Califone | Museum of Contemporary Art | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

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When: Sat., Oct. 10, 7:30 p.m. and Sun., Oct. 11, 7:30 p.m. 2009

In his old band Red Red Meat, Califone mastermind Tim Rutili didn’t just go off the rails; he flung himself off, deliberately sabotaging a good thing in order to create something great. At the time it wasn’t always clear what the idea was, and not every risk paid off, but this spring’s deluxe reissue of Bunny Gets Paid (Sub Pop) reaffirmed that Rutili and company were smart to trust their wild instincts—the same instincts that shape the brilliant sound they still create as Califone. The brand-new All My Friends Are Funeral Singers (Dead Oceans) is the best rock album I’ve heard this year, the work of a mature and masterful group. The unforgettable melodies, sometimes rickety, sometimes tender, unfold through gloriously untidy arrangements that develop so organically they seem improvised, and the band’s spaced-out, broke-down postblues sound world is undeniably all their own. The music teems with such rich detail that every listen reveals something new—the way the opening track, “Giving Away the Bride,” builds from a phalanx of grimy, off-kilter percussion into almost plaintive piano-driven lyricism, or the way fat droplets of marimba dot the long tones of guitar feedback and melodica on the devastatingly beautiful “Krill”—but there’s almost no point trying to parse the sounds separately from the songs, as neither would make sense without the other. For these special museum shows, Califone will play a half-hour set and then provide a live soundtrack to the world premiere of Rutili’s first feature-length film, also called All My Friends Are Funeral Singers. —Peter Margasak

Both shows are sold out.

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