When: Fri., Feb. 13, 10 p.m. 2009
Other ships in Chicago’s post-rock fleet displace more water, but CHEER-ACCIDENT is the scene’s Flying Dutchman: eternally sailing far out at sea, the band is half distant mirage, half unsettling portent. They’re musicians’ musicians and weirdos’ weirdos, the guys to watch to see what everyone will be doing next year or next decade or maybe just never dare to do at all. I can’t imagine why it’s taken them till this point in their quarter-century career to turn up on the cover of Signal to Noise, but better late than never. The new Fear Draws Misfortune is their first album for Cuneiform Records, a stalwart experimental label that’s been around almost as long as the band. Cheer-Accident adopt a different tone for every release, and this one has a lush, richly orchestrated sound that makes their puckish humor feel spiritually resonant, like the teaching jokes in Zen and Sufi traditions—founder Thymme Jones, longtime member Jeff Libersher, and newbie Alex Perkolup are joined by a crew of guests that includes cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm, Aleksandra Tomaszewska of Aleks & the Drummer, and Carla Kihlstedt of Sleepytime Gorilla Museum. I could easily fill a page talking about any given minute of this album, but suffice it to say that if you’ve ever loved Magma’s apocalypticisms, Neu!’s ghosts in the machine, or Beefheart’s Dada boogie—or at least dreamed of watching the Mormon Tabernacle Choir fall down a very long flight of stairs—it might be for you. —Monica Kendrick For almost 15 years Todd Rittmann’s singular guitar has graced some of Chicago’s best and most original bands—U.S. Maple, Cheer-Accident, Singer—but until now he’s never taken center stage. To judge by Mother of Curses (Tizona), the superb debut by his project D. RIDER, he’s spent years stockpiling good ideas for a band of his own. On the new record he plays just about everything (he’s almost as good on drums as he is on guitar), though Noah Tabakin of Mucca Pazza drops in some saxophone and Andrea Faught (another member of the extended Cheer-Accident family) adds keyboards and trumpet. On guitar Rittmann delivers the sort of controlled chaos I’ve come to expect from him—a post-Beefheart tangle of angular riffs and percussive blurts that combines noisy feedback, brittle snorts, and metallic crunching—but his vocal style threw me for a loop. He’s something of a Bowie-esque crooner, and his languid melodies, draped in big flourishes of lounge-lizard vibrato, create a wonderful tension with the tightly coiled arrangements. Nifty processing of instrumental tracks adds to the music’s rich detail, but the songs are so well put together that I’m sure they’ll sound just as great even if D. Rider make no attempt to reproduce those effects onstage (where they’ll be joined by Theo Katsaounis of Locks and A Tundra on drums). —Peter Margasak Cheer-Accident headlines; D. Rider and Jessica Fogle open. Cheer-Accident also headlines the kickoff concert for WNUR 89.3 FM’s annual Phoneathon fund-raiser on Thursday, February 19, at SPACE in Evanston.