Interviews | Music | Radio

Melkbelly: Living the Yard Sale

The Pilsen-based band on the success of their 2017 release Nothing Valley, touring with The Breeders, and the origins of the name Melkbelly.

Daniel Topete

Melkbelly—comprised of Miranda Winters (guitar and vocals), Bart Winters (also guitar, and Miranda’s husband), Liam Winters (a bassist and Bart’s brother), and James Wetzel (drums)—recently sat down with SSW Radio in its cozy practice space in East Garfield Park. Amongst Christmas lights, a number of effects pedals, and jamming from adjacent practice rooms, Melkbelly’s members shared their feelings about their recent tours—headlining in Europe and supporting bigger names like Protomartyr and The Breeders—and provided a new meaning to the term yard sale. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Music

Bringing House Home

Chicago’s 2018 House Music Festival celebrated its roots in the city’s Black, brown, and LGBTQ communities

Katie Hill

For over thirty years, the style of music known as house has been thumping four-on-the-floor rhythms throughout its native Chicago. Though it has become a worldwide sound, changing with each new piece of equipment and every scene that adopts its trademarks, Chicago always seems to know how to honor house’s rich legacy—and remains ahead of the curve.

Music

A Certain Kind of Freedom

Musicians and poets come together to celebrate the work of Sun Ra

Lizzie Smith

At a celebration of Sun Ra’s 106th birthday, an audience member advised against calling it a “birthday” party. It’d be more accurate to celebrate his “arrival”—since, as Sun Ra told his followers, he had a vision that he wasn’t born on Earth, but was actually an angel from Saturn.

Interviews | Music | Radio

Singing Since She Can Remember

Jazz singer Tracye Eileen on her unusual career path

Senhyo

Tracye Eileen is living her dream. At eight years old, too shy to act in the school play, her teacher asked her to perform one of the play’s songs. From there, she caught the singing bug. Fast forward to today: Tracye has a label, Honey Crystal Records, and a residency at Buddy Guy’s Legends in the Loop, where she performs monthly jazz and blues sets. And last Sunday, she celebrated the release of her newest album, WHY DID I SAY YES. The Weekly sat down with Tracye Eileen to talk about her new music and career. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Music

Steve Coleman Takes Wing

A legendary saxophonist talks polyrhythms, mentorship, and birds

milo bosh

Steve Coleman’s music resembles flight in more ways than one. For the listener, it is a flight of the senses: nebulous and strange, challenging and innovative. For Coleman and his band, Five Elements, it’s a flight of the imagination. Brisk drumming, propulsive singing, smooth guitar, and piercing trumpet join hands with—and break away from—Coleman’s saxophone. The music is kept aloft by change, creating something new at each moment.

Interviews | Music | Radio

Know Me More

For artist-abolitionist Ric Wilson, Black art need not be bad or sad

Olivia Obineme

Before you heard Ric Wilson, you might have retweeted him. Last year, the twenty-two-year-old rapper, artist, and prison abolitionist posted a mash-up of Earth, Wind & Fire’s “September” and Migos’s “Bad and Boujee,” set to footage from an old Soul Train performance. The result broke 2.8 million views on Twitter.

Music

Too Main Stage For the Underground

Green Velvet’s Sound-Bar set disappoints

Lizzie Smith

Does a DJ have a responsibility to play the material he pioneered and honor the scene he came from? Or is their responsibility simply to please a crowd? If it’s the latter, is the obligation only to provide what the crowd, venue, and promoters want to hear? And what happens when all of this goes unchallenged for an entire evening?

Music

Creating As She Goes

Tatiana Hazel's fearless, magnetic music

Renee Rolewicz

When Tatiana Hazel uploaded her first singles to YouTube at the ripe old age of thirteen, it was clear she was destined for big things. With a very mid-2000s side sweep and original songs about first loves and first heartbreaks, Hazel expressed with grace and confidence what most of us only wish we could have during our teen years. In time, her style and subject matter drew in thousands of views, springboarding her career and encouraging her to pursue music on a more serious level.