Zack | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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In Chicago power-pop bands tend to fly so far below the radar it's a wonder they don't crash into someone's three-flat. Anyone out there remember Green? Lava Sutra? Didn't think so, and ten years from now any mention of the Hushdrops or the Joy Poppers will probably draw the same blank stares (if it doesn't already). But as Willy Loman's wife so memorably put it, attention must be paid--especially when the local scene coughs up a release like Zack's Let the Record Spin (Sunshine Sheen). Zack Schneider has been kicking around town for a decade, most recently in the band Astrid, and recently studied audio engineering at Columbia College. Last year, after Astrid fell apart, he hooked up with Webb Brothers drummer and engineer Neal Ostrovsky, and the two of them have concocted an impressive collection of imaginatively produced Anglo pop. The Bach-derived hook of "Dig That Shine" begins on a tremulous Clavinet, but by the end of its two and a half minutes the track is meaty enough to sustain a snarling electric guitar solo. "Super Man Sky" fades out on an electric piano interlude with another frenetic solo buried at the very back of the mix. And a righteous horn section drives the Philly-soul groove of "What a Difference," which closes out the record. Zack contributes guitar, bass, and at least a dozen different keyboard instruments, ably assisted by the Hushdrops' John San Juan on bass and a south-sider named Little Brother on guitar, but Ostrovsky's badass drumming is the key, keeping the sonic indulgences in check. At this record-release show Zack will be joined by Little Brother, San Juan, Hushdrops drummer Joe Camarillo, and the Chamber Strings' Carolyn Englemann on keys. Tuesday, December 19, 9 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport; 773-525-2508.


Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Brian Bosen.

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