Given how ridiculously easy software has made the production of electronic music, the dedication of local quartet Chandeliers to far more complicated analog gear is admirable in its perversity. The extra work pays off, though. Their new Founding Fathers (Captcha) is one of the best-sounding albums I've heard in a while, full of deep, rich bass and ethereal but warm synth pads, which they apply to novel hybrids of a diverse range of styles—Krautrock, dub, new-agey ambient. The punchy, melodic, Italo-inflected "Le Corsage"—with vocals by Emma Yohanan of Icy Demons—sounds like the Chromatics might if they had more funk in them, while the loopy, burbling synths underlying "Ginger Jack" remind me one of those 70s sci-fi movies where you just know everyone involved in making it was on so many drugs.
Golden Birthday, a synth-heavy Chicago pop band built around songwriter Ryan Sullivan, shares a few aesthetic aims with Chandeliers—primarily a concern with creating a breezy mood that you might call "beach-ready" (if you didn't mind borrowing a phrase from the latter's one-sheet). But how they go about it is considerably different. Their latest album, Blue Island (on the recently revived local Rainbow Body label), ought to appeal to fans of reverb-laden dream-pop and chillwave, but it doesn't sound much like either. It's more like the Cure's Pornography, if it were a "riding around with friends with the windows down" record instead of a "dress all in black and cry by yourself" record. —Miles Raymer Chandeliers headline; Golden Birthday and Bitchin Bajas open.