Why? | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe


Why? is the nom de microphone of Yoni Wolf of the Oakland-based Anticon collective, a loose-knit group of sonic experimentalists weaned on hip-hop but transformed by lo-fi pop. The various projects and groups under the Anticon umbrella vary widely in their methods of reconciling DJ/cut-and-paste culture with folky underground rock. Their voraciousness can be as exhilarating as it is overreaching: Clouddead (Wolf's project with Doseone and Odd Nosdam), for instance, often suffers from overindulging both subcultures. But Why?'s sophomore album, Elephant Eyelash (Anticon), is a double whammy of the positive sort. He's a midwestern suburbanite who developed a highly personal style of rap not predicated on its value as a class or race signifier, but he also outpaves Pavement, managing to sound sincere even when his lyrics are at their most ponderous ("Rain is millions of tiny speech bubbles unused / The collected breaths of mutes / And all our silent exhalations / Where we should've put words"). On paper it sounds like a disaster, but dammit, Elephant Eyelash is funny, surprising, touching, and smart: I'm penciling it in as one of the best albums of the year. Locks and Jiggsaw open. Fri 10/14, 9 PM, Abbey Pub, 3420 W. Grace, 773-478-4408 or 866-468-3401, $8 in advance, $10 at the door, 18+.

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 

Add a comment