Music » In Rotation

Kittyhawk’s Kate Grube on sassy Japanese math-rock

Plus: Peggy Fioretti of Kickstand Productions on the perfect doo-wop group, Reader writer Leor Galil on a mixtape that bottles the magic of summer, and more


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A Reader staffer shares three musical obsessions, then asks someone (who asks someone else) to take a turn.

A still from Bojack Horseman, season three, episode two - COURTESY NETFLIX
  • Courtesy Netflix
  • A still from Bojack Horseman, season three, episode two

Leor Galil, Reader staff writer

Noname, Telefone Chicago rapper-singer Noname, formerly Noname Gypsy, has been working on her debut mixtape for years, and she dropped it on the last night of Lollapalooza. Unlike that megafest, Telefone inhales and exhales Chicago—in the exquisite, soul-­influenced instrumentals, in the guest vocalists from overlapping segments of the local hip-hop scene, and in the references to specific Chicago experiences (such as enrolling in a program from local nonprofit After School Matters). Noname bottles up the evanescent magic of summer without letting it go stale.

"Generic 2007 Pop Song" from Bojack Horseman, season three, episode two Like its title character, the bleak and beautiful animated series Bojack Horseman really goes in on certain jokes—you might even say it beats a dead horse. I find it charming, particularly the way the flashback episodes foreground the zeitgeist-iest trappings of their time—including a character singing a fictional song that's made to sound like a then-current radio hit. The second episode of the new season is set in 2007, and its song slops on the Auto-Tune.

Jeremy Enigk at Beat Kitchen on July 29 The Sunny Day Real Estate front man tours only sporadically, but I've managed to see him twice in two years. His unearthly voice has acquired darker hues as he's aged, and he wears its new raspiness well. Enigk played three tracks from SDRE's proggy 1998 album, How It Feels to Be Something On, which Sub Pop just reissued—it makes me wonder if SDRE is prepping for more reunion shows.

Leor is curious what's in the rotation of . . .

The cover of Tricot's Kabuku EP
  • The cover of Tricot's Kabuku EP

Kate Grube, front woman for Kittyhawk

Tricot, Kabuku EP Japanese math-rock band Tricot open this 2016 release with the song "Nichijo_Seikatsu." What begins as a simple a cappella arrangement builds into a soaring fugue of vocal melodies, bass, and found sound. The rest of the EP, like the rest of Tricot's catalog, is surprisingly varied and just as satisfying, springing to life with the vigor and oddity customary to the band's genre. Screaming guitar skips over the busy, pitter-­pattering rhythm section, and the whole record drips with major vocal sass. You know the "aaahh!" buildup in Chic's "Le Freak," right before they say "freak out"? There's one of those in here. Way nifty.

Mariah Carey singing "Emotions" on MTV Unplugged in 1992 Wake up in the morning, slam your first cup of coffee, and right as the caffeine hits your bloodstream—just when you feel like you've nearly shed that last flake of groggy monster skin—put on this song and try not to shed a fat-ass salty tear when Mariah hits that whistle note at 1:16.

#OurMusicMyBody Chicago nonprofit Between Friends is using this summer festival campaign to further its mission of breaking the cycle of domestic violence and building a community free of abuse. With assistance from Rape Victim Advocates, it's been repping this hashtag online and at music fests to remind everyone to keep an eye out for sketchy behavior—and help attendees get some backup if they feel unsafe. Information is available at!

Kate is curious what's in the rotation of . . .


Peggy Fioretti, marketing director for Kickstand Productions

Bighand//Bigknife, Winner's Cup Two winters ago, a friend called me enthusiastically from Denton, Texas, to say that he'd just seen "the best band ever," and then sent me a video clip of some dudes ripping through amps so big that I could hardly hear what was going on. When I finally got around to listening to Bighand//Bignkife's recordings, I squealed at how incredibly crushing they were. This April, they released Winner's Cup. It's the kind of heavy that I've yearned for, and I'm not ashamed to say that I've jammed this EP at least once a day since its release.

The Platters I recently told myself that I wanted to become an expert on doo-wop. To be honest, though, that journey was pretty short-lived—as soon as I stumbled upon the Platters, I couldn't will myself to venture onward. I had found the perfect vocal group. They have that sound that makes you want to romanticize the 50s and 60s. Milk shakes and roller skates and jukeboxes. You know. Next time you're at a record store, pick up one of their albums. I promise they're a pleasant addition to any collection.

Pinegrove's Audiotree Live session Pinegrove have mastered their craft. Hailing from Montclair, New Jersey, they've created flawless kind of rocking alt-country that begs to be played loudly and on long drives. And as if I weren't already listening to this band multiple times a day, Chicago-based music company Audiotree went and recorded an incredible session that I can't stop watching. Thanks for fueling the obsession!


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