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Monday, September 24, 2012

Shows to see: Devo, Dirty Three, and Julia Holter

Posted By on 09.24.12 at 07:38 AM

Julia Holter
  • Rick Bahto
  • Julia Holter
In last Thursday's Shows to See post I neglected to mention that we're in the midst of the year's last big city-sponsored music fest: World Music Festival. As I write in the paper's festival preview, bureaucratic fumbling and a ridiculously late start in organizing has sapped much of the vitality from the event, the first without founder Michael Orlove at the helm. Still, there are plenty of good sets to take in, from the stunning young Malian singer Fatoumata Diawara, who plays Monday at the Cultural Center, and the traditional Colombian group Los Gaiteros de San Jacinto, who appear Tuesday at the National Museum of Mexican Art and Wednesday at the Old Town School of Folk Music. If you're more into rocking out to, um, rock, several excellent options from this week's Soundboard follow the jump.

Wed 9/26: Devo at Chicago Theatre
Miles Raymer says that Devo fans come in two essential stripes—those who include the Akron weirdos' hit "Whip It" on 80s mixtapes, and obsessives like himself "who listen to the group's beyond-weird prefame demos (available on two collections entitled Hardcore Devo), hunt down vintage power-dome helmets on eBay, and consider 'Gates of Steel' one of the best rock 'n' roll songs ever." The bill for this new wave nostalgia show also includes Blondie.

Wed 9/26: Dirty Three at Lincoln Hall
The three members of the Australian instrumental trio Dirty Three have been very busy in the seven years since their last album. Violinist Warren Ellis has become one of Nick Cave's most trusted collaborators, playing in Grinderman and the Bad Seeds and also working on film scores with him, while drummer Jim White has played behind everyone from Cat Power to Bonnie "Prince" Billy to Beth Orton. Guitarist Mick Turner has been comparatively quiet, but the group's excellent new album suggests he hasn't lost his touch. As I write this week, "Some of the ideas on Toward the Low Sun sound familiar—tracks such as 'Rising Below' and 'The Pier' could've come from almost any period of the band's career—but the scrabbling rhythms, impassioned melodies, and tangled noise in their ragged, hot-blooded folk rock can combine in so many ways that 'familiar' is relative."

Wed 9/26: Julia Holter at Schubas
As far as I know LA's Julia Holter is the only musician at once playing committed interpretations of compositions by the avant-gardist Michael Pisaro while also creating deeply melodic and moody art-pop on her new album Ekstasis. As I write in this week's paper, "Like Arthur Russell and Laurie Anderson, she seamlessly marries pop music and the avant-garde, but she's a better singer than either—and she also seems way less self-conscious about the combination, presenting ambitious ideas with confident clarity."

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