Nobunny, Tenement, Mama | Empty Bottle | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

Nobunny, Tenement, Mama Early Warnings (Music) Soundboard Recommended Image

When: Sun., July 12, 9 p.m. 2015

There are few things I know about Appleton, Wisconsin, but I do know it’s the hometown of two great midwestern DIY spirits: documentarian (and former Chicagoan) John Yingling and a three-piece band called Tenement. The latter have performed in dingy basements and small-capacity bars around the country since 2006, rolling out a form of pop-punk that’s best defined with the assistance of scare quotes. On their early recordings, a portion of which were recently compiled as Bruised Music, Volume 1 (Grave Mistake/Toxic Pop), the band play nascent 90s pop-punk at a hardcore pace and create enough air between notes to let the exhilarating melodies take flight. These days, however, Tenement dial back the punk aggression and instead play fast and loose with anything under the pop-rock umbrella. Last month’s Predatory Headlights (Don Giovanni) jumps from sweetly romantic, minimal piano ballads (“Ants + Flies”) to blazing power-pop jams that end all too quickly (“The Shriveled Finger”) to buoyant, multicolored psych-pop songs punctuated with sunny vocal harmonies (“Whispering Kids”). Twenty-five tracks deep (the equivalent of two LPs), Predatory Headlights can feel unwieldy at times—especially on the rambling, nine-and-a-half-minute “A Frightening Place for Normal People”—but the bulk of the songs are addictive power-punches that can fuel me through a grueling day. I’m not sure I’ve heard a two-minute rock song in 2015 that’s as blissful and exultant as “Curtains Closed,” and if I keep playing it as much as I have been I won’t have time to listen to any other new rock songs this year. —Leor Galil

Price: $10

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