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EVIL BEAVER 8/29, METRO Evil Beaver's gotten fat: the local duo's second album, Pleased to Eat You (out September 8 on their Frooty Nation label), has a big, thick, cavern-filling roar harking back to a certain moment years ago starring L7 and Seven Year Bitch. Recorded in LA by former Chicagoan Dave Trumfio, the riff-heavy girl riot is just barely on the acceptably dirty edge of slickness. A reevaluation of grunge is surely on its way, and this is a fine place to start. Key fact: the sweetest-sounding song here is called "Ass Salad." This is a release party and a kickoff for the "Eatin' Ain't Cheatin' World Tour," which goes to Europe immediately afterward. BIG BUILDINGS 8/30, BOTTOM LOUNGE I just know that in future recordings the local Big Buildings will be tempted to clean up and bolster the tinny, crackly guitar sound and overreaching vocals as heard on "Wildebeest," the opening track of their This Is the Bricks EP (Stars/No Stars). I hope they don't do it--the informal, rehearsal-room feel brings a real down-hominess to their slightly Wilco-ish prairie rock. Years from now they'll be trying to fake that authenticity. Husker Du veteran Grant Hart headlines. FLAMING FIRE 8/31, EMPTY BOTTLE One thing that sets Brooklyn's Flaming Fire apart from similarly theatrical live acts is that its records actually bear repeated listening and reveal something new every time--unlike, say, Fischerspooner, whose albums are about as much fun as watching The Rocky Horror Picture Show at home by yourself. Its second album, Songs From the Shining Temple (Perhaps Transparent Recordings), creates a feel of high-tech, happy heathenism in even the dourest apartment: the beat and chant and joyous, playful violence has a sincere quality of myth. Band member Lauren Weinstein is also celebrating the release of her comics collection Inside Vineyland at Quimby's this weekend; see Calendar, Section One. METHADONES 8/31, ABBEY PUB Late of Screeching Weasel, the Queers, and Sludgeworth, among others, maybe Dan Vapid (aka Dan Schaefer) has hit his stride with his gajillionth band, the Methadones--and judging by their polished and giddy new album, Career Objective (Thick), that stride is damn fast. Though the songs would support a more laid-back pace, the impatience with the shy foot-dragging of much pop punk brings a note of fiery excitement back to this extremely familiar form. DEATHRAY DAVIES, PAPER AIRPLANE PILOTS 9/1, SCHUBAS The Deathray Davies are starting out from a power-pop base for sure, but the complex and whimsical touches of harmonies, organ, and strings take their catchy songs toward Elf Power territory, and the intro bit that kicks off the new Midnight at the Black Nail Polish Factory (Glurp) sounds just a bit like mid-period Cure--not an obvious influence but hardly incompatible, slightly wry and sad-eyed like the Texas band's namesake (the guy from the Kinks, if you're dense). Also on the bill are local heroes-to-be the Paper Airplane Pilots, whose full-length debut took almost two years to finish. It's well worth it: its pop crinkle and jangle is nearly flawless, in a Badfinger/Big Star sort of way. TOMMY STINSON, FIGGS 9/2, DOUBLE DOOR Baby-faced ex-Replacement Tommy Stinson appears to have some time on his hands in between grueling sessions with his new band, Guns N' Roses: he's got his third solo album in the can and hoping that some label will pop the top. For this tour he's backed by the Figgs, who demonstrate considerable skill as a repertory band--the upstate New Yorkers have been playing behind Graham Parker for years now. Their own lackadaisical release schedule and almost aggressively likable (if somewhat undistinguished) guitar pop make them well suited to be someone else's band too. Still working last year's Slow Charm (Hearbox), they'll play a set of their own, then Stinson will play a short solo acoustic set, then they'll play together. NEBULA, BELLRAYS, FLASH EXPRESS 9/3, DOUBLE DOOR Heavy and swampy as always, the deadly Nebula have a new album, Atomic Ritual, due out on Liquor and Poker records in September. Fans know what to expect by now--the band picks up a little speed on a few tracks, and their front-loaded swing is very pronounced (which makes me wonder how the departure of bassist Mark Abshire and the postrecording arrival of new guy Dennis Wilson will affect that sexy, arrhythmia-inducing low end). They're playing with soul-garage powerhouses the Bellrays, which means the neck and hips will get a workout tonight. Opening are the Flash Express, a strutting LA trio that manages to rip from Van Halen and the Stooges in the same song and sound like neither. Their debut, Introducing the Dynamite Sound of the Flash Express (Hit It Now!), is an aggressive, choppy, slightly strident take on the heavy-R & B form that probably plays better live than on record--and probably plays better still when they're accompanying Andre Williams or Rudy Ray Moore, as they've done in the past. ANDREW W.K. 9/3, METRO Now that the worst of the woe-is-me nu-metal thing seems to be over, some space might be cleared for the likes of Andrew W.K., who's almost a throwback to the young David Lee Roth or the playful side of Motley Crue in his happy-go-lucky, party-hearty attitude. His music pares pop metal down to its most basic elements and delivers them with a primal adrenal charge--there doesn't seem to be a surly bone in his body. Is this guy for real? I choose to believe he is. It's more fun that way. Denver skate rats Vaux open.

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