The local music scene in Chicago is unlike anything I have ever experienced. Local artists, ranging from heavy-metal to alternative to rock, play weekly at venues such as Subterranean, Beat Kitchen and The Bottom Lounge, expressing themselves through their original work. This local scene is all-inclusive, and with every show, Chicago-natives and locals continually pursue acceptance, support and love for every local artist.
There is certainly an unending list of artists in Chicago, each of which deserve recognition and support for the art they are putting out into the world — pieces of themselves. The following is a list of a few groups who have impacted me personally, further introducing me and welcoming me into the local music scene in Chicago.
I have Girl K to thank for first introducing me to SubT for their show back in March — my now-absolute favorite Chicago venue. Fronted by Kathy Patino, Girl K is a rock band, influenced greatly by the ’80s, and they are defined most by love and what it means to love and accept everyone.
They most recently released a single titled “Division Club,” which can be streamed on Spotify and Apple Music. Read the full interview with Girl K on the Starsic blog, and follow them on Instagram and Facebook for updates on what they plan to do next, as well as upcoming shows they will be playing.
Speaking With Ghosts
Speaking With Ghosts is the very first heavy-metal band I really listened to and the first group that genuinely led me to appreciating the genre of heavy metal itself. SWG is positive metal-core music, and their latest album Illuminated is strung with inspired messages of hope, as they continually strive to “shine light, and inspire.”
If you are into heavy metal, you should definitely listen to and support Speaking With Ghosts, but if you are not that into heavy metal, you should reconsider. Heavy metal is mainly stereotyped as scary and loud, but SWG proves there is something much deeper to the genre; they are real people, and they are talented and genuinely-friendly individuals.
Beach Bunny’s sound is very melancholic, and it takes listeners on a dream-like trip through frontwoman Lili Trifilio’s mind with songs described as alternative/indie and surf-pop. This artist often focuses on heartbreak in their two EPs, Pool Party and Animalism. I can relate, having gone through heartbreak and extreme levels of emotional pain throughout my own life, which is why I really appreciate the work that Beach Bunny has put out thus far. Plus, seeing a 20-year-old female artist thrive in the music industry is plenty enough reason to listen.
Erabella describes themselves as post-hardcore, one of the many sub-genres of hardcore music. This artist has played alongside Speaking With Ghosts at many local venues, and they most recently had a release show at The Wire for their debut EP Kingdoms.
Erabella performs live just as passionately as their music sounds. Frontman James Chris Hughes puts his entire body into his performances — as does every member of the metal band — and it is clear that their music has depth beyond its heavy sound.
Uma Bloo, aka Molly Madden, is probably, quite literally, the most dazzling human being in Chicago. Madden created the alternate-persona called Uma Bloo as a way to comfortably and confidently express herself. Uma Bloo can be recognized for her sense of style, as she prefers to perform in nightgowns/slips, high-heels, pastel pinks and purples, playing on her silver, glittery electric guitar — even once being described as a pastel Jonny Cash.
Uma Bloo’s music is soft and dreamy, but it is clear that she’s not afraid to push boundaries. I love that about her. She is currently working on new music, but she does have a few songs out, including her single “Lullaby” and her latest release “Meow.” Listen to them here. Additionally, a full interview with Uma Bloo can be found on the Starsic blog. Follow her Instagram for more updates.
Of course, these are just a few of Chicago-based artists, but each one has been influential to me in one way or another. There are so many talented, passionate, local individuals and groups in Chicago, and there is no limit to the support expressed among those in the local music scene.
Cover photo courtesy of Eden Bunna.