Of course, those aren't even the only festivals in town—I could just as easily have mentioned the Roscoe Village Burger Fest, the Taste of River North, the Sheffield Garden Walk & Festival, et cetera. And it goes without saying, I hope, that summer music doesn't begin and end with outdoor fests. As usual Soundboard has the best and most interesting shows on lock. For a few great choices over the next several days, hit the jump:
"It's been more than a decade since the danceable white-belt postpunk of They Threw Us All in a Trench and Stuck a Monument on Top," writes Kevin Warwick, "and Liars have very much chilled out with age—they've traded in the angular guitar and disco beats for droning, ethereal soundscapes whose stillness is as fraught with tension and threat as dusk on the Serengeti." The new WIXIW sounds nothing like being stalked by a leopard, but Liars conjure "yet another mutated version of the foreboding creepiness they've already explored through several different subgenres."
"Portland band Agalloch represent a lot of what I like best about the American metal renaissance," writes Monica Kendrick. "Their music is an elaborately wrought chain of black, folk, and progressive elements, with nary a weak link in sight." Myself, I like to call these guys "pastoral black metal," and the last time I saw them play (which was amazing, by the way), they had a brazier onstage in which they were burning "incense" made from twigs and leaves and crap that they'd collected around their favorite mountain pond or something. Pretty kvlt!
On his solo albums, Old 97's front man Rhett Miller tends to leave behind his band's high-octane twang for hooky, sophisticated pop rock, but his new The Dreamer nearly closes the gap between the two. Electric alt-country—in particular Rich Hinman's aching pedal steel—has seeped into the mostly acoustic arrangements. None of these songs would sound out of place at an Old 97's show.
"Malian singer and guitarist Sidi Toure seems to be making up for lost time with the recent Koïma," writes Peter Margasak. "Though it's just the third album under his own name in a career that he began in 1976 as a member of a regional orchestra in Gao called the Songhai Stars, it's his second since 2011. His first Thrill Jockey release, Sahel Folk, is an austere collection of duets recorded live at his sister's home in Gao—which Mali's ongoing Tuareg rebellion declared the capital of the unrecognized state of Azawad earlier this year—but by contrast the new album was cut in a Bamako studio with a full band, resulting in a richer, more propulsive sound." Monday's show, headlined by Chilean rapper Ana Tijoux, is free. Tijoux also plays Sunday at the Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival and then the Empty Bottle.