Ida/Warren Defever | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Ida/Warren Defever 

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IDA/WARREN DEFEVER

Ida--a band, not a woman--is quiet, quiet as a first confession of love or the first whisper of betrayal. Singer-songwriters Daniel Littleton, Elizabeth Mitchell, and Karla Schickele harmonize like wounded angels, mostly about momentary, bittersweet emotional states, sort of like a bedroom version of Fleetwood Mac. (They're not always weeping softly into their Rolling Rock, though: onstage a couple Halloweens ago, they covered Prince's Dirty Mind in its entirety.) There hasn't been an Ida album since their third, Ten Small Paces, came out on Simple Machines in 1997, but there's been a steady trickle of little projects: an EP, a casual collaboration with Retsin, a couple singles, and Mitchell and Littleton's gentle new disc of children's songs, You Are My Flower. An "official" album is due next year, and they're previewing the new songs (several of them inspired by the Carter Family) on this tour. Their tourmate and former producer, Warren Defever--or Warn Defever, as he's spelling it these days--is best known as the mastermind behind His Name Is Alive. But his new solo album, I Want You to Live 100 Years (Lo), is a far cry from the avant-Motown pop of the last few HNIA albums. It's Defever's hillbilly record, a set of simple faux-backwoods songs sung flatly in an off-key mumble and produced to sound like weather-beaten 78s, the tinny strumming muffled by surface noise. Defever's trio will be focusing on the new material, but he tends to rework and visually enhance his presentation for the live show: those who saw his giant papier-mache whale dancing across the stage a few years ago are probably still grinning. Sunday, 8 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport; 773-525-2508. DOUGLAS WOLK

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Pat Graham.

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