-Ultra, Spine, Mace
Chicago hardcore legends resurrected.
Beat Kitchen, 2100 W Belmont Ave
Sat, March 26, 6:00pm / AA / $10 adv / $12 door

Ra Ra Riot, PWR BTTM, The Kids
Here’s what we said about PWR BTTM in our 5 QUEER ALBUMS I LOVED IN 2015 article:

PWR BTTM’s drum-and-bass driven Ugly Cherries is less of an album and more of a way of a direct beam into the brains of those gifted with being fluidly genderqueer and floridly queer: you’re not alone. Here are your people. The lyrics beckon in: “We can do our make up in the parking lot…we can drink our beer out of a sippy cup, we can go to Disney Land and fuck shit up.” Once you’re in the slumber party of longing, sex, love, you’re covered in glitter and you’ll never be alone again.

Lincoln Hall, 2424 N Lincoln Ave
Fri, April 8, 9pm / $25 / 18+

All Dogs, Split Feet, Blizzard Babies
Some hella buds. Bought my tix already.
Subterranean, 2011 W North Ave
Sat, April 9, 6:30pm / $10 / AA

Painted Zeros, Izzy True, New Drugs, Hard Femme
Don Giovanni dream pop.
Subterranean, 2011 W North Ave
Tue, April 5, 6:30pm / $8 / 17+

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SBS Presents A Bake Sale Benefit for Desiree at Bric-a-Brac


Do you ever wish there was a day kind of like Record Store Day, but where you could buy delicious baked goods instead?

“I love buying an overpriced 180 gram reissue of something I could stream off Spotify,” you think, “just so the four months that all the smaller record labels’ LPs were delayed by a major company’s pointless huge print run won’t be in vain. But, like, I can’t *eat* rare crimson vinyl, bro. And I’m hungry.”

Vegan goodies and positive vibes will abound Saturday, February 6th when the long-suffering owners of the only collectible toy shop and record store that’s basically an all ages venue allow Store Brand Soda to present a unique line-up of flavors both musical and nutritional.

Glamour Hotline: Chicago’s sassiest, sweetest, spookiest three piece trading off songs about girl love and kickflips in sing-songs and screams.

BLOOM: Energetic power pop bass keeps a propulsive rhythm under dreamy, pretty vocals. Blossom with Bloom.

Sam Vicari: Wants to be your boyfriend. Power pop songs that will get you right in the feels.

Swimsuim Addition: Dark, pessimistic pop. Punk rock dressed up in kinderwhore babydoll dresses and a nasty lipstick smirk.

The best thing about this bake sale is that it’s an act of community support for our friend Desiree, who finally has access to gender affirming care she needs. Not to get too heavy, but as fucking weirdo rock-n-roll miscreants with our own identities and intersectional oppressions, we have to stick together. Anyway, it’s not even going to be hard to part with your cash (or credit! we have a Square reader!) for this amazing lineup of snacks:

PIZZA PUFFS: Baked mini-calzones. Available vegan, vegetarian, and omnivore’s delight.

CUPCAKES: Featuring candied Meyer lemon peel sent from a friend in Oakland, where things besides resentment grow in winter.

COOKIES: I make these vegan chewy ginger ones, and other people will bring tons more probably.

There will be even more, I’m sure. For $20, you can fill up a brown paper lunch sack with whatever items you want. Hello, pizza puffs for every meal for the next week and cookies at midnight!

Benefit Bake Sale for Desiree
Glamour Hotline, Bloom, Sam Vicari, Swimsuit Addition
Bric-a-Brac Records & Collectibles, 3156 W Diversey Ave
Sat, February 6, 3 pm / Free / AA / BYOB

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