Lovers Lane
Copernicus Center

Feb’s debs

| January 30, 2012

Firing some early February shows across your bow before we launch the new issue: the next CHIRP “First Time” recital, Swearwords’ record release, Stolen Silver’s residency, and Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

Chicago Independent Radio Project (CHIRP) have a fresh “First Time” reading series lined up, this one called “First Record.” Miles Raymer (Chicago Reader), Whet Moser (Chicago Magazine), Shawn Campbell (CHIRP), Chuck Sudo (Chicagoist), and Sabrina Harper (Second City) will dig into their memories about the music they were first exposed to, hopefully to comedic effect. Then, a live band consisting of former Frisbie members Steve Frisbie, Liam Davis, and Gerald Dowd perform related songs in an acoustic setting without rehearsal. (Wednesday@Beat Kitchen.)

The birthplace of modern architecture. Twenty miles of sweeping lakefront vistas. Gritty, urban decay. Chicago has all these things, but what do local bands most incorporate into their imagery and press photos? The bridges that traverse the Chicago River downtown. Swearwords add their website to the scrolls, giving their peppy, modern-rock a handicap from the outset. The three, free tracks on their Ration The Joy EP are hard to resist however, pumping unself-conscious fun into the scraggy, headachey world of The Strokes and Longwave. (Thursday@Empty Bottle with Minor Characters.)

Appearances by the South African choir generally sell out, but this arrival comes on the heels of Ladysmith Black Mambazo‘s collaboration compilation: Ladysmith Black Mambazo And Friends (Listen2). Including cuts from the album that introduced them to mainstream America (Paul Simon‘s Graceland), the album spans a jawdropping variety from Bob Dylan covers with Dolly Parton, a gospel medley with Emmylou Harris, combinations with contemporaries like The SABC Choir, western institutions like The English Chamber Orchestra, and pure pop on a cover of Sam Cooke’s “Chain Gang” featuring Lou Rawls. (Friday@Old Town School Of Folk Music — two shows.)

Last year’s debut album opened with a deceptive opener for Stolen Silver. As anyone who ventured past the opening track will attest, the indie R&B of “Anticipation” leads not into a TV On The Radio headspace, but oaken harmonies to fit somewhere between Fleet Foxes and Seryn. Occupying the monthly “Practice Space,” the former Down The Line kleptocrats – singer Dan Myers also used to play with Gary Sinise’s Lt. Dan Band – will be working over new material as well as the 10 songs on their debut. You can call them the local chapter of Bon Iver-induced soft-rock revival. (Mondays@Schubas in February.)

— Steve Forstneger

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