My Dad is Dead | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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My Dad is Dead


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The forthcoming A Divided House (Unhinged) is the 12th album from singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Mark Edwards, better known as My Dad Is Dead, and it's his strongest since the 1988 Homestead release Let's Skip the Details--which was not just MDID's masterpiece but one of the best records from a label that in the last half of the 80s seemed to put out something great every week. Divided House retains some of the hallmarks of MDID's early sound--the suffocating atmosphere of Joy Division, the chiming arpeggios of the Smiths, the churning riffage of Killing Joke--and enlists the help of several of Edwards's stalwart sidemen, including Scott Pickering and Chris Burgess, the erstwhile rhythm section of Prisonshake. For earlier albums Edwards augmented programmed rhythms on real drums and bass or used a de facto pickup group (usually including at least one of the aforementioned players), but for Divided House he indulged in a two-year process of writing and rehearsing that's resulted in the first MDID recording with the chemistry of a real band. Once a nervous, slightly adenoidal buzz, Edwards's voice is now a pleasantly husky baritone with a shadow of vibrato, and his lyrics have matured somewhat as well--the misanthrope who wrote tunes like "Anti-Socialist" is now showing both a political conscience (on the title track he sings, "Right or wrong it won't matter long / A divided house cannot be strong") and a romantic side (in the touching love song "My Safe Place"). MDID will be performing as a three-piece, with Pickering on drums and Lambchop's Matt Swanson on bass. Doug Gillard plays second and the Jim Yoshii Pile-Up opens. Sat 8/13, 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $10.

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