Moaners | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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I loved Moaners singer-guitarist Melissa Swingle in her old band, Trailer Bride; steeped in rural southern beauty and despair, they sounded like they were slowly drinking themselves to death in a decaying frame house, staring at the stars through the holes in the roof. Swingle formed her North Carolina-based duo, the Moaners, with drummer Laura King, veteran of a host of Baltimore punk bands, and their debut album, Dark Snack (Yep Roc), is quite a departure from Trailer Bride. It's a heavy, greasy, heart-killing barbecue of a garage-blues record, spiked with homages to folksinger Elizabeth Cotton, Flannery O'Connor, and "House of the Rising Sun." The songs are much less downbeat than Trailer Bride's--their creaky harmonic swagger suggests a lot more fucking and brawling. The Moaners have performed on bills with the Drive-By Truckers and Wanda Jackson, and I can imagine them resonating pretty damn well with fans of either. The Immortal Lee County Killers headline, Thunderwing opens. Sat 2/5, 10:30 PM, Subterranean Cafe & Cabaret, 2011 W. North, 773-278-6600 or 800-594-8499, $8.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Alex Maness.

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