A pair of new acts on Chicago’s Trouble in Mind imprint update scrappy 90s indie rock with shaggy pop melodies | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

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A pair of new acts on Chicago’s Trouble in Mind imprint update scrappy 90s indie rock with shaggy pop melodies

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This double bill of recent signees to Chicago’s invaluable Trouble in Mind imprint reflects the label’s knack for locating bands that evoke the heyday of 80s and 90s indie rock and convey a shaggy charm and melodic generosity that’s often missing in today’s underground scene. Chicago’s Ethers features four musicians who’ve been banging around for the last decade in bands such as Heavy Times, Radar Eyes, and Outer Minds, but its forthcoming eponymous debut pushes away from some of the garage-rock flavor one might expect given its members’ pedigrees (though not from its primal drive, thanks to the drumming of Matthew Rolin) for something more tuneful with sounds that recall music from the early 90s. There’s an appealing rasp to Bo Hansen’s singing, a kind of wearied soulfulness that fights with the surrounding din, which is driven by the kaleidoscopic organ filigree of Mary McKane. She also adds a dusky sweetness to the proceedings with her harmony singing, and handles the lead on the gorgeous “Carry What You Kill.”

On their debut album, In the Lover’s Corner, San Francisco’s Love-Birds evoke the sounds of New Zealand’s Flying Nun label—particularly the Verlaines—and collide them with the early work of Scotland’s Teenage Fanclub, whose vocalist and guitarist Norman Blake mastered the record. “Angela” is an irresistible slice of shambling hooks, with guitars that frantically strum into loose pileups while bassist Charlie Ertola and drummer Eli Groshelle pound out rhythms. But the stinging guitar leads from Eli Wald snap things into order with a bite like Teenage Fanclub channeling the squall of J. Mascis.   v

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