You know a festival’s doing well when people start grousing about how much better it was in the “old days.” Click on for our preview of this year’s TNK package.
TNK started as a way for Schubas to get interested in coming to shows in freezing January, compiling a handful of club-level headliners and then scoops of buzz bands from the past year. Then Lincoln Hall opened, the headliners got a little bigger, and now this year the fabled, 1,000-capacity Metro climbs on board. (For the record, the distance between the three venues is bigger than the opposite corners of Hutchison Field for Lollapalooza, but at least you get the option free trolley rides.) Anyway, onto the recommendations. A full schedule can be read here.
The Helio Sequence, 1/12 LH: Despite the low output, Helio Sequence have been around for a decade as a sonic whitewash duo, from long before any cared to touch such a band. Over four albums, the emphasis has shifted from draped effects to pimping their songwriting abilities, but they’ve always been effing loud. As a bonus, this four-act showcase is opened by California Wives, an upstart local outfit that could give New Order fans some pleasure fits.
Marketa Irglova, 1/13 Schubas: The larger world might recognize Marketa Irglova as the girl John Stewart brought back onstage during the Oscars after the orchestra cut into her acceptance speech. You — being a discerning filmophile and ignorant of Hollywood excess — know her as one half of The Swell Season, a.k.a. Glen Hansard from the Frames’ side-project. Playing solo — although, The Frames have a relationship with this city so you never know — Irglova is in town because she’s recording her debut solo effort. (Swell Season’s first record was on Chicago-based Overcoat Recordings.)
Freddie Gibbs, 1/14 Metro: Read about him here! But it’s also worth checking out Rita J. Like most other Chicago-bred MCs, she treats a release schedule like kryptonite and took much longer to spit out her 2009 debut than anticipated. A member of the All Natural crew, she’s more crossover-pop confection than hardcore rhymeslinger but her mic skills are very much up to the test.
Handsome Furs, 1/15 LH: Dan Boeckner and his fiancée Alex Perry are altogether cornered, edged, and clipped where Boeckner’s Wolf Parade sometimes are not. They like crashing, big, dumb drum beats, mounds of distortion, and die-rect melody. Even instrumentals like “Officer Of Hearts” manage to reel off a point or two in the space of 93 seconds, though “I’m Confused” does just as well with words, some Talking Heads notes, and an oversupply of reverb. While the bulk of the press leans toward Boeckner and the relationship, it’s Perry whose outsized beats signal every direction Face Control takes.
S. Carey, 1/16 Schubas: Folks who find Bon Iver stiflingly slow-moving should steer clear of percussionist Sean Carey. His debut, All We Grow, seemingly picks spots on For Emma and flattens them out to expand their reach. His mostly wordless — he still uses his aching voice, mind you — compositions require patience and quiet and, if Schubas were kind, chairs.
- Steve Forstneger
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