Liam Hayes, Son Little Early Warnings (Music) Recommended Soundboard Image

When: Sat., Jan. 31, 9 p.m. 2015

Liam Hayes, who’s performed under the name Plush for most of his two-and-a-half-decade career, has often seemed to be on the verge of something big. His meticulous strain of elegant, erudite post-Brill Building pop has emerged in fits and starts, and he’s regularly served as his own worst enemy by getting sidetracked via perfectionism and an aversion to publicity. The Chicago native is in the midst of another streak of visibility, one that began with his soundtrack for Roman Coppola’s 2012 film A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III and continued with the release of his pristine 2014 album Korp Sole Roller, which was produced by Wilco’s Pat Sansone. A couple of weeks ago he put out Slurrup (Fat Possum), the first album released under his own name, and a marked shift toward something more stripped-down after years of richly orchestrated work (Hayes focuses on guitar rather than his usual piano). In fact, the record seems at pains to convey a sense of immediacy: the opening version of the title track is little more than in-studio banter and a half-finished instrumental jam. The infectious but uncharacteristically hard-driving garage-rock jam “One Way Out” is like a midlife crisis reaching out for youthful aggression (fortunately, it works), and “Nothing Wrong” balances sophisticated pop instincts with 60s punk-style ferocity. Other songs display his usual grace, like the lovely, era-blending ballad “Greenville” and the midtempo burner “Fight Magic With Magic.” I have no idea if this new sound will bring Hayes the success he’s deserved for so long, but I’m happy whenever a new batch of his songs is flung into the world. —Peter Margasak

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