Scout Niblett, Picastro | Schubas | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

Scout Niblett, Picastro Early Warnings (Music) Soundboard

When: Fri., March 19, 10 p.m. 2010

Born and raised in England but based in Portland, Oregon, Emma "Scout" Niblett has stuck to her guns for a decade now, honing a very specific sound, clearly inspired by Kurt Cobain's guitar playing and PJ Harvey's raw, intimate early-90s recordings. Between those two guiding stars, though, she finds plenty of room for her own personality. On her latest album, The Calcination of Scout Niblett (Drag City), there are walloping drums on some tracks (played not by Niblett herself for a change but by a fellow who likes to be called "Christmas"), but mostly it's just her electric guitar, which she uses not just to play riffs or strum through chord changes but to create a kind of symphonic noise, shaping surging-and-ebbing feedback and overtones. Her voice is what really helps her transcend her influences: sometimes keening and vulnerable, sometimes almost playful, sometimes charged with a transfixing ritualistic energy, it taps into powerful, primal emotions. Niblett is touring with a single bandmate named Dan Wilson (no relation to the guy from Semisonic). —Peter Margasak

Price: $12

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