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Chicago

Interview: Chicago’s Dust Biters guides us through the redemption on Progeny

Dust Biters is a Chicago-based indie alternative 4-piece post-hardcore metal band who savage the speakers with a spellbinding reaction on each one of their heavy tracks. They speak to us about, coffee, risk-taking, Progeny and much more.

Hello there Dust Biters. We appreciate you having a chat with us today. Where in the world are you located as we speak and what did you all have for breakfast?

Dust Biters: Hi! We’re from Chicago. We’ve all had lots of coffee and need more.

Let’s start at the beginning. Where/how/when did the band start and who are the current members?

Dust Biters: Nick Miller and Nick Kinsley actually met back in high school in Michigan. Kinsley was a fan of Miller’s technical metal band, Flesh and Blood Robot. They became friends and started writing music for a new project. Kinsley ended up moving to Chicago and Miller ended up moving to Pittsburgh, but a decade or so later Miller relocated to Chicago and convinced Kinsley to pick up the guitar again. They started writing 80’s hair metal riffs on Miller’s couch which became the foundation for the songs “Unholy Gospel” and “Creature Man”. Initially, the idea of the band was to write songs that were straightforward 3-chord punk and rock, but that didn’t last very long. Nick Miller and Tommy van Arsdale were colleagues and had talked ad nauseam about music and Tommy’s previous bands in which he played drums, guitar, and piano. Miller asked Tommy to session with them on drums and the three booked time at a studio in Chicago. It became clear after the first session that this was something to pursue, so they found a permanent rehearsal space and began practicing as a trio. Bryan Fonseca joined Kinsley’s work, and again through the serendipity of talking about music learned that Kinsley was looking for a bass player for the new project. Bryan, traditionally a guitarist, was quick to pick up the bass and learn the parts. Bryan’s personality fit seamlessly with the group so we decided to move forward and thus Dust Biters was formed.

Please let us more about your latest single Progeny and the vision behind the release.

Dust Biters: “Progeny” is a song Nick Kinsley wrote about his kids. It’s a song about redemption, forgiveness, and growth. We just released a companion music video, and in contrast, the narrative revolves around a narcissistic cult leader who grows tired of the perpetual, blind worship of his harem and secretly poisons them in a final move of selfishness and desperation to start a new existence. You can watch it on our YouTube channel now.

Guilt is the name of your new 12-track album. Please guide us into the process of completing the project in the way you wanted.

Dust Biters: The first and most important step to getting Guilt recorded was finding an engineer that understood our songs and the goal for our sound because we didn’t really know what we were trying to do. Once Alex Lackner (Accelerated Sound Studios, Lazarus AD) was signed on to engineer the record, it was full steam ahead. We tracked a majority of the record in our studio while the vocals and finishing touches were recorded at Alex’s studio. We spent a lot of time getting the mix right. Guilt is a record that we are very proud of and we’re excited that people are responding so positively to it.

What’s an important piece of advice you’d recommend to anyone working in the music industry?

Dust Biters: Be genuine and ruthless with your art. Take creative risks. Embrace limitations. Practice consistently. Make real connections and support others. Seek feedback and consider all forms of criticism. In 2023, writing good music is only half of the work to get noticed. Be ready to put yourself out there.

What is the vibe like at the local underground music venues in your local area after all the closures previously due to COVID?

Dust Biters: We’re lucky. Chicago has a great, supportive local scene and awesome venues like Empty Bottle, Live Wire, The Burlington, Liar’s Club, Cobra Lounge, and Reggie’s which thankfully all weathered Covid. Like many of our friends, we spent the majority of lockdown writing and practicing so that when it became safer and venues began opening up, we were hungry and prepared to get on stages and play live.

Last, if you could tour with any band in the world, who would it be and why?

Dust Biters: Ha! I think we would all answer this differently, and I don’t think we could decide on just one without a lengthy debate, but if we had to name two bands it would be Glassjaw and a resurrected Every Time I Die.

Listen up on Spotify. Check out the IG page for more.

Interview by Llewelyn Screen

Daun Facts a hypnotic rap tune “Msanii”

Sometimes it’s hard to tell where the line is between imitation and style. It might be because there is so much music that comes out regularly, it might be because the successful aspects of music making are so well disseminated, and it very well may be that I am out of touch with the popular world. Not that any of these are mutually exclusive. All that being said, it’s nice to hear an artist that has something new to offer in the way of hip-hop, especially in the vocal and lyrical realm. For the above sentiment, I’m speaking about Daun Facts, a Chicago artist who ventures into both music and other creative works. I listened to his newest track “Msanii,” a hypnotic tune that had me bouncing in the car while driving home from work this evening.

The fingerpicking guitar gives a motion to an otherwise downtempo track – little bleeps and sparse drums create the perfect atmosphere for the vocals to shine. Daun Facts knows rapid lyrics fluently – he effortlessly spits lines that would leave most of us tongue tied. The song even features minor religious elements which was a nice surprise – kind of like a literary grounding to the whole experience.

Over on his Instagram, we get the see the entrepreneurial side of Daun Facts – with tons of merch for sale and attractive people modelling it. Additionally, we get to see photos of him with friends, dressed to the nines, and even a good looking pup standing guard; needless to say, it seems as though Mr. Facts leads something of a charmed life – and good for him.

He Rescued Me: Chicago-based Gospel artist Tiffany Daniels-Hudson feels so free again on Jesus Reigns

Taken off her brand new 6th-track project called Forever, Tiffany Daniels-Hudson tells the story of true faith so well on the glorious church-powered new single to hold hands with called Jesus Reigns.

Tiffany Daniels-Hudson is a Chicago, USA-based indie Gospel singer-songwriter, recording artist and worship leader who also teaches social studies.

Tiffany desires to use music as an avenue to connect with people through her life story and to tell the story of the gospel.” ~ Tiffany Daniels-Hudson

Sometimes in life, you just need to close your eyes and listen to a song on loud. Tiffany Daniels-Hudson leads the way in Christian music with a striking anthem to mend sad hearts with the outstanding Jesus Reigns.

Jesus Reigns from Chicago-based Gospel artist Tiffany Daniels-Hudson is a soul-healing soundtrack for anyone who needs hope right now. Sung so excitedly and projected with tons of magnificent power, this is a graceful effort from the top drawer.

Classy and serene, we find a truly soulful single to embrace while the storms brew outside.

Listen up on Spotify. See more on the IG music page.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

How To Get It: Blac Samurai drops quality new release Iron Essence

Dropping his latest 11-track release, which features many name drops to his favourite artists, Blac Samurai returns with a solid outing which shall have our back when needed most on Iron Essence.

Blac Samurai is a Chicago, USA-based indie hip hop artist who keeps things underground throughout because of his witty flow and heavy bars.

Combining the poetic style of writing with the smoothness and rawness from his influences, such as Outkast, Biggie, Nas, Wu Tang, and Roc Marciano.” ~ Blac Samurai

With particular highlights such as Say Less, Never and Backseat, Blac Samurai summons the greatness within his veins and pops through with a grand-slam result to keep the streets happy. Blending in sci-fi and anime, this is a rather supreme effort to feel rather excited about.

Iron Essence from Chicago, USA-based indie hip hop artist Blac Samurai is a hardcore display to be enthralled by and shall rattle the cages of many hidden spirits. Thriving with intensity and breaking down all self-doubts, we find a hugely confident rapper at the top of his game.

Turn this up loud on Spotify. Find out more on IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Text Me: Becky Raisman needs that touch right now on I CAN BE YOUR CRUSH

As her eyes light up and take her soul into a happier world, Becky Raisman wants that permanent vacation on the romantic new sizzler to dance with all night called I CAN BE YOUR CRUSH.

Becky Raisman is a Highland Park, Chicago-based indie pop singer-songwriter who makes catchy music to feel better with because of its rich context.

The breathtaking Columbia College Chicago graduate Becky Raisman is on fire and shreds the airwaves on her latest hot single. Packed with poise and precision, we find a toe-tapping gem that has been made with that all-powering love.

I CAN BE YOUR CRUSH from Highland Park, Chicago-based indie pop artist Becky Raisman is a fascinating song about showing how much a new lover has changed everything. Sung with pure energy and a content mindset, this is that track to put on when you wish you change the conversation onto kiss-filled intentions.

When you see those eyes spark, you have found someone rather special.

Listen up to this superb new single here and find out more on her Twitter.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Rapper, SnapDibz has unleashed his monster of a soulfully lusty EDM floorfiller, Eyes on Me

After racking up tens of thousands of streams on his hit singles, the independent American-born Indian rapper, SnapDibz has boldly stepped in a new direction for his latest dance track, Eyes on Me. The risk more than paid off. The dizzying disposition of the rap bars with the monumental drops leaves galvanising energy blasting through your speakers and makes a meal of your rhythmic pulses.

Infused with Bhangra beats and the powerful interplay between his snappy rap verses and the salaciously soul-awakening female pop vocals, the intense EDM earworm is set to set hearts on fire, fill floors, and connect with an audience seeking the ultimate anthem for their lusty encounters.

Eyes on Me, produced by Shrai, will officially release on November 16th. Check it out via SoundCloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Long Day: Chicago rapper Xman has seen a lot in a short time with Anything

Cranking out a potent track that will get your pulse racing like you have just seen a superhero in action, Xman is at his lively best and shows us deep into his self-assured mindset with Anything.

Xman is a Chicago, USA-based indie hip hop artist who smashes a deep hole into the wall with an underground style that is rather terrific to witness.

Rapped with a knife-like sharpness but never cutting too complex, Xman rolls in and guides us into a road of potential. His lyrics are laser-fueled and you can hear his brimming confidence, that has many street stories to tell from a wild life of uncertainty. Busting out with a piercing production that will get your head nodding rather briskly, displaying to us his growing greatness in this fickle game.

Anything from Chicago, USA-based indie hip hop artist Xman is a fiery single from an artist on a mission to be known all over the world. Teaching us deep within his life that has dealt with many difficulties while working from the bottom to the top, that shows us you can actually win. Only if you believe in yourself and don’t give up that is.

Whenever you think it’s possible, it probably is.

Hear this fine single on Spotify and see more via IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Dray’Soul wants that splash to last forever on the romantic RnB single, ‘Octave Waves’

With a calming vocal essence that takes you into a much more composed state of mind, Dray’Soul shows us he is ready to be the lifeguard and rescue that sweet soul so that they may be together forever on ‘Octave Waves‘.

Deondre DraySoul Bush aka Dray’Soul is a Chicago-based indie RnB solo singer-songwriter who started his music career when he was just 7 years old while continuing his evolution with his soulfulness and spirituality entrenched deep within.

Apart from bringing joy into his life, writing poetry and lyrics for the last 15 years brought clarity to him, which was something he sought in his life to develop his individuality and identity.” ~ Dray’Soul

Sending us into a potentially passionate picture that will have you soaring higher than before, Dray’Soul settles our precious nerves with a hand-holding single that might have you smiling with what is actually possible if you are both united as one.

Octave Waves‘ from Chicago-based indie RnB solo artist Dray’Soul is such a serene experience which will get your heart beating faster as you imagine that first kiss with your new lover you have imagined being with for so long. After sorting out his business and getting that mind in tune for the possibility of a proper romance, we are swept into this wonderfully dreamy swimming pool of possibility.

If you have that lifejacket of love to count on, you can navigate even the most treacherous waters.

Listen up to this new single on Spotify and see more vibes develop on the IG page.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Richard Bandini knows that there is absolutely nothing they can do now on, ‘A Hymn to the Beauty of Silhouettes’

A Hymn to the Beauty of Silhouettes by Richard Bandini

With a sad tale about how sometimes things just turn empty even if you wish it was the opposite, Richard Bandini sends us into a highly meditative mood to think deeply into a moment that has passed with, ‘A Hymn to the Beauty of Silhouettes‘.

Richard Bandini is an experienced Spanish-American Chicago, Illinois-based indie singer-songwriter who draws on his knowledge from three decades in the game.

Laidback licks that flirt with blues and country and guitars that borrow from the bayous.” ~ Richard Bandini

With a sombre picture that shall have you gazing more profoundly into your soul, Richard Bandini sings with such understanding and is at his best on a single that features so much sentiment and heartfelt affection.

Born to play and create, he has never looked back since he started playing with his brothers in a group called Kaplan at age 14, performing at international festivals such as Festimad, Benicassim, or BAM.” ~ Richard Bandini

A Hymn to the Beauty of Silhouettes‘ from Chicago, Illinois-based indie singer-songwriter Richard Bandini is a song that will have your heart beating faster and your thoughts brought back to a time that you wished you had gotten over. The love is gone as you desire that you could have changed that specific moment when it all flipped around, from a happy time in your life. There are impassioned vocals on offer with a deep lyrical arsenal, that sends you into a sad mindset where many a tear shall be shed.

Hear this new single on Bandcamp and see more via the IG page.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Spotlight Feature: Grace Coletta planted the seeds for the ultimate indie-pop-touch-grass anthem, Daisies

One million streams down, the Chicago-hailing indie-pop luminary Grace Coletta is here with yet another viral-worthy single, Daisies. What starts as a lo-fi indie trippy feat of pop quickly blossoms into an ardent proclamation of nature-entwined poppy EDM that reminds you to unplug and touch some grass.

Instead of lyrically fawning about their flavour of the month, which most pop acts tend to do when the weather gets a little warmer, the singer-songwriter chose to advocate for mental health in an infectiously emboldening style that could give Vogue a run for its money.

Grace Coletta has exactly what it takes to become this generation’s indie-pop supreme. Even if she falls short, she’s well worth a spot on your radar – for your sanity’s sake. She created a brand-new plateau to set the bar with Daisies. Swoon-worthy vocal harmonies and razor-sharp hooks rarely come hand in hand, but that is just one of the signifiers of her natural alchemy.

Here’s what she had to say on her latest release:

“Daisies is about escaping. It is about getting the heck out of town when shit is just too much and that temporary joy you get when you run away from your problems because a little distance makes everything a little easier to handle.”

Daisies will officially release on May 10th. You can check it out for yourselves by heading over to Spotify.

Follow Grace Coletta on Instagram and TikTok.

Review by Amelia Vandergast