Since 2003, Chicago's Volcano! have been creating some of the most angular, humorous, and unpredictable music around. The trio is comprised of Aaron With (guitar, vocals), Mark Cartwright (electronics), and Sam Scranton (percussion). Their excellent third album, Piñata, was recently released by the Leaf Label. (Photo by Stephanie Bassos.)
Idiosyncratic and genre-defying singer-songwriter John Bellows has been toiling in Chicago's underground since he arrived here after graduating college. The Kentucky native culls his inspiration from everything from the Carter Family to Motley Crüe to Weird Al Yankovic, creating a unique style that is alternately abrasive and vulnerable. His 2005 record Clean Your Clock was rereleased on vinyl by Moniker Records, and is available for download on his bandcamp page.