Jose Gonzalez, Olof Arnalds | Lincoln Hall | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
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Jose Gonzalez

Jose Gonzalez

Malin Johansson

When: Tue., April 14, 8 p.m. and Wed., April 15, 8 p.m. 2015
Price: sold out
It’s been eight years since Swedish singer and guitarist Jose Gonzalez released a solo record (in the interim he released two strong records fronting the trio Junip), and not much has changed on the recent Vestiges & Claws (Mute). The singer did dispense with an outside producer and made the record himself at home and in a Gothenburg studio, which resulted in a sound that alternates between in-the-red saturation and loose, atmospheric intimacy. Still, Gonzalez’s acoustic sound—which sits somewhere between Nick Drake and Simon & Garfunkel—remains compelling in its clipped precision and rhythmic drive (enhanced by sparse but insistent overdub percussion). Icelandic singer Olof Arnalds will probably never shake the comparisons to Joanna Newsom thanks to her diminutive yawp, but on her fourth record, Palme (One Little Indian), she makes it abundantly clear that she has an approach all her own. Working again with imaginative bassist Skuli Sverrisson and Gunnar Orn Tynes of experimental group Mum, Arnalds crafts a magical pop landscape while juggling delicate psychedelic folk (“Defining Gender”), electronic, rubbery arrangements (“Half Steady”), and airy, almost mystical balladry (”Han Grete”). What prevails is a mixture of playfulness and ethereal beauty that sounds both Icelandic and otherworldly (though some might say those descriptors are interchangeable). —Peter Margasak

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