Review: Monotrope – “Immutable Future”

Monotrope’s new record is a wondrously dense thatch of black thorns and I love it for that. In case you’re just joining the show, the quartet, which should be storied by now, features a Touch and Go Records alumnus (who also happens to play in Bellini), a Pittsburgher and two members of Unraze. And, if…

Review: Memory Drawings – “Phantom Lights”

Phantom Lights is the new mini-LP from sorta-post-rock-ish neo-classical ensemble Memory Drawings, out two weeks ago via the Greek boutique label Sound In Silence. But, truth be told, it’s not really a “new” record. The self-described “Anglo/American collective” actually first self-released the six-song offering as a limited-run, tour-only CD in 2018. But Sound In Silence…

Review: Pan-American – “A Son”

A Son is the name of Chicagoan Mark Nelson’s latest release as Pan-American, out last week via Kranky. And, even by Pan-American standards, it is a startlingly human and naked thing. Nelson’s outside-Labradford project often has come loaded with the lynchpins of glitch and dub: the careful arrangements, even – sometimes especially – of arguably…

Review: Fox Medicine – “Procedures Mystique”

No less an authority on sludge and the seedy intersection of punk and metal than Melvins/Tool board-helmer Toshi Kasai recently described Portland duo Fox Medicine as an amalgamation of “Black Sabbath with J-Pop vocals.” And, yeah, that sounds about right. (The band offers up a description of a fictional noise-genre: “bubblegum doom.) The nascent band’s…

Review: Pray For Sound – “Waves”

Sorry, I don’t dig on proselytizing. So, okay I’m biased. And when I heard, via advance PR notes, that the quartet Pray For Sound was out to preach (connotation intended) a little bit of happiness and hope with its brand of instrumental post-rock, contrary to many of the genre’s sometimes-sullen standard bearers, I was pretty…

Review: Catholic Action – “One of Us”

50 words on Catholic Action’s one-song drop, minus those words, smartass. Talking Heads meet Franz Ferdinand in this herky-jerky amble from Glasgow. Guitars skitter skatter across the landscape, with bass and drum syncopating, as the band’s frontman blasts out Freaks-appropriate lines like “Chemical walk through the family home/ Destroyed his nerves for the sovereign bones.”…

Review: BATTLES – “Juice B Crypts”

BATTLES’ syncopated loops may circle triumphantly around the drains of the mind but its lineup has not fared as well. Vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Tyondai Braxton exited after 2007’s Mirrored, leaving the group with guest vocalists for 2011’s Gloss Drop, and then bassist/guitarist Dave Konopka departed last year. But, as much as the Pitchforks and taste-makers of the…

Review: Tomeka Reid Quartet – “Old New”

Most of us know or associate with the cello as a staple of the classical and post-classical world, an instrument whose deeper breaths can elicit comparisons to the bowels of sadness. (Jazz polls, for example, list it under “Miscellaneous.”) In Queens-by-way-of-Chicago musician Tomeka Reid’s hands though, the thing swings. Reid recently released the second outing…