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friday13

cChicago a Cappella With his appetite for musical exploration, Chicago a Cappella artistic director Jonathan Miller has led the nine-member vocal group into forms as varied as Gregorian chants, spirituals, vocal jazz, and contemporary classical. For this program, "Through Argentine Eyes," he'll work with an expanded ensemble of 12 men and women. Opening the concert, and most intriguing, is The Wanderer, a commissioned work by Argentinean-born composer Ezequiel Vinao set to a medieval Anglo-Saxon poem depicting a knight adrift in the desolation of war. Vinao's compositions can be very evocative and engaging, but also challenging--Miller says this is the most difficult thing he's ever conducted, with "chords from hell" and a shifting harmonic language that can sound like 12th-century French polyphony or Poulenc on acid. The concert closes with Argentinean dance music, including two pieces by Astor Piazzolla, performed with a pair of tango dancers. In between are works by Argentinean classical composers Alberto Ginastera and Carlos Guastavino and the Chicago premiere of "Coral del Arrecife" by CSO composer in residence Osvaldo Golijov, the finale of his cantata Oceana, set to Pablo Neruda's poetry. Miller and Vinao will lead a preconcert discussion at 7:30 PM; see also Saturday and Sunday. a 8 PM, Concert Hall, DePaul University, 800 W. Belden, 773-755-1628 or 800-746-4969, $22-$35. --Steve Langendorf

GOWNS Founding Gowns Erika Anderson and Ezra Buchla now live in the Bay Area, but their roots trail back to LA's nouveau freak-out/noisenik scene: she was in Amps for Christ and he was in the Mae Shi, as was newly added percussionist Corey Fogel. Though they claim as a prime influence the grunge they loved as teenagers, the new Red State (Cardboard) is melodramatic, hallucinogenic bedroom-fi free rock: all cotton-soft whispers and hissing drones, acoustic plucking and ominous space scratching. Actor Slash Model, Thin Hymns, and Vertonen open. a 8 PM, South Union Arts, 1352 S. Union, southunionarts.com, $10 suggested donation. A --Jessica Hopper

cLOW Low's last record, The Great Destroyer, smashed the band's hushed-and-unhurried mold with racing tempos and landslide guitars. On the new Drums and Guns (Sub Pop) their music rarely gets loud or moves faster than a trot, but it's powerfully desolate, the starker than usual guitar-bass-drums arrangements leaving plenty of room for rattling drum machines and chilly atmospheric keyboards. It's as if they've ground the broken parts of their sound to powder and scattered it on the tundra. Front man Alan Sparhawk hardly plays any leads, and his guitar is often shrouded in effects--on "Murderer" it's just a quicksilver flicker that weaves in and out of the gorgeous harmonies he sings with Mimi Parker. The rhythmic sounds underpinning other songs are even harder to identify: "Dragonfly" orbits around a recurring crash, like a slammed window, and something that might be a nail file dragged across cardboard peeks from between the jittery beats on "Hatchet." There's barely any respite from the downbeat feel, but if you follow the lyrics you'll hear counterbalancing flashes of wry humor: "Hatchet" holds up the Beatles and Stones as models of conflict resolution, and the narrator of "Dragonfly" offers his conviction that he's an insect as a reason to score more pills. Loney, Dear and Charlie Parr open. a 9 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark, 773-549-0203 or 312-559-1212, $18, 18+. --Bill Meyer

LUCINDA WILLIAMS Lucinda Williams has the power to hypnotize with her voice, but that didn't keep me from noticing the shortcomings of her new album, West (Lost Highway). It seems like she's lost some of her lyrical sharpness, far too often plodding through verses that make a single point over and over, and though she and producer Hal Wilner assembled a stellar supporting cast (including guitarist Bill Frisell, violinist Jenny Scheinman, and keyboardist Rob Burger), the guests rarely contribute anything other than ethereal swirls of fluff or stolid grooves. Which is a shame, because despite the unfocused lyrics these are some of the most hopeful and grounded songs Williams has ever written. Austin's Carrie Rodriguez, a regular collaborator of Chip Taylor who released a strong solo debut last year, opens. See also Saturday. a 7:30 PM, the Vic, 3145 N. Sheffield, 773-472-0449 or 312-559-1212, $34, 18+. --Peter Margasak

saturday14

cEDDIE ADCOCK Guitar and five-string banjo virtuoso Eddie Adcock of Virginia has been blessed with a biography that'd make a decent country song itself. Out on his own at age 14, he made his living as a boxer, drag racer, auto mechanic, and odd-jobber while building a musical career--his early gigs included a few months in Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys. The peak of his fame was probably his tenure in the late 50s and 60s with the great Country Gentlemen, one of many acts to serve as a link between "authentic" traditional music and the college kids who fetishized it. (Really all it took to walk both sides of that line was a smattering of innovation and a handful of Dylan covers.) Adcock took a stab at country rock in the early 70s with a California band called the Clinton Special (at the time this didn't sound nearly so much like slang for a sex act), but since then he's stuck close to his roots, acquiring some Grammy nominations and a devoted fan base for himself and his wife/duet partner, Martha. According to the venue, tonight the Adcocks and local bluegrass powerhouse the Special Consensus will alternate sets, playing two apiece beginning with the Adcocks. The band says it's also very possible they'll all end up onstage together at some point. a 8:30 PM, FitzGerald's, 6615 Roosevelt, Berwyn, 708-788-2118 or 312-559-1212, $15. --Monica Kendrick

cBLONDE REDHEAD Kazu Makino, who fronts this New York trio, has a voice so cold and shimmering you can almost hear the titanium in her face. In 2002 she was thrown by a horse, which then shattered her jaw with a hoof, necessitating reconstructive surgery; it was unclear whether she'd be able to sing again. Add to that ill fortune some label woes (Blonde Redhead parted ways with Touch and Go after 2000's promising Melody of Certain Damaged Lemons) and the psychic fallout of 9/11 and you get a band primed to produce 2004's amazing Misery Is a Butterfly, a cuttingly elegant album loaded with gravitas. By then I'd been indifferent to Blonde Redhead for nearly a decade--their music had always sounded like limp, post-Sonic Youth art-rock to me--but the makeover on Misery converted me. On the new 23 (4AD), Makino and her bandmates, Italian twin brothers Amedeo and Simone Pace, delve deeper into soundtracky moodiness, and the studio arrangements are even more sophisticated this time out: immaculate drumming drives luxuriant guitar-and-synth atmospherics whose sinister undercurrents are brought out by Makino's sorrowful wail. Midnight Movies open. a 9 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark, 773-549-0203 or 312-559-1212, $21, 18+. --J. Niimi

capital d Known to those outside the hip-hop community as Hyde Park attorney David Kelly, local MC Capital D divides his time between his long-standing crew All Natural (and the group's label, which he cofounded), his solo career as a rapper and producer, his writing (he's authored two books of essays and stories, Fresh Air and Transformations, each of which was packaged with one of his CDs), guest lectures at universities, and of course the obligations of a law career. Cap D's third and newest solo album, Return of the Renegade (All Natural, Inc.), is a sprawling pastiche of booming beats and Asian-themed motifs a la classic Wu-Tang, and features cameos by local comer Rhymefest and Binary Star's OneBeLo. DJ Intel opens, followed by Kinghellbastard, Pugslee Atomz, Capital D, and Mr. Lif. .a 9 PM, Abbey Pub, 3420 W. Grace, 773-478-4408 or 866-468-3401, $15, 18+. --J. Niimi

cChicago a cappella See Friday. a 8 PM (7:30 PM preconcert discussion), Pilgrim Congregational Church, 460 Lake, Oak Park, 773-755-1628 or 800-746-4969, $22-$35.

Lucinda Williams See Friday. Carrie Rodriguez opens. a 7:30 PM, the Vic, 3145 N. Sheffield, 773-472-0449 or 312-559-1212, 18+, sold out.

sunday15

cChicago a cappella See Friday. a 7:30 PM (7 PM preconcert discussion), Nichols Concert Hall, Music Institute of Chicago, 1490 Chicago, Evanston, 773-755-1628 or 800-746-4969, $22-$35.

WILBERT DE JOODE Whether he's bowing, strumming, or percussively plucking, Wilbert de Joode gets one of the most tactile, snappy sounds I've ever heard from a double bass. An excellent improviser, he works with some of Holland's most important jazz ensembles, sometimes laying down imperturbable lines and sometimes throwing an element of chaos into the proceedings. His superb solo album, Olo (Wig, 2002), demonstrates the range of his skills: each of the short, punchy pieces focuses on an individual technique he uses in his collaborative work. For tonight's show, he'll start solo and then be joined by trombonist Jeb Bishop, drummer Mike Reed, and fellow bassist Ingebrigt Haaker Flaten. See also Monday. a 10 PM, Hungry Brain, 2319 W. Belmont, 773-935-2118, donation requested. --Peter Margasak

cKLAXONS See Monday. a 5 PM, Urban Outfitters, 1521 N. Milwaukee, 773-772-8550. F A

monday16

cTAYLOR HO BYNUM Many musicians who study and perform with reedist and composer Anthony Braxton end up defined by the association, but cornet player Taylor Ho Bynum has escaped the master's shadow. There was never any doubting Bynum's technical excellence, but on a number of recent recordings he's proved he has his own ideas, and they're good ones. The exciting lineup on Other Stories (Three Suites), from 2005, matches Bynum and his malleable, richly striated tone with string players using both extended and conventional techniques. On the brand-new True Events (482 Music), Bynum and drummer Tomas Fujiwara combine loosely notated ideas with game concepts and other improvisational schemes to shape pieces that range comfortably from skeletal postbop to pure abstraction. And the tunes on the forthcoming The Middle Picture (Firehouse 12) tack toward and away from tidy structure just as smartly. Though the two-guitar sextet lineup on that album alludes to bands led by Miles Davis, Ornette Coleman, and Henry Threadgill, Bynum's version achieves a uniquely spidery, stinging sound. Tonight Bynum plays a duo set with bassist Nate McBride; tomorrow at the Velvet Lounge they'll both perform as part of a group led by Fujiwara, alongside wonderful Brooklyn guitarist Mary Halvorson (she and Fujiwara are both on the sextet record) and flutist Nicole Mitchell. See also Tuesday. a 7:30 PM, Myopic Books, 1564 N. Milwaukee, 773-862-4882. FA --Peter Margasak

Wilbert de Joode See Sunday. Tonight de Joode improvises with reedist Edward Wilkerson Jr., drummer Tim Daisy, and cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm. There's no cover but reservations are required. a 7 PM, Storefront Theater, Gallery 37 Center for the Arts, 66 E. Randolph, 312-742-8497. FA

cKLAXONS Klaxons' rapid rise is a prime example of the way the excitable British music press--and its spiritual descendant, the music-blog community--can work itself into a froth for the right band at the right time with the right made-up genre tag. Sure, Klaxons were the ones calling themselves "new rave" in the first place, but they were at best half serious about it. Now they're being hailed as leaders of the musical movement their piss-take kicked off, and I'm sure they've worked miracles for the glow-stick industry. In fact neither the singles they've released over the past year nor their new full-length, Myths of the Near Future (Rinse/DGC), have more than a few isolated connections to the happy-house sounds that propelled the original UK rave movement--mostly Klaxons just sound like a really good dance-punk band that's ballsy and/or shameless enough to dabble in big, noisy synth sounds and headache-inducing color schemes. (The band's army of E'd-out imitators have actually incorporated far more rave into their music, with occasionally hilarious results.) Given the speed with which the trend reached its saturation point--recently there've been online sightings of travesties like new-rave-screamo bands--it looks to be on the fast track to burnout. But Myths has more going for it than media hype and trendy genre drag: the solid pop songcraft undergirding tracks like "Golden Skans" and "Atlantis to Interzone" might let Klaxons walk away from the crash unscathed. The Prairie Cartel opens. Klaxons also play a free in-store Sunday at the Wicker Park Urban Outfitters; see separate Treatment item for more. a 7:30 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, 773-525-2508, 18+, sold out. --Miles Raymer

PSYOPUS Take everything anybody's ever criticized about, say, Yngwie Malmsteen (masturbatory, noodly, coldly technical), turn it up to 11, and remove all shame, and you've got . . . well, Orthrelm. But if you also turn up the humanity, add some post-Ipecac shrieking, and arrange things so that after a few tunes the music starts to seem deliriously funny--the same way everything is hysterical when you're tripping or suffering from a minor head injury--then you've got a fair approximation of Our Puzzling Encounters Considered (Metal Blade), the current full-length from this Rochester tech-metal band. Their MySpace slogan? "We rock you almost as much as we annoy you!!" Bless 'em for giving fair warning. Dysrhythmia and Behold . . . the Arctopus open. a 9:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401. F --Monica Kendrick

tuesday17

n cTAYLOR HO BYNUM See Monday. Bynum performs with guitarist Mary Halvorson, flutist Nicole Mitchell, and bassist Nate McBride in an ensemble led by drummer Tomas Fujiwara. a 9 PM, Velvet Lounge, 67 E. Cermak, 312-791-9050, $10. ew retrospective of their pre-Plaid work with Ken Downie as the Black Dog: the double-CD set Book of Dogma (Soma) collects all the group's hard-to-find early-90s releases for a one-two punch of gritty, hip-hop-infused techno. Three DJs from WLUW's weekly Abstract Science program--LSE, Henry Self, and Chris Widman--spin before and after. a 9:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $15. --J. Niimi

CENTRAL STANDARD There's hardly a radical subject this Minneapolis quartet doesn't broach on its self-released debut, Really: gender identity, queer relationships, genetically modified food, recycling. It'd be overbearing if the music weren't so unabashedly goofy. Not that Central Standard is a joke band--they've just taken "womyn's music," mixed in the buzz and thud of basic punk, and ratcheted up the camp. The Pussy Pirates headline and the Wretched Pin-Ups open. a 8 PM, Ronny's, 2101 N. California, 773-235-6591, $6. -Jessica Hopper

wednesday18

FRAMES Glen Hansard, front man of this long-lived Dublin-based band, played guitarist Outspan Foster in The Commitments, one of the funniest, warmest, snarkiest movies ever made about music. Would that more of that grit and wit made it into the Frames' sound: the sad, self-absorbed delicacy of their sixth album, The Cost (Anti-), is bittersweet and affecting at first but cloying and tedious by the end. Hansard hasn't given up his day job, though: he stars as a busker in the 2006 film Once, directed by former Frame John Carney, which by all accounts went over well at Sundance. Archer Prewitt opens. In related news: On Friday Uncommon Ground Cafe hosts a release party for the band-sanctioned photo book The Frames: Behind the Glass. The band won't be there, but coauthors Zoran Orlic and Janine Schaults will. It's at 7 PM at 3800 N. Clark; call 773-929-3680. a 9 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark, 773-549-0203 or 312-559-1212, $18.50, 18+. --Monica Kendrick

c SALIF KEITA A few years ago some of Africa's biggest stars--Baaba Maal, Youssou N'Dour, and Salif Keita--all took a break from the slick, pop-oriented dance productions they'd favored over the previous decade and released new albums of primarily acoustic arrangements. The approach wasn't exactly traditional, but it made it easier to hear the lyricism of their songs and the beauty of their voices, not to mention the roles played by native instruments like n'goni, kora, and balafon. Keita improved the formula on last year's M'Bemba (Decca), his first album recorded in Mali since he moved to Paris in 1984; the singer recruited old friends like Toumani Diabate and Kante Manfila to create a gentle lattice of acoustic string work over grooves that are sometimes gentle and insinuating, sometimes fierce, but always propulsive. I saw Keita play these songs last summer and his crack band managed to heat them up without destroying their essence. The highlight was basking in Keita's voice, one of the most pliant, crystalline, and powerful instruments on the planet. This is his first Chicago appearance since 1998. a 8:30 and 10:30 PM, Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N. Lincoln, 773-728-6000 or 866-468-3401, $30, $26 kids and seniors. A --Peter Margasak

cPOWERHOUSE SOUND Ken Vandermark started this improvising band--which has two lineups, one based here and the other in Oslo--with "the idea of building the music from the perspective of the bass." And indeed on the project's double-disc debut, Oslo/Chicago: Breaks (Atavistic), the music, an abstract mix of "the rhythmic ideas of James Brown, the dub ideas of Lee Perry, and the collage ideas of Public Enemy," revolves around massive low-end grooves that can ripple like a python or stomp like Bigfoot. With his jagged, blustery tenor-sax style, Vandermark nods to the tradition of the bar-walking freak-out, but his melodies otherwise avoid typical R & B and funk gestures--a crucial part of the group's success. What I like best about Oslo/Chicago is hearing the spin each lineup puts on essentially the same repertoire. The Oslo version--with drummer Paal Nilssen-Love, electric bassists Nate McBride and Ingebrigt Haaker Flaten, and noise maven Lasse Marhaug--delivers texture and heft but leaves Vandermark more or less alone on the front line. It's a tough call, but I prefer the single-bass Chicago lineup, with McBride, drummer John Herndon, and guitarist Jeff Parker, who's an excellent foil for Vandermark--with him the group can do everything the Norwegians can and more. I've loved Parker's playing in all kinds of contexts, but this is as dirty as I've ever heard him--when he rips into some funky hard rock a la Eddie Hazel it's a total blast. The Chicago lineup plays this release party. a 9:30 PM, Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, 773-227-4433 or 866-468-3401, $8. --Peter Margasak

cZ'EV Born Stefan Weisser in Los Angeles in 1951, the percussionist and sound artist known as Z'EV has remained tirelessly prolific since his early-80s heyday, when he was a fixture on the New York downtown scene. But unless you've been following closely, you'd hardly know it--now based in London, he hasn't played Chicago in 21 years, and the latest of his many recent releases, Metaphonics, came out in a CD-R edition of 222 on a tiny Polish label. Z'EV built his first drum kit at age five or six, and as an adult he earned his reputation with intimidating kinetic sculptures made of metal sheets, springs, pipes, and water-cooler bottles, sometimes chained together or precariously stacked, which he assaulted with graceful, martial physicality, slinging them around at risk to life and limb. His projects over the years, solo and collaborative, have combined tribal-industrial drumming, poetry, theater, mysticism, dance, musique concrete, and visual and performance art. Since the mid-80s he's been focusing on (relatively) traditional mallet-based techniques in his percussion work, and for these two solo shows he'll be playing a setup of hand-tuned plates, gongs, and titanium tubing, which he prizes for its intense resonance. His huge shimmering sheets of sound create a kind of disturbed and disturbing trance music, roiling with manic, hypnotizing rhythms, like gamelan played by demons. Illusion of Safety opens. See also Thursday. a 8 PM, Enemy, 1550 N. Milwaukee (third floor), 312-493-3657, $10 suggested donation. A --Monica Kendrick

thursday19

cCEU It seems like every young female Brazilian singer who's emerged in the last half decade has to be compared to Bebel Gilberto, who found broad success in 2000 with her electronics-kissed bossa nova album Tanto Tempo. The striking Maria do Ceu Whitaker Pocas is no exception: her eponymous debut, released in Brazil in 2005 and just issued in the U.S. by Six Degrees, is another record that flirts with electronic textures and effects. But Ceu, who cowrote most of the tunes, doesn't box herself in with bossa nova: she stretches out into reggae, contemporary R & B, soft-focus funk, fado, and old-fashioned samba. Her liquid cadences and rounded phrasing have a jazzy torch thing going on, and the arrangements, crafted by producer Beto Villares, give her voice plenty of room. With snaking bass lines holding down the groove and an elaborate mix of guitars, cavaquinho, samples, and found sounds floating on top, the whole record has a dublike sense of space. Even a cover of Bob Marley's "Concrete Jungle" pushes mood and melody over syncopation. This is Ceu's Chicago debut. a 10 PM, HotHouse, 31 E. Balbo, 312-362-9707, $12. -Peter Margasak

ELF POWER I always think of Elf Power as being more prolific than they actually are: they go about two years between records, but each one is so dense that it still feels new when the follow-up arrives. Last year's Back to the Web (their first for Ryko, in that green jewel case I associate with folk rock and retrospection) was a glorious reminder that in many ways they're the band that picked up the torch R.E.M. dropped: this is the sound of rural mysticism awakening like Rip Van Winkle amid postmodern weirdness. In 2007 Elf Power look to be legitimately busy: they're working on an album of their own and backing Vic Chesnutt on another. Syllable Section and Whale|Horse open. a 8:30, Subterranean, 2011 W. North, 773-278-6600 or 800-594-8499, $10, 18+. --Monica Kendrick

TAKU UNAMI This Japanese guitarist-laptopper-composer subscribes to the hyperminimal aesthetic championed by his sometime collaborator Taku Sugimoto. His epic restraint can be both severe and emotionally involving; on 2004's Shiryo No Computer (Hibari), Unami and Basque sound artist Mattin create unending suspense by dotting the silence with unidentifiable crinkles, slides, and smudges suggestive only of tiny movements. Here he'll improvise on computer and electronics with bass clarinetist Gene Coleman, pianist Rei Hotoda, electronics manipulator Michael Hartman, and cellist Marina Peterson. Before the performance, Unami and Coleman will discuss Tokyo's experimental-music scene. a 7 PM, Shin Higuchi Institute, 3485 N. Clark, 773-528-1930, $10. A --Peter Margasak

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