Jeffrey Lewis & the Junkyard, Emperor X, Conrad Richards | Double Door | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

Jeffrey Lewis & the Junkyard, Emperor X, Conrad Richards Recommended Soundboard

When: Mon., Nov. 14, 8:30 p.m. 2011

One of the most consistently aired complaints about today's buzz bands is that they get sucked up into the hype machine when all they have to show for themselves is one or two songs on a Bandcamp page—they just don't get enough time develop a durable aesthetic. That's something LA-based singer-songwriter Chad Matheny, who records and performs as Emperor X, hasn't had to worry about. Matheny began writing and recording gorgeous and sometimes jubilant lo-fi antifolk in the elevator shaft of his American University dorm in 1997, and he's spent most of the past decade touring across the country, performing in just about any venue, coffee shop, or college radio station that would have him. He's gathered a cult fan base in the process, but as far as most of the indie audience is concerned, he might as well be burying his albums in the woods instead of releasing them. In the fall of 2010, Matheny almost did just that, hiding cassette demos of his songs all over the country and publishing the GPS coordinates of the caches online so his fans could try to find them. Fortunately no shovels or sleuthing skills are required to hear his fifth album, the new Western Teleport (Bar/None), a stunning collection that's easy to, um, dig. (He's also busy hiding 41 more tapes, each containing the only physical copy of a song from a parallel project called Western Teleport Nodes. As before, each comes with a code that unlocks a downloadable file; if the tape isn't found, the file will be deleted.) Matheny's best recordings capture the manic glee of his live set, and tracks like "Defiance" and "Erica Western Teleport" are so packed with catchy hooks and soaring melodies that all the new fans they're bound to make him will doubtless wonder why Emperor X wasn't on their radar before. —Leor Galil Jeffrey Lewis & the Junkyard headline; Emperor X and Conrad Richards open.

Price: $10

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