Jack Oblivian, Channel Four, Via Verso | Township | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

Jack Oblivian, Channel Four, Via Verso Soundboard Recommended

When: Fri., June 29, 10 p.m. 2012

On his latest solo album, Rat City (Big Legal Mess), Memphis underground veteran Jack Oblivian (aka Jack Yarber, formerly of the Oblivians and the Compulsive Gamblers) reflects the cracked musical personality of his city—rude, raucous, and messy, it heedlessly stumbles across the lines other people might try to draw between rock, R&B, and country. The record includes raunchy, snarling garage ("Rat City"), blue-eyed soul (a cover of the beach-music obscurity "Kidnapper"), jacked-up honky-tonk (a spin on Billy Swan's "Lover Please"), the kind of driving disco-rock the Rolling Stones played on Some Girls ("Mass Confusion"), melodic old-school punk (Oblivian's parched singing on "Dark Eyes" and "Girl With the Bruises" summons the spirit of early Richard Hell), and bleary-eyed psych (a searing take on the Tommy James number "Moses and Me"). No matter what direction he takes any given song, he's always unfussy and straightforward—and he hasn't lost the snottiness and desperation that made his early-90s stuff such a white-knuckle ride. —Peter Margasak Channel Four opens.

Price: $10

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