Luca Cimarusti, Reader music listings coordinator
Screeching Weasel I've spent the past few months working on a Screeching Weasel cover band for Halloween. Being required to learn one or two new Weasel tunes every week means I'm listening to these 90s pop-punk masters more than I have since I was in junior high. Sure, Ben Weasel may be a huge piece of crap, but it's impossible to deny that the man is a musical genius.
King Shark When I first got out of college, I worked a mundane office job alongside this south-side rapper—real name Behanzin Sykes—right when he was starting to make music. Over the past few years, he's managed to attract some serious attention, and last month he opened for Machine Gun Kelly at the Aragon. Violence and misogyny run rampant in many strains of Chicago rap, but King Shark stays away from that—his style is a sort of neo-crunk, and he's pretty much exclusively making super-ignorant, super-fun party bangers.
Sleep at Thalia Hall on Friday, August 29 For years I thought I'd never get the chance to see these doomy stoner-metal pioneers, but thanks to the reunion-tour trend, it finally happened. Massive, planet-shaking, heavy as lead, and groovy as fuck, Sleep's set lasted nearly two hours and never got boring. Even an almost-botched cover of Sabbath's "Hole in the Sky" (featuring Bruce Lamont of openers Corrections House on guest vocals, naturally) earned horns from the crowd.
Luca is curious what's in the rotation of . . .
Erin Elders, singer-guitarist in Wedding Dress
Campdogzz So far, this Chicago band has released only four songs. My favorite, "Limbs (Anyhow)," is a Modest Mouse-esque dirge, beautiful and deeply sad—it rolls along like a ramshackle wagon in some bizarre dream, with Jess Price's voice thundering out from the clouds. I can't wait to see what Campdogzz do next.
Barber Greene, Takes Barber Greene's Takes is weird as hell. In some ways this local group's new record feels familiar, calling back to the folk-pop of Simon & Garfunkel; the songs weave in and out of dense orchestrations, held together by a delicate acoustic guitar. Matt Evert's vocal performance, however, carries the band into its own strange light. His voice is big and theatrical, summoned from the deepest pit of his gut. It's simultaneously soothing and off-putting, like the parts of yourself you're afraid of. He reminds me of perhaps a young Scott Walker.
Merchandise I love everything this band has done. Children of Desire and Totale Nite are both brilliant noise pop, with Carson Cox's morose croon riding atop a mountain of fuzz. Merchandise's new After the End, though, is a straight-up guitar-hook record. The obvious reference points are iconic 80s albums such as Tears for Fears' Songs From the Big Chair and the Cure's Disintegration, but the more I listen to it, the more I hear the 90s—maybe Radiohead's The Bends or R.E.M. At its best, this blend reminds me of the soundtrack to the motion picture The Beach, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, which I mean as a genuine compliment.
Erin is curious what's in the rotation of . . .
Adam Mohundro, sound production on Sirens, member of Tinkerbelles
Troggs, Hit Single Anthology It's like missing a step and biffing it down the stairs of the Logan Square Blue Line stop: you look back and see that the Troggs were there the whole fucking time. I'm always quick to toss on any record by the Velvets or the Kinks and sink into oblivion, but you just can't sleep on the Troggs' disgusting pop sensibilities and primal Monks-style drumming. They've been covered by the MC5, the Buzzcocks, the Ramones, and even R.E.M., and their influence has kicked a hole in the crotch of punk and garage rock.
UV Race, Homo I bought these Aussies their first shots of Malort at the Bottle on their last pass through town, and I was probably that asshole getting way too into their show. Nevertheless, this 2011 record remains my favorite. Crusty, poppy, and slightly off, it doesn't try to be anything but itself. They'll be featured in Noise in My Head: Voices From the Ugly Australian Underground, a new book coming soon via HoZac's publishing arm, and I'll be foaming at the mouth until its release.
Pussy Galore, Corpse Love: The First Year Play this album and share a bottle of whiskey with an old woman. "This is what hell sounds like," she'll say. You'll smile and reply, "I know. Isn't it great?" Easily one of the grimiest records to have had its way with my ears, Corpse Love is a true gem on the trash-stained mattress of the Pussy Galore catalog. I haven't heard many songs funnier than "Constant Pain," and the guitar tones on "Kill Yourself" are a major influence on my writing. Take it or leave it, but you can't deny Pussy Galore done changed da game.