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This newish project by soon-to-be-former Brain Idea bassist-vocalist Ben Scott "refines and expands upon what Scott and Brain Idea started," says Luca Cimarusti. "This is sunny pop, like Guided by Voices except more stable, and with a heavy Husker Du influence." Grown-up alt-pop fans may also ask themselves, "Where was Outside World during my formative years?"
The subject of our latest Artist on Artist, Duran Duran had a huge hand in defining the sound of the 80s, and according to yours truly the enduring quality of records such as Notorious has "earned Duran Duran eternal forgiveness for all the sins they can commit" (such as trying to cover Public Enemy). Nostalgia might be motivating some of the crowd here, but the band's catalog doesn't need that crutch.
As Peter Margasak writes, multireedist Steven Lugerner has "poise, ambition, and skill—all of which are even more impressive considering he's in his early 20s." This is the Chicago debut of his new trio Chives. "They're a limber group," according to Margasak, "and the rhythm section brings elasticity and bounce to the alternately airy and driving grooves as Lugerner tangles with the themes, sometimes playing inside them and sometimes soaring far afield."