Soundboard Calendar

Today 01.21.17 Sunday 01.22.17 Monday 01.23.17 Tuesday 01.24.17 Wednesday 01.25.17 Thursday 01.26.17 Friday 01.27.17
Dale Watson & Ray Benson Maurer Hall, Old Town School of Folk Music January 21
Both Texas-based musicians devoted to classic country, Dale Watson and Ray Benson feel generations removed from what Nashville generally markets these days. Benson has been playing music for more than four decades, racking up Grammys as the leader of Asleep at the Wheel—arguably the most long-standing western-swing combo in music history—while Watson has thrived as an outsider who churns out hard-core honky-tonk he’s long considered “too country for country.” They’ve just released a collaboration called Dale & Ray (Ameripolitan/Home) that makes a virtue of their disconnection from Music City, as song after song celebrates the sound of a bygone era. »
Fat Babies Honky Tonk BBQ January 22
With few exceptions, those practicing the sort of traditional jazz popularized in New Orleans and Chicago during the 20s and early 30s essentially believe and traffic in museum-grade preservation. They play for audiences living in time-travel fantasies, preferring to ignore the music made over the last 80 years as they seek Charleston partners. »
Gustavo Cortinas Snapshot Jazz Showcase January 23
I know Chicago has a very deep jazz scene, but I’m often reminded how strong it is by a record like Esse (OA2), the second from drummer and composer Gustavo Cortiñas. Though the Mexico native moved to the area a decade ago to further his education, attending Loyola and Northwestern, I’d never heard of him until a couple of months ago (same goes for some of the players who contribute to the new album). »
Mogwai Thalia Hall January 24
It’s gotta be a drag epitomizing the definition of postrock—so crippled by the pressure to outdo yourself with each album by layering subtle, delicate crescendo upon subtle, delicate crescendo, all the while blending moody electronic elements just so with obligatory orchestral flourishes. It’s a wonder a band like Mogwai doesn’t explode on stage like a supernova, swallowing the venue in a burst of light before being sucked down into the earth’s molten core. »
Alcest, the Body, Creepers Reggie's Rock Club January 25
Genre-straddling and occasionally divisive, France’s Alcest have always been one of the most compelling bands working the not-quite-plain-metal frontiers. Whether you consider them prime instrumental black metal, a sort of kinder and gentler Burzum for those who prefer 100 percent less Varg Vikernes, or essentially a shoegaze band that happens to be gazing at black spiky boots—closer to My Bloody Valentine than, say, Darkthrone—you get evidence of it all on their recent Kodama (Prophecy). »
Lemon Twigs, Savoy Motel, Glyders Empty Bottle January 26 1
Long Island brothers Michael and Brian D’Addario are hardly the first precocious teenagers to fetishize the record collection of their parents, but as the Lemon Twigs they experiment with and channel those decades-old influences, eventually reinventing the sound to be both fresh and entertaining. On their recent debut album, Do Hollywood (4AD), the pair evoke the spirits of Harry Nilsson, Ray Davies, and Todd Rudgren, laying down fizzy melodies and hyperactive arrangements as reminsicent of the 70s as the ridiculously gaudy clothing and post-Bay City Rollers coif of 17-year-old Michael. »
Chicagoan Jayaire Woods’s 2016 mixtape Free the Fall features a curious misstep in a guest verse by his touring partner and labelmate Lil Yachty, who proclaims on “Man of the Year” that “I bring rappers back from the dead / ‘Broccoli’ went gold / Do I need to say the rest?” Yachty had a successful year, no doubt, but he’s the person least responsible for the effervescent buoyancy of “Broccoli,” an irrepressible summer hit by Virginia pop artist D.R.A.M. (the guy also behind the 2015 viral hit “Cha Cha”), who performs the animated hook like a kid bounding up stairs, more delighted with his every passing word. »
Joan of Arc, Facs, Magas Chicago Athletic Association Hotel January 21
May we all learn to be as dedicated to challenging ourselves as the members of Joan of Arc are with their ever-evolving art-rock group. The band launched 21 years ago, and with the exception of front man and lone original member Tim Kinsella, little has stayed the same—except for, notably, their singular zeal to prod themselves in different artistic directions. »
Partner, Faux Furrs Schubas January 22
A few things synonymous with pioneering Norwegian black-metal band Mayhem: church burnings, suicide, murder. And that was all before their first official LP, De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas, saw the light of day. »
Steve Earle, Colter Wall City Winery January 09
In January at City Winery, veteran roots-rock poet Steve Earle performs an extended string of solo performances where his storytelling illuminates and enlivens his unfussy playing. Earlier this year the singer dropped an impressive collaboration with Shawn Colvin, the product of a 2014 duo tour in which both artists sang tunes, then explained them. »
Steve Earle, Colter Wall City Winery January 09
In January at City Winery, veteran roots-rock poet Steve Earle performs an extended string of solo performances where his storytelling illuminates and enlivens his unfussy playing. Earlier this year the singer dropped an impressive collaboration with Shawn Colvin, the product of a 2014 duo tour in which both artists sang tunes, then explained them. »
Luke Winslow-King, Big Sadie Hideout January 26
With September’s I’m Glad Trouble Don’t Last Always (Bloodshot) New Orleans singer Luke Winslow-King made a breakup record that doubles as therapy. On it he calls out his ex-wife and onetime band member vocalist Esther Rose by name while tracing the dissolution of their marriage—he also dedicates the record to her in the liner notes with a Zen-like resolve (“I wish you well”). »
Over the last couple of years Chicago’s Natalie Chami has cultivated an impressive facility at building fluid melodic shapes and structures from keyboards, electronics, and voice, a practice that’s not only been a key reason the trio Good Willsmith has evolved from jammy to focused, but also explains why her solo project TALsounds has become one of the most reliable and satisfying live acts in the city. In October she dropped her strongest recording yet with Lifter + Lighter (released by Hausu Mountain, the label operated by Good Willsmith bandmates Doug Kaplan and Maxwell Allison), and it shows what makes her so compelling. »
Among the wave of screamo bands that emerged in the late 90s and early 2000s few are as influential as City of Caterpillar, which hails from Richmond, Virginia. Granted, that’s a little like saying “most influential feather bowler” to someone with no grasp of recreational sports. »
Fat Babies Green Mill December 20
With few exceptions, those practicing the sort of traditional jazz popularized in New Orleans and Chicago during the 20s and early 30s essentially believe and traffic in museum-grade preservation. They play for audiences living in time-travel fantasies, preferring to ignore the music made over the last 80 years as they seek Charleston partners. »
Lady Lamb, Liam Kazar Hideout January 25

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