AIMM may have the most adventurous bills each night, but of course there are always other shows to recommend. Below are four that will take care of you from Thursday through Sunday.
One member is a producer and the other is a vinyl hound who digs for Finders Keepers, and as Demdike Stare, Miles Whittaker and Sean Canty create tense, unnerving would-be horror-film soundtracks. To quote myself, "Whittaker and Canty work with torturous patience—often elongating lulls filled with faint buzzes and grim dissonance through patches of negative space—and in so doing enable unnerving tension to bubble to the surface."
Black-metal quartet Vattnet Viskar, who hail from the modest Plaistow, New Hampshire, precede Demdike Stare with what Monica Kendrick describes as a "beautifully ominous supercell storm of doomy, lyrical black metal, with a sinister logic underlying its deceitful lulls and a rich, supernatural eloquence in its howling winds." In short, it's epic.
Though Leor Galil admits that the Flatbush Zombies' weed-infused punch lines and overall silliness can wear thin pretty fast, he nonetheless comes out in support of their new self-released mixtape, D.R.U.G.S.: "The rapping has more urgent energy, and dovetails much more powerfully with the instrumentals, by producer (and sometimes rapper) Erick Arc Elliott—they're loose and druggy, like experimental late-60s rock, and Elliott uses plenty of syrupy pitch-shifted vocals, molasses-slow drum patterns, and dreamy synths." Smoke Dza headlines.
"The 2012 centennial of John Cage has meant a deluge of opportunities for Chicagoans to experience his music live; it seems like every adventurous group in town has presented a program of his work this year," Peter Margasak writes. No doubt about it. In May, Third Coast Percussion added to the Cage celebration with their album The Works for Percussion 2. Tonight the International Contemporary Ensemble (whose founder, Claire Chase, just won a MacArthur fellowship) will play nine Cage works from 1942-1987 between movements of Le Marteau Sans Maitre, the serialist masterpiece of French composer Pierre Boulez.
Micachu & the Shapes, who close out this year's AIMM fest, can initially sound like a throwback to the herky-jerky art-pop of 80s-era Rough Trade, according to Peter Margasak, but after repeated spins the trio's music really starts opening up. He explains, "Front woman Mica Levi is incredibly savvy, using the band's chaos and her own deadpan delivery to disguise her craftiness. Her singing rarely rises above conversational volume, but her clenched voice delivers insinuating hooks and strong opinions, the latter directed squarely at a world that pretends to know what's best for her."