Music » Gossip Wolf

Darkwave trio Staring Problem release their first new material in four years

Plus: Pinwheel Records opens in Pilsen this summer, and Michael Kandel of Tranquility Bass passes away.

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Gossip Wolf has been laying on the eyeliner and slouching around local clubs to the darkwave sounds of Chicago postpunk trio Staring Problem since they were wee goth babies from Carbondale—but it was 2011 when they last rewarded this wolfy loyalty with new material! Last week the band finally released a six-track album for free on Bandcamp, and they'll put it out as a vinyl LP via BLVD Records this summer, with another seven-inch of new songs due on Modern Tapes in the fall. After a brief midwest tour in June, Staring Problem play a Chicago DIY venue Sun 6/7; e-mail Staring­problemband@gmail.com for details.

Gossip Wolf is excited to hear that Chicago is getting another brick-and-mortar record store—this one in Pilsen! Pinwheel Records is setting up shop at 1722 W. 18th, a couple doors west of the 18th Street Pink Line stop. "I've thought about opening a record store for years, but it didn't really seem viable with the way the industry has been," says owner Scott Schaaf. The blossoming vinyl market changed his mind: "This seemed like the right time to do it, and Pilsen seemed like the right place." The shop will carry new and used vinyl and used CDs; Schaaf also plans to host in-store performances. Pinwheel should be in business by July—Schaaf hopes to throw open his doors on the first of the month.

We're sad to report that Chicago native Michael Kandel—known to dance-­music fans worldwide as the mastermind of trip-hop forebears Tranquility Bass—died last week of natural causes at 47. Tranquility Bass released one full-length, the 1997 Astralwerks album Let the Freak Flag Fly, which Reader critic Peter Margasak praised for fusing a hippie vibe with sleek, high-tech dance production. "For all the hoopla generated by recent forays into electronica by David Bowie and U2," he wrote (hey, it was '97), "Tranquility Bass delivers a far more convincing mix of electronica and rock."  v

Got a tip? Tweet @Gossip_Wolf or e-mail gossipwolf@chicagoreader.com.

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