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All the info for the weekend you'll need is up on Soundboard. After the jump are some words that our writers have on some especially notable shows.
Says Miles Raymer about the groundbreaking Chicago electronic trio Phuture, who will be headlining a dance party at Metro tonight, "Sometime in 1985 three producers in the nascent Chicago house scene who collectively called themselves Phuture got their hands on a Roland TB-303 synthesizer. Produced from '82 till '84, it was advertised as a simple way for guitarists to sequence backing bass lines, but thanks to its counterintuitive interface it was nearly impossible to use that way. As Phuture discovered, though, if you plug in the 303 and start twisting knobs, it'll kick out noisy squelches that sound absolutely mind-blowing when paired with a skeletal house beat. So they did exactly that, and when their 11-minute 'Acid Tracks' came out two years later it galvanized the burgeoning dance-music scene in such a major way that it became the ur-example of its own genre, dubbed 'acid house.'"
Arkona, a pagan folk-metal band from Moscow with a flair for the theatrical, will be playing at Ultra Lounge. According to Monica Kendrick, the band, "are not only one of the best in their admittedly rather small genre, they're also one of the best female-led metal bands in the world, period stop. Front woman Masha Scream (aka Maria Arkhipova) founded the band with a fellow member of a Russian neopagan society in the early aughts, then dissolved and rebuilt it a few years later. The current lineup is stable (which is fortunate, since it includes Arkhipova's husband on guitar), and their output has improved steadily. The band's sound, dark and romantic and filled out with traditional Slavic instruments to enhance its shamanic aura, works just fine in the studio—but Arkona seem to have a special fondness for the way it translates to the stage: this spring's Decade of Glory (Napalm) is their third live album. But it's a special one: for their tenth-anniversary show in February 2012, they enhanced their lineup with backup singers, a choir, and strings, all lovingly wrapped around Arkhipova's feral growl."
Shoegaze pioneers My Blood Valentine, hot on the heels of their first record in over 20 years, come to town on Sunday. Says Peter Margasak about their new LP, m b v, "Expectations were less stratospheric than they might have been, but considering the two-decade lag it's much better than I thought possible. The trademarks are there: whispery pop vocals, muted drums, and a heavily processed roar of electric guitar, warped beyond recognition by whammy-bar abuse. Occasional acts of reduction, however, suggest a band trying to do something out of character. The middle third of the album often features minimal organ patterns, easy-listening melodies, and wordless vocals ('Is This and Yes,' an example), suggesting a narcotized take on 90s Stereolab. The final third travels even further outside the band’s comfort zone, combining the usual surging, throbbing guitar noise with unconvincing adaptations of hard, clubby beats that leave the tracks sounding half-finished."