Archers of Loaf/Labradford | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Archers of Loaf/Labradford

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The hyperrevved throttle of Archers of Loaf's catchy punk rock is nothing new; their progenitors and fellow Chapel Hillers Superchunk first pumped Husker Du-ish tunes full of unparalleled ear-splitting pop some four years ago. And while the bulk of their debut album, Icky Mettle (Alias), consists of similar, traditionally structured, guitar-crammed, hook-laden nuggets, it's the sheer exuberance of frontman Eric Bachmann that sets this foursome apart from the tedium of indie rock "slacker" centrism. His voice, which superficially resembles that of Dinosaur Jr.'s J Mascis, is convincingly soulful: it's booming, gritty, and strained, but with an emotionalism that's far removed from the overwrought anguish-mongering of today's ugly-rock stars. At a live show a few months ago, Archers of Loaf doubled their abundant energy, Bachmann springing around the stage like a kid waiting in line for the bathroom. In stark contrast to such frenetic energy stands the trio Labradford from Richmond, Virginia. This drummerless group (and no drum machine either) sculpts waste noise (feedback, hiss, short-outs, etc) into meditative soundscapes and pallid, druggy pop tunes (imagine a dissipated Spacemen 3). Its debut album, Prazision, released on Chicago's Kranky label, uses clunky old analog synthesizers and heavily treated guitars to create an hour of rusty-edged musical hypnosis. By all means get there early to catch Labradford, but may I suggest bringing a cot. The headliner is Dolomite, celebrating the release of its new EP, The Gift Horse Acetate (Thrill Jockey). Labradford also play Sunday afternoon at 3 at Ajax Records, 2156 W. Chicago (772-4783). Saturday, 10 PM, Lounge Ax, 2438 N. Lincoln; 525-6620.

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