Friday at the Bottle: the polystylistic grind of Starring | Bleader

Friday at the Bottle: the polystylistic grind of Starring


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  • Starring
Back when she lived in Chicago in the mid-aughts, violist and musicologist Amy Cimini immersed herself in the city's experimental and improvised-music scenes; among her many projects were the Civil War, with guitarist Adam Sonderberg and bassoonist Katherine Young, and the duo Architeuthis Walks on Land, also with Young (who continues to be one of her most steadfast collaborators—AWoL plays at Elastic on June 28). Since she moved to New York, however, most of the music she's made (or rather most of what I've heard) has been either sunny chamber pop with the Fancy (also with Young) or hard-hitting prog-rock with Starring. Starring performs Friday night at the Empty Bottle, opening for Cave and Bobby Conn—and for Conn, the show is a release party for Macaroni (Fire), his first album in five years.

Of course, Cimini also continues to play in chamber quartet Till by Turning. I think it's safe to say that she's interested in all sorts of music, and was well before she split town—I often forget that she played regularly in Kent Lambert's art-pop band Roommate when she lived here.

I wasn't too impressed with Starring's first album, Wife of God (Death by Audio), but the forthcoming (and somewhat irritatingly titled) ABCDEFG-HIJKLMNOP-QRSTUV-WXYZ, due June 12 from Northern Spy, pulled me in with just a couple of listens. It's got huge organ riffs by somebody calling himself Peachy that recall the glory days of Deep Purple, exploratory electric-viola improvisations that suggest Amon Düül II, screaming guitar solos that split the difference between noise-rock and metal, trance-inducing Krautrock grooves, and Philip Glass-style minimalism—but often, amid all the roaring and chugging, there are sweet, ethereal vocal melodies by guitarist and front woman Clara Hunter (who also plays with Cimini in the Fancy). I swear she rips off the melody from the Sesame Street theme on the album's closer, "Wo." Below you can check out the punishing opening track.

Starring, "The Best"

Today's playlist:

Teddy Edwards, Heart & Soul (Contemporary/OJC)
Maxine Brown, Best of the Wand Years (Kent)
Bibio, Ambivalence Avenue (Warp)
Elza Laranjeira, A Música de Jobim e Vinicius (RGE/Som Livre)
Cabaret Voltaire, Mix-Up (Mute)

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