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Rain Machine preview

| October 14, 2009

Double Door, Chicago
Saturday, October 17, 2009


TV On The Radio’s Kyp Malone wants to keep a low profile. His solo project carries the Rain Machine pseudonym, his beard obscures his face like one of those zany beekeepers, and the artwork on his debut looks like an Outkast album done up in Crayon.

It’s doubtful that anyone who makes it to Double Door on Saturday won’t know about him and TVOTR, in fact only Rain Machine (Anti) could keep them away. If his subterfuge is easily uncovered, however, Malone’ll find it to his benefit because nobody expects him to play any of the motherband’s hits. “Hold You Holy” shakes its chainlink cage so savagely it’s beginning to loosen the tethers, while opener “Give Blood” dips in and out of sonic devices like someone gone mad at the mixing board. The first half is overflowing with the vocal pleasures TVOTR fans have become familiar with; Malone is overdubbed in falsetto and low registers, and recorded in such away that is sounds like a fierce, autumn wind is blowing him and his clones around the studio. Even the vaguely elliptical “Smiling Black Faces” doesn’t suffer from its lack of an arc, because you could listen to him all day.

Then he goes and proves that you couldn’t. Or wouldn’t. The second half sinks under the weight of overdrawn experiments, none of which offer a compelling reason to wait them out. With music this self-consciously artsy you’re forced to seek shelter in the lyrics, but Malone seems to be talking about New York in the grimiest way possible without much to really say. It’s songs like these when you understand the beard.

Sharon Van Etten and Reds & Blue open.

— Steve Forstneger

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Category: Stage Buzz, Weekly

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