Dead Rider, Microwaves | Quenchers Saloon | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

Dead Rider, Microwaves Recommended Soundboard

When: Fri., May 6, 9 p.m. 2011

On The Raw Dents (Tizona), the second Dead Rider album, Todd Rittmann has perfected his post-Bowie lounge-lizard croon—it's more expressive and controlled, which in practice tends to mean "stranger and sleazier." (The band used to be called D. Rider, but Rittmann got tired of explaining what the "D." stood for.) He oozes the kind of creepy charisma that you can tell right off means trouble, and trouble definitely comes—when the stumbling swagger of "Two Nonfictional Lawyers" stops dead for 30 seconds of maniacal cackling and queasy dive-bombing strings, for instance, or when "Mother Meat" dissolves into chaotically tumbling drums and distant, unhinged screaming. Rittmann's unctuous, mannered vocals slither through the band's menacing, off-­balance art-rock, which gets a lot of its flavor from the drumming of Matt Espy and Theo Katsaounis—skeletal but heavy, it's full of sideways accents, surprising displacements, and odd drawn-out triplets. (They take turns on the record, but Espy will be behind the kit for this show.) Multi-instrumentalists Andrea Faught (also of Cheer-Accident) and Noah Tabakin lay down eerie keyboard textures, growling synth bass, and plangent, unsettling horn charts—Faught plays trumpet, and Tabakan occasionally adds a squealing saxophone solo. But Rittmann and his guitar claim the foreground with warped classic-rock heroics, which sound start­lingly fresh in Dead Rider's off-kilter songs. Though there's no shortage of rock bands making music that's ugly, brutal, or weird, I haven't heard anything this sinister in a long time. —Peter Margasak

Price: $5 suggested donation

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