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Local Sumerians tonight!

| October 28, 2011

Veil Of Maya

A Sumerian Records showcase lands this weekend, featuring west-suburban Veil Of Maya. Also consider Azita’s record release (finally), Caitlin Rose, and Future Islands.

In the broadly defined genre of extreme metal, where subtly is viewed as a defect and subgenre boundaries blur into meaningless distinctions (does anyone really care about the difference between “deathcore” and “deathgrind”?), efforts to be faster/louder/more brutal than everyone else, often means your band sounds like 10 others.

Oak Park natives Veil Of Maya pursue a direction that might be considered heresy: emphasize musicality and melody. Sure, there are plenty of punishing riffs, throat-shredding vocals, and thundering drums, but VOM push the technical, progressive leanings of their songwriting in unusual melodic directions. Watching guitarist Marc Okubo’s whiplashing frenetic fret board acrobatics is worth the price of admission, as he hammers out rapid-fire arpeggios, and crushing riffs. The rest of the band follow suit, with songs that thrash between mathy whirlwinds, progressive crunchers, and double-fisted jackhammers. Playing a stacked bill with kindred spirits After The Burial and rising upstarts from Minneapolis, Your Memorial, this is the perfect way to kick-start your hellish Halloween weekend. (Friday@Bottom Lounge.)

– Patrick Conlan

Whether she considered it a role, Azita has seemed to relish being a provacateur in her pre-solo years as well as at the helm of a grand piano. But for Disturbing The Air, which Drag City released last month, she explores solemn, somber, and somnambulent tones that are like torch songs without the torch. The source of her despair could be physical or romantic death — she never reveals it — but the effect on her songwriting and playing is profound. (Saturday@Hideout with Meg Baird.)

Given the cherry hue on her album cover, you might expect Caitlin Rose to lay it on a little thick for her debut, Own Side Now (ATO). Like another Caitlin, however (Whiskeytown’s Cary), the Tennesseean eschews Nashville’s pop-rock for a reserved, if standard Americana twang. She’s also, thankfully, not one of those who spend their days belying age. While sufficiently mature, Rose can’t bury a youthfulness and inherent sunshine that yes, recalls Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn, but also that those singers were once 24 as well. (Saturday@Lincoln Hall with Hayes Carll.)

Future Islands‘ theatricality never feels out of place on their records, generously heaping doses of charisma where other miners in the caves of The Cure, Suicide, and Joy Division play straight. It can, however, threaten to obscure On The Water‘s lyrical subtexts, which are surprisingly domestic in nature. The title track, “Where I Found You,” “Give Us The Wind,” “Balance,” and “Grease” all take a long, long-term view of relationships, perhaps in order to assure that current rough spots will pass. It’s a trick Nick Cave mastered in his piano-and-cabernet phase, and one that gets an edge — albeit danceable — here. (Sunday@Lincoln Hall with Javelin and Ed Schrader’s Music Beat.)

— Steve Forstneger

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