Anni Rossi, Daniel Knox, Rollin Hunt | Hideout | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
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Anni Rossi, Daniel Knox, Rollin Hunt 

When: Thu., April 14, 9 p.m. 2011
Price: $8
Singer and violist ANNI ROSSI impressed me on her first two releases—2008's Afton EP and 2009's Rockwell, both on 4AD—by demonstrating melodic savvy and resourcefulness with a nonstandard pop instrument (a la Andrew Bird). On her latest, Heavy Meadow (3 Syllables), her songs are as catchy as ever, her quirky singing is still instantly identifiable, and she's still playing her viola like a strummed guitar. Unfortunately synthesizers and programmed beats dominate the arrangements, creating a thin, treacly sound that's especially disappointing after the promise she showed on earlier efforts. One year after moving to New York, she's returning to town for a night to perform with bassist Ryan Maxwell and drummer Devin Maxwell, both of whom appear on the new record. She's leaving the keyboards at home, which should make these new songs sound much better. —Peter Margasak

Moniker Records founder Robert Manis is a connoisseur of Chicago's solitary musical weirdos. Having released a record by unhinged folk primitivist John Bellows last year, Manis is now pushing the more subdued—but no less strange—ROLLIN HUNT. On the A side of his recent debut seven-inch, "Criminal," he only needs three minutes to do off-kilter things to several oldies radio tropes; his warped readings of doo-wop and rockabilly come off like something that Jim Steinman (you know, the guy who wrote songs for Meat Loaf) might have dreamed up if he'd been a basement recluse with a four-track, a cheap flanger, and an undiagnosed serotonin imbalance. On the B side, "Castle of Nothing" combines a menacing mood and noisy, druggy electro-pop. Hunt's official debut album, The Phoney, drops this summer; presumably it's just as off the rails. —Miles Raymer



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