Lovers Lane
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Of Shows & Shows

| March 26, 2012

Bands still on tours that hit SXSW continue to scamper around the country, partly explaining the flood of shows that close out March. The Magnetic Fields, Rhyton, Of Montreal, and Janus rush in.

Some people consider Stephin Merritt a national treasure: the haunting monotone with a rapier’s wit. His Magnetic Fields have been beset by concepts through the years (69 Love Songs, I, Distortion) so it’s refreshing that Love At The Bottom Of The Sea (Merge) shows Merritt doing more than exhausting a singular idea. That it’s saturated in synth-pop also takes things back a decade or so, when he was juggling Mag Fields, The 6ths, and Future Bible Heroes all at once. (Monday&Tuesday@Vic Theatre with Bachelorette and Kelly Hogan, respectively.)

Rhyton needs the aid of an accent or hyphen, just so the uninitiated can correctly bellow Right On! The trio — consisting of D. Charles Speer and Psychic Ills members — spills out psychedelic guitar jams the way the ’60s intended them: boundlessly explorative. Their self-titled Thrill Jockey debut meanders as if you passed under a band’s rehearsal space on your walk to and from work, recognizing several loose themes but never catching them in the same place. Rhyton challenge themselves as much as their audience. Or vice-versa. (Tuesday@The Burington with Turn To Crime and Solar Fox.)

O, for the days when Of Montreal cutesily dubbed their non-album tracks “songles” in place of singles. Those days have long since passed. The only certainly Kevin Barnes‘ outfit now provides is that of distinguished unpredictability. Such a cliché hardly does the sonic damage he’s caused justice, but it’s really the only constant from the previous two albums. The new Paralytic Stalks (Polyvinyl) sounds less aggressively impetuous, but never backs down from letting you know who’s in charge. That Barnes hired studio musicians this time speaks not of inconsistency, but provides evidence that the shit you hear is exactly as he knows it in his fractured, fractured brain. (Wednesday @Metro with Loney Dear and Kishi Bashi.)

Taken individually, you can imagine that Nox Aeris‘ tracks sound exactly like Janus intended: claustrophobic, lurking, and anthemic. But taken as a whole, the local outfit’s second album reveals a frustrating lack of ideas. Vocal melodies are given pariah status, coloring lines are strictly adhered to, and the default setting is a half-time lurch. Even when a track like “Polarized” comes charging out of the gate, the band dutifully retreat into their downtempo addiction. Their debts to Tool and Chevelle were clear on Red Right Return: it’s time to justify existence. (Wednesday@Cubby Bear Wrigleyville with Kazy and Goodbye Good Sense.)

– Steve Forstneger

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Category: Stage Buzz, Weekly

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