The Summer's Last Stand

By: Angelica Luff

Three unadulterated - most likely inebriated -  days of constant dancing and jumping to DJs, indie bands and rappers off of the Ashland Pink and Green lines in Union Park make up the shit-show us Chicagoans know as North Coast Music Festival.


Cruising through the crowd, you’re likely to see folks of - ironically - all the same kind; unique. There are girls fitting modern “festival” fashion trends; wearing high-waisted shorts, crop tops, and accessorizing with flower headbands. Other girls sported intergalactic looks with glitter and iridescent garments, using colored highlights on their cheeks for icy glows. For guys, most attire consisted of tie-dye tops or no tops at all - always paired with the signature festival bro bandana and sunglasses combo, summer tank top poking out of their cargo short’s pocket.


  Photo by: Angelica Luff

Photo by: Angelica Luff

Looking up, you can see cardboard signs of the Broad City girls, Ilana and Abbi, and invitations to dance with whatever group holding it. One could even spot our boy “Harambae”, RIP. The crowd is full of anticipation radiating off of the young adult audience, mixing with hovering clouds of marijuana smoke.


Although he wasn’t the main headliner, day one was all about Juicy J. At approximately 7:30 p.m., on the North Stage a man demanded the crowd to light up some joints and smoke with him in Chicago.


Playing hits like “Bandz a Make Her Dance,” his feature from “Dark Horse,” and “Zip and a Double Cup,” he catered to the women in the audience and invited fans on multiple occasions to come onto stage to smoke and take shots. At one point, he even had to deny shots with a young female fan due to her being underage. He eventually delivered what the crowd really wanted as they erupted in unison to “Slob on My Knob,” passing joints and nodding in excitement together in connection with the experience.


On night two, Keys n Krates slayed the crowd. Before presenting a remix of fellow electro group CHVRCHES, the crowd was wowed by surprise scratching from a refined turntablist. An explosion erupted and the ground could be felt shaking from dudes jumping and girls dropping.


After a booming set, the collective of North Coast festival goers made their way to the Skyline stage to see the main event of the evening- Bassnectar. Trippy visuals and intense bass-nectar (See the merge? See it?) overtook the crowd with emotion as people joined hands, danced together, and shared blunts amongst one another.


Day 3 - ya girl was too far gone to do much - but rest assured that Zedd sounded incredible 500 feet away from the lawn (right by the garbage can, I might add) playing original electric-style jams and intermixing radio hits such as “Beautiful Now” and recent collab with Aloe Blacc, “Candyman.”


If you were a sloppy mess towards the end of the experience like I was, it was more than likely due to the $8 Budweisers and $10 bottles of wine. Luckily, food trucks lined the east end on Union Park delivering cheese fries, foot long corn dogs, funnel cake and pizza to cure that premature hangover already trying to bring ya down.

All in all, North Coast never fails to bring a good time.

Tatiana Hazel's New Song is Absolutley EVERYTHING!

By: Nina Clevinger

AaaaaAaaaAah, aaaAAaAaaaAh. 

"Okay, her voice sounds like wind chimes from the heavens," said Joliet, Ill., resident and newfound fan Angie Castro. "Who made her?" 


The "her" she refers to is none other than Crafted Music's very own, Tatiana Hazel. 


Tatiana Hazel - the Chicago-based indie enchantress, as we like to call her - just released the first single off her new project, a song called "Everything." 


This song is ridiculous. Her voice reaches new levels, that damn vibrato getting me every time. The lyrics are so personal yet so relatable, they feel like they're wrapped around me in a warm blanket of understanding. 


I love it. The message is as strong as every other part of the song - which Tatiana wrote, recorded and produced all by herself - and tells the tale of loving oneself first and foremost. 


Check out the song again here, and listen to the rest of Tatiana's kickass music below. 


Be sure to stay tuned for the many things to come from this superstar. 


Strum Forrest, Strum!

By: Rachel Vogrich 


Trying to get jiggy to some lo-fi charismatic tunes? Have no fear, for Forrest Major - a rising indie artist from St. Paul, Minnesota - is here.


Major currently goes to Loyola University, a college on the north side of Chicago. Along with school, he plans to keep making new demos and recordings for his Soundcloud page. I had the chance to talk with Forrest for a bit about his music career and what he has planned for the future.


“I first picked up a guitar at the age of seven, and [have been] hooked ever since,” said Major. “I took about eight guitar lessons until I learned lessons weren’t for me. I just wanted to play the way my brain saw it.”


Major never learned how to read sheet music, and usually plays what he knows by ear. He can also play the drums, and does all the drumming for the songs he posts to his page.


Coming from a long line of jazz musicians, Major finds much of his inspiration in jazz.  The Beastie Boys, Modest Mouse and Richard Hawley are some of the many artists that stand out to him.


Major plans to play local shows in Chicago soon, and is also working on releasing a short album. Since he just moved back to Chicago from Minnesota, he still has a little bit more work to do before getting a full band together; but has full intentions of getting more people to join in on his music.


If you’re trying to chill out with some friends and some funky tunes, Forrest Major is the guy for you. Check him out on Soundcloud here.


Another Dose of Chicago Magic

By: Nina Clevinger

Nineteen years on this planet is nothing. It’s a mere bump in the long, winding road that is life. It’s a fragment of time in the eyes of the elderly, the age seen as nothing but pure youthful idiocy to those over thirty-five. It’s an age where one is expected to be an adult, but instead is treated with the same dissonance given to that of a freshman in high school. Nineteen is tricky, no doubt about it. 


So when a person is only 19-years old and knows exactly what they are doing with their life and how they are going to do it, it’s seen as pretty impressive. Chicago-based musician, Musa Reems, is only 19 and seems to have it all figured out.


Reems is studying music business as a sophomore at Columbia College Chicago. He is a member of a rap collective, and has been making music for over four years now. Times are changing for young Musa, as he is now working on his debut full-length project as a solo artist. 


“As I grew up, I learned that both the underground and mainstream [music scenes] had tremendous talents that I could build knowledge from,” said Reems, regarding his interest in starting a music career. “I always wanted to step out of my comfort zone and I wasn’t familiar or comfortable with making music, so I was very excited to try something new and learn how to do it independently.” 


Aside from music, Reems has a pretty extreme interest in sports - so much so, that before he discovered his knack for rapping, he actually wanted to play baseball professionally. 


“I didn’t know I would be making music until I was 15,” said Reems. “When I entered high school, my interests began to change and I fell in love with hip-hop culture.” 


School has always seemed to have a major impact on Reems and his rap career. One of the ways he began to truly discover his individual style was after an intense conversation discussing a wide range of rappers with one of his favorite teachers, Mr. Konny. Musa Reems recalls Konny introducing him to MF DOOM, the artist that Reems has since devoutly practiced free-styling over.


A few years later, Reems saw A$AP Rocky perform at Pitchfork Music Festival, and he knew rapping was what he wanted to pursue. 


“It was truly influential to see someone so charismatic and confident in their ability,” said Reems. “It helped me grow into an individual who is fearless of boundaries.” 


Reems first entered the solo scene with his two song EP, Another Dos(e)


"My art is my remedy, not only for me, but also my listeners,” said Musa, in regards to the EP’s play on the word ‘dose’. "Everything from regret, self- actualization, romance, broken friendships, the use of drugs in society, self - love, and perseverance were discussed [on this record].”


He spits fast, clear, and powerfully. His words come out with such a nice flow, listening to his music is something that is incredibly enjoyable. 


The first song on Another Dos(e), “Eclipse,” is Reems’ personal favorite. 


"The song is very personal to me and detailed a lot of things that has happened in my life over the past year,” he said. "I was also very passionate about the things I wrote and it added to my aggressive delivery.”


Musa Reems plans on continuing with music for as long as he lives. He wants to have the ability to support his family and friends, and to create from a place of love and appreciation for as many people as possible. Even cooler? Reems wants to take his art career to the next level. He hopes music will lead him to opportunities within film, photography, teaching and more. 


"In order to achieve this, I must sustain my passion and remain true to the man in the mirror,” he said. "I know anything is possible.”


Keep an eye on Reems, this kid is definitely going places. 

Check out his Soundcloud here, and stay tuned for that full-length project in the future. 

Surviving Stranger Things

By: Carly Kane

Chords begin to play, softly at first - then louder. Cinematic-like heaviness fills the train car I’m sitting in. Suddenly, I’m in the middle of a movie trailer, mystery and drama racing through my veins. Technically, I’m just on my way to work; the haunting theme song from Netflix original series Stranger Things playing in my ears. Inside my head, however…


Stranger Things has risen to cult-like popularity as of late - just as we were all getting over PokemonGo. I have not been able to see a day pass without someone bringing up the series to me.


With an 80s-Stephen-King-meets-The-Goonies-type of vibe, the show creates a mix of nostalgia, innocence and natural human fear. The incredibly well-written, emotion-driven television series has an equally as amazing soundtrack.The strangest thing about the new series is how we have not heard of the band behind the soundtrack before this.


The mysterious band, S U R V I V E, has risen to popularity alongside the series. S U R V I V E started in 2008 out of Austin, Texas. Signed to multiple labels, they released their first album in 2010. They have three studio albums, the Stranger Things soundtrack being one of the latest releases after their new single, Wardenclyffe (which was conveniently released at the height of the Stranger Things craze).


The instrumental band mixes modern electro-synth with orchestra riffs that sound like they come from an old church organ. This soundtrack was released a few months after Radiohead’s newest album “A Moon Shaped Pool,” which follows a similar haunting simple synth sound. S U R V I V E and Radiohead alike use simplicity to evoke emotion through repetitive echoing chords in this new wave, simple electro genre.


The names of the songs on S U R V I V E’s album include titles such as “Kids,” “Eleven,” “A Kiss,” and “After Sarah.” Instead of a fluid score - where the songs transition into one another as one long piece - that many movies and shows use, S U R V I V E makes each song personal to the exact scene it is used for. Throughout the soundtrack, S U R V I V E effortlessly captures the wide spectrum of emotions that happen in each episode. Their songs will go from gut-wrenching, fear-inducing ballads to light romantic chords that embody softer, lullaby-like melodies.  One of the softer songs, “Eleven,” has a feminine, music box type of sound that accurately depicts the young female character Eleven in the show.


Taking the theme song out on a crowded underground subway made me feel like everyone in the train car - myself included - was about to meet our inevitable demise. This soundtrack proves that lyrics are not necessary to effectively convey certain messages and emotions.  


S U R V I V E has perfected mixing modern electro synth with classical music in a way that gives any listener sound-induced goosebumps. Their spacey intergalactic sound has me convinced that if aliens are out there, they are listening to this band.

Order their music here

Go on a trip with Ju's new visual for "I'M NOT OKAY"!

By: Tatiana Hazel

The video for “I’M NOT OKAY” takes viewers on a psychedelic journey as Ju ditches a photoshoot to hop the CTA turnstiles and ride around Chicago with his friends.

It doesn’t take long for the drugs to kick in and suddenly Ju is wandering the city alone and experiencing some pretty trippy visuals. Ju’s alternative style of hip-hop fits perfectly with the video, as they are both untraditional - in the best ways. It's great seeing artists skew from any specific genre of music to create a sound that is uniquely their own. 

Go on a trip, watch the video below!

Drew Martz is back with "Flight Cancelled"

By: Nina Clevinger

A few weeks after the release of his visual story for "Sunrise," rapper Drew Martz delivers the perfect song to cap summer and kick off the start of the working year.

"Flight Cancelled" dropped this morning, and features a verse from Chicago-based Roosevelt the Titan. The song talks about how in order to 'make it', one must 'go and get it' on their own. 


Martz plans on dropping an EP within the next few weeks. Stay tuned for what we know will be a banger from start to finish.