Jochy Saldivar, aka Partywatcher, stands in front of a colorful geometric mural, his hands clasped in front of his chest, looking off to one side in sunglasses and laughing
Jochy Saldivar, aka Partywatcher Credit: Heriberto Gallegos

For seven years, Chicago musician Jochy Saldivar has been releasing suave R&B-inflected pop as Partywatcher, and this Friday he drops the EP El Tipo, his first release sung entirely in Spanish. The new EP also breaks stylistically from Partywatcher’s 2022 EP, Moreno, which leans heavily on 80s synth pop dosed with reggaeton; by contrast, El Tipo foregrounds merengue, salsa, and bachata. “I knew I, number one, wanted to do an EP or record in Spanish,” Saldivar says, “and number two, I wanted to pay tribute to my roots in the Dominican Republic.”

Saldivar was born in Dallas, Texas, and moved to the Dominican Republic at age nine. He spent the next 14 years there and enmeshed himself in the music community of Santo Domingo. “I became part of the local alternative scene out there,” Saldivar says. “Something that’s not really well-known about the Dominican is there’s so many bands and artists that are not merengue, bachata, and salsa. You got punk bands out there, you got rock, you got alternative bands, indie bands—you name it, they have it.” Among the musicians Saldivar befriended were members of the hardcore band La Armada, which relocated to Chicago in 2008.

Saldivar moved back to Dallas in 2009 for college. He began performing solo at open mikes, which gave him the inkling that he could pursue music as a solo artist. Saldivar didn’t want to stay in Texas when he finished school, and he wanted to move to a big city. His old pals in La Armada encouraged him to move to Chicago, and Saldivar ended up moving in with one of them.

“When I started doing Partywatcher in 2016, it was a lot of starts and stops,” Saldivar says. “I wasn’t fully there mentally with all of it.” He found a missing piece two years later, when he met jazz pianist Pat Leary. “We’ve been playing music since 2018,” Saldivar says. “And Partywatcher, the band version, was born.”

“I always say the biggest thing about Partywatcher is that it’s a tribute to my two biggest musical influences, which is my mom and my dad,” Saldivar says. “My mom played me a lot of American music growing up: Phil Collins, Janet Jackson. My dad would play me traditional merengue, bachata, salsa—all that stuff. So El Tipo is really more of a ‘This one’s for you, dad’–type vibe.” 

Partywatcher’s El Tipo single “El Descaro,” released in September

Saldivar’s father had front-row seats for the creation of El Tipo. Last year Saldivar worked on the EP with producer Radi Ramon Pina (of 80s-flavored rock group Le Montro) at La Formula Studios in Santo Domingo. The studio is about a five-minute drive from Saldivar’s dad’s home, and Saldivar would visit him after sessions and play him music. 

Saldivar says the confidence he’s gained over the past few years helped him make the creative leaps on El Tipo. “Five years ago, I wouldn’t have had the balls to put out music like this,” he says. “Where now, I’m like, ‘I’m gonna put this out, and I’m gonna make sure it’s the best thing I’ve ever done.’” 

He likens his Partywatcher stage persona to that of a professional wrestler entering the ring. “The most successful characters in pro wrestling are the guys that take their real-life personas and bump it up to 1,000,” he says. “I feel like Partywatcher is the same thing—that’s me, but times a million, because onstage I’m the most confident person in the world. I’m very loud, even with my wardrobe and how I perform.”

Saldivar performs at Sleeping Village on Thursday, December 7, to celebrate the release of El Tipo. Two local Latine alternative artists, George Arthur Calendar and Jesse, open the show. Tickets are $20, $15 in advance.

the four members of Hostages stand in a derelict room with a peeling ceiling, photographed with the camera pointed up from the floor for a classic hardcore "beatdown" angle
Hostages Credit: Marqui Johnstone

Local hardcore outfit Hostages first caught Gossip Wolf’s attention in 2022 with the gangbusters album Messenger of Death, whose punishing sound marked the band as one of the most menacing in town. Over the past few months they’ve released two standout singles, including the anti–Supreme Court banger “United in Bloodshed” and the self-lacerating portrait of depression “The Whole Year Inn.” The latter, which dropped in November, packs a full clip of blasting riffs worthy of mid-2000s Hatebreed and Integrity—it’s easily the most accomplished song of Hostages’ short career. On Thursday, December 7, Hostages play a loaded bill at the Empty Bottle with Consensus Madness, Dusty Turrets, Miserable People, and a DJ set from Froggy Style. The show is a benefit for Enrique Castro, a friend of the band, who’s struggling to pay for a recent emergency open-heart surgery.

The two most recent Hostages singles, released in July and November

In summer 2022, experimental metal trio Locrian ended a seven-year hiatus to release the album New Catastrophism. Keyboardist Terence Hannum and guitarist André Foisy, who founded the band in Chicago in 2005, have since moved to Baltimore and Albany, New York, respectively, but drummer Steven Hess, who became a full-time member in 2010, still lives here. Reader contributor Luca Cimarusti hailed New Catastrophism as “a beautiful, heady record that strips their aesthetic back to straightforward postmetal-flavored ambience and electronics,” and this wolf has been eagerly awaiting a follow-up! Thankfully, instead of taking another seven years to put out more new music, on December 1 Locrian dropped the digital EP Solar Lodge via Profound Lore. It consists of a cover and three remixes of the titular song by pioneering UK experimental group Coil—an overt nod to the avant-garde influences that initially shaped Locrian. The remixes, in increasing order of abstraction, are by Italian horror-noise project TV-Crimes, Oregon electronic musician and visual artist Jonathan Canady, and Paul Riedl of Denver death-metal band Blood Incantation.

Coil’s “Solar Lodge,” covered here by Locrian, appears on their debut album, the 1984 recording Scatology.

“In 2022, we started looking back to the roots of our project, specifically our mutual interest in experimental, avant-garde, and ambient music,” says Foisy—and Coil was high on the list. “From 2014 through the last time we played live in 2016, we closed our live sets with a cover version of ‘Solar Lodge.’ Last year, we recorded our take on that track, a song that alludes to Coil’s interest in exploring hidden dimensions of consciousness.”

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