When he recorded under the name Manishevitz, Adam Busch donned a new stylistic guise with each album: bedroom folk, ornate pop, swaggering glam. Now at the helm of Sonoi, which also includes bassist Ryan Hembrey and drummer Pierce Doerr, he's forged a coherent sound from all those elements and a few new ones. The artful sequencing of spacey country-rock, glassy guitar instrumentals, pensive acoustic ballads, and thumping anthems on their new LP, Tropics of Holland (Meno Mosso), makes me think of a perfect shish kebab fresh off the grill: each taste enhances the last, and when you get to the end you're ready to start over. —Bill Meyer, 2012
For the past ten years Justin Broadrick has made music as Jesu, combining warm shoegaze with wall-of-sound postmetal. Jesu records are so lush and beautiful that it’s easy to forget you’re listening to the same guy who spent the late 80s and all of the 90s fronting pioneering industrial-metal act Godflesh, one of the most brutal bands ever to exist. Streetcleaner, the Birmingham group’s 1989 debut LP, is a frightening, powerful mess, propelled by a clangy, mechanical drum machine and crunchy, earth-rattling bass. On subsequent records the duo grew a bigger lineup, with live drums, another guitarist, and even keyboards, but for their 2010 reunion (really just a handful of festival dates) the band was once again just Broadrick, bassist G.C. Green, and that drum machine. Now Godflesh have finally booked a full-fledged North American tour, and after a cancellation due to visa issues in October, they’re coming to Chicago for the first time in more than 15 years. They’ve also announced plans to release a brand-new album this year, A World Lit Only by Fire—the follow-up to 2001’s Hymns. There’s nothing from that LP to hear yet, but Godflesh did release a single in the fall via Decibel magazine’s monthly flexi series—a cover of “Fuck of Death” by Canadian extreme-metal band Slaughter. With its pounding drum machine, violent vocals, and shrill, dissonant guitar, it might as well be a Streetcleaner B side. For more on Godflesh, see the Artist on Artist interview between Broadrick and producer Sanford Parker. —Luca Cimarusti Cut Hands and Czar open. $23, $21 in advance
Part of the International Pop Overthrow.
Speedy Ortiz’s Major Arcana (Carpark) isn’t a right-away album. I found it via “No Below,” a solemn single by the Northampton foursome that’s propelled by a hypnotic ascending-and-descending guitar line that hooked me when the raw but tender vocals of front woman Sadie Dupuis came in right in step with it. It’s the album’s best track, and every time I tried to listen to the whole thing, I couldn’t help skipping forward to it. On my fourth or fifth spin, though, it hit me that Major Arcana hangs together as a whole, greater than the sum of its parts. It’s jagged and peculiar and sometimes achingly, nakedly nostalgic for the 90s (particularly in the way Dupuis seems so trepidatious about spilling her guts into the mike), and its noisy anthems sound tailor-made for the awkward kids with their heads down in the back of the class. —Kevin Warwick Geronimo! and Brontosaurus open. $10