Current DJ: Craig Reptile: Your Sunday Sonic Sundowner
Nice Motor Dino DNA from Superior Street Sessions (self-released) Add to Collection
by Eddie Satyago
Music is one of a few things that can be both disposable and irreplaceable. Think about how often you listen to music without giving it much thought, like when you’re shopping, going out to eat or drink, or driving in your car with the radio on.
I used to work for a radio station where we would give away CD samplers with one or two good songs and 6 or 7 bland rock songs that only appeared on there thanks to pay—I mean the station really believed in that singer-songwriter who happened to be related to or blackmailed the head of A&R at The Big Record Company owned by The Bigger Media Company. Leftover samplers were used as coasters in the office or we’d stuff them into prizes that would be shipped out to winners every week.
When I left commercial radio, I decided that I needed to appreciate music more. Even that mediocre singer-songwriter on the sampler didn’t deserve their life’s work to turn into a coaster for a soda made by a sponsor of the station.
Here are six albums (5 on CDs and 1 on vinyl) that I found while crate digging through various record stores, secondhand shops, garage sales, and other places where forgotten music has collected dust.
My favorite song is on this album. It’s “One Pure Thought.” It was love at first sound when I heard it in the spring of 2008. I was living in Orlando, working at Walt Disney World thanks to their college program. I was in my apartment cleaning the kitchen when the song appeared on an iTunes station I had on for background noise. I stopped wiping the kitchen counters to listen to this song. I downloaded the song as soon as it finished.
By the time I upgraded to a new laptop the following year, “One Pure Thought” was played almost 500 times, according to my iTunes library. In 2018, a full decade after its release, Made In The Dark was in the back room at Open Books Pilsen, in a row of movie soundtracks and other electronic music. At the time, CDs were $2 each and they were strongly suggesting cash.
I walked back to the car, pulled out the quarters I would use for toll roads and played the album in its entirety while enjoying a late afternoon summer drive. I miss both having a working CD player in my car AND to be able to just drive for awhile without breaking the bank.
by Eddie Sayago
Pride Month was very different last year, and it has changed dramatically since the festivities of 2019. (This year’s Chicago Pride Parade is scheduled for October 3.) No one would have imagined that 2020’s Pride Month would consist of protests and marches for Black Lives Matter, protesting police brutality and calling for the defunding and abolishment of police departments around the world.
And Pride is different for each person. It is either a celebration of being proud of who are you or a continuation to call out the discrimination of various groups--particularly trans, double minorities, leather/kink communities--who are often left out of the parade in favor of the traditional (*cough* white cis Ken dolls *cough*) type of gays corporate America is comfortable slapping on their ads and merch.
We had a march for that reason in the formerly-named Boystown neighborhood as various leaders of the drag community confronted the white cis-male establishment that dominates the city’s primary LGBTQ+ commerical center.
This short list of Pride songs focuses on black artists from all genres, eras and locations, including a few local artists who make this queer Chicagoan proud that they are from his hometown. However you celebrate this season, I hope you seek out these and other queer-identifying artists and add them to your music collection.
From the EP Be Yourself (2018, Tay Bennett Entertainment)
Coming out of his older brother’s shadow to become a successful musician (and Instagram thirst-trap) in his own right, Taylor Bennett came into his own with the 2018 single, “Be Yourself”, where he came out as bisexual in the song.
More importantly, Bennett is fully showing off his confident rap delivery and lyrical prowess (“I knew since birth I was certain that I was sent with a purpose/While you competin' with crabs in a bucket I'm in the ocean”) while saying to the naysayers who question him (“And n---s still call me f----t, but b---h my sh-t lookin' fabulous”) to get out of the way. His confidence continues on his next album The American Reject and subsequent work. (See his performance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.)
by Eddie Sayago
The mesmerizing lead of a fascinating documentary now airing on HBO, Tina Turner has been captivating audiences for over six decades, performing and recording numerous songs ranging from country and rock to R&B and EDM.
In 2020, Turner collaborated with DJ/producer Kygo on a remix of “What’s Love Got To Do With It?” and has performed covers from many artists including Elton John, Sam Cooke and Al Green.
Here are five artists who pay tribute to the Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll with these eclectic covers.
Yes, this was originally a Tina Turner song. "Don’t Turn Around” was a B-side for the 1986 single “Typical Male,” written by Albert Hammond and perennial Oscar nominee Diane Warren. Ace of Base’s rendition was the second single from their debut album and peaked at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Turner’s “Don’t Turn Around” would appear in the 2018 jukebox musical Tina.
by Kyle Sanders
Lord, it’s like 2020 was a hard candy Christmas! We barely got through it, but still didn’t let sorrow bring us way down. How did we pull this off? The answer: Dolly Parton.
Last year, Parton kept our spirits up the only way she knew how: by staying busy! Her elastic work ethic saw the country legend release a Covid-related inspirational song, create a YouTube page to read bedtime stories to schooless children as part of her Imagination Library charity, and close out the year by releasing a Christmas album supported by a television special.
Perhaps the most admirable contribution she made to 2020 was donating $1 million for scientific efforts in creating a vaccine to cure Covid-19. That vaccine—created by Moderna—has since been approved and is now being (slowly yet surely) distributed across the country.
Parton also published a collection of her songs in a coffee table book entitled Songteller. While the book contains nearly 200 titles, she claims to have written over 3,000 songs.
During the early months of the pandemic, I actually challenged myself with listening to all fifty-one of Parton’s albums (all available to stream on YouTube for free), and it made me appreciate just how great of a songwriter she is. She can break your heart with one song, then mend it back together with another.
Despite her bubbly persona, she also has a rather dark streak, having produced songs that’ll leave you absolutely devastated (seriously, try listening to “The Bridge,” “Down From Dover,” or “Me and Little Andy” without ruining the rest of your day).
But of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t focus on the songs that, like Dolly’s welcoming presence, bring a lot of joy. In honor of her 75th birthday, here are ten Dolly songs that’ll keep your spirits lifted during this tumultuous time:
by Eddie Sayago
As we are halfway through April (I know, it doesn’t feel like it.), I noticed how many songs there are about the month (or the woman named after the month). Here are 6 songs about the month that some enjoy while other wish it could end so summer will arrive. (There's no rush, it's not like you have places to go right now.)
April is a weird month in Chicago. It’s technically spring and yet snow always falls at some point. (There was a snowstorm just two days after we had a sunny day with a high of 80 degrees last week.) But at some point, we always miss that special someone. “Are you out there somewhere?/What are you up to?” It should be weird to still pine for and miss someone who is no longer a part of your life, and that it’s alright to feel this way. Beach Bunny lets you know that it’s alright to feel whatever you’re feeling right now. It’s a weird time for all of us.