Chicago has numerous, excellent college radio stations (I happen to be partial to WCRX) and some interesting home grown projects like Vocalo, CHIRP, and Fearless Radio. You can get bits and pieces of the local music scene from these outlets but what if you wanted to become more actively involved in the scene?
Personally, I began hosting smaller scale monthly artist showcases called “Collaborate”. I met musicians there, and the became involved as one of the initial stewards of I AM FEST, with which I remain actively entrenched to this day. However, I’m a hyperactive person. If I want to be involved in something…I get involved! Easier said than done, I know - particularly when it comes to knowing about “local music”.
So what do you do? I mean, sure you could (and should) randomly catch shows at The Empty Bottle or The Elbo Room in hopes of meeting your new favorite local band, or start actually going to your friends/boyfriends/coworkers/estranged cousins band’s gigs.
Or you could subscribe to the free, and very cool Chicago Mixtape. Every Monday or Tuesday since early February, subscribers have received new tunes in their inbox, all by local Chicago artists. What makes this different from anything else I’ve seen, however, is that all of the bands featured have shows coming up that very week, creator Casey Meehan intros and outros each compilation with reminders of the shows. This helps someone turn “supporting” an artist into a real thing. Don’t just listen to an artist and tell them their stuff is good, go see them! Chicago Mixtape is a perfect resource for that.
Furthermore, each of the 23 mixes I have downloaded so far has been impeccably curated, with all the songs fitting very nicely with each other. Considering the parameters of “show that week”, this is an impressive feat!
I have thoroughly enjoyed being introduced to countless new bands. Through the Chicago Mixtape I’ve been able to go out and support and become fans of some artists I didn’t even know existed in Chicago a few months ago (SEE: Ornery Little Darlings).
Even if you’re not the “go to shows” type, but you are the “try new things” type or answer “everything” when people ask you what kind of music you listen to…check out Chicago Mixtape.