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The plain of misfits

| October 4, 2012


Nobody ever screamed out “MORE TRIANGLE!” alongside “FREEBIRD,” but anything’s possible with this week’s crop of 70s-loving, atmospheric misfits.

Freelance Whales burst forth like a ray of sunshine on its sophomore release, Diluvia (Mom+Pop/Frenchkiss). Giving the hazy album an early fall shelf date either reeks of brilliance or smarts with callous mismanagement. One on hand, greeting a world of barren trees and bone-cutting wind with the plucky banjo and echoes of The Mikado‘s “Three Little Maids” in “Winter Seeds” would cast out the season’s unavoidable doldrums, but, on the other, Doris Cellar‘s bright vocals on “Spitting Image” roll along like a carefree car full of girls en route to a day-long beach getaway. The New York quintet channels a humming orchestra in warm-up mode on the sparkling “Follow Through” while the opus “DNA Bank” embodies a stillness only a lone fisherman in a single-capacity rowboat would find miles offshore. (Thursday@Lincoln Hall.)

On the follow-up to its lauded 2010 debut, Chicago’s Secret Colours perfect that moment on a night devoted to tipping back a few between mildly smug and full-on belligerence. EP3‘s “Faust” finds the psychedelic rockers at their woozy best with an opening riff reminiscent of Chris Isaak‘s come-hither pull of “Baby Did A Bad Bad Thing” and a distortion-heavy peel out indebted to early Fleetwood Mac’s “Oh Well.” Frontman Tommy Evans and the token tambourine-swinging ovaries of the group, Margaret Albright, coo over each other on the endearing “Carry My Soul.” Taking a short reprieve from the band’s spaced-out, guitar-clanging droning, the ditty should accompany the next meet cute scene Wes Anderson films. Secret Colours’ sophomore effort, *Peach drops in 2013. Set the countdown clock. (Saturday@Beat Kitchen.)

The Buffalo Killers grew up on Cincinnati chili, but somewhere along the line, the swamplands of New Orleans burrowed into the DNA of this Ohio threesome. Hope these shaggy dudes hold a soft spot for the Allman Brothers because there’s no escaping the comparisons on August’s Dig. Sow. Love. Grow. (Alive Natural Sound). “Farewell” is more sneer than parting gift while “Hey Girl” deserves a spot on a Time Life infomercial celebrating the titans of the 70s. If Grand Funk Railroad and The Band hooked up on a beer-soaked futon in a college dorm room, “Blood On Your Hands” would pop out nine months later. (Saturday@Double Door with The Sheepdogs.)

Samantha Urbani leads the electro-funk outfit Friends without even breaking a sweat – an exercise in detachment that most funk ambassadors abhor. True purveyors of the lusty genre take pride in how many layers they can intermittently drape over a spare mic stand. Urbani’s panache is more subdued, yet no less compelling. The Brooklyn-based band first turned heads with “I’m His Girl” – a bass-heavy flesh-and-blood declaration of romantic ties that fashions going “Facebook Official” moot. (It also gave the cowbell’s status as an ironic favorite a run for its money in favor of the oft overlooked and underutilized triangle.) Friends’ debut, Manifest (Fat Possum) continues in the same vein. Urbani’s ecstatic shrills on “Mind Control” should sound familiar to anyone with a newly coupled-up roommate while the synth-laden “Friend Crush” reads like a love letter to Karen O and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. (Tuesday@Riviera with Two Door Cinema Club.)

— Janine Schaults

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