When: Thu., Aug. 11, 9:30 p.m. 2016
Under the name Circuit des Yeux singer-songwriter Haley Fohr has carved out a powerful sound world focused on her forceful voice. On last year’s In Plain Speech (Thrill Jockey) she taps into her lower register, turning a rustic foundation into something otherworldly as she unleashes harrowing melodies and spellbinding long tones with commanding precision and intensity. Circuit des Yeux’s gothic purity might lose focus if Fohr were to leaven the sound with lighter forms, so she created a fictional character named Jackie Lynn to explore something different. A collaboration with Bitchin Bajas, the eponymous Jackie Lynn record uses the familiar trope of a small-town girl fleeing her constricting roots for the big city—which in this case happens to be Chicago. After moving into a Little Village apartment, Jackie joins forces with a drug dealer she meets on the CTA, eventually splitting town just before the cops bust into their pad. The concept is secondary to hearing Fohr sing direct melodies and lyrics amid less tempestuous, churning arrangements. Some press photos have Fohr donning a starred cowboy hat, fake Nudie suit, and white boots, which suggests an old-school countrypolitan act, but the record’s simple guitar arpeggios, cheap drum-machine rhythms, and swirling synthesizer textures forge a sophisticated platform for a breezier manifestation of her gripping voice. Most of the songs are short and hooky, while she occasionally injects wry humor that would be out of place in her main gig (on “Smile” she sings, “I’m so sick of these jocks with their little tiny cocks”). When I first heard about this project it seemed excessive for her to develop a second persona, but the more I’ve listened to Jackie Lynn the more she’s made sense.
Price: $10 suggested donation