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Concert at Metro Chicago | © vxla/Flickr
Concert at Metro Chicago | © vxla/Flickr
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Indie Musicians From Chicago You Should Know

Picture of Elizabeth Newhart
Updated: 9 February 2017
Almost anyone can name a few major artists that hail from the Windy City – Fall Out Boy, Kanye West, and Chicago, just to name a few. But many don’t know that the city has its own thriving music scene of up-and-comers that deserve your attention as well. So listen up and keep an eye out for these indie acts, some brand new and some more well known. No matter the level of familiarity, always remember to support your local artists.

The Fox & The Hounds

The Fox & The Hounds is a six-piece powerhouse that advertises to be Chicago’s only burlesque rock n’ roll band, and their latest EP, Peachy Keen, delivers on that aesthetic. Helmed by lead singer Kendel and supported by backup vocalists Kate and Katie, the trio on Peachy Keen manages to get the party started, never letting it die through just six songs. Check out The Fox and The Hounds‘ music video for ‘How The Other Half Live’ to get a feel of the fun, sexy vibe embedded in each of their songs, and just try not to dance along. The band got its start in a Lakeview basement and now plays regular shows throughout Chicago and the Midwest. Catch them next in Milwaukee and then back in the Windy City for a Halloween show.

Cardinal Harbor

Six-man band Cardinal Harbor debuted their new EP Euclid this summer, and it has been garnering Chicago attention ever since. Their sound is the perfect easy listening rhythm everyone needs after a long day, as evident by their most recent recording session in suburban Oak Park. ‘$60 T-Shirt’ blends notes of synthesized vocals and comfort melodies throughout. And the positive response to their refined indie rock on Euclid prompted a few local shows in the city. They played Navy Pier and Lincoln Hall over the summer, and you can catch them at PUB OK in October and Happy Hour at Hubbard in November.

The Heard

The Heard describes itself as Chicago’s Funk Machine, and for a good reason. Their front line has all the makings of legendary funk in the form of trombones, trumpets, and saxophones. If you’re looking for a throwback groove, these are the guys that will get you in the mood. They’ve played the Chicago festival circuit in the past and have a special relationship with North Coast Music Fest, but they also make their way around local venues. Congress Theater, Metro Chicago, and Lincoln Hall, to name a few, have played host to The Heard. Check out their SoundCloud tracks to get to know them, and follow their social media channels for the best up-to-date info on where to hear them next.

Steve Grand

This young, soulful artist from the western suburbs of Chicago has been making waves since the release of his debut album, All-American Boy, three years ago. The lead single of the same name was a massive hit in 2013 and tells the story of a country boy falling in love with his best male friend, and the stigma that goes along with it. Ever since then, Steve Grand has used his platform to be an advocate for LGBTQ rights. He has an active YouTube page that he uses to connect with and produce content for his fans. He’s appeared on talk shows, played across the country and even around the world. His next upcoming show dates are in New Orleans, but he always manages to cycle back to Chicago.

Ally Ahern

Ally Ahern is the definition of small and mighty. Her dainty, sweet appearance, and young age may mislead listeners into thinking she’s just another pop princess wannabe. But after listening to her five-song, self-titled debut EP, you will know she’s anything but. ‘Forks and Knives’ is a 50-second song that kicks off the compilation and is more guttural spoken word than singing. But as the EP continues, you get a sampling of her haunting and captivating vocals. At just 18 years old, she’s generating considerable buzz on Chicago music blogs and emerging into a promising career. Check out her SoundCloud and follow her on Facebook for updates.