Lovers Lane
Copernicus Center

Hodges of podges

| December 13, 2011

Next month’s issue will focus on the genesis of music labels, and how Chicago reflects current trends. There’s nothing binding the artists in this concert preview. Josh Caterer, Himalayan Bear, and Futurebirds have little in common. Unless we tie them. Ladies and germs: hodgepodge rock!

People know Josh Caterer, of course, as the frontman for Smoking Popes and later Duvall. Unlikely suburban pop-punk heroes who landed on the Clueless soundtrack, the Popes eventually dismantled when Caterer ensconced himself in his faith. It’s perhaps been an eventuality, then, that he would come to record some holiday tunes. No Chreaster, Caterer pushes a theological edge on The Heart Of Christmas, with the title track and “The Baby From Bethlehem” leading the charge. It’s not a humorless affair, however. The affable “Austin Bound” puts to song the thought of millions of Chicagoans who wonder why we put up with winter torture. (Wednesday@Schubas with Scott Lucas and Rainbow Rhythms.)

There’s a certain charm and romance in singers with unconventional voices singing love songs. Himalayan Bear‘s Ryan Beattie clearly doesn’t have life figured out on Hard Times (Absolutely Kosher), but even a desperate track like “How Could Death Contend” manages to be a little sweet. The myriad elements of his sonic stew — electric guitar solos, saxophones, electronics — all serve one master: Beattie’s voice. His bandmates in Frog Eyes better watch out. (Wednesday@Double Door with Kathryn Calder.)

Futurebirds sound like the past. But their ramshackle take on The Flying Burrito Brothers lands them more in the region of Beachwood Sparks and Felice Brothers, racing down the backroads to evade the encroaching storm. Hampton’s Lullaby (Autumn Tone) finds its center in a track like “Man With No Knees,” “a little too drunk to find a bar,” overcome with life’s shittiness and digging deep to find the power to escape. When the psychedelic swirls rise above a din, the band can get pushed off their chairs a little, unsure of the lines between delirium and euphoria. (Thursday@Schubas with Grass Giraffes and Flying Cars.)

— Steve Forstneger

Tags: , , ,

Category: Featured, Stage Buzz, Weekly

About the Author ()

Comments are closed.