Warlocks, Morning After Girls, Grimble Grumble, Vandelles | Empty Bottle | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

Warlocks, Morning After Girls, Grimble Grumble, Vandelles Recommended Soundboard Critics' Picks

When: Fri., Aug. 7, 9 p.m. 2009

Ten years in, these Velvet Underground worshippers are still working their own niche—the Warlocks aren’t so much shoegazers as pointy black boot gazers. But as is often the case with bands who stare at their footwear, on occasion they’ve failed to watch where they were going: on 2005’s Surgery they got mired in soppy pop, and on 2007’s Heavy Deavy Skull Lover they just sounded like they were trying too hard to convince us they were evil. But their fifth full-length, The Mirror Explodes (Tee Pee), strikes just the right balance between those two kinds of self-indulgence. They absolutely should be self-indulgent—that’s a cornerstone of the genre—so the only real question is how. On Mirror, they’ve slimmed down to a five-piece and ditched the second drummer, but they still manage to shape their drony waves of sound in such a way that they seem substantial enough to splash around in—which they do, soaking one another in guitar fuzz as though it were muddy water. They’re still metaphorically standing with their backs to the audience, but I get the feeling that’s because we’re not supposed to see how much fun they’re having—they’ve got a facade of cool, nihilist detachment to maintain, after all. The Morning After Girls, Grimble Grumble, and the Vandelles open. —Monica Kendrick

Price: $10

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