Chicago workhorse drummer Tommy Carroll moves towards pop on Listening | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

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Chicago workhorse drummer Tommy Carroll moves towards pop on Listening

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Chicago drummer Tommy Carroll first came to prominence as a skateboarder in the late aughts. Blind since he was two years old, he picked up the sport in third grade, and by age 15 his skills and dedication had caught the attention of Tony Hawk, who traveled to Glenview in 2008 to skate with him. But in a 2013 interview with McSweeney’s, Carroll briefly noted his interest in drumming and jazz, and since then, public interest has focused more on his music than his skating. Carroll backs and collaborates with a handful of locals, including singer-songwriter Sophie Rae, and drums in at least a couple of bands, including jazz outfit Boomerang and soul-rap group Me’chelle & the Crystal Stones. He plays fast and loose with genre when making music under his own name; on “6 Mice,” off his wild 2017 full-length, Not Amazing, he stacks a serene horn melody atop a severe drum-and-bass loop. Following August’s Calculated Discomfort, the result of a two-day improvisation with more than a dozen collaborators, he takes a more straightforward path toward pop on his new EP, Listening, on which he composed all the music and provides drums, percussion, and programming. The luxuriant vocals from Ogi Ifediora and gospel keys from Julius Tucker that open the single “CPR” feel as immediate and vital as any current soul-influenced single.   v

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