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Speedy Ortiz, Krill, Two Inch Astronaut, Nnamdi Ogbonnaya

Thu., April 30, 9 p.m.

Though Speedy Ortiz have enjoyed a swift rise through the ranks of artful, slightly twisted indie-rock—the variety appealing to kids with disheveled, greasy hair and holes in the elbows of their cardigans—they haven’t much bothered with ironing out the wrinkles in their disjointed, jerky sound. If anything they’ve gnarled it further. Beginning with “Good Neck,” the short opening track that’s 90 percent clatter and 10 percent front woman Sadie Dupuis’s delicate but mighty voice, the great new Foil Deer (Carpark) tumbles forth like a poetry-slam performance, with tangents of shredded guitar blooming from tangents of shredded guitar and jagged rhythms marching along like they were created via an obscure stop-motion technique. Something of a departure from 2013’s Major Arcana, the album flirts with a much harder, abrasive sound as Dupuis wills each track to stay its course—thanks in part to what seems a more efficient understanding of how to write sing-along lyrics. While “Raising the Skate,” featuring a gently rising guitar riff that nudges along Dupuis’s vocals, is a Speedy Ortiz single tried-and-true, Foil Deer is more fascinating for a ripper like “Homonovus” (let’s never mind the dark and strangely electro “Puffer”), which toys with mathy melodies and owns a blown-out chorus that is more just straight-up noise rock than anything else. —Kevin Warwick $15, $13 in advance

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Empty Bottle (map)
1035 N. Western Ave.
Ukrainian Village/East Village
phone 773-276-3600
Speedy Ortiz, Krill, Two Inch Astronaut, Nnamdi Ogbonnaya

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Sam Prekop, Cleared, Good Willsmith

Sat., April 25, 6 p.m.

On his new solo album, The Republic (Thrill Jockey), Sam Prekop (of the Sea and Cake) demonstrates a more intuitive and natural command of the modular synthesizer setup he’s recently been obsessed with, and that’s allowed his breezy melodic sensibility to flow out of his work in a way it didn’t on his 2010 album Old Punch Card, as pleasing as that record was. The first half of The Republic was created as the score for an installation piece of the same name by Chicago artist David Hartt, and though the music is elliptical and abstract, Prekop is so deft at moving from harsh gurgles to soothing tones and layering disparate sounds—like staticky hisses, swooping sine waves, and lush pads—that this portion of the album easily stands on its own merits. The second half veers more toward narrative structures, though Prekop dispenses with the verse-chorus-verse model employed in his work with the Sea and Cake. Lovely melodies swell over serene atmospheres and spacey counterpoint—songs are sometimes driven by pulsing, bass-heavy ostinato, while at other times electronic beats thrum against the icy synthetic tones. It sounds like Tangerine Dream might if they understood the benefits of concision and doing away with the cheese. A few years ago I saw Prekop perform a modular synth concert with a full banquet table loaded with gear, but this date is part of a U.S. tour in which he’s employing a more compact setup—and one that will allow audience members to focus on the sounds rather than a closet’s worth of vintage equipment. —Peter Margasak $12, $10 in advance

Empty Bottle (map)
1035 N. Western Ave.
Ukrainian Village/East Village
phone 773-276-3600
Sam Prekop, Cleared, Good Willsmith

Tools

Mama, Platinum Boys, Gross Pointe, Jollys

Mon., May 4, 9 p.m.

Without being nostalgic retreads, Mama manage to evoke middle-western pinball summers of Bondoed ’81 Camaro Z28s, drive-in beer binges, and epic finger bangs under the bleachers. Their recent double seven-inch, “Night Shoot”—produced by George and Alex Szegedy from the Peoples Temple—has plenty of focused Lynott vocal and bass propulsion and dark Nielsen guitar hooks, but there’s an aggression to the sound born not of majoring in “Classic Rock” with a “Power-Pop Emphasis,” but rather of years spent honing their shit in the booze-sweat-piss-and-Adderall magik of the house-show circuit. And finally Mama are starting to get some love above the underground. They play the HoZac Blackout Fest a couple Fridays from now (5/15, to be exact), and this summer Hozac is releasing last year’s Speed Trap EP—which includes the instant-classic “Bad Reputation.” During a time when so much rock ’n’ roll is either self-consciously avant, defined as “fun” for producing two-chord odes to kitty cats and taking zero creative risks, or shamelessly dry humping punk rock’s rotting corpse, Mama stand out as a band who know music but don’t sound studied—and are entertaining simply by virtue of writing some damn good songs. —Brian Costello

Empty Bottle (map)
1035 N. Western Ave.
Ukrainian Village/East Village
phone 773-276-3600
Mama, Platinum Boys, Gross Pointe, Jollys

Tools

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