Loraxx | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Back in the mid- and late 90s, there were a lot of musicians in Chicago pushing the limits of what "abrasive" meant. These were folks who thought the Jesus Lizard was a key influence for their mellower, poppier moments, and they spent a lot of energy getting together, breaking up, and then re-forming in different configurations. Arista Strungys, the guitarist and front woman of local trio Loraxx, is a product of that scene, and it's remarkable that she's retained a primal urge to organize noise when others have moved on to pursue different fashions. Loraxx are about to drop their third full-length, Selfs, on their own Automatic Combustioneer Records (this gig is a release party), and it's a monster. What grabbed me most about their second album, 2001's Yellville, was their devastating, almost infallible rhythm section, which made counterintuitive rhythms hang together like heartbeats. They have a new bassist, Jeff Lauras, but that hasn't radically changed their sound: the tension they create with their unresolved thrusts and parries echoes U.S. Maple without being derivative, and Strungys, as always, makes what could easily be one-note aggro shrieking sound almost joyous. Zombi headlines; the Microwaves and Yowie open. Sat 2/26, 9 PM, Bottom Lounge, 3206 N. Wilton, 773-975-0505 or 800-594-8499, $7.

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