Crazy Dreams Band Blows Into Chicago | Bleader

Crazy Dreams Band Blows Into Chicago

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Crazy Dreams Band
  • Crazy Dreams Band
Back when Alexandra "Lexie" Macchi (aka Lexie Mountain) still lived here, it was much easier to see her in the audience than onstage. In a recent interview with Chicago-based webzine Blastitude she says she played out just a couple times while she was a Chicagoan, with "a fun instrument-swapping stoned-joke band called Creamweaver." It wasn't until after she moved to Baltimore in 2002 that Macchi became something of an underground icon, leading the Lexie Mountain Boys, a mostly a cappella, all-female combo that clobbered all kids of rootsy American music with a gleefully uninhibited experimental streak.

Tonight Macchi returns to town fronting a newer combo called the Crazy Dreams Band at the Empty Bottle. Compared to the Lexie Mountain Boys, they sound almost conventional—they write actual songs and play them on actual instruments. The band's self-titled 2008 debut is a swirling slab of jammy oddball psychedelia, with weird electronic gurgles and squelches filling in the spaces where you'd expect a screaming electric guitar and the transcendent energy supplied by the thick grooves of drummer Nate Nelson (Religious Knives/Mouthus) and bassist Jake Freeman. The focal point, however, is Macchi's primeval howl: her visceral, earthy post-blues style swings between Diamanda Galas and Polly Jean Harvey, albeit with less polish and punch than either.

The band's new album, War Dreams (released, like its predecessor, by Holy Mountain), is heavier, in part due to the addition of guitarist Jorge Martins—founding member Chiara Giovando, who contributed electronics and some sweet, light vocal countermelodies, is no longer in the group. There are still keyboard sounds lurking in the back of the mix, but Martins's churning post-Ron Asheton chords and Macchi's even more assured singing—you can hear some Grace Slick in there now—make the Crazy Dreams Band sound much more like a hard-rock group this time out.

photo: Jenn Fever

Today's playlist:

Gilberto Gil, Luar (Warner Brothers, Brazil)
Elephant9, Walk the Nile (Rune Grammofon)
Steve Lacy, Best Wishes (Labirinti Sonori)
Isley Brothers, Shout: The RCA Sessions (RCA)
Simone White, Yakiimo (Honest Jon's)

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