Monday, August 11, 2014

Best shows to see: Jenny Scheinman, Plebeian Grandstand, American Sharks

Posted By on 08.11.14 at 11:01 AM

Jenny Scheinman
This summer's Downtown Sound series comes to a close this evening, with local postrock trio Russian Circles gracing the stage of Pritzker Pavilion. There's more free music tonight at Empty Bottle, Walking Bicycles headline with support from Toupee and Unmanned Ship. Excellent local noise-pop band Melkbelly plays at Township on Tuesday, while rapper Kevin Gates is at Reggie's. And on Wednesday, a duo of Leroy Bach and Tortoise's Dan Bitney play a free show at the Bedford.

Below, you can see some other top Soundboard picks from some Reader writers.

Mon 8/11: Jenny Scheinman at City Winery

Jazzy violinist Jenny Scheinman performs tonight at City Winery. Peter Margasak writes, "She started as a jazz violinist, balancing a lyric sensibility with a knack for wide-open improvisation. But over the past decade she's worked with the likes of guitarist Bill Frisell and cornetist Ron Miles, who incorporate the rusticity and twang of Americana into their melodic strain of jazz. I don't know if they rubbed off on her, but she began gravitating toward country music in the late aughts, writing and singing songs in the genre and playing shows with Chicago's Robbie Fulks. In 2008 she released a dazzling pair of albums, one focusing on singer-songwriter material, the other devoted to instrumental jazz. Her new record, The Littlest Prisoner, stands firmly on singer-songwriter turf, but its brief instrumental interludes incorporate improvisation on their simple themes. On violin Scheinman demonstrates a jazzlike rapport in her spontaneous interactions with Frisell's moody guitar and Brian Blade's coloristic drumming, though her songs are meticulously constructed to contain this small degree of freedom."

Tue 8/13: Plebeian Grandstand at Cobra Lounge

"On their second full-length, Lowgazers, French band Plebeian Grandstand get mathcore and grind all tangled up with black metal, producing a nasty little masterpiece of constant discomfort," says Monica Kendrick. "Because they allow no familiar cliche to live for more than a few seconds, sooner or later the album is going to make you squirm or piss you off, no matter what your metal background is. (In case you were wondering, I think that's a good thing.) Though Lowgazers is broken up into individual tracks, after a while it starts to sound like a single oozing, animate lump of black-earth clay, unpredictably extruding spikes or shooting jets of acid—but no matter how radically it changes shape, it doesn't spawn any new free-standing entities."

Wed 8/14: American Sharks at Cobra Lounge

"You might be inclined to call American Sharks stoner metal on account of their sludgy, heavy-hitting riffage, but these Austin guys play party-hard rock," says Kevin Warwick. "The biggest giveaway is the trio's web address, sharkspartyhard.com, but they also favor blunt song titles ('Cocaine,' 'Freak Out') and artwork that might for instance include a pantsless and fully equipped 'Rad Dog,' beer in hand and bong in tow, lounging on a surfboard that's riding a wave of shark guts. Their self-titled debut (released last year by the End) is fun, if you're into that kind of thing, but it's neither good nor clean."

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