Martin Dosh, Head of Femur | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Arts & Culture » Theater Critic's Choice

Martin Dosh, Head of Femur



Like lots of indie-rock bands these days, HEAD OF FEMUR seeks safety in numbers. Officially they're an octet, with a core of three Nebraska-bred Chicagoans: Mike Elsener, Ben Armstrong, and Matt Focht. But on their second disc, Hysterical Stars (SpinArt), nearly 30 musicians honk, saw, pound, tinkle, wail, clang, and generally make a jubilant noise. Most overstuffed collectives get compared to the Elephant 6 tribe, but Head of Femur's orch-pop arrangements are less zany and more immaculate--nary a horn, string, or glockenspiel is out of place. Nor is Hysterical Stars a Sgt. Pepper's imitation, though you could argue it's a similar project--a rollicking pastiche of childhood musical memories with all the openhearted corn and jumbled discontinuity such ambitions tend to produce. In a typical segue, the (sorta) fife-and-drum procession of "Born in the Seventies" evolves into the (kinda) Dixieland romp of "Easy Street." Still, their jump-cut arrangements sound more logical (if not more organic) than the Fiery Furnaces', and when they wear their hearts on their sleeves they still come off as less self-aggrandizing than Bright Eyes, in which Focht and Elsener have played. --Keith Harris

In one of the more inspired pairings of the year, Andrew Bird's avant-chamber pop will be augmented by MARTIN DOSH, the home-recording multi-instrumentalist who's released three CDs on the Anticon label over the past few years. Dosh will do a brief opening set of solo material--apparently just the "classics" though, and nothing from his new self-released Powder Horn--then join Bird on drums, Rhodes, synth, and loops for a full set. It's a shame he's neglecting his new stuff: Powder Horn is even stronger than his two 2004 releases, Pure Trash and the Naoise EP. The mostly instrumental album, recorded in his hometown of Minneapolis, sounds like a more illbient version of Fog (with whom he plays and records occasionally): a stone-groove kitchen-sink collage of piano, loops, real drums, and tape snippets of life at home and on tour. --J. Niimi

Bird headlines and Dosh plays second at both shows; Sam Prekop opens the early show and Head of Femur opens the late show. Sat 11/26, 6:30 and 10:30 PM, Logan Square Auditorium, 2539 N. Kedzie, 773-252-6179, $15. All ages.

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  →