Having spent the last decade vacillating between different genres, Tom Krell has found his calling in R&B as How To Dress Well. Over the course of two groundbreaking albums — 2010’s tortured, hazy Love Remains and the more refined but no less devastating Total Loss from earlier this year — Krell has established himself as one of the driving forces in mature, alternative R&B that even the hipsters are now digging their skinny jeans into.
BY JESSICA MILLMAN
Wickedly retro and tantalizingly strange, Concrete Blonde is creeping back into style with hair-band outrageousness set atop the dark, sensual coolness of Johnette Napolitano’s sinister vocals. Originally fashioned as Dream 6, this ‘80s band’s millennial revival reintroduced us to a quirky, brilliant alternative trio whose occasional absences cannot overshadow their undying drive to flat-out rock. Neither run has been without tribulations, but Napolitano’s crew remains a talented phoenix. From the glam Halloween-style monsters of their unforgettable 1990 classic Bloodletting to their post-revival Mojave album in 2004, Concrete Blonde has shown resilience, perseverance and creativity with a generous dose of ghoulish charm.
BY IAN JONES
PHOTO BY DARKROOM DEMONS
How does one survive the end of the world? With porn and chicken. Yes, in honor of the Mayan Apocalypse scheduled for 12-21-2012, Porn and Chicken is hosting the End of the World Dance Party. For those of you who don’t know (and you really should), Porn and Chicken is an utterly debaucherous weekly dance party where vintage pornography plays in the background as avant-garde performance artists and DJs break down all walls in a sweaty free-for-all that would make Caligula blush. Come celebrate the death of all mankind in a bass-bumping, eye-popping electronic wonderland to die for.
BY JESSICA MILLMAN
By the instinctive manner in which he captures Chicago’s hardnosed pride in song, you’d never guess Sufjan Stevens is not a Second City son. The Detroit-born singer/songwriter began his outsized indie career in the late ‘90s with debut album A Sun Came, an odd collection of strings and folkish nostalgic backdrops which led to multiple Billboard slots, “best of” critic’s choice lists and an overall sense of blogosphere hyperventilation. Though the acclaimed Age of Adz (2010) LP is somewhat more modern than its predecessors, Stevens’ soft crooning is immediately recognizable as he paints a reverent mood for big-city souls to get lost in.