ARBOURETUM | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Rites of Uncovering, Arbouretum's second full-length (and Thrill Jockey debut), is a heady, ambitious effort, weaving reverbed alt-folk balladry with muscular, minimalist blues gestures to create a thick, pensive mood. Now touring as a four-piece, the group is loosely constructed around Baltimore singer-songwriter-guitarist Dave Heumann, a veteran of Will Oldham's and Cass McCombs's bands and currently with the Anomoanon (whose producer and occasional member Paul Oldham recorded some tracks here); after original drummer David Bergander, also of Celebration, left midway through recording Rites, Lungfish's Mitchell Feldstein played the remaining sessions. Tracks like "Pale Rider Blues" clearly show the Oldham brothers' influence, as Heumann intones dolefully over a knotty two-note guitar ostinato that opens into an extended, angsty solo. The introspective tension finally breaks on the 11-minute "The Rise," giving way to a psychedelic storm of sinuous guitar leads; in an era when an 80-minute CD is often little more than a repository, it's a pleasure to hear a band take advantage of the medium to such narrative effect. David Karsten Daniels and Shortstack open. a 9:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $8.

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