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Secret History of Chicago Music
Plastic Crimewave (Steve Krakow)

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My Kind of Sound compiles more than a decade worth of “The Secret History of Chicago Music,” the illustrated column by Steve Krakow (“Plastic Crimewave”) that has been printed bi-weekly in the Chicago Reader since 2005. There is much to discover in these stories; amidst the slighted fame, botched contracts, overdoses, and break-ups, Krakow spotlights the glory that exists in making music.

Some of these musicians made considerable contributions to Chicago's music culture, rivaling those of the legends we all know and collect. And some of them didn’t, but Krakow insists that you know about them. There’s little-known folk duo Hollins and Starr, who recorded a single, perfect LP and promptly disappeared; rock group The Lemon Drops, decimated by their own recording contract; the supergroup Thunderpussy, who toured in a pink school bus and broke up after their bassist quit; and the should-be-famous June Shellene, who opened for the likes of B.B. King and Jefferson Airplane, and waited over forty years to release a solo album.

Each of the more than 200 columns included in My Kind of Sound were painstakingly constructed by Krakow in his signature scissor-and-glue process, the same he employs in his long-running psychedelic zine, Galactic Zoo Dossier. Charmed though his process may be, Krakow’s gigantic love for music and the people who make it is serious and staggering and the resulting collection is as fun as it is important. Jim DeRogatis of Sound Opinions ays it in his foreword: "Those of us who care about the good stuff know what [Krakow] has done, and we love him for it."

"[The Secret History of Chicago Music] is an education even for us know-it-all music obsessives, and are the only comics that have sent me directly to the record store to dig in the bins for dusty gems."
—Jessica Hopper, Pitchfork, author of The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic

"The Secret History of Chicago Music has developed into an important study of the obscure blues, jazz, rock, funk, soul, folk, R&B, and punk musicians from Chicago’s rich and diverse musical history."
—Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago

Steve Krakow ("Plastic Crimewave") is a writer, illustrator, and musician. He is the editor of Galactic Zoo Dossier, founder of the Million Tongues Festival, and frontman for Plastic Crimewave Syndicate. He draws the "Secret History of Chicago Music" comic for the Chicago Reader and WGN. 

JC Gabel is a writer, editor, publisher and cultural critic living in LA. He founded Stop Smiling Media and The Chicagoan, edited at The Pitchfork Review and TASCHEN, and currently works as an editorial director and publisher at Hat & Beard Inc.