Amen Dunes, Deradoorian, Axxas/Abraxas | Constellation | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

Amen Dunes, Deradoorian, Axxas/Abraxas 18+ Early Warnings (Music) Recommended Soundboard Image

When: Thu., July 17, 9:30 p.m. 2014

Damon McMahon began Amen Dunes in 2006 as a wanderin’-man, nomadic-hippie project—he worked alone or with whoever was at hand, building his songs mostly from improvisational single takes with long, dusty trails of reverb—but in the intervening years he’s molded it into a proper band, with full-time members and regular collaborators. Since 2011’s Through Donkey Jaw the Amen Dunes aesthetic has been chilled out and just slightly off-kilter—it’s as though McMahon can’t arrange a guitar chord and a vocal melody in perfect hazy harmony (a la Fleet Foxes) without tossing a gentle wrench into it with bubbling noise and discord or his own on-mike ravings. The new Love (Sacred Bones) features fuller, more eclectic instrumentation than its predecessor—recording with Godspeed You! Black Emperor guys Dave Bryant and Efrim Menuck will do that—but the extra studio sophistication stops short of disturbing McMahon’s rambling vibe. —Kevin Warwick

Five years ago, while Angel Deradoorian was still a harmony vocalist in Dirty Projectors, she released a dazzling solo EP called Mind Raft (Lovepump United) that transplanted the richly contrapuntal melodies of her main band’s brilliant but often stilted art-rock into a less fussy, more naturalistic setting. She had help from a few friends, but her lovely voice occupies center stage, often overdubbed in layers; for most of “Moon” she harmonizes with herself over sparse acoustic guitar (a psych-folk coda adds a jolt of droning energy at the end), and “You Carry the Deed” comes off like a sleek, beatless R&B jam overflowing with melisma. After leaving Dirty Projectors in 2012, Deradoorian moved from New York to LA, and though she’s been working on new material, very little of it has made its way out into the world. She’s in town with Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks, who play Pitchfork on Friday, and this rare solo set ought to provide a glimpse of what she’s been up to on her own. —Peter Margasak

Price: $12

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