Music » In Rotation

Leo Burnett music producer Jocelyn Brown on an anthem for every lady holding her own

Plus: Music writer Meagan Fredette on a label that specializes in the inscrutable, Reader staffer Leor Galil on a rap collaboration that nods to 90s Nickelodeon, and more

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

The cover of Flip Side's 1985 special issue about Washington, D.C. - COURTESY LEOR GALIL
  • Courtesy Leor Galil
  • The cover of Flip Side's 1985 special issue about Washington, D.C.

Leor Galil, Reader staff writer

Courttney Cooper's fictional pop collaborations On a recent visit to Intuit I was transfixed by the work of outsider artist Courttney Cooper—he uses ballpoint pen to draw fantastical aerial views of his hometown of Cincinnati, and I got lost in their detailed expanses. One such "map" features a squadron of aircraft towing banners for collaborations between current pop artists (Bruno Mars, Sia) and mid­century sing-along sensations Mitch Miller & the Gang. I'm not sure these fictional mashups would work, but I'll always be ready to hear "Kelly Clarkson 'Stronger' featuring Mitch Miller and the Gang 'It's Oktoberfest Time Today Batman!' All Together."

Morimoto featuring Nnamdi Ogbonnaya and Gods Wisdom, "Guts" Morimoto and Nnamdi Ogbonnaya, two of Chicago's most creative and adventurous young rappers, join molasses-­mouthed Massachusetts MC Gods Wisdom on a track that samples the theme of the rough-and-tumble 90s Nickelodeon game show Guts. I was sold before I pressed play.

Flip Side's 1985 special issue on Washington, D.C. A few weeks ago I bought a pile of zines that included Flip Side's 47th issue, a large percentage of which documents D.C.'s punk scene during the height of Revolution Summer. I especially like the priceless interview with emo godfathers Rites of Spring, particularly when front man Guy Picciotto discusses the feelings his band addresses in its songs: "We're dealing with emotions that sometimes seem to be sad but at the same time I don't think we treat them cynically."

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

Cher - COURTESY WB RECORDS
  • Courtesy WB Records
  • Cher

Meagan Fredette, music writer

Posh Isolation I follow the release schedule of this Copenhagen record label with the feverishness of a cat chasing a wadded-up piece of aluminum foil. It operates on the fringe of what may be considered "music," specializing in the harsh and inscrutable. Posh Isolation's catalog includes Lust for Youth, Puce Mary (whose newest LP, The Spiral, is one my favorites of the year), and Damien Dubrovnik, a band that augments screeching feedback with delirious performance art—label cofounder Loke Rahbek, a member of the group, has been known to end a show covered in blood.

Berlin Community Radio Chicago's CHIRP will always have my heart, but Berlin Community Radio is a gem of independent programming—no matter the hour, it's bound to be streaming something fantastic. BCR showcases a huge variety of talk radio (in English!) and music—you can catch up on European politics or listen to clanging techno jams mixed live. I especially love the show put on by Blackest Ever Black, where host and label owner Kiran Sande plays some of the finest experimental lo-fi music on the planet.

Cher's Twitter feed I dearly love Cher on Twitter (@cher) for how wantonly unfiltered she is. She communicates in WELL-PLACED CAPS, uses emoji instead of words, trumpets her political views, and casually lets the world know about her colonic. She loathes Donald Trump, and she answers her haters with stunning clapbacks (or just calls them "buttface"). Even if you don't use Twitter, a scroll through her timeline is sure to be entertaining.

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

Khruangbin - COURTESY THE ARTIST
  • Courtesy the artist
  • Khruangbin

Jocelyn Brown, aka DJ Clerical Error, senior music producer at Leo Burnett

Khruangbin What does a Thai funk band from Houston with surf-rock leanings sound like? Phenomenal, that's what. It would take a special amount of skill for any group of people to make this work well—but this band has heart, and it audibly sets them above the fray.

NTS Radio Whenever I find myself in a rut in terms of what I'm listening to, I can always turn on this London-based station and hear something that blows my mind. It doesn't matter whose show it is or what time of day I decide to tune in, I'm left feeling inspired and challenged by what I hear. I'm also left feeling like there's so much that I'm missing out on, and that I can do better at being an active music listener.

Jessy Lanza I was fortunate to see her recent set opening for Junior Boys at Metro, and let me say, the track "VV Violence" might just be the number one all-time anthem for every lady working hard and holding her own. I'm adopting it as such, regardless! Her new album, Oh No, is due on Hyperdub next month, and it's had me dancing for weeks now.

The return of Telefon Tel Aviv If you know, then you know. Since I'm sneaking this item in here against the rules, I won't say much other than that Telefon Tel Aviv's sound has been missed, and I'm excited as hell that it's coming back soon—TTA has been Joshua Eustis's solo project since 2009, and it's currently playing its first shows since then, including a May 21 date in Chicago.

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