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But seriously, folks . . .

| April 7, 2011 | 0 Comments

If we told you we were managing a band called Over The Rhine, and needed you to print some T-shirts without first hearing any music, with what sort of design would you go? All this and more in our weekend roundup.

Maybe IE’s obsessed with a Testament track of a similar name (“Over The Wall”) and has seen the “Band Of Brothers” HBO series too often, but you’d go with metal imagery, right? Something a la Motorhead with umlauts and German crosses, barbed wire and Panzers, hedging ever closer to completely ripping off Slayer paraphernalia from the past 30 years (yes, Slayer have been around that long). Here’s what Over The Rhine really look like.

It’s not Debbie Harry and Lou Barlow, but for contrast it might as well be. However, if Over The Rhine prove anything, it’s that you needn’t exploit volume and testosterone to let people know you mean business. The duo’s latest, The Long Surrender (Grey Speckled Dog), plots its every move, never so much as raising a voice to detail life’s relentless challenges. Even when spinning a tale about Buddy Holly-loving kids who crash cars out of boredom, they don’t cater to the obvious with a rockabilly soundtrack. After about two decades playing, it’s no surprise they’ve cemented a friendship with Lucinda Williams, who appears on this fan-funded release. It is a shock, however, that on her latest album that Williams would blink first. (Friday@Lincoln Hall with Lucy Wainwright Roche.)

Women in prog rock risk the fate of the girl who dresses like a Jabba-enslaved Princess Leia at a Star Wars convention: a lot of unwanted attention. Of course, as St. Vincent, Bat For Lashes, and Lia Ices are finding, there’s no such thing as unwanted attention in prog. Little Scream joins this interloping foray on her Secretly Canadian debut, The Golden Record. A master at weaving vocal harmonies and serving nasty electric-guitar tones (“Guyegaros”) alongside tape-loop soup (“The Heron & The Fox“), Laurel Sprengelmeyer may have grown up in the Mississippi River region of William Elliott Whitmore and Lissie, but couldn’t demonstrate less of rural America’s influence on her music. While not the kind of debut that ventures far from the umbrella of Animal Collective-esque psychedelia, enough ground’s covered to suggest she can go anywhere she wants with it. (Saturday@Lincoln Hall with Sharon Van Etten.)

Daedelus headlines a package tour in support of his new Bespoke (Ninja Tune). Given what female DJs subject themselves to wearing, he’s probably happy he’s a boy while he continues to solder disassociated analog and digital tones. An accomplished visual accompanist as well, the mainline remains his nearly ambient pastiches, which glimmer and ghost before coalescing and flirting with uniformity. (Saturday@Bottom Lounge with Tokimonsta and Shlohmo.)

When O’Death began cropping up at festivals a couple years ago, their presentation seemed more gimmick than anything. Banging on acoustic instruments with death-metal fury, denying the “this is art” elements proved as futile as it was obnoxious. Now on their fourth record, O’Death justify their longevity by embracing the folk demeanor they appeared to mock. The shrill percussion and gassed accordion on closer “The Lake Departed” indicates they haven’t released their primal impulses, but mostly Outside (Ernest Jenning Co.) warmly tracks a path led by Bonnie Prince Billy at his most coherent and mid-period Iron & Wine. Harmonies (yes, harmonies!) take precedence in a mix that also boasts banjo, violin, tuba, and still some pretty meaty drums. Wavering vocals on cuts like “Ghost Head” underscore this newly prevalent vulnerability, while the circus waltz on “Ourselves” shows O’Death sectioning discernible movements. (Saturday@Beat Kitchen with Grandchildren and Chaperone.)

— Steve Forstneger

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Category: Stage Buzz, Weekly

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