April 27th, 2017 Join us for our weekly show featuring all Chicago music, Thursdays from 6-8pm on 88.7FM WLUW or streaming online at wluw.org!
Jesse W. Johnson – 6:00pm
“When I write, I try to turn on the faucet and see what comes out,” says Chicago singer/songwriter Jesse W. Johnson about his process, and in an age where material from world events, culture and interactions with others can influence you almost instantly, that’s a hefty responsibility. One could argue that the ease of social media has made us equally more visible but less willing to share true emotions. But for Johnson, it’s a full-on tidal wave that he can take a scalpel to later. “It’s super important for me to let come what may. Whenever I’ve tried to write about something specific, it doesn’t work. It sounds forced.”
That same mentality was present while laying down tracks for Johnson’s newest album with backing band Coyote Scream — the harmonious, ramshackle American Dumpster. Though it took about a year to complete start to finish with drummer Zach Benkowski, bassist Paul Doerr and viola/synth player Yoo Soo Kim, Johnson and company ensured that a maximum of 4 takes, no matter what, was never exceeded, as to enhance the immediacy of the album. “I’m a way better live player than I am in the studio because I get too much in my head when I’m trying to lay down a part over and over. It’s a whole different animal, and I usually play things best the first few times anyway,” states Johnson. “Usually there’s a few things I wish were better on a record after it’s done, but this one sounds and feels totally complete to me.”
From it’s brash title through the album’s lyrical journey from depression to optimism, American Dumpster is a thorough examination of how time heals wounds and helps us reconnect with others and ourselves. Armed at times with a biting drawl similar to that of Jay Farrar, Johnson blasts through peppy, gritty Americana on cuts like “Stand To Smile” and “Beautiful Darkness,” while “Night Begins to Fade” asks a shoulder to lean on in turbulent times, while Johnson offers one up in return as well as a call to “the end of eternity,” almost as if Johnson feels the future’s limitless possibilities are inherently too vast to take. “It’s about human connection really,” admits Johnson. “(It’s) that someone else picks up where we left off and people need love and help to survive,” he describes.
That same battle between eternal empty space and human identity takes hold on “Through the Light of the Stars,” Dumpster’s closing number. Beginning as a woozy, serene goodbye enhanced by Kim’s breathtaking string work and Johnson’s plain spoken delivery, the tune gives way to a gradual build-up that careens into a chill-inducing, sonic cacophony. Johnson refers to it as “a hopeful song, because it’s about accepting who you are and giving into your feelings. We all face the finality of life, but we’re really defined by how bravely we do that and how we choose to spend our limited time here.”
w/ The Runaway Five with Aloud & Coyote Scream
9pm // 21+ //
Louda – 6:30pm
Fully packaged Chicago latina, LOUDA, paving her own way up the music industry. Vocal improvisation enthusiast with classically trained pipes and thespian swag – LOUDA serves up an unforgettable performance. In a years time, she has directed a four piece contemporary jazz cover band, for La Raza’s Breast Cancer Benefit, The Dapper Club’s Seasonal Soiree, and The Jazz Series by AMFM. No stranger to the Chicago Renaissance, LOUDA is looking to create a name for herself as a genre bending collaborative artist in a male dominated music industry.
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Magix King – 7:30pm
Magix King, born and raised on Chicago’s Southside, began practicing the art of Hip-Hop when he heard a cypher for the first time in the park. Growing up, his environment was filled with numerous distractions, but his love of creating music kept his mind focused. Being family-oriented, Magix naturally has the ability to connect, comfort, and entertain.
While developing, practicing, and perfecting his art, Magix knew that in addition to having a great music library, an artist also requires great timing. In 2012, Magix released his first solo mixtape titled Dream Catcher. Resulting from his first project’s success, the emcee was given the opportunity to perform throughout the country of Luxembourg, making serious impacts on audiences during his international tour. Upon his return, Magix began work on his follow-up project. In 2014 he released The Workout Session.
With projects under his belt and the support of Donda House, Inc, Magix began increase his performances in Chicago and even started producing his own shows as well. In 2016 Magix released his most recent project, A Sick Summer, an uplifting album that promotes unity. After performing on numerous bills with artists on the Reflective Music roster, Magix became part of the family as they connected and collaborated for the 2016 See Yourself Tour.
Through his music, Magix is becoming known as an incredible lyricist and an amazing showman as well. He emphasizes that he focuses on music and interaction with the people. “Hip-Hop is in a state of transition where people are beginning to miss the feelings that they once felt when listening.” Magix is here satisfying that need.