Woman Crush Wednesday: Mother Nature

Consisting of T.R.U.T.H. and Klevah Knox, this duo rising out of Chicago are a force on a mission. Mother Nature aims to inspire fearlessness through peace and love and help raise the frequencies of our collective conscious through thought provoking Hip Hop lyricism. Lending a powerful voice for Black Women, not only in music but politically as they raise awareness on social issues. With their attitude and style they got just enough flare to direct their message effectively.

The two pop into Chicago a few years back with their self titled debut album around 2015. Tracks like SAY HER NAME from that album screams out the oppressive nature toward women of color. Even tracks like MOTHER NATURE and TAKE IT FURTHER note the urgency to help society and earth itself from destruction. T.R.U.T.H. and Klavah Knox somehow place these ideas into party anthems, attractively disguising activism.

Fresh off a more recent release, Mother Nature is riding off the energy from their PRESSURE EP. Promoting the project strong pre release with a music video for SIMPLE, they are back again with more visuals. For the cover title track PRESSURE, they personify the weight of everyday hardships in life and how they push right back in their latest music video. Placing awareness onto law of attraction, relativity, cause and effect, ego, energy and more ideas, Mother Nature continues with their revolutionary ideas and lyricism over raw beats with this project. Follow these minds and be inspired!

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Taking Hits Constantly Gets Offensive

It is an artists duty to tests peoples perspectives, making people react negatively or positively. To either arouse, ponder or offend! In this case the Chicago duo Taking Hits Constantly hopes for the latter. Popping back in with the twelve piece album, HOPE UR OFFENDED, as if they never left but their growth is apparent. Passa Spliff and Liquid G may take their time with their craft but when they do things they do it big! Coming off of a collaboration with Probcause, JR James and a music video following their previous LP MHX, their playlist is flawless.

Every song is produced and written by THC, they keep the foundation of the LP pure bred, inviting a few features cause they do it big; like we said. Starting the album out with a party co hosted by Jaxx Stone on DO WHAT WE DO, giving an idea of the direction this LP is goin. The two experimenting with other genres but sticking to their Hip Hop roots. The funk and soul vibe continues with ROBOTS featuring Nick Ledesma, already trying to push your buttons lyrically. “When I’m on the mic zip it, you know what I like? Different. All these rappers the same. Hip Hop back from the gave? Now wouldn’t that be the day“.

Lyrics preparing you for what Spliff & G got for you with J.R. James who features on 5 tracks in this LP. Getting wild on YOU DON’T WANNA and EVERYTHING, each got the energy to get you hype before cooling down with some R&B flow on LET GO. Continuing onto KEIF BUTTER EVERGLADES, a beat that straight up bumps as the two spit raw verses, they continue the underground Hip Hop energy for remainder of the LP before they cap it off with Vasily on MEMO TO THE YOUNGER ME.

Included in HOPE UR OFFENDED are their previously released tracks THIS IS FOR ME, for which they made a Music Video for, and their release with Probcause and J.R. James CARPET RIDE. Again noting how they take their time with their work. You can hear in their lyrics their wisdom, composure and adaptability to different genres how they have evolved from MHX and their previous work. Style and determination as such keeps them going, offering them opportunities like opening up for Method Man and Redman in August at Joes in Rosemont, Chicago. If you know what is good for you, grab some Taking Hits Constantly for your playlist on Apple Music or their links below.

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Green Velvet Rolls Deep

You cannot talk about Chicago house music without mentioning Green Velvet. Also known as Cajmere, among other aliases, this living legend has been spinning the most hypnotizing techno music since the early 90’s. Good portion of electronic dance music fans today were just in diapers and had no idea the impact this genre would make on generations of dance music lovers. Green Velvet already deep into early rave culture graced the clubs with hits like LA LA LAND, ANSWERING MACHINE and SHAKE & POP to name a few. Most recent recognizable song to be sampled multiple times after its release is LAZER BEAMS with Harvard Bass.

Recent months Green Velvet has been on a spree releasing, collaborating with popular house and techno artists. Working on a remix EP with Adam Beyer, Layton Giordani and two seprate tracks, SHARE NOW and COMPLEX, with Mauro Venti and Eats Everything. Keeping true to his techno roots this grooves will keep you vibing on a dancefloor. In classic style, Green velvet adds vocals lyrics and commentary to add to the hypnotizing beats giving a surreal and underground atmosphere.

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Woman Crush Wednesday: Pauna

Digging deeper into the diversity of Chicago artists we find people from different genres, mediums, ethnicity’s and more. This week we highlight Pauna for Women Crush Wednesday following a music video release. Introduced to Pauna at an Ever Evolved Midnight Marauders Open Mic event, she signed up to present her music among other artists. With a very calm demeanor she steps onto the stage and explodes into hip hop verses, impressing the crowd with her speed and word choice.

Residing in Chicago Pauna frequents local shows to support her fellow music artists in her circle of creatives. Getting the chance to perform here and there she recently had events at Ate Music House and HVAC Pub, giving audiences a taste of her unique hip hop style. Every artist personalizes their music to be representation of themselves, differentiating from others. Pauna blends her hip hop with wordplay through languages.

Being from a Serbian background you can hear her mixing English with some Serbian dialect. Most notably in her music video for her single IDIOTI, her native language plays a big role in the track. In the music video you can see how she places her hip hop lyricism and production in a more gothic setting and fashion more attributed to European culture than hip hop. Her most recent music video release for THE WAY YOU TREATED ME AWOKE ME takes on a more natural setting as the beat is more slowed down. Taking on a more soulful R&B vibe, you can see how she can carry into different styles with ease adding to her potential to experiment with different sounds. Keep extra eyes and ears out for Pauna she just might surprise you!

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Autograf Transform With Love & Retrograde

What is love without the pain? Some will believe you cannot have the good with out the bad. For Autograf the good & the bad is what Love & Retrograde comprises of; the highs and their lows of their last couple of years. You can even hear it literally as you go through dark low bass lines and high end synths and vocals between songs.

Starting the EP off with Test the Waters, a down tempo beat setting a heavy tone. In between these hypnotic instrumental breaks echoes, “Go out and Test the Waters the tide will drag you deeper than you know“, like a test of will of some kind. What will come of this darkness and confusion? The EP then jumps into Retrograde, tunneling through minimal bass sounds, giving some life with these bassline grooves, a strong positive transformation!

Getting your energy ready the Casual Love, this track breathes life into Love & Retrograde, a hopeful sound to bounce around to and chant along with. “I’m looking for people of a like mind… I’m looking for love of a casual kind“; another house anthem for Autograf. They Then get funky with Hold Me Back, giving the right attitude for living singing, “the corners no place for me babe“. Turning this EP on its head from dark to energetic sounds with strong notes, Love & Retrograde really paints a story from start to finish.

Letting their fans know it represents growth for them musically and personally, paying close attention you can hear and feel that in this EP. From the dark, minimal sounds and the doubtful lyrics in the beginning with, to vivacious house beats and groovy tunes with strong affirmations. Autograf ends it strong with Night Drive, a mix of high vibes and low techno basslines. Love & Retrograde is the perfect title for the project for what it represents.

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Artist of the Week: Ayoo

Chicago is full of talented artist in every direction in every genre. One of Chicago’s most celebrated genres of course is house music; this city is its birthplace after all. It has come a long way since its start and today’s artist of the week Ayoo is a testament to that! Working heavily with bass house production, it is a more intense evolution from Chicago house and Detroit techno music, but the roots are all there and grounded. The two brothers popped into the scene a few years back and it has been non stop hard work, good music and memorable events; the Chicago electronic music duo plans to be on the radar for a while.

Not only some artists on the rise Ayoo also represent a whole bigger collective as well. Founded by Niick Niice the Be Nice Collective is a commnity of electronic house music DJ’s that has a good hold on the Chicago nightlife. Holding residencies at night clubs and bars like El Hefe, Soundbar, Tobacco Road Tap Room, Bottled Blonde and more, they present opportunities for locals to work, collaborate or just enjoy a night out. Ayoo’s ambitions alone backed with Be Nice network holds unlimited potential!

Photo credit: Izzy JPG

Aside from rockin’ Chicago’s night life dancer floors with their weekly residencies they duo have build a resume up on festivals and special guest events with popular artists. Notable shows include opening for artists like Taiki Nulight, Dogma, Dr. Fresch and Malaa; Tonight Ayoo adds Delta Heavy to the list opening at Chop Shop in Wicker Park. The duo also hit Spring Awakening Music Festival back to back the last couple years and for good reason! They guys not only have the network but they have the sound.

Coming up on more an more recognition as time goes on Ayoo hit yet another milestone this week after officially releasing their hit summer single TIMELINE, featuring RhymSter, under Artist Intelligence Agency. This again presents more opportunities for the duo as their music has the potential to reach more audiences and even more interested labels. Packing with a growing list of bass house originals the duo also make some bold remixes, improving on some timeless tracks like DOO WOP by Lauryn Hill, and LOW LIFE by Future and the Weeknd.

Debuting with their single ORIJINAL last summer they have come along way in their production, their latest release shows the most improvement in quality in their music thus far. This time picking out G4NJ4 by Groove Delight it sounds like Ayoo is really getting comfortable with where they are headed with their music. Time can only tell where these two are headed with their sound and collective. They has brought upon themselves really significant opportunities and They and hit a lot of milestones in a short period of time. I would recommend keeping an eye on this local titans!

Ayoo | Soundcloud Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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The 411 On LWKY & Inversive Universe

It would be cool if a call to 411 would give you information on your favorite music artists. But digital media got us for now where we got our ears on LWKY & Inverse Universe with their latest release titled 411. A lot of talent involved in this collaboration with three heads in LWKY’s band adding two more artists with Inverse. Both compliment each others electro soul style of music.

We are introduced to Inverse Universe with this release, the duo seems to be influenced on hip hop and classic rock music mixing it with electronic bass and soul similarly to Manic Focus. Tyler Thompson and Adam Stephens add to the list of artists consistent with that sound coming out of Chicago. Paired together with LWKY on 411 they make a electro soul beat sounds orchestral. The track is so well put together between you can swear you have heard it before but it is an original, it is just that easy to listen to.

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‘All This Is’ Not So New To Manic Focus

Artists may tend to change up their original style and approach to their creative expression. It is how they survive, It is in an artists nature; they are not one single idea but many out of the box projections. Manic Focus, also known as Jmac, is known to change up styles constatantly. Between hip hop, bass, and some electro funk, even a mixture of all of em may occur, Jmac got plenty of room to express himself any which way he likes. His last two releases are a good example of experimentation between songs!

The older of the two, Never Grew Up, may be what you typically hear come out of Manic sets. Some live instrument samples followed by wonky bass lines, choppy synth work and a dynamic beat pattern to a slow bpm. All creating a groovy and tranquil energy as “we never grew up” echoes repeatedly reminding us, we are in this for the fun! A sound so familiar with Manic it can probably land under its own genre.

Fans of Manic might find his latest release All This Is hard to swallow, with an introduction throwing them off to more of a house bpm structure. Following the build up however Jmac brings it back with dark metallic bass lines and chops exuding a menacing energy that would throw a crowd into a frenzy. Living an industry surrounded by all types of genres it is only right for an artist like Manic Focus to experiment and inject his madness into it all.

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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: Livia Gazzolo

Always dressing fashionably quaint, in the middle of a crowd she appears as art, observing with wide eyes and a shy smile. She is not making any kind of fashion statement however, Livia Gazzolo patiently waits her position on stage and behind the mic. As violin and piano by her supporting artists fill the air she walks up to her personalized microphone. A vintage styled mic similar to that of Elvis Presleys studio mic, comparable to a Shure Deluxe. As soon as she starts singing softly, through a soft smile, to a classical jazzy style tune, her appearance and flow makes sense; perhaps she is an old soul unfiltered?

A woman of many talents and ambitions she is one of many to take note of in Chicago’s growing local music industry. Primarily a vocalist she uses that talent exotically and seemingly effortlessly, welcoming ears to a fresh novel sound. Stationed in Chicago’s Wicker Park area, popular for its vibrant local music and busy nightlife, Livia found the perfect spot to grow her talents and expand her influence. Working two events a month, one self produced and coordinating with her band mates, Stefen Hess, Mr. Eugene, Will McGing and Jake Gordon, she is definitely making her mark known; supporting the local industry as a rising artist herself.

Photo By Scott Anderson: IG @ScottyRocks

Not just any new up and comer, Livia is a seasoned vocalist putting in hours, dedication, education and practice into her craft. You cannot just wake up and possess her experience and knowledge simply put! Making it a serious commitment by the age of 15, Livia has studied and performed with David Lahm, a pianist from New york, since then. Now she is currently finishing her Bachelors in Professional Music, taking her talent and knowledge to a whole different level.

Adding some mystique to her image you can really only hear Livia’s music through live performances at one of her events or other shows. She produces her own in Wicker Park’s Flat Iron Arts Building called the Mouse House “When The Cats Away”. Appropriate to her chique, it is a cabaret styled variety show featuring local artists from Chicago and other artists she has connected with. She hosts, coordinates and performs at the Mouse House monthly, every 2nd Saturday from 8p to 10pm. It is the best way to catch her in action doing her thing!

You can also catch her performing at the Atwood Cafe with her band. This event is on the 3rd Saturday every month. She will be booked for random other events like her special featured performance for Empower Herstory at HVAC Pub in Wrigleyville. The more ears get on this unique spectacle and the more artists Livia connects with through supporting local on her own shows and others, you can bet there will be more opportunities to see her live looking ahead. Maybe you will catch her at your local cabaret music parlor, give her a follow on her social media links below.

Photo by Scott Anderson: IG @ScottyRocks

Livia Gazzolo | Facebook | Instagram

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