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Monday, September 23, 2013

Best shows to see: Carcass, Body/Head, No Joy, and Black Twig Pickers

Posted by on 09.23.13 at 12:39 PM

Black Twig Pickers
  • Random Found Objects Photography
  • Black Twig Pickers
The nip in the air only reaffirms the fact that summer festival season is behind us, and for that I think we can thankful: no more porta-potties, shitty sound, traipsing through mud, and idiots wearing bandana headbands. Yes, amateur season is over, and hard-core music fans can hear live music the way it was meant to experienced—indoors! When students head back to school, bands hit the road in earnest, and this week's offerings make that plain. Tonight is a friggin' Monday but there loads of primo shows happening all over town: Odd Future-related hardcore cretins Trash Talk are set to rip up Township, veteran indie-rock stars Arctic Monkeys are back after a lengthy break with a show at the Riviera, and Chicago's own art-pop faves Allá resurface with a low-key show at the Whistler. Speaking of missing in action, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah are also back, playing a show at Lincoln Hall on Tuesday, while the same night over at the Empty Bottle veteran Australian caveman punks Cosmic Psychos return from the dead. On Wednesday progressive bluegrass band Donna the Buffalo turn up at City Winery, while recent Chicago expat Caroline Davis returns to Chicago to lead her superb quartet at Constellation. You can read about four more early week shows from this week's Soundboard after the jump.

Mon 9/23: Carcass at Reggie's Rock Club
Brutal British metal band Carcass seemed to finally rotted away 17 years ago, when the group released its aptly titled Swansong, but it's caught that epidemic known as reunion fever. Luckily, as Monica Kendrick writes, the reconstituted version of the band isn't watered down or purposeless. "Carcass's comeback record, Surgical Steel, is so fucking devastating that it'd redeem even the most cliched reunion story. Solid and savage, but with an impish joyfulness in its chugging riffs and dual-guitar attack, it never sits still or feels like paint-by-numbers death metal—note the almost twangy 80s blues-rock licks on 'Noncompliance to ASTM F 899-12 Standard' and the searing lava-boil solos on 'Cadaver Pouch Conveyor System.'"

Tue 9/24: Body/Head at Museum of Contemporary Art
Emerging from the detritus of the breakup of both her band Sonic Youth and her marriage with Thurston Moore, Kim Gordon has revealed an unflinching commitment to experimentation and envelope-pushing. As I wrote this week, "For the past couple years she's been singing and playing guitar in Body/Head with raw, noisy guitarist Bill Nace, a fixture on the western Massachusetts scene who's worked regularly with the likes of Moore and drummer Chris Corsano. Following up on a few rough, low-key singles and EPs for tiny imprints, the duo has just released a gut-punching double album, Coming Apart, whose unsettling pieces are built from barely organized feedback, jagged riffs, repetitively clanging guitar, and gnomic vocal phrases treated to Gordon's trademark mix of strained incantations, poisonous whispers, and hair-raising howls. Though its structures are extremely loose and mostly sound spontaneously derived, this is seriously committed music that seizes fleeting sounds and gives them staggering weight."

Tue 9/24: No Joy at Schubas
For those who embrace the perverse joy created by buzzing, ringing ears, this combo is for you. As I write this week, "On its second album, Wait to Pleasure, Montreal band No Joy heats up its bludgeoning attack, sharpens its melodic instincts, and gets subtler, all at the same time. The combo's indebtedness to My Bloody Valentine and Lush hasn't diminished much, but they play with their models in a satisfyingly original way."

Wed 9/25: Black Twig Pickers at the Hideout
As a native Virginian, Monica Kendrick is especially discerning when it comes to rural string-band music, especially when it's coming from an indie-rock label, and she writes that this combo makes the cut with honors. "The Black Twig Pickers, based in Virginia and West Virginia, are as much the real deal as a bunch of folks with metaphorical hard-ons for Tony Conrad can be (they share members with Pelt and Spiral Joy Band). How real? At the Mount Airy Bluegrass & Old-Time Fiddlers Convention, Nathan Bowles won second in the banjo category, and the band as a whole took fourth in that contest. Their latest, Rough Carpenters, has everything I want from this style: the silvery, reedy, windy 'n' watery string tones, the fluent dance rhythms, the plaintive harmonies, the effortless-seeming interplay of instruments."

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Agenda Teaser

Performing Arts
The Qualms Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Downstairs Theater
July 13
Music
Jeannie Holliday Lee's Unleaded Blues
August 01

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