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Superheaven, Diamond Youth, Rozwell Kid, Churchkey

Fri., May 22, 5:30 p.m.

Last year music blog Stuff You Will Hate—which fills its pages with tongue-in-cheek coverage of bands largely popular among the Warped Tour set—decided to test its soothsaying skills and predict the forthcoming rise of “soft grunge,” its term for musicians blending the “Seattle sound” with 90s midwestern emo. At this blip, the forecast appears dead-on—and I hope more groups copping that style take notes from Pennsylvania four-piece Superheaven. Bands that worship at the Temple of the Dog love to act as though 1994 never arrived, but Superheaven play like the entire decade never even happened. Their new sophomore album, Ours Is Chrome (SideOneDummy), shrugs off the burden of living up to grunge greats, and even when the guitars give off a whiff of “Teen Spirit,” Superheaven make the sound their own. They mine emo’s volatile catharsis and sweet melodies to produce clean, precise examples of “soft grunge,” and tracks such as “Leach” and “Gushin’ Blood” move with a heavy somberness while managing to hit all the right euphoric pop notes. —Leor Galil $14, $12 in advance

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Beat Kitchen (map)
2100 W. Belmont Ave.
Roscoe Village
phone 773-281-4444
Superheaven, Diamond Youth, Rozwell Kid, Churchkey

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Natural Information Society

Fri., May 22, 8:30 p.m.

On Magneto­ception (Eremite), the new double album by the Natural Information Society, Joshua Abrams improves upon the hypnotizing single-chord music he’s been finessing over much of the past decade, forging a sound that’s less dependent on the traditions of north and west Africa but still retains their ritualistic power. Past recordings reflect his ensemble’s shifting, ever-changing personnel, but the new record was developed with a fixed lineup, and most of the pieces reveal a heightened sense of direction. Driven by the twangy thrum of Abrams’s guim­bri and Hamid Drake’s morphing frame drum and tabla patterns, opener “By Way of Odessa” rises and falls as the guitar playing of Jeff Parker and Emmett Kelly coalesces and separates (Ben Boye’s chromatic electric Autoharp adds a complementary glow). “Lore” is less meditative and more demonstrative, with slaloming guitar lines bathing the tintinnabulation of bells, while the dampened guitar lines on “Broom” summon a kind of Krautrock ferocity. The mesmerizing qualities are undiminished—in fact, the sharper focus works to thicken the hypnosis, as improvised passages flow in and out of imperturbable grooves. This performance comes at the end of a U.S. tour, so I expect tonight’s terrific lineup—Abrams, Kelly, Boye, harmonium player Lisa Alvarado, and drummers Frank Rosaly and Mikel Avery—to reach deep inside the material and find loads of fresh possibilities. —Peter Margasak $10

Constellation (map)
3111 N. Western Ave.
Roscoe Village Natural Information Society

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