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Trinidadian trumpeter Etienne Charles performs tonight with French saxophonist Jacques Schwartz-Bart, bassist Ben Williams, and drummer Obed Calvaire at the University of Chicago's Logan Center for the Arts. Caddywhompus opens for Shiloh at Ultra Lounge, Torres headlines at the Empty Bottle, and Sir Michael Rocks plays at Double Door.
Dam-Funk, Black Moth Super Rainbow mastermind Tobacco, ShowYouSuck, and many more play across two stages throughout the weekend at the Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival, which starts Friday. Also on Friday are Helen Money at Experimental Sound Studios, Katie Got Bandz at Reggie's, and Sun Rooms at Green Mill.
On Saturday, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs headline the Q87.7 Piqniq at First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre, Camera Obscura opens for She & Him at the Aragon Ballroom, and CSS plays at Lincoln Hall. Members of CSS also DJ an afterparty at Berlin.
The idea that hip-hop is heteronormative is deader than DOMA. However, the fact that Cakes da Killa can “spit that shit that make a homophobe a hypocrite” isn't the main reason he's fantastically entertaining—it's his raunchy humor. Miles Raymer calls his January mixtape The Eulogy "just about the funnest rap record of the year, animated not only by Cakes’s seriously impressive flow (and the manic collision of high-speed beats and endearingly obnoxious synths he raps over) but also by a hilariously pornographic spirit that demands the dirtiest of dancing."
Alex Chilton's 1978 Big Star album Third is "steeped in bitterness, rage, and determined self-sabotage," writes Bill Meyer. "Neither before nor after did Chilton write anything so naked or sophisticated." Though it took years for everyone to realize its brilliance, the record's influence is evident in the plan brought to fruition by Chris Stamey of the dB's after Chilton's death in 2010. "He had Carl Marsh adapt the string arrangements he’d composed for the LP, then in 2010 realized the songs live with a 20-piece orchestra, a standing band (Mike Mills of R.E.M., Mitch Easter of Let’s Active, and Jody Stephens and Ken Stringfellow of Big Star), and a different roster of guest vocalists at each show." Tonight's singers include Brett Harris, Josh Caterer, Gary Louris, Ed Roeser, Tim Rutili, and Sally Timms.
"No one has overstated how crucial Naked Raygun was to the development of a nationally important underground music scene in Chicago—and that’s because it’s not really possible to do so," writes Monica Kendrick. "They put out fantastic records, they donated members to Big Black and Pegboy, and they left a huge mark on everything that came after them." This weekend, the group helps Metro celebrate its 30th anniversary. May both have many more birthdays to come.
Though Owen, the solo project of Chicago indie icon Mike Kinsella, is typically soft-spoken, anchored by gentle acoustics and intimacy, his forthcoming seventh album, L’ami du Peuple, turns up the volume. The record draws "on dramatic 80s pop-rock balladry to amp up the resplendent glow of the cozy songwriting," writes Leor Galil. "No matter how loud or hard the music gets, L’ami du Peuple still makes good twilight listening."
Though pianist Matthew Shipp has been prolific lately, collaborating with British saxaphonist Ivo Perelman and several other top-flight musicians, he comes to Chicago with bassist Michael Bisio and drummer Whit Dickey, the crew from 2012’s Elastic Aspects—which Peter Margasak calls Shipp's best album in years. "Shipp’s percussive figures, which include terse but thunderous left-hand stabs, remind me of 50s Cecil Taylor or vintage Andrew Hill, but more often than not he digs into approaches he’s developed himself over the past couple decades."