“The act of musicking establishes in the place where it is happening a set of relationships, and it is in those relationships that the meaning of the act lies.” -Christopher Small

The Sick Muse is a collaborative effort to explore and expand the relationships that make music in Chicago. We publish an open submission-format zine that hovers around the motives, imagination, and labor in the DIY Chi. We document a particular time & place and present a forum for thinking forward.

The Sick Muse was founded in November 2015 by a collective of musicians and writers with the intent of publishing the oft-unpublished DIY musicians’ lyrics. This goal quickly expanded, and each issue involves more than 25 contributors who submit essays, illustration, interviews, lyrics, photography, design, and poetry that pose the question of why and how they make art & music in Chicago.

We publish as active participants in the worlds that we represent. We are committed to community-centered media. We believe in the power of print to demand deliberation and bring together diverse ideas and groups of people. We uphold a DIY ethos and celebrate it with beautiful graphic design and production.

From the Chicago Reader: “One of Gossip Wolf’s favorite new things from the past year is The Sick Muse, a genre-agnostic zine celebrating and documenting Chicago DIY musicians. Issue number six dropped last month; it includes a guide to local resources—health, self-defense, community organizing—to help you through the next four years.” 

From the South Side Weekly: “The Sick Muse is an ever-evolving homage to Chicago’s various DIY scenes. For issue 10, editors Sasha Tycko, Noah Jones, and Jolene Whatever have grown from their zine roots into a full-size glossy magazine with artist interviews, hip weirdo features, and artfully illustrated lyrics from local bands. It’s all centered on the concept of utopia and a willfully optimistic call to action, including the excerpt featured here: “How to Do Things with Throats” by pt bell.”

Visit the online shop. We also frequently table at shows and festivals: stay in touch.

In stock at:

Quimby’s Bookstore (1854 W. North Ave., Chicago, IL)

Quimby’s Bookstore NYC (536 Metropolitan Ave., Brooklyn, NY)

Build Coffee (6100 S. Blackstone Ave., Chicago, IL)

Space Oddities (1007 N. California Ave., Chicago, IL)

Sustain Gallery & Shop (1201 W. Leland Ave., Chicago, IL)

Bric-a-Brac Records (3156 W. Diversey Ave., Chicago, IL)

Reckless Records Wicker Park (1379 N. Milwuakee Ave., Chicago, IL)

Reckless Records Boystown (3126 N. Broadway Ave., Chicago, IL)

Joyride Records (1914 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL)

Each issue includes more than 20 contributors. We have an ongoing call for submissions: send to sickmuse.chi@gmail.com.

Founding Editors:  Noah Jones, Sasha Tycko, Jol(ene)isha W/E

Design Editor: Natalia Rios

Graphic Designer: Benjamin Karas

Feature Writers: Justin Horowitz, Victoria Parra, Dan Shukis, P.T. Bell, Plus Sign

Feature Photographer: Alexus McLane

Website background illustration by Xander Black.