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As usual, this week's top Soundboard picks are below with some words from Reader writers.
"The urge to collaborate seems innate for guitarist Steve Gunn, who keeps finding new ways to situate his mix of fingerstyle fantasias and folk-rock songcraft," writes Peter Margasak. "What makes that predilection even more impressive is how seamlessly his playing blends with such a disparate cast, and over the last couple of years he's been on an impressive run of successes, joining forces with Mike Taylor of Hiss Golden Messenger, with Mike Gangloff of Pelt, and with both his longtime drummer John Truscinksi and Irish guitarist Cian Nugent. Earlier this year he released Cantos de Lisboa, the result of a heady partnership with veteran British folk-rocker Mike Cooper. The pair cut a lyric series of mostly instrumental, largely spontaneous duets in which Gunn's forceful, alternately rustic and ornate acoustic guitar constellations are intersected by bent-note arabesques and stabbing accents served up on Cooper's National Steel guitar (he also deploys some nicely crude electronic noise on "Song for Charlie," a harrowing, coloristic journey of abstract sound). Those basic tendencies emerge in more fleshed-out settings on his new solo album, Way Out Weather, an effort focused on his narrative songs that stands as his most sophisticated piece of work."
There's more extreme metal at Reggie's on Tuesday with Suffocation. Monica Kendrick says, "This technical death-metal band has only released seven full-lengths since forming in Long Island during the death-metal heyday of the late 80s—never mind their five-year hiatus from 1998 to 2002—which means they haven't given themselves the chance to overindulge or crank out much filler. Their leave-them-wanting-more MO paid off on last year's Pinnacle of Bedlam. Suffocation have held very steady in the hands of guitarists Terrance Hobbs and Guy Marchais and the throat of front man Frank Mullen, but they have a bit of a Spinal Tap-like drummer problem (Kevin Talley of Dying Fetus and Daath signed on for this tour)."
Lyric's take on this classic opera has an appearance this week on its current run. Deanna Isaacs says, "Mozart's Don Giovanni was the first production of Lyric Opera's first year, back in 1954, so it's a nostalgic choice to open the diamond anniversary season. This 18th-century comic drama about a peripatetic serial seducer has seen numerous Lyric productions in the interim, but never one like this. Goodman Theatre artistic director Robert Falls, moonlighting in the Lyric director's chair, has moved the story forward in time, setting it in 1920s Spain to better explore what he sees as the darkly modern psychology of its antihero. Falls says this 'violent and sexy' version of Don Giovanni will be a 'roller-coaster experience' for the audience. The music is gorgeous, and the scene that was part of Lyric's Millennium Park concert a few weeks ago suggests that the vocal performances will be up to the usual standards."