ISSUE #35 / NOVEMBER 8, 2018
Post Punk Emo ran through a Chicago indie filter would be an apt description for these five tracks from this local, bassless trio. Jaclyn Nora’s rhythm guitar slices through the tunes with plenty of fuzz, while Glenn Francisco seems to comment on her life-examining, confessional lyrics by layering licks that echo Nora’s vocals over top. Kevin Portelli is the real workhorse here, pounding on his kit, laying out the beat that drives these songs along. With plenty of local references and a dark, grungy feel, the release comes just as the city is gearing down for winter, with its grey days and unrelenting wind. It’s a great backdrop for Nora’s off kilter introspective lyrics and whirling guitars that swirl like the gusts down an alley. What a fantastic debut EP from these locals whose name comes from slang that urban dictionary defines as: “To think or to dwell on something until it is no longer possible to think about it.” It’s a rather apt description for these new emo luminaries. Buy a digital copy and support local music or order the cassette out now on local imprint Worry Records.
They just had their EP release last weekend, but you can catch them opening for Good Brother at The Sub T on December 8th. Tix are $8.
Beast On Beast
Gabrielle Smith did something few artists have done: changed the name of her act just as the brand was getting strong. She did it for good reason, since the old name, Eskimeaux, was questioned by several in the scene and beyond as culturally insensitive. She brings the same confessional indie rock feel and persona to the new name, with a bit more production than previous efforts. This makes for a shiny feel to her otherwise somber, yet inspiring reflections on the rigours of life. Think Frankie Cosmos (Greta Kline: a friend, influence, and frequent tour mate) with all the bedroom pop polished away for a more listener-friendly experience. You would think having survived a tumultuous few years (crazy abuse allegations leveled against her, all of which were never proven) and the moniker backlash she experienced (changing the name to Ó, then to Gabby’s World) would have left a stain on the product, but she erases it all with her best collection of tunes to date. Maturity and experience have brought a level headedness to these songs that really propel her past the turmoil and into a realm of acceptance and perseverance that a weaker artist wouldn’t have been able to achieve. This is a perfect winter record, made for nursing a post-work porter on a long, dark evening. Take a listen.
She is swinging into the Sub T on January 13th with Yowler. Tix are only $13.
Hiss Golden Messenger
With his folk swing style, Michael “MC” Taylor returns with Hiss Golden Messenger’s tenth studio album. And it’s a fitting companion to last year’s excellent Hallelujah Anyhow. Returning to a roots-driven acoustic approach, he leaves behind the electric bluesy sound that had taken over the last several records and goes for a more simple and direct folk approach. Lyrically his explorations of love, relationships, age, and family continue to be incredibly effective; and the use of classic metaphors (rivers, the land, and the open sky) are a testament to his adopted home of North Carolina. (Taylor spent his youth in urban Irvine, California.) In fact, it is this juxtaposition in his life story—the city battling the country—that makes his music so “of the times”. It’s exactly what all of us are dealing with right now. Taylor is capturing this moment, most likely without intent.
There are no current Chicago dates on his upcoming tour.
Action Bronson , EMPIRE
Ariyan Arslani has been rapping under the moniker Action Bronson for a decade now and has released his most succinct and old school album to date. It’s rare that a hip hop record would fit on one vinyl, but this one surely would at a scant 28 minute run time. Then again, Bronson, a former respected chef and host of two reality shows, has never been known for dragging out his tunes. He gets in, spits his truth and gets out. Telling stories is his jag and he knows how to keep it real. In fact we’ve seen him a couple times in the past and he doesn't even travel with a DJ, preferring to be the lone man on stage. White Broncho is the first independent record (or mixtape if you prefer) since signing with Atlantic in 2013, a relationship he ended earlier this year, over creative differences. His fans have no reason to be concerned as this may be his most incendiary record to date, it looks like independence suits him.
Concord is hosting him on February 23rd. Tix are $30.50
Def Jam , UMG
Like Queens of the Stone Age did with album Songs for the Deaf, Long Beach native and hip hop artist, Vince Staples, took a similar approach to his 3rd studio album FM!. The album features a DJ who introduces the album, and provides listeners with a break in between songs to introduce the next one. Vince also adds some short skits between tracks, and features artists like Earl Sweatshirt, Ty Dolla $ign, Kamaiyah, and more. FM! is a socially conscious piece (a style that Vince is known for) with songs like “Outside”, “Don’t Get Chipped”, and “No Bleedin” that show Vince’s political side and point out his views on themes that are being promoted in modern day black music such as senseless violence. The album is a great piece of art, and Vince Staples always produces quality material as he continues to grow as a musician.
Vince Staples is currently touring on the West Coast and in the South.
’s Favorite Friend
Exploding in Sound
With plenty of grungy, guitar-layered goodness and 90’s influences, Stove brings us their fourth studio effort in four years. Getting its start as a side project of Ovlov guitarist Steve Hartlett, Stove grew into a full fledged act as Ovlov broke up. (They have reunited last year and released Tru back in July.) Now as a quartet, the heavy layers of noise Stove produces has grown to a substantive peak, and on songs like “Annoying Guy” it goes over the top as Hartlett rips through a jam with tight solo work. However, the real moments that shine here are the quieter songs that show off his songwriting skills like closers “They Are Dogs” and “Animortal”. Tight, little ditties that have their roots in the likes of Mudhoney and Dinosaur Jr. without feeling contrived or repetitive.
Stove played the Sub T back in May and have no current Chicago dates.
Dead Can Dance
DCD , [PIAS]
Art rock innovators Dead Can Dance have been sporadically making their mark on the music landscape since the duo was young Australian upstarts in the London scene of the early 80’s. With Dionysus, their thirteenth studio album, and first in six years, they took two years to research and record what may be their most ambitious work to date. They have taken inspiration from stories of Dionysus and explore the myths in a two part instrumental (there are no real words here so we consider the voice to be an instrument) voyage of musical discovery. There are so many influences throughout this record; from Latin beats and Indian throat singing to the electronic elements and the odd lilting vocals of modern Middle Eastern music to the drums of Native Americans and beyond. It took a mountain of instruments to record this one as layers were built on layers and the result is simply fascinating. Take this journey.
No U.S. dates on their current tour.
The D has returned with a new narrative, awesome songs, and a hand-drawn, 6-episode animated short that is currently streaming on Youtube. Each episode aired week by week, revealing songs off their 21-track album. Duo rockers Jack Black and Kyle Gass have created their 4th comedic-rock album with a post apocalypse twist. The animated series kicks off with the duo trying to make money to pay their rent. Just as they were succeeding in doing so, a nuclear bomb came crashing down, causing chaos. The pair survived the blast by hiding in a refrigerator. Jack and Kyle kick off their post-apocalyptic existence by meeting and adopting 2-headed dog, Hope. As Tenacious D tries to survive in the wasteland of Earth, their songs describe their tales of cavewoman love making, flying into space, fighting weird octopus monsters, and even a political rant about Donald Trump Jr. and the KKK. Post-Apocalypto brings the lewd comedy Tenacious D is known for, and like in their previous 3 albums, they hold nothing back.
Tenacious D will be at The Riv for 2 nights on November 13th and 14th. Both shows are sold out, but there are plenty of aftermarket tix if you wanna shell out the dough.