When: Sat., Feb. 20, 9 p.m. 2016
In December Merge dropped a ten-year-anniversary reissue of Spoon’s Gimme Fiction, which is a reminder of the not-too-distant past when that album’s sophisticated, warm indie rock made the Texas band a cultural vanguard. Pop’s pendulum has since swung away from Spoon’s vision, and there’s less interest in bands endowed with the same grasp of untroubled harmonic bursts and refined, steady musical euphoria. Take the Kickback. Formed in South Dakota in 2006 but based in Chicago since 2009, the band recently dropped their long-gestating debut full-length, Sorry All Over the Place (Jullian Records), and though popularity isn’t a measure of artistic worth, we’re all poorer for these songs not being in more ears (though I’d probably say that regardless of how big the room is that they play). The Kickback are adroit in their precision—the nimble bass plugs away with minimal funk thump, the drums hum along with Krautrock poise, the guitars mosey with easygoing vitality—and front man Billy Yost provides hearthlike energy and heart. His smooth singing leaves enough gaps for bits of grit to surface, and his sudden changes in inflection on “Scorched Earth Brouhaha” and “White Lodge” unload extra kerosene. Tonight’s performances help cap off the three-night, six-venue Dunn Dunn Fest, a mini celebration of American music organized by local promotion company Harmonica Dunn.