Thomas Function, Yussuf Jerusalem | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

Thomas Function, Yussuf Jerusalem Recommended Soundboard

When: Wed., Oct. 7, 9 p.m. 2009

Most contemporary lo-fi sounds like the monochromatic four-track dick-arounds that dope dealers in college dorms insist on playing, as a sort of surcharge to that first smoke-out. So it’s refreshing to hear France’s Yussuf Jerusalem use the freedom of lo-fi recording—a freedom whose usual by-product is self-indulgence from would-be bedroom auteurs who really could’ve used some bandmates to act as editors—to make a willfully challenging and prismatically audacious album. The band’s debut LP, last year’s A Heart Full of Sorrow (the first full-length from Orlando label Floridas Dying), skips from genre to genre with the same sort of derring-do Led Zeppelin showed off when they tried their hands at calypso and bluegrass—and does it without the rock-dinosaur excess. The first song, “Gilles de Rais,” is corrosive black metal, but before you can start wondering what might come on a Yussuf Jerusalem burger at Kuma’s, the album careens into a brooding gothic waltz, a Marianne Faithfull cover, a piece of paranoid psych-pop that sounds like something Syd Barrett might’ve written in his mummy’s garden, and finally an original tune that could be a Bill Callahan homage. It should be interesting to see what directions this takes onstage—and on future releases. Thomas Function headlines. —Brian Costello

Price: $7

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