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Sam’s Music Reviews: Chicago Suburban Roots

Happy July, everyone! For this month, I’m recommending four albums from artists/bands that have originated in the Northern/Northwestern suburbs of Chicago. Listening to artists that grew up where we live can bolster a sense of pride and accomplishment for our community and even enhance our listening experience.  For each album recommendation, I have provided a YouTube link to a song from that particular album.  Feel free to give each song a listen! Do you have any local talent in your community? If you have any comments, recommendations, or musical suggestions, don’t hesitate to email me at, or leave a comment on social media. Enjoy!

Kflay 1


ALBUM TITLE: Inside Voices (2021)

Born and raised in Wilmette, K. Flay started making music in college as a hobby. Her hobby of producing and writing music started to flourish to the point where it became her full-time career. This album explores inner voices that have been suppressed for years and in need of a creative outlet. K.Flay mixes multiple genres of music together, including rap, alternative rock, and pop. 

SONG TO CHECK OUT: My Name isn’t Katherine

SIMILAR ARTISTS: Watsky, Twenty One Pilots, Dessa

Kaley Reinhart 1

ARTIST: Haley Reinhart 

ALBUM TITLE: Lo-fi Soul (2019)

Wheeling’s own Haley Reinhart tried out for Season 10 of American Idol and won third place in the competition. Since then, Haley has been releasing albums, with “Lo-fi Soul” being her latest, as well as collaborating with Postmodern Jukebox as a guest singer on multiple tracks. She draws a bunch of inspiration from 1960s rock and jazz and does a great job modernizing the genre. Her raspy singing voice is one of the many elements that set her apart from the rest.


SIMILAR ARTISTS: Casey Abrams, Kelly Clarkson, Katherine McPhee

dr manhatan good 1

ARTIST: Dr. Manhattan 

ALBUM TITLE: Dr. Manhattan (2008)  

In the height of the mid-2000’s pop-punk era, the Wauconda-based band released this album, where the title and band name were inspired by the character in Alan Moore’s Watchmen graphic novel. Although they have cacophonous moments with keyboards, guitars, and drums, the band produces a sound that keeps listeners interested and highly energized.

SONG TO CHECK OUT: Big Chomper, Big Chomper

SIMILAR ARTISTS: Kiss Kiss, Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground, Circa Survive

Andrew bird 1

ARTIST: Andrew Bird

ALBUM TITLE: My Finest Work Yet (2019)

With his violin in hand, Andrew Bird has been making folk music for countless years, whether it be solo or with his full-piece band “Andrew Bird’s Bowl of Fire.”  Coming from Lake Forest, Andrew graduated from Northwestern with a B.A. in violin performance.  This latest album is a breath of fresh air, yet engaging.  It may be his finest work yet, but that shouldn’t discount the amazing work he’s accomplished previous to this album.  


SIMILAR ARTISTS: Beirut, The Shins, Fleet Foxes


Last month on social media, we asked you to share your favorite Queer artists. Here are a few community favorites:

  • Elisa G.: Ordinary Life by We Are the Union
  • Sophia P.: Cheap Queen by King Princess


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