Jesse Sykes & the Sweet Hereafter, Buffalo Killers | Empty Bottle | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
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Jesse Sykes & the Sweet Hereafter, Buffalo Killers 

When: Tue., Nov. 8, 9:30 p.m. 2011
Price: free with RSVP at sykes.sailorjerrypresents.com
When they started out in the early aughts, Seattle singer-songwriter Jesse Sykes and her band the Sweet Hereafter got lumped in with the alt-country scene, but on the lush, brooding Marble Son (Station Grey/Thirty Tigers) they continue their apparently inexorable march toward dark, dense psychedelia. These days the Sweet Hereafter sounds more like 60s San Francisco—from the haunted arrangements of Jefferson Airplane to the guitar architecture of the Grateful Dead, minus the noodling—than any era in Nashville. Guitarist Phil Wandscher, whose status as a cofounder of Whiskeytown had a lot to do with the band's initial miscategorization, has exerted more and more influence with each subsequent Hereafter record; this time out he wrote five tunes with Sykes and another himself, and his aggressive, coloristic playing has an even greater impact. Sykes's dry, spooky rasp often feels less urgent here than on past albums, sharing space with the keening guitars as if it were just another instrument—though it's still the primary force on songs like the gorgeous "Come to Mary," where she sounds sedated a la Hope Sandoval. As a whole Marble Son is the group's most cohesive, convincing effort. —Peter Margasak Buffalo Killers open.

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