Young Widows, Helms Alee, Sweet Cobra | Subterranean | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

Young Widows, Helms Alee, Sweet Cobra 17+ Agenda Early Warnings (Music) Recommended Soundboard Image

When: Wed., May 14, 8:30 p.m. 2014

If you’re still pining for the early Young Widows’ salute to old-guard Louisville hardcore, it’s time to move on. On 2011’s In and Out of Youth and Lightness and especially the brand-new Easy Pain (Temporary Residence), they’re considerably slower on the draw. The new record continues the trio’s pattern of finding room for a hot track or two (“Kerosene Girl” in this instance), but Young Widows are now much more invested in gloom—their aesthetic isn’t so much soaked in bourbon as it is drowned. More than anything else, what’s brought the band here is the way front man Evan Patterson has claimed full ownership of his role. He’s always been a handler of business on guitar—the thick twang he gets out of an early-aughts Telecaster, which often sounds like a dozen century-old doors creaking open at once, is one of the best tones in rock—and as a singer he’s more sure of himself than ever. You can hear it in his melodies, whether his delivery is a yowl or a murmur, and in the almost witchy mood he conveys. (That mood is even more pronounced in his recent solo project, Jaye Jayle.) Easy Pain is chock-full of long fuses, one tied to the other—of the eight tracks, only one is under five minutes—but it’s as hard-nosed as anything Young Widows have done, and more intense. —Kevin Warwick

Price: $12

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