Weyes Blood, Coins, Emily Moon | Empty Bottle | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

Weyes Blood, Coins, Emily Moon Recommended Early Warnings (Music) Soundboard Image

When: Fri., Jan. 16, 9 p.m. 2015

Natalie Mering has toured as a member of noisy improv juggernaut Jackie-O Motherfucker, but as Weyes Blood she’s been making serenely haunted gothic folk for the better part of ten years. Her previous solo work situated her spooky incantations within a murky mix of electric-guitar arpeggios, droning keyboards, and sparse percussion, and it used just enough Baroque-era melodic embellishments to distinguish it from the psych-folk then in vogue. Her previous album, 2011’s The Outside Room (No Not Fun), hit me hard, but her gig here a year ago was canceled due to the polar vortex. Mering made a huge leap on 2014’s The Innocents (Mexican Summer), bringing stunning clarity and focus to her memorable songs without sacrificing their air of mystery. Her singing is much stronger and more precise, with a prominent vibrato, and her curlicues and arabesques bridge the gap between the rusticity of British folk and the elegance of ancient madrigals. On the new record she rarely accompanies her voice with more than guitar, piano, or mandolin (she lived in Kentucky, tapping maple trees for sap, before she moved to her current home in New York); her judiciously applied electronic effects are sometimes drifty and dubby, sometimes warped and broken sounding. The most important element might be her gorgeous overdubbed harmony singing, which brings an ethereal radiance to the rapturous beauty of her melodies and infects even her poppiest lines with a strange wanderlust. I’m not sure what Mering does with this material live, but The Innocents is one of the most striking albums I heard in 2014. —Peter Margasak

Price: $10

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