Timber Timbre, Marissa Nadler, Faces On Film | Schubas | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

Timber Timbre, Marissa Nadler, Faces On Film Early Warnings (Music) Soundboard

When: Thu., July 21, 8 p.m. 2011

On its latest album, Creep On Creepin’ On (Arts & Crafts), Montreal art-pop trio Timber Timbre strikes an artful balance between charisma and sleaze—front man Taylor Kirk is undeniably charming, but you just know you can’t trust a thing that comes out of his mouth. The band injects the nostalgic sounds of doo-wop and 50s pop with a creepy foreboding straight out of a David Lynch movie, and the luxuriant reverb that’s always applied to Kirk’s voice—a post-Elvis lounge-lizard croon that places him somewhere between Nick Cave and Tindersticks singer Stuart Staples—works like a set of scare quotes. The lyrics are too cryptic to allow definitive interpretation, but they often reek of the sinister and sexually twisted: on the gently swaying, violin-sweetened title track, Kirk sings, “A night terror threw a twin into my arms / And my stomach dropped as you shifted me off to stop.” String and horn parts (the increasingly ubiquitous Colin Stetson makes some strong contributions) frequently puncture the music’s skin-deep retro innocence with calculated dissonance, so that despite the superficial familiarity of Timber Timbre’s style it offers no solid ground to stand on at all. —Peter Margasak

Singer-songwriter Marissa Nadler got a good bit of publicity last year, both for appearing on Portal of Sorrow, the final release by lo-fi black metal act Xasthur (usually the one-man project of a guy calling himself Malefic), and for using Kickstarter to fund her latest album. It’s too bad so little of the buzz has been about her actual music. There’s a good reason Malefic wanted to work with her, and why 390 people coughed up a total of more than $17,000 to help her make that record, a self-titled full-length that came out last month on Box of Cedar: with little more than acoustic guitar, lap steel, occasional washes of cymbal, and her powerful, sensual voice, Nadler makes heartbreakingly moving tunes. Whether she’s weaving together sheets of metallic noise with a sirenlike wail or bundling up a dreamy, acoustic alt-country ditty in a tender croon, she’s both hypnotizing and rapturous. —Leor Galil

Price: $14

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