Brightblack Morning Light | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Brightblack Morning Light 

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I recently heard someone at an art lecture argue that the Manson murders didn't end the 60s, as Joan Didion contends, but actually kicked off "The 60s," an era of nu-hippie romanticism that's now in its fourth decade. Listening to the full-length debut from Brightblack Morning Light, due later this month on Matador, I'm not sure how much longer we can keep up this fascination with leather headbands and tripped-out jams without losing every bit of self-respect. BML might just seem like the newest addition to the nouvelle-freak scene--they're tight bros with Devendra, "Dr. Craggly" Oldham, and that chick with the harp--but they're actually the real deal: only genuine hippies are annoying enough to reference the "truth of the universe" in their bio. But the music is their saving grace. The new record isn't so much a collection of songs as it is one sound that never seems to change, give or take a flute solo. Minimal slide guitar, organ, and percussion are swathed in reverb and move at a narcotic pace. Main dude Nabob Shineywater (no, really) sings softly, like he's exhaling a drag, with a little Alabama drawl, while Rabob Hughes (a lady) sweetens up a couple tracks with tender-soul backup harmonies. Nabob and Rabob, the only two constants in the group, claim to have recorded most of the album in the northern California tent they call home, but there's still plenty of studio snap and stereo panning to help psych up your next gravity-bong mixer. Lights and Mairee Sioux open. Fri 6/9, 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $10.

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