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First and foremost, it's Lollapalooza time in Grant Park—three days of performances, eight stages, and 2 Chainz. That's a huge festival; I highly recommend preparing with our music staff's 29-act itinerary. Lollapalooza is totally sold out unless you can afford a Platinum Pass—you have to send an e-mail just to get a price quote—but the desperate ought to be able to find tickets on Craigslist once people get tired of being surrounded by high school kids trying molly for the first time.
There are also afterparties aplenty, though most of them are sold out too. For tonight, you can still get tickets to Hiatus Kaiyote at Subterranean, a DJ set by Crystal Castles' Ethan Kath at Berlin, and Rob Garza at Vertigo Sky Lounge, among others. On Friday you can still get in to see Steve Aoki at Studio Paris, a Hot Chip DJ set at Beauty Bar, and Local Natives with Supreme Cuts at House of Blues. Tickets for Adventure Club on Saturday and Ellie Goulding's DJ set on Sunday, both at Studio Paris, are available too.
Lots of big shows this weekend style themselves as afterparties (or might as well be afterparties) but aren't officially affiliated with Lollapalooza. On Thursday Smith Westerns play for free at Logan Square Auditorium; on Friday Jungle Rot plays at Cobra Lounge; on Saturday Geronimo! comes to Quenchers and Russian Circles play for free at Ultra Lounge; and on Sunday Author & Punisher opens for Philip H. Anselmo & the Illegals at House of Blues. All are Soundboard endorsed. All will have considerably fewer high schoolers trying molly for the first time.
The other big festival this weekend, the more or less totally unrelated Festival Cubano, runs from Friday through Sunday in Riis Park and kicks off with an entire evening of house music; the rest of the lineup includes brilliant violinist Alfredo de la Fe, singer Xiomara Laugart, and the ghost band of bassist and mambo architect Israel "Cachao" Lopez, known as Cachao's Mambo All Stars.
More Soundboard picks below.
Srini Radhakrishna has a track record of being in garage bands that matter (Guilty Pleasures, France Has the Bomb, Football), and his newest project, Circles, is a worthy addition to the list. Their six-song debut, Are You Watching the Masters? Because the Masters Are Watching You, is noisy, jagged beach pop that gets darker as it progresses. Kind of like a day at the beach. Wild Nothing headlines.
The Revelers, a new outfit from Lafayette, play a cajun-flavored honky-tonk fusion of R&B and rock that can only be called swamp pop, harking back to a brand of music that peaked in the 60s. Thankfully, writes Peter Margasak, "The group's own hooky tunes are almost as indelible as the classic stuff, and the record's easygoing, lived-in feel prevents it from coming across like a labored revivalist exercise."
Mindless Behavior, one of the few all-black boy bands to find any type of mainstream success, dirties up the tween pop formula a little more on their latest album, All Around the World, with beats that skew more toward straight hip-hop. This is still a group that's toured with Bieber, though—playground-friendly cuts like "Band-Aid" abound.
On last year's Go Around, Again, Milwaukee multi-instrumentalist Michael Jantz, aka Black Eagle Child, layers alternately serrated and ethereal guitar loops with rustic instrumental flourishes, building ambitious compositions that sound at once galactic and intimate. Jantz's follow-up, a set of impromptu recordings called Family Jam, is more playful, writes Leor Galil. "The result is something I could imagine an Australian teacher playing to settle preschoolers down at naptime."