Chicago rock polymath Seth Engel continues making some of the best power-pop in town with Vivid Trace | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

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Chicago rock polymath Seth Engel continues making some of the best power-pop in town with Vivid Trace


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Unassuming Chicago musical wunderkind Seth Engel has his hand in too many musical projects to print in a short concert preview; even listed on his website, the titles of albums he’s produced, engineered, or played on take up a great deal of real estate­. Suffice to say, if you’ve spent any time at this year at Subterranean (where he and his bands are frequent performers), a punk house show, or Pitchfork Music Festival, you’ve probably seen Engel bringing some unfathomably complicated music to life. He’s drummed for outre pop genius Nnamdi Ogbonnaya­ at Pitchfork and in a spate of tours, he plays guitar for experimental misfits Anthony Fremont’s Garden Solutions, and he drums for mathy fourth-wave-emo supergroup Lifted Bells­, among his many other gigs. Under the name Options­, Engel has recorded and released a spate of emo-inflected power pop that’s as equally affecting and straightforward. On Options’ brand-new Vivid Trace (Sooper) Engel doles out sweetly forlorn vocals atop guitars as strong and immaculate as stainless steel, and backs them with adroit rhythms that punch up every song to ensure each melody finds its target. The lineup for his live band tonight includes Zach Elias on guitar, Corey Wichlin on drums, and Ogbonnaya on bass and backup vocals.   v

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