Throwback Thursday: the Rolling Stones Record in Chicago

Chicago is a dynamic city filled with all kinds of draw ins from its history, architecture and especially music. Birthplace of house music, countless talented artists and jive with a bustling blues culture here in particular, it welcomes quite a variety of icons and artists to the city for its inspiring quality and treasure troves of figure heads to work. This weeks Throwback Thursday for June we remember the Rolling Stones passing through Chicago to leave their mark in music history!

When Starting their first tour in the United States the Rolling Stones first arrive in New York, June 1st, 1964;just a few months after the Beatles make their US debut. Following a few radio and television appearances and live performances the Stones note the absolute highlight of their trip: Recording at Chess Records on Michigan Ave. Owned by two Polish brothers Leonard and Phil Chess, it is home to many legendary blues artists such as Willie Dixon, Howlin’ Wolf, Chuck Berry, Buddy Guy, Bo Diddley, and most notably Muddy Waters. These Chicago Blues artists have been the driving force in the creation of the Rolling Stones. It is there they recorded some of their first hit singles to top American charts, already being popular in England.

June 10th, 1964 the Rolling Stones land in Chicago to record in the US for the first time at Chess Records Studio, the leading Blues recording label in the 50’s and 60’s. Legend has it that Muddy Waters was there himself to help the artists unpack. “2120 South Michigan Ave was hallowed ground. We got there on a last-minute arrangement by Andrew Oldham (manager)”, Keith Richards wrote in Life Magazine. “There in the perfect sound studio, in the room where everything we listened to was made, perhaps out of relief or just the fact that people like Buddy Guy, Chuck Berry and Willie Dixon were wandering in and out, we recorded 14 tracks in two days“. The studio would be later immortalized by the dedicated song 2120 South Michigan Ave.

It was in these two days their EP Five by Five and much of their second studio album 12×5, that both featured the address title track, were recorded. Keith Richards was quoted saying, “Everyone in England at the time was incapable… No one could get a really good funky American sound which is what WE were after. The best move we could possibly do was get to America as quickly as possible and record there”. Coming out of the sessions also is their hit single Its All Over Now that claimed their name to fame in the US. Other notable songs would include Time Is on My Side, Look What You Done and Down the Road Apiece. They would later return to Chess months later in November 1964, during their second US tour, where Kieth Richards lays down the riff to the legendary (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.

Between sessions the Rolling Stones hold a press conference June 11 on Michigan Ave in front of the Tribune building. Mick Jagger was noted stating, “We have changed a bit since we got famous. I mean, how would you like to sing the same seven numbers every night? I may not be much of a singer but there is no artistry in that. Still, we do have fun as well“. Police later arrived to break up the press conference but not before jeering, “Get outta here or I’ll lock up the whole goddamned bunch“. The Rolling Stones never returned to Chess Record but held a big roll in bringing the Chicago Blues sound to mainstream audiences.

Rolling Stones in font of Tribune Building

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Woman Crush Wednesday: Morgan Pirtle

In the vast ocean that is Chicago’s contemporary music scene, standing out is much easier said than done. However jazz vocalist Morgan Pirtle has managed to do just that, which is why she is this week’s Woman Crush Wednesday honoree. Pirtle is a storyteller through song. Her lyrics are conceptual and introspective, with each song of hers serving as a tightly-woven meditation on a certain aspect of herself. As a vocalist she does an outstanding job of assuming the role of lead character on whatever story she is trying to communicate. Her vocal performances are believable and convincing, packed with emotion and vibrancy. Pirtle is a recent graduate of the University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC), where she graduated in 2018 with a degree in jazz studies. There she blossomed under the direction of vocal professor Cheryl Wilson, following in the footsteps of one of the best in the business. Aside from Cheryl Wilson, Pirtle has also worked with jazz legends such as bassist Rufus Reid and vocalist Dee Alexander, among other greats. Having the chance to collaborate with modern jazz giants has no doubt left a huge impact on Pirtle’s artistic maturation. Pirtle has performed at many prominent Chicago venues over the course of her young music career. She has graced the stage at numerous local spots such as Sofar Chicago, Schubas, Emporium, The Chicago Jazz Showcase and even the Shedd Aquarium as a part of their Jazzin’ at the Shedd series. Perhaps, however, her biggest performance yet came back in 2018 when she performed at the Chicago Jazz Festival with her band, Morgan Pirtle + 5. Pirtle has ventured her way into recording as well. She recently put out her debut EP Muse, which dropped back on April 18. Packed with soaring musicality, virtuosic live instrumentation and introspective songwriting, Muse serves as a brilliant, cohesive example of taking older elements from genres. Taking jazz, r&b and indie and fusing it all together to give it a sound that is modern and lively. Sounding more musically mature than her age would imply, Muse really is a stunning debut and has helped Pirtle stake her claim as one of the leaders of the new school when it comes to Chicago’s jazz and contemporary music scenes. Pirtle has seen avid success as a performer as well. In 2018 Pirtle was named as a Luminarts fellow in the jazz category, also winning the people’s choice award in jazz. In the same year, she was named Outstanding Undergraduate Vocalist at the 2018 Downbeat Magazine Student Music Awards. Possessing the maturity of a musician beyond her years, the conceptuality and hardware to prove it, Morgan Pirtle is a name you will definitely want to familiarize yourself with if you are involved with the local music scene. She is already making moves, but with many more years ahead of her she can only go up from here.

Click here to Listen to her new album on Bandcamp

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Roy French Finds A Hi+

Blood is pumping, you are jumpin’ around, actin crazy, dancin’ wildly. Many would consider music a drug and for Roy French, aka MfnYeah, that can be the truth! Anywhere you see him his natural character emits energy that cannot go unnoticed. Unafraid to grab a mic and take control of a crowd as if hip hop and rap is all but second nature. Calling it therapy in the introduction for his music video for his latest release named Hi+ produced by Illa The Illastrator.

Directed by Nish Odak the video brands bright neon colors and lights as Roy French observes some dissociative behavior. This is not unusual for him as creative minds tend to bend the idea of what it is to be expressive. “Can’t feel your down when Im gettin high” he repeats as a catchy hook that can loop in your head without being annoying. “Sometimes I’m fine sometimes I’m not, what do I have to be mad about?” he continues, acting as his own mentor when asking himself hard questions.

Aside from his lyricism his behavior in the video denotes a man on the edge. Seeking an adrenaline rush or simply a dope beat to keep feelin Hi+ and on top. “Fuck my life Lets do if for the thrill, I feel like my death gonna be so kill”. Creative minds tend to be disturbed as the world around them does not challenge them enough, so they adopt chaos to keep their minds stimulated, to keep going. Roy French continues growing and persevering, uncovering deeper layers of himself and his creative boundaries and it shows through work like this!

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Osa North Lets the Music Breath on Osa North and The Holy Spirit of God EP

Osa North is back with his new Osa North and The Holy Spirit of God EP and he is serving up a diverse array of sounds on this one. The project kicks off with the soulful trackFree You, which serves as a sensual ode to intimacy. North’s vocals on this track are layered in such a way that they carry a sense of divinity as if he is calling down from the heavens above. The instrumental here is rhythmic yet spacious and Osa North does a brilliant job of filling in that space with his vocal delivery.

The 2nd track Debbz is a logical continuation of where Free You left off. North once again is crooning about that special someone, asking the listener if they have ever been in love. The instrumental here sounds more epic with soaring string sections and a sense of rhythmic pulse that build momentum by the end of the track. Osa North is showing more and more musicality with each project he brings to the table.

There is a drastic switch up on the third track 1900. Instead of building on the soulful airiness of the first two tracks, North comes out of left field with a menacing trap banger. The instrumental here is bleak and unforgiving while North oozes with confidence on the mic. The closing track Adesuwa is a dance hall jam reminiscent of something off of his Ginjah EP. The instrumental possesses the contagious sense of rhythm that has become a hallmark of North’s music and his vocals here are vivacious and full of color.

Even though Osa North and The Holy Spirit of God clocks in at just four tracks and eight minutes in length, North is in no rush to get to the finish line. There is an endearing sense of patience on this EP. The instrumentals have an airy, almost ethereal quality to them, and North spaces out his vocals in such a way that he is content in letting the music speak for itself. The marriage between these two elements make for another fantastic project from Osa North.

“Osa North and The Holy Spirit of God” is now available on all platforms.

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Musa Reems Turns Back the Clock with Dear Winter

Musa Reems is back with his new single entitled Dear Winter and he has taken initiative in turning back the clock on this one. Putting his own spin on the Jay-Z classic Dear Summer, Musa has added his name to the list of MC’s who have spat their game over this iconic Just Blaze produced beat. A list which includes names such as Lupe Fiasco, Lil Wayne, Young Jeezy and so many more. However instead of simply going in over the original cut of the instrumental Reems decided to breathe new life into this classic song, making it sound more current while maintaining its throwback vibe.

Producer Othellobeats took a fresh approach on here. He creates a lot of tension with how he slowly brings in the vocal sample in the beginning of the track and it really sets the stage for Musa when he comes in with his verse. Equally impressive is the way Othellobeats puts his own spin on the instrumental while simultaneously respecting what made it so great in the first place. Despite the clean, thematic feel of the intro, the beat still has the same soulful piano and vocal samples carrying the track. The only difference here is that this re-imagining of it sounds more lively. Like Othellobeats, Musa Reems does his thing on here as well.

Although the song clocks in at just 2 minutes and 18 seconds in length, Musa makes every second count on this one. His bars on here are nostalgic yet hopeful as Musa shows himself to be someone who can handle anything life throws their way. He approaches his lyrics with a staggering amount of transparency, showing that he is more than happy to own up to past mistakes. Reems’ delivery is also worthy of note here. He carries a sharp grittiness in his voice that shows the authenticity of a man truly marked by past experiences. Not phased by what anyone might think Musa Reems shows on this track that he is embracing his flaws as a human, wearing his war wounds on full display.

There is an interesting duality on Dear Winter. While the tasteful re-imagining of this song makes it sound like it could be on an upcoming project. Dear Winter still possesses enough vintage aesthetic at its core that it almost sounds like it could have been on a DJ Drama mixtape in the mid 2000’s. This duality really shows who Musa Reems is as an artist; a man who has a deep appreciation for the past while simultaneously keeping a close eye towards the future. Time will tell what Musa Reems will bring us next, but Dear Winter is surely a sign of good things to come.

Now available on all platforms.

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Bassmnt Boy Loves BBB And It Shows

Some like them more than others, some like them so much they make music about them. Bassmnt Boy likes em just enough to make a remix about them. Round2 already seems to have expressed it perfectly enough so Bassmnt Boy just took his Big Booty Bitches track and personalized it. With admiration to the original artists talent, he carefully turned a juke beat into a trap & bass anthem that does not dissapoint the original; Get any party wild and jukin’ with this beat.

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Rhymster Stays Maintainin’ (Music Video)

RhymSter can go on and on hosting and coordinating shows, recording and producing music for himself and others and performing amongst many things taking up his schedules with Ever Evolved. Amongst that he is preparing to release his EP Pure Noon with producer Edmur Quinn but not without a few teasers first. Helping out with that is Neorevivalist with a music video for Rhymsters’ single Maintainin’ from the upcoming project. One of a few collaborations from Pure Noon to keep an eye on.

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Better Safe Than Safi

Every once in a while an artist emcee comes out with words faster than you can comprehend. Lyricism as quick as Twista, Bizzy Bone or Busta Rhymes will make you wonder when these artists have time to breathe or even remember all these words! Safi G from Palestine, reppin’ Chicago, recently releases a piston of a track produced by Al Grand with deadly words back to back to back and a flow so exclusive. Better Safe Than Safi comes with visuals credited to MikeMakesMovies, with anime scenes from Dragon Ball Z representing his lyrical power metaphorically. If you think this track is hype you should see him live in the act, or you can check out his more relaxed tracks if you cannot handle this heat!

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Better Know Ayoo

Time reveals all that is true and great, and this duo from Chicago demonstrate their significance with fresh new music. Ayoo has been energizing dance floors from local clubs to festival stages with heavy hitting house & bass beats joining a growing number of electronic music artists from Chicago takin over the scene. Apart of the Be Nice collective brothers James and Eric Estrada have been growing together, planning and making music based around their love for Chicago house. From Spring Awakening stages, to hosting events by the lakefront and in local venues to original music content, Ayoo have only just begun unraveling their potential and in just a short period of time.

Recently the two have debuted their sound with Orijinal featuring Jei earlier in the year and they come to follow up with a new track for the summer. Taking their brand of electro house music and inviting hip hop emcee and long time friend Rhymster from Ever Evolved on the mic to add some flavor to the track. Reviving an older idea with Rhymster, Timeline stands the test of time to represent a period of growth and emergence for Ayoo and their music. With great reactions from crowds at the festival stages all there was left to do was to slap on some cover art from Tim Emini to make an official track. With talent flowing like a dam, you better know, they plan to take over so dont get left out in the stands. Grab this beat and dance and support our Chicago fam.

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THC – This Is For Me (Music Video)

 THC is back with This Is For Me following their LP release MHX about over a year ago. You would think they would be rusty but they maintained with live shows and of course taking hits constantly. Accompanied with the release is a music video directed by Kenzo showing off how the boys were living while in hiding. A pair of skilled lyricists in Chicago quickly gained a good following and some groupies by the looks of it.  But looks like they are back at work lets see what they got next.

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