Gauntlet Hair, Population, Magical Beautiful | Empty Bottle | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
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Gauntlet Hair, Population, Magical Beautiful 

When: Fri., Aug. 9, 9:30 p.m. 2013
Price: $10
Chicago experimental indie-rock duo Gauntlet Hair (they’ve returned after a few years in Denver) released a self-titled album a couple years ago distinguished by a handful of woozy noise-pop songs. They weren’t necessarily original—the band clearly worshiped at the church of Animal Collective, with spiky, delay-treated guitars, echoing drums, and celestial ambience that floated through the music like clouds—but they were totally infectious. Gauntlet Hair recently dropped Stills (Dead Oceans), which cuts back on the AnCo-derived quirks to the point that it sounds almost stark in spots, even a little short on content; sometimes the band seems to struggle to find the magical ratio of delicate, spooky vocal harmonies and tribal rhythms that gave wings to the best songs on the self-titled album. Parts of Stills really click, though, and a few tracks give me hope that Gauntlet Hair will be able to step out of AnCo’s shadow—I especially like “Spew,” whose funky, leaned-out bass melody segues in and out of harsh bursts of guitar distortion and industrial drumming. —Leor Galil Population and Magical Beautiful open.

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