Cindy Dall's solo album is built on layers of self-contradiction: Stylistically she flits from lumbering gothic dirges to desolate cabaret to jagged, skeletal rock. Her fantastical lyrics use angels, dragons, and castles to explore concerns like mortality, self-hatred, and betrayal. Several songs speak commandingly from the first person, but she negates herself by refusing to title the disc or print her name on its sleeve. The layers are unified by Dall's soaring soprano voice and Jim O'Rourke's production, which accentuates the drones at the core of Dall's melodies. Her sound isn't entirely unprecedented; its stark pairing of piano and environmental noise recalls similar experiments on Peter Jefferies's The Last Great Challenge in a Dull World, while the staccato guitar playing and unflinching survey of interpersonal disasters recall the band Smog, in which she used to play--though Dall is more melodic and more reserved than either. O'Rourke will accompany Dall on keyboards for her Chicago solo debut and open the show with a set of his own steel-string guitar music. Also performing are ex-Unrest members Mark Robinson and Phil Krauth, who will be joined by Teenbeat label mates Tel Aviv. Dall will also appear Saturday afternoon at Reckless Records on Broadway. Friday, 10 PM, Lounge Ax, 2438 N. Lincoln; 525-6620.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Photo of Cindy Dall.