ZELIENOPLE, GROUPER | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader


Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

Stumbling stargazers of the first order, the local trio ZELIENOPLE are not just gifted but prolific, with five releases in the past year or so, each one better than the last. If they ever toured, I imagine a lot more people would be paying attention to them. This is a release party for their latest, His/Hers: five long, scintillating tracks that blend dreamy drone folk a la Charalambides or Windy & Carl with clanging, pungent fuzz freakouts that sound like Acid Mothers Temple in a rare focused moment. Some passages are distant and wistful, as though echoing through a foggy forest, and others are thick with a cybershamanic spirituality that's just a bit vicious, like an alternate Velvet Underground where Lou Reed quit instead of Angus MacLise. With ringing long tones like Tibetan prayer bowls cranked to 11 and reverb so extravagant it's like one of Timothy Leary's metaphorical reality tunnels crystallized as an actual physical cavern, this stuff is red meat for anyone who's ever loved a band that played at Terrastock. --Monica Kendrick

I'm not sure Liz Harris was thinking ichthyologically when she named her one-woman band GROUPER, but listening to her albums is like trying to catch fish with your bare hands. The nine tracks on her full-length debut, Way Their Crept (Free Porcupine Society), sound like they started out as regular songs, but they're swimming in so much delay that you can't grasp the words or melodies--often her voice is the only instrument that's still identifiable. On the follow-up, Wide, you can tell she's singing in a language, even if you can't be sure which one, and her minimal guitar and piano lines emerge like bones showing through skin. But the mystery at the music's heart remains--proof that it's more than just the side effect of a signal processor. --Bill Meyer

This is a showcase for the British label Type, which put out Zelienople's His/Hers and two Grouper releases, the "Tried" seven-inch and an LP version of Way Their Crept. Helios headlines, Zelienople plays second, and Grouper opens. a 9:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $8.

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Agenda Teaser

Performing Arts
February 02
Performing Arts
February 05

Popular Stories