The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Weekend Playlist: Chicago's Eternal Dance Music Underground

By Jon Graef in Arts & Entertainment on Nov 3, 2013 5:00PM

Soyoung's preview of last weekend's Actress at the Empty Bottle, wherein she makes mention of Chicago house openers Parris Mitchell and Innerspace Halflife, made us reflect on how the show represented unique opportunity to watch two generations of Chicago underground dance music playing the same gig.

To honor that spirit of multi-generational music-making, we present our collection of house music, footwork, and juke--the many styles of Chicago's eternal dance music underground that have flourished over the past three decades.

Of course, there's more to Chicago dance than house music. The start-off point for this mix was local label Planet Mu's compilation of Chicago footwork called Bangs & Works. Bangs & Works Vol. 2 has an amazing song called "Psycho War" by artist Young Smoke. Smoke takes a certain classic movie theme and chops it up brilliantly to add even more layers of jagged, aggressive menace to an already bone-chilling piece of music. It's perfect for a belated Halloween bash, and a terrific intro to footwork.

Which is? [Here, let Yale of all places help you out].

From there, we just added and arranged classic songs like "Move Your Body" and "Your Love," which formed the foundation of classic House music, the style of electronic dance music that came up in Chicago's warehouses to profound worldwide impact, against newer contributions from groups like Supreme Cuts (who we've previously covered) and Dude 'n Em, whose rap hit "Watch My Feet" incorporates footwork's influence in it.

Of course, by now, footwork, and its subgenre cousin, juke, are old hat. The new style is bop, as the Reader's Leor Galil and Pitchfork's Meaghan Garvey have memorably detailed.

Speaking of Pitchfork: In their recent review of Chicagoan DJ Rashad's fantastic new album, Double Cup, Pitchfork paid homage to its one-time home's music scene.

The review reads:

The greater Chicago area has frequently been at the forefront of left-of-center sounds that have bubbled up, from the coruscating rock deconstructivism of Shellac and Big Black, to Gastr del Sol's amorphous genre fusion, to Frankie Knuckles' still-standing reign as "The Godfather" of house music. The past few years, especially, have provided a few fresh and unfamiliar sounds in regional hip-hop and dance music...

That's an understatement. But don't take anyone's word for it. Find out yourself. Dig in, and be sure move your feet.