Palaxy Tracks | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Palaxy Tracks

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On Twelve Rooms (Peek-a-Boo), local trio Palaxy Tracks accesses an even darker muse than the one that inspired its first two full-lengths, The Long Wind Down (2000) and Cedarland (2003); a cover of Leonard Cohen's despairing 1969 gem "Seems So Long Ago, Nancy" only underscores the gloomy mood. Singer Brandon Durham has a mature and elegantly expressive croon that's perfectly suited for these wounded rhapsodies and drizzly doomsday proclamations, whose lyrics were influenced by Raymond Carver's finely etched short stories. The Austin expatriates are heavily indebted to the Smiths and other Blighty-based brooders, but Brad Murph's spiky guitar lines on "Up My Sleeve" and "Lamplighter" give their lilting melancholia a jagged edge, while producer and Poi Dog Pondering guitarist Ted Cho develops a variety of intricate textures that were lacking on previous discs. A host of guests, including Califone's Tim Rutili and Poi Dog members Frank Orrall, Alison Chesney, and Dave Max Crawford, also pitch in. The latter two will join the group onstage at this CD-release show. At the merch table you'll find a limited-edition version of Twelve Rooms, which features different packaging and two bonus tracks. Scotland Yard Gospel Choir, who plan to release their just-completed sophomore album in the fall, headline. Dogme 95 opens. Palaxy Tracks also plays a free in-store Wednesday at Reckless on Broadway. Thu 6/2, 9 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, 773-525-2508, $8.

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