Handsome Family, Marissa Nadler, Barry McCormack | Schubas | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
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Handsome Family, Marissa Nadler, Barry McCormack 

When: 2009
Price: $20
Once Chicago fixtures, now lost to the healthier climes of New Mexico, Brett and Rennie Sparks have just released their eighth full-length as the Handsome Family, Honey Moon (Carrot Top). The Sparks’s marriage is almost 20 years past its honeymoon phase, but something here sure sounds rejuvenated—the rural-gothic darkness of their idiosyncratic alt-country, which is so consistent that by now it sometimes seems like self-parody, is shot through with an odd sort of happiness that’s both magical and eerie. As a lyricist Rennie has always been a huge romantic, albeit a thwarted and frustrated one—her persona alternates between a spooky girl lost in a haunted woods and a grown woman unable to pin down the source of the pervasive wrongness she feels. But the fact that certain things seem to be going right on Honey Moon doesn’t mean she and Brett have gone soft—happiness in their world is no more reassuring than sorrow, and their idea of a romantic tune includes lines like “I’ll leap on your spine and love you till you gnaw me down to my wings.” Marissa Nadler and Barry McCormack open. —Monica Kendrick

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