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Rock, Pop, Etc Search – Soundboard

9 total results

Speedy Ortiz, Geronimo!, Brontosaurus

Wed., April 16, 8:30 p.m.

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

Empty Bottle (map)
1035 N. Western Ave.
Ukrainian Village/East Village
phone 773-276-3600
Speedy Ortiz, Geronimo!, Brontosaurus

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Tokyo Police Club, Geographer, Said the Whale

Thu., April 17, 7 p.m.

Few recent pop-rock albums have wormed their way into my head like 2010’s Champ, the sophomore full-length from Canadian four-piece Tokyo Police Club: catchy and unfussy, it captures the carefree feeling of a perfect summer day. I would’ve been fine with it if Tokyo Police Club never topped Champ, so long as they kept trying, and I sort of got what I wanted with March’s Forcefield (Mom + Pop). The follow-up to Champ (if you don’t count the 2011 covers album Ten Songs, Ten Years, Ten Days) retains that album’s unfussy, easygoing vibe and sneaky hooks, though most of the songs are less memorable. Tokyo Police Club are still evolving too: the best song on Forcefield, the effervescent, danceable “Hot Tonight,” pushes the group further into radio-pop territory with its sparkly production and an irresistibly upbeat guitar riff that recalls the one in Miley Cyrus’s “Party in the U.S.A.” —Leor Galil sold out

Lincoln Hall (map)
2424 N. Lincoln Ave.
Lincoln Park
phone 773-525-2501
Tokyo Police Club, Geographer, Said the Whale

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John Cale

Thu., April 17, 8 p.m.

John Cale is revered thanks to his years in the Velvet Underground—possibly even more so since the passing of Lou Reed last fall—but he earns our continued attention with his new music. His 15th studio album, 2012’s Shifty Adventures in Nookie Wood (Double Six), got mixed responses from critics, much like his first primarily electronic album, 1985’s Artificial Intelligence—and in both cases, a lot of the cringing had to do with his refusal to act his age. The 72-year-old doesn’t sound like a legacy artist on Shifty Adventures; he sounds like a weirdo puttering around in a studio with younger collaborators (most notably Danger Mouse) to create surrealist pop that’s vaguely sinister, vaguely sexual, and vaguely melancholy. When it fails, it’s just kind of dull, and when it succeeds—as on “Hemingway,” where he reminds us that he can also use his oddly regal Welsh choirmaster’s voice to scream—it’s chilling. The real reason to see Cale live is his deep catalog—he’s a criminally underrated songwriter, and I’d put his best material up against Reed’s any day, if the idea of a competition between them wasn’t so crass and tedious. The last time I saw him, at the Brilliant Corners fest in 2012, he thumbed his nose at the curfew and finished his set with no lights and no PA. It was magnificent. —Monica Kendrick $35, $33 for members; sold out

Maurer Hall, Old Town School of Folk Music (map)
4544 N. Lincoln Ave.
Ravenswood
phone 773-728-6000
John Cale

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Yolks, Golden Pelicans, Son of a Gun

Fri., April 18, 10 p.m.

Every punk-show crowd has its tipping point, when people who’ve been casually sipping on cheap canned adult beverages start whipping them through the air. Those cans mostly just spray watery, skunky beer into the hair and eyes of unfortunate fans, but the majority are aimed at whoever or whatever is onstage. Some bands go out of their way to egg on this sort of barrage, and some can provoke one just by being themselves. Orlando four-piece the Golden Pelicans is guilty on both counts. The band only has three singles—two of which are on Total Punk, the label run by Pelicans drummer Rich Evans—and they’re all aggressive rippers, with pummeling, sweat-it-out rhythms and gravelly hollering from front man Erik Grincewicz that’s apparently trying to knock you out physically. It’s fuck-you-up punk that snarls like the Dead Boys, with a fun undercurrent of nihilism—as songs called “Burn Everything” and “Chained to the Dumpster” probably suggest. Expect a 12-inch from the band late this summer. —Kevin Warwick

Cole's (map)
2338 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Logan Square
phone 773-276-5802
Yolks, Golden Pelicans, Son of a Gun

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Dream Version, Owel, Moxie Motive, Varsity

Sat., April 19, 6 p.m.

When I first heard New Jersey band Owel last year, I’d already heard of them, and all the coverage I’d seen lumped them in with the likes of Dads and TWIABP—so I had the idea that they were also a twinkly, Kinsella-worshipping fourth-wave emo band. But their self-titled debut (released last year on New Jersey label In the Clouds) doesn’t have all that much in common with those groups. Owel bears a resemblance to Muse, before the Brits’ supersize sound succumbed to bloat, but its polished, ornate postrock occasionally deploys intricate, spindly guitar patterns and hushed vocals to create an intimacy Muse rarely managed—“Burning House” and “The Unforgiving Tide” invite you to lean in and get closer, even as they expand into arena-size ballads. I hope more newer emo bands will follow Owel’s lead and make music that sounds as big as the heavens. —Leor Galil $8

Beat Kitchen (map)
2100 W. Belmont Ave.
Roscoe Village
phone 773-281-4444
Dream Version, Owel, Moxie Motive, Varsity

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Eleventh Dream Day, Jaye Jayle

Sun., April 20, 8 p.m.

Ever since Eleventh Dream Day turned their backs on major-label deals and the hard-touring life in 1993, they’ve been demonstrating the wisdom of only doing something when you’re good and ready. Sometimes that’s meant they’ve booked just a couple shows a year or waited six years between albums, but whenever they did play, you could be sure they really wanted to—and the fire and soul of their performances proved it. Lately, though, Eleventh Dream Day have been speeding up a bit. Three years after their previous long player, they’ve written ten new songs, and to tighten them up they’re pursuing the same strategy that made 2011’s Riot Now! (Thrill Jockey) their best album since the mid-90s. The current lineup of Rick Rizzo (vocals, guitar), Janet Beveridge Bean (drums, vocals), Doug McCombs (bass, guitar), Mark Greenberg (keyboards), and Jim Elkington (guitar) will play the new tunes and a few choice old ones every Sunday in April at the Hideout; that should be enough to get everybody into recording trim. —Bill Meyer

Hideout (map)
1354 W. Wabansia Ave.
West Town/Noble Square
phone 773-227-4433
Eleventh Dream Day, Jaye Jayle

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Neil Young

Mon., April 21, 8 p.m. and Tue., April 22, 8 p.m.

Rock legends tend to devolve into shells of themselves with age. Even the greatest of the greats—Springsteen, Dylan, Bowie, Jagger—have lost steam, continuing to make records even though it’s been years since they’ve been within shouting distance of their old excellence. But then there’s Neil Young. At 68 years old, five decades into his musical career, he’s never started sucking and never once released anything bad. (As you’ve probably heard, he’s launching a high-resolution digital-music system called Pono, for which he’s raised $5.6 million and counting on Kickstarter, but we’ll have to wait and see how that turns out.) Last fall I was lucky enough to catch Young and longtime backing band Crazy Horse at the United Center, and it was magical—without a doubt the best big-arena rock show I’ve ever seen. He can flawlessly meld “intimate storyteller” and “bombastic rock front man” into a single persona—one minute he’ll make a stadium feel like a living room, drawing you in with his beautiful guitar and delicate voice, and the next he’ll tear down the walls with three-story-high Marshall stacks. On this tour, Young is playing solo, which is arguably the way he shines brightest. Set lists from earlier stops have featured a mind-blowing mix of smash hits, fan favorites, deep cuts, and covers, reaching back all the way to his Buffalo Springfield days in the late 60s. These shows are bound to be moving and awe inspiring—but we’re talking about Neil Young, one of the greatest songwriters of all time, so you don’t need me to tell you that. —Luca Cimarusti $43.50-$353.50

Chicago Theatre (map)
175 N. State St.
Loop
phone 312-462-6300
Neil Young

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The Knife

Wed., April 23, 8:30 p.m.

Swedish duo the Knife poured a lot of sweat and ideas into last year’s sprawling two-CD album Shaking the Habitual (Mute), their first new album since 2006, and its bold experiments build upon the group’s well-established electro-goth sound. Not all of those experiments are easy on the ears: “Fracking Fluid Injection” is almost ten minutes of dissonant bowed metal and pained vocal sounds, and “Old Dreams Waiting to Be Realized” is even more of an endurance test, its hovering, beatless electronic drone lasting nearly twice that long. Some are just silly: “A Cherry on Top,” for instance, mates borderline nonsensical lyrics (“Coffee with girls and a racing team / The Haga Castle evening cream”) with shapeless low-end twang. But for the most part the album meets the listener at least halfway, with post-techno beats that render relatively accessible its chilly mix of ominous, pulsing synthesizer, alternately tense and soothing electronic melodies, and hectoring vocals. Karin Dreijer Andersson, who provides those vocals, is as unpredictable as any other element of the Knife’s music, jumping from whimsical swoops that make her sound like a street-urchin version of Bjork to a sort of strained rasp with stern, clenched-jaw phrasing; sometimes electronic effects drop her voice into a male range a la Laurie Anderson. “Without You My Life Would Be Boring” complements its thundering percussion with what sound like wooden flutes, and Andersson splits her time between throaty chants and falsetto yammers. Her brother and partner, Olof Dreijer, creates the arrangements almost single-handedly, and he’s never been more assured—you might even say he’s become self-indulgent (Like most two-CD sets, Shaking the Habitual could’ve used a good edit.) But the album’s wandering and weirdness is liberating and exciting, not just distracting. —Peter Margasak $35

Aragon Ballroom (map)
1106 W. Lawrence Ave.
Uptown
phone 773-561-9500 or 866-448-7849
The Knife

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S. Carey, White Hinterland

Wed., April 23, 9 p.m.

Singer-songwriter Casey Dienel, who does business as White Hinterland, occasionally seemed a little shy on her earlier records, where she dabbled in psych-folk or stripped-down electronics. But on the new Baby (Dead Oceans) she purges all trace of that reticence—she’s a full-fledged diva, albeit one who takes more cues from Bjork than from Beyonce. Contemporary R&B nonetheless plays heavily into her current sound, along with the wordless cooing of the Cocteau Twins, the sophisticated soul-pop of Laura Nyro, and the gothic wail of Zola Jesus. The intensity in Dienel’s throaty, aggressive voice seems to strain against the confines of the arrangements; on the piano ballad “David” her singing ventures into melismatic slow-jam turf, and on the woozy organ-driven pop song “Metronome” her extroverted vocals join forces with jacked-up electronic beats. White Hinterland’s music is a strange amalgam, with dissonance undercutting the emotional bombast and the elegance of the singing balancing the ripeness of its delivery. —Peter Margasak $14

Lincoln Hall (map)
2424 N. Lincoln Ave.
Lincoln Park
phone 773-525-2501
S. Carey, White Hinterland

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