SOME OF CHICAGO’S VISIONARIES, ENTREPRENEURS,
ARTISTS, STORYTELLERS, AND INNOVATORS
WHO WILL BE PERFORMING AT THE CHICAGO MADE
SXSW TRADE SHOW BOOTH
SUNDAY, MARCH 9, 5:00PM
When something’s indescribable, that usually means it’s good. People leave this woman’s show speechless. Rachel Thomas, aka KSRA, blends Timbaland-esque hip hop beats, 60’s soul, pop melodies and a folk earnestness to create what she describes as Vortex Music – taking everything around her and centering it in introspection. In doing so she delivers dance-able, ear-worm-pop melodies that haunt and awe. Her vocal range is just as impressive as her ability to dance barefoot on her pedals, which she uses to manipulate sound and sample herself live.
Thomas has the ability to captivate an audience with just her voice and ivory Wurlitzer. In 2014 SXSW and a single featuring Talib Kweli are just the beginning of a promising year. While compared to Grimes and Florence and the Machine, KSRA is an original. After two years in the Chicago scene Thomas has an EP titled Petra out on Soundcloud. Known for traveling cross country with her gear packed in the back seat, KSRA insists on building connections with her audience through live shows creating a grassroots following.
MONDAY, MARCH 10, 5:00PM
White Mystery is brother-sister rock’n’roll duo Miss Alex White & Francis Scott White from Chicago, founded on April 20, 2008. The siblings have written, recorded and played non-stop since their inception, earning rave reviews from national and local publications – MTV, VICE, Sound Opinions, Pitchfork – and the list goes on.
The Whites release their fourth full-length DUBBLE DRAGON, on April 20th, 2014 and continue their world domination of old-school, high-energy rock’n’roll.
MILO & OTIS
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 12, 11:00AM
In an era dominated by manufactured noise, M&O aka Milo & Otis have carved out a musical haven for listeners seeking an authentic respite. The Washington Post described their debut album as “mold shattering” in a review, while their fan base continues to swell past the span of their Chicago roots.
Jamila Woods (“Milo”—vocals, loop pedal, poetry) and Owen Hill (“Otis” — bass guitar, imagination, production) are the two behind this earthy sound, which harks back to the heyday of R&B with a blend of what can only be labeled “Adventure Soul.” Adventure Soul is a road trip for your mind, a whizzing subway car for your heart, and sometimes even a party limo for your tuckus.
MY GOLD MASK
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 12, 1:00PM
“A period homage that avoids sounding dated thanks to the band’s raw primordial stomp.” – Pitchfork
“They’ve been amassing a cultish following for their signature sound, which blends Rochelle’s Siouxsie-esque vocal melodies with driving percussion and dark riffs that simultaneously recall the Cocteau Twins and look toward ‘futuristic gypsy tribe shit,’ as their bio aptly describes.” – Huffington Post
“Chicago trio My Gold Mask are dark-pop purveyors who cut their thick, smoky atmospherics with buoyant rhythms and elevated melody.” – Spin
Fusing goth pop drama and garage rock energy, Chicago’s My Gold Mask features vocalist/percussionist Gretta Rochelle and guitarist Jack Armondo.
Rochelle, who was born in Louisiana and cites Hindi films and riot grrrl among her influences, met the Brooklyn-born, Los Angeles-raised Armondo at a party, and the couple formed My Gold Mask in 2008. Rochelle learned to play the drums and the pair began writing songs that combined her inspirations with Armondo’s, which included surf rock and synth pop. They released their self-titled debut album in 2009, along with a pair of EPs, A Thousand Voices and A Million Miles (From Where We Were Last), in 2010. The duo became a trio with the addition of drummer James Andrew, which allowed Rochelle to focus on her vocals and to add more electronic elements to the band’s sound. The band’s second album, Leave Me Midnight, arrived early in 2013.
ARCHIE POWELL & THE EXPORTS
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 12, 2:00PM
“The band particularly excels at capturing the unease of entering your 20s and struggling with a range of newfound problems: changing friends’ career decisions and teenage love dissolving as grownup responsibilities encroach. Lyrically astute and driven by a nervous energy…” – Chicago Red Eye
Has bemused cynicism and ennui ever been so fun? Archie Powell & The Exports have made a career of grafting prismatic power pop and sardonic, dark looks at the world outside into guileless songs with hooks galore.
Archie Powell makes it look simple; he is incapable of writing an un-danceable tune, whether he turns a jaundiced eye on the culture of self-medication or whipping up a 3-minute heist story. Great Ideas in Action (2012) was the band’s third release of deceptively sophisticated songs. Blink and it’s killer catchy rock; blink twice and it’s social commentary that is sad, biting, funny but ultimately incredibly honest. Powell’s writing could easily come from someone twice his age but it never feels studied – his humanity just shines through and demolishes any doubts about where he stands.