The Soft Moon confront the past through moody, industrial darkwave | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

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The Soft Moon confront the past through moody, industrial darkwave


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Led by singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Luis Vasquez, Oakland’s the Soft Moon create a visceral mix of darkwave, industrial, and postpunk music that recalls the heyday of 80s counterculture. Nearly a year after releasing their fourth LP, Criminal (Sacred Bones), the group are on the road with a reworking of that album, November’s Criminal Remixed, in their back pocket. If Criminal is the tortured sound of Vasquez coping with guilt from the abuse he suffered as a child and his subsequent abusive behavior, then Criminal Remixed is the sound of that guilt fueling a drug-induced dance-party nightmare. Both records stand on their own merits, but the opening track of Criminal, “Burn,” is musically and lyrically a great introduction for the uninitiated. Over alternately reverberated and distorted postpunk guitar, cavorting bass lines, and propulsive beats, Vasquez self-loathingly sings, “Eyes / Reflecting the person that I am / And it burns / I wish I could be somebody else / ’Cause it burns.” Live, Vasquez is joined by bassist Luigi Pianezzola and drummer Matteo Vallicelli, who create a sonic tension that pairs nicely with the moody lights of their shows. But as dour as the Soft Moon may come across in their performances, the hypnotic, postindustrial dirges of their tourmates, Chicago’s Hide, are even darker. Break out your black-heart emojis for a night of emotive industrial gloom.   v

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