We are a Rock & Roll Band











It's true. The Chicago Reader calls Future Hits an "educational rock powerhouse," and it's not for nothing.


Since 2011, at the same time as all the curriculum alignment got going, founding member Matt Baron made sure that Future Hits existed as a a proper rock and roll band in addition to something that exceeded other educational music in classrooms (read: not didactic, story-based songs with hidden phonics + SEL features).


Before the first batch of songs was even finished (the songs on debut record Songs for Learning), Baron enlisted some of Chicago's finest (and smartest) musicians to flesh out his acoustic ditties. Matt and flutist + bassist + vocalist Emma Hospelhorn (PhD learning sciences) and drummer + multi-instrumentalist Ben Sutherland (PhD music composition) recorded a record with Mark Greenberg (Coctails, Andrew Bird) featuring special guests Little Miss Ann, Nathaniel Braddock, and Jack Baron. Project Onward artist Louis DeMarco made the album artwork.   

Then the trio added drumming virtuoso and teacher Nick Kabat to the fold. The newly minted quartet recorded their second record, a bilingual album called Today is Forever / Hoy es para siempre with Benjamin Balcom. Special guest David Vandervelde (Father John Misty) serves as the band's honorary fifth member and shreds all over the record. Cartoonist and illustrator Johnny Sampson designed the robust liner notes.

For their latest offering, the band beefed up their outfit even more and invited Quartet Parapluie, Ben LaMar Gay, Josh Berman and Nick Broste + re-invited Vandervelde to add some magical musical mystery all over Future Hits and the Power of Discoverya true family-music opus. The band recorded the record with Balcom and Neil Strauch. Field Notes designer Bryan Bedell created the elaborate zine album artwork.

People describe Future Hits's sound as "Death Cab for Kindergarten," "'Free to Be You and Me' for the Wilco Generation," and "what it'd sound like if Yo La Tengo and the Velvet Underground started a band for kids." But please have a listen to find out for yourself!

Meet the band!

Emma Hospelhorn (bass/vox/flute/synth)

First album bought: Salt-n-Pepa “Very Necessary” on cassette

First concert attended: Smashing Pumpkins with special guests the Flaming Lips at Rosemont Horizon

Fave childhood movie: “The Last Unicorn”

Fave color: Gray

Day job: Flutist

Best thing(s) about being in Future Hits: Playing smart songs for cool kids with good people and watching kids dance with each other to our songs

Nick Kabat


First album bought: Prolly like N'Sync's first album lol (we're talking like with our own money right?)

First concert attended: Dave Matthews Band at Alpine Valley! (Oy) 

Fave childhood movie: Tie between “Lion King” and “Ferngully”

Fave color: Blue

Day job: Musician 

Best thing(s) about being in Future Hits: Playing shows that people are actually excited to come to, and expanding my list of acquaintances thanks to meeting my three fellow bandmates!

Ben Sutherland


First album bought: Queen “Flash Gordon Soundtrack” on cassette (1981)

First concert attended: .38 Special with Eddie Money ("sh-sh-sh-shakin'") (1984)

Fave childhood movie: “Star Wars” (1977)

Fave color: Gray

Day job: College professor/composer

Best thing(s) about being in Future Hits: Playing good music with good people for the common good, and seeing the kids dancing and having fun at our shows

Matt Baron


First album bought: Tiffany’s self-titled LP

First concert attended: New Kids on the Block at Rosemont Horizon

Fave childhood movie: “Back to the Future"

Fave color: Blue

Day job: Musician

Best thing(s) about being in Future Hits: Getting to play songs for people of all ages and all the cool people I get to meet and collaborate with

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