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Wicker Park Fest returns this weekend, and the Sunday lineup is killer. Local psych-rock revivalists Secret Colours play in the afternoon on the North Stage and Ted Leo & the Pharmacists headline the South Stage. Lucky for those otherwise committed that day, the former also opens for Shine Brothers at Double Door on Thursday, and the latter plays Saturday at Subterranean. Also on the festival's jam-packed bill? The Reigning Sound, Roky Erickson, Man Man, and the Meat Puppets, to name a few.
Tonight, Mark Mulcahy comes to the Hideout to perform his first collection of new songs in eight years, James Falzone plays at Elastic, and Steve Martin & the Steep Canyon Rangers team up with Edie Brickell at the Chicago Theatre. Friday, Joe McPhee's Survival Unit III stops by Elastic, and Kermit Ruffins & the Barbecue Swingers swing by SPACE (they're also at FitzGerald's the following evening).
More Soundboard picks below.
Violinist Carla Kihlstedt and her drummer husband, Matthias Bossi, have collaborated before, most notably as part of experimental rock bands Book of Knots and Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, but Rabbit Rabbit is their first project as a full-fledged songwriting duo. Peter Margasak writes that Kihlstedt, who teaches improvisation at the New England Conservatory of Music, "erases the lines between rock, noise, contemporary classical, and jazz to create a holistic mind-set that bends to the demands of its context." This eclectic approach shines through on Rabbit Rabbit Radio Volume 1, "whose art-rock songs move fluidly through all the nonrock approaches in which Kihlstedt and Bossi traffic."
The Albuquerque-based duo A Hawk and a Hacksaw have long explored eastern European folk traditions, but their April album You Have Already Gone to the Other World may be the farthest-reaching journey they've taken yet. Inspired by Sergei Paradjanov's 1964 film Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors, the album combines parts of the original score with traditional Ukrainian, Hungarian, and Romanian music, using production techniques that "help transform the alternately sorrowful or manic folk and dance tunes into something that feels utterly contemporary, almost rocklike," in the words of Peter Margasak. The duo will perform music from the album to augment the film's original score.
As a member of Chicago band Implodes, guitarist Ken Camden has always used electronic effects to render his instrument all but unrecognizable. As a solo artist, he extends this approach to the extreme. Peter Margasak writes that his new record, Space Mirror, "collides ethereal swoops, cycling riffs, and synth-toned arpeggios, which interlock to form hypnotizing constellations of sound and movement." Live, Camden creates a three-part sound field: a "dry" version of his output to one side, a delay-treated version to the other, and a stream of constantly morphing loops in the middle.
Sometimes, music just needs to be efficient. Toledo speed-metal trio Mobile Deathcamp hits the sweet spot—their two full-lengths, Black Swamp Rising and Clear and Present Anger, are equally lean and destructive. "They tear through well-built, economical songs with ruthless efficiency and uncontainable fury," writes Monica Kendrick. "There's wit, but no camp—just no-nonsense howling obliteration."