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Gossip Wolf: Ryley Walker's first seven-inch finally arrives

Plus: A new album from Moonrises and some old, unheard material from T. Storm Hunter, aka Batstew creator Mark Tucker

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This wolf has been a fan of local fingerstyle guitarist Ryley Walker ever since Plus­tapes released his 2011 solo debut, The Evidence of Things Unseen. Walker has now released three cassettes through that label, and he's finally dropping his first slab o' wax—a two-song seven-inch called Clear the Sky. The record was supposed to come out in November, shortly after Walker uploaded the title track to Soundcloud, but pressing delays intervened. At any rate, the record is out now via Plustapes' sister label, Addenda, and every copy comes with a digital download!

Gossip Wolf first heard about local psych trio Moonrises via guitarist Steve Krakow, aka Plastic Crimewave (who creates the Secret History of Chicago Music for the Reader), but what keeps us coming back are the sublime vocals and oversaturated organ sound of Libby Ramer. The band's second LP, Frozen Altars, recalls the low-key moments of early-­70s "Canterbury sound" prog outfits such as Soft Machine and Egg, with a bit of Nico-style chilliness. Chicago label Captcha releases Frozen Altars on Tue 2/26, and Moonrises play a release show at the Empty Bottle on Mon 3/25.

The Secret History of Chicago Music is also where this wolf learned about Oak Park eccentric Mark Tucker, whose self-released 1975 debut LP, Batstew, became a notoriously expensive collector's item. Featuring oddly affecting rinky-dink piano ditties and manipulated loops of his 1964 Cadillac hearse, it sounds like Stockhausen and the Residents hosting a musique concrete version of Car Talk. Amazing! De Stijl Records reissued Batstew and 1982's In the Sack in the aughts, and on Thu 2/21 local cassette label 1980 Records will release a cassette of previously unheard Tucker material from the 70s, 80s, and 90s called Hair Mown Aftershocks. Tucker's name has legally been T. Storm Hunter since 1991, but his music is as deeply weird and endearing as ever.

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