Lovers Lane
Copernicus Center

A Weekend From Your Weekend

| June 11, 2010

The Week In Preview

There’s too much going on this weekend. Yeah, we said it. Some people were downtown at 6:30 this morning for the Blackhawks’ championship parade, and that’s before hooligans can disperse to Blues Fest, the Cubs/Sox series at Wrigley, and street fests including Old Town Art Fair, Lincoln Square Ribfest, Andersonville Midsummer Fest, and Humboldt Park Art Fair.

What you need is something to do after it’s over, and we’re not afraid to step on the toes of some of those parties to tell you to hit Junip on Sunday night. Haunted Swede José González has a band, and anyone prone to bouts of quiet reflection when they hear his solo albums will find no reprieve here. Currently hawking the Rope & Summit EP (Mute) with an eye toward late summer for a full album, the tracks on both collections tarry on the arrangements so absent from González’s sparse solo work. Drums are the most notable addition, courtesy of childhood friend Elias Araya, though with all the sweeping extras you never lose sight of (an occasionally masked) Gonzo; it’ll be interesting to see how controlled he can be live. (@Lincoln Hall 6/13 with Sonoi.)

A couple nights later, Karen Elson sashays onto the same stage. Ya see, heh, we say “sashay” ‘cuz she’s gonna WORK! (cover girl), do that twirl! The former fashion model has been working the crowd backstage in a different industry, music. While you can roll your eyes at the fact she recorded with Cat Power for a Serge Gainsbourg tribute album, the music on The Ghost Who Walks (Third Man) is a little harder to dismiss. Though nothing on it is all that bold and the influence of her relocation from NYC to Nashville cowers in the presence of husband/producer Jack White, Elson assuredly sets her things down and spreads out. “The Truth Is In The Dirt” sounds like a Dead Weather B-side, the title track wades into murder ballads, and she even goes countrypolitan with the Wynette-like “The Last Laugh.” (@Lincoln Hall 6/15 with JT Nero.)

Here’s something you might not know about the Oscars: The best-song nominees have to be created specifically for the movie, they can’t be lingering song ideas that just happened to work. That’s why Highland Park native Sad Brad Smith‘s “Help Your Self” didn’t get the nod for its inclusion during a crucial sequence of Up In The Air. The song was finished only because Jason Reitman commissioned it for his movie, but Smith didn’t want to have to explain himself if the truth came out in the vicious campaign season. Openers Harper Blynn used to go by Pete & J, until native Chicagoan Pete Harper and Philly buddy (bet this was a rough couple weeks for them) J. Blynn decided they wanted the band to sound like a woman’s name? Dunno. Loneliest Generation might have been produced by someone who’s worked with The Strokes, but its Old 97’s jangle and general optimism (“Maybe our love is strong”) shipwrecks any cranky expectations. (@Hideout 6/17 with Northwestern alum Katie Mullins.)

— Steve Forstneger

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Category: Featured, Stage Buzz, Weekly

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