Moon Duo, Verma, Richard Vain | Empty Bottle | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
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Moon Duo, Verma, Richard Vain 

When: Tue., March 3, 9 p.m. 2015
Price: $10
Like Wooden Shjips, the cyclone of barbiturate-laced psychedelic rock fronted by Ripley Johnson, his side project Moon Duo undergirds each of its tracks with a repetitive, looping pulse that steadies the course as trails of guitar melt into the ether and serrated synth buzzes pan from one end of the earth to the other. On earlier efforts that aforementioned rhythmic pulse was transmitted by a drum machine, but the duo—which was cofounded with Johnson by his eternal partner, Sanae Yamada—recently became three with the addition of drummer John Jeffrey, who provides live accompaniment on the new Shadow of the Sun (Sacred Bones). Where Wooden Shjips often set off on a vision quest at the beginning of each track, entangling fuzzed-out guitar riffs till they form a mutated cat’s cradle, Moon Duo is minimal and direct in its synth-loaded approach—and undeniably bouncy and upbeat at times, like on the danceable “Zero” and “Slow Down Low.” The ghostly vocal melodies and back-and- forth between Yamada and Johnson (who still resembles just the right amount of Father Yod) remain a pair of the band’s most captivating and differentiating qualities, and though Shadow of the Sun isn’t a shoo-in for a psychedelic laser light show, it’s still a pretty good trip. —Kevin Warwick
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