Volcano!, Cougars, Zing! | Empty Bottle | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

Volcano!, Cougars, Zing! Recommended Soundboard

When: Fri., Jan. 2, 10 p.m. 2009

Don’t let VOLCANO! fool you. You might imagine as you listen to this Chicago trio’s output—the latest full-length is Paperwork (Leaf), which came out in September—that you’re dealing with a cuddly, kitteny band, its lush lite-psych all playful bounciness and hyperactively hopscotching arrangements. You might think you’re hearing earnestness and joie de vivre, and thus assume that the jokes—there are clearly jokes, even though it’s hard to parse them—are always self-deprecating or surreal, never pointed or mordant. But then you’ll hear a sour, dissonant guitar chord, a smear of distorted caterwauling, or the swipe at sanctimonious benefit-concert pushers like Bono in “Africa Just Wants to Have Fun,” and you’ll start to wonder what they sing about you behind your back. —Monica Kendrick Over the past decade the local jazz scene has been a magnet for young talent, and it’s been fascinating to see how each new player picks up and repurposes the ideas developed by the venerable acts that helped establish the scene. On their debut album, Magnetic Flux (Ears & Eyes, 2007), the quintet ZING! make clear that they’ve absorbed some lessons from bands like Tortoise and Isotope 217: drummer Quin Kirchner, electric bassist Matthew Golombisky, and guitarist Dave Miller craft hard-hitting, elastic grooves steeped in funk, rock, and electronica. But Miller’s fleet soloing and the front-line action from trumpeter James Davis and reedist Caroline Davis come straight from modern jazz, with intrepid harmonic exploration and blasts of texture-rich noise punctuating the lyric improvisations and rigorous unison lines. James Davis isn’t playing with the group tonight, and Patrick Mulcahy is filling in for Golombisky, who just left town for Argentina. —Peter Margasak Volcano! headlines; Cougars and Zing! open.

Price: $8

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