Romantic disappointment fuels It's a Game (Drag City), Edith Frost's first album in four years, but there's no bitterness or anger--Frost embraces her sorrow like a surrogate for the lovers she can't hold on to. On their own her lyrics are an endless downer, self-obsessed to the point of obliviousness: "You've got so much time for that other woman / I don't know why you won't spend your time with me," she sings on "Emergency." But her gorgeous melodies make the words go down smoothly. The music--performed by a stellar cast of players including Azita Youseffi, Josh Abrams, and recent Chicago emigre Emmett Kelly--is elegantly restrained, rarely rising above a whisper. On the title track, a delicate lattice of piano, organ, and electric guitar teases out dulcet harmonies around Frost's vulnerable, conversational voice. Her waltz "Mirage" sounds like a lost, countrified lullaby, and it's not hard to imagine Patsy Cline singing "Lucky Charm"; still, Frost's prerock vocal style never sounds consciously retro. Frost will be joined by drummer Jason Toth, bassist Ryan Hembrey, guitarist Kelly, and keyboardist Lindsay Anderson. Thin Man and Shelley Short open. Sat 11/19, 9 PM, HotHouse, 31 E. Balbo, 312-362-9707, $12.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Eric Ziegenhagen.