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This year’s Winter Block Party celebrates women in Chicago hip-hop

Plus: The eighth Chicago Psych Fest fogs up the Hideout, and FPE Records throws itself a birthday bash at the Empty Bottle.

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Kaina is one of seven acts performing at Saturday's Winter Block Party. - MIKE HEINZ
  • Mike Heinz
  • Kaina is one of seven acts performing at Saturday's Winter Block Party.

Gossip Wolf loves WBEZ's Winter Block Party, an all-ages hip-hop fest copresented by Young Chicago Authors. This year it takes over Metro on Saturday, January 28, beginning at noon with a free celebration of hip-hop arts that includes a dance workshop, a DJ battle, and a graffiti wall. The ticketed concert at 7 PM ($10, $6 for students) is a doozy, with seven local female acts spanning generations; unimpeachable soul singer Jamila Woods headlines. Gossip Wolf is particularly keen to see vocalist Kaina, who's fresh off the Sweet ASL EP (made with teenage duo the Burns Twins and producer Bedows), and underground collective Medicine Woman—its members include Drea Smith, Via Rosa, Jean Deaux, and Ravyn Lenae. Show up early to catch rising rapper Lin-Z. Hip-hop veteran Amina Norman-Hawkins (of Urbanized Music) hosts.

Every winter, Gossip Wolf throws on the love beads and bell-bottoms for the Chicago Psych Fest. This weekend the Hideout hosts its eighth iteration, subtitled "Frozen Mind," and it sounds as brain-freezingly groovy and diverse as ever! The show on Friday, January 27, includes headliners Post Animal, TALsounds (see Soundboard), and Spectralina (an audiovisual duet of artist Selina Trepp and Tortoise's Dan Bitney). On Saturday, January 28, a trio of Ryley Walker, Bill MacKay, and Michael Zerang headlines; among the other acts are Latin groovers Dos Santos Anti-Beat Orquesta and psych/funk jammers Magic Carpet.

On Sunday, January 29, local avant-awesome label FPE Records ("For Practically Everyone") celebrates five years with a motley cast of musical characters at the Empty Bottle. Poppy headliners Zigtebra, who'll release a new video every month this year, dropped the first on New Year's Day. Opening are Chicago rapper Fury and Saint Louis singer Syrhea Conway, aka Syna So Pro, whose warped and winning LP Vox the label released in December.  v

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