American Analog Set | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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American Analog Set


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"I'm on your side," croons vocalist Andrew Kenny on the lead track from American Analog Set's new Know by Heart (Tiger Style), a pretty pastiche of lazy guitar strums, brushed drums, and gauzy, backlit vibraphone. It's not necessarily what you'd expect from a song called "Punk as Fuck," but the title's less a reference to the record's sound than to its concision. On the Austin quintet's first three albums--The Fun of Watching Fireworks (1996), From Our Living Room to Yours (1997), and The Golden Band (1999)--the tracks ran together in an uninterrupted whole, with the band's hazy, surging sound spread out over meandering, we'll-know-where-when-we-get-there song structures. But here each tune is a discrete entity, and only two last more than four minutes--Know by Heart even reprises "Gone to Earth," a nine-minute epic from Fireworks, as a three-minute pop nugget. The performances seem more focused too: even when the drums rush, the plodding bass lines hold their own steady tempo; guitar and Farfisa organ swirl overhead, now densely clustered, now delicate and careworn. "We're Computerizing and We Just Don't Need You Anymore" suggests Grandaddy covering Eno (circa Another Green World), while "The Postman" dresses up its slice-of-life lyrics in a sleepy, Yo La Tengo-ish drawl. Friday, September 28, 10 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport; 773-525-2508.

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