Chicago label Orindal deals in intimacy, even as this weekend’s Hideout showcase demonstrates its growing reach | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

Chicago label Orindal deals in intimacy, even as this weekend’s Hideout showcase demonstrates its growing reach 

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click to enlarge Advance Base; Karima Walker; Nick Krgovich; Dear Nora

Advance Base; Karima Walker; Nick Krgovich; Dear Nora

Tom Cops; Eugene Starobinskiy; Courtenay Johnson; Chris Lael Larson

After ending his long-running indie-pop project Casiotone for the Painfully Alone in 2010, Chicago-­based musician Owen Ashworth launched Orindal Records. It was part of a musical rebirth, but more a spiritual move than a sonic one: the label’s first release, a 2011 split, features one of the first singles from Ashworth’s post-Casiotone project, Advance Base, which like its predecessor trades in warm, wistful songs. When I wrote a Reader feature about his career ahead of Advance Base’s 2015 album, Nephew in the Wild, Ashworth told me he saw Orindal as a home for recordings that otherwise wouldn’t exist. That approach dovetails with the intimacy of Ashworth’s music, which while associated strongly with the indie pop of the 2000s continues to resonate; the first Orindal artist who didn’t share the name Ashworth (Owen’s brother Gordon also records for the label) was onetime Chicagoan Julie Byrne, whose elegant Not Even Happiness is among the most critically acclaimed releases of 2017. Tonight’s performers show how far Orindal’s reach has extended in six years. Tucson experimentalist Karima Walker put out her debut full-length, Hands in Our Names, in March, and its songs reverberate most during their quietest moments. Vancouver’s Nicholas Krgovich has been pals with Ashworth since the days of Casiotone; his 2015 Orindal release, On Cahuenga, finds a meeting place between sumptuous R&B vocals and spacious keyboard melodies. Headliners Dear Nora broke up in 2008, but they were already plotting a reunion tour when Ashworth approached the band about reissuing 2004’s Mountain Rock. Its largely acoustic songs are sweet and all too brief, and affect a shambolic attitude that bolsters the earnestness at their hearts.   v

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