TYFT | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

This muscular trio, led by Icelandic guitarist Hilmar Jensson and including drummer Jim Black and reedist Andrew D'Angelo, has always been up to its ears in rock and noise music. But the group goes for broke on the superb new Meg Nem Sa (Skirl), delivering concise, abrasive melodies behind Black's Bonham-esque wallop. (The opening track isn't called "Led Tyftelin" for nothing.) Jensson keeps busy tracing chord patterns, playing extended lines, and unleashing acidic torrents of noise, so it's up to D'Angelo to play the tricky melodies, which he does with precision and a biting tone. Jensson wrote most of the tunes with composing software, and though there's a schematic quality to some of the music, the hot-blooded performances bristle with tension and contrast: on "Hilsner," for instance, D'Angelo's hooky, sour sax rubs up against Black's stuttering, behind-the-beat clatter and Jensson's pointillistic groove. There are a few atmospheric interludes, but mostly Tyft sounds like a seasoned rock band, taking music that would sound like dull prog in the wrong hands and infusing it with punkish energy. a 8:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $8 in advance, $10 day of show.

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