The band doesn’t cover songs—it covers albums. When the group performs, in its entirety, an LP like Van Morrison’s “Astral Weeks” or Nirvana’s “Nevermind,” it’s no different from classical ensembles that come together to perform song cycles like Schubert’s “Die schöne Müllerin” and Berlioz’s “Nuits d’Été.”
Playing a set that touches on most all of the group’s albums—including those dauntingly difficult and complex early works—Utopia has proven that there’s plenty of life left in the band’s concept.
The story is, the band recorded its debut album twice: first as a scrappier indie-rock record, then two years later as a maximal pop statement attuned to the sound they’d honed on tour. They’ve edited their material into engulfing sing-alongs that’ll thrill audiences at small clubs (like the Empty Bottle this month), but that wouldn’t be out of place on Top Forty radio.
Project/Object is notable for the faithful manner in which it performs dauntingly difficult material from Zappa’s catalog, but the musicians take full advantage of opportunities to improvise and color the work with their own personalities, and they exploit the potential for humor that’s baked into Zappa’s music (even the instrumental pieces).
Despite his massive output and sterling reputation in the prog and rock world, today Steven Wilson still somehow remains just outside the view of the larger masses. Taking into consideration the fact that most everything Wilson sets out to do is an unqualified success, it’s advisable to see him now before that inevitable breakthrough happens.
I get the sense that Last Fantastic Nasty are still in that “figuring who we are” phase, where you’ve realized you can get attention by shocking people, but you start thinking long and hard about whether or not you want to. And they do have the musical chops to do well: the songs are metallic and complicated and compelling, even if the lyrics feel like the last gasp of toxic masculinity in the #MeToo era.
This could be the last chance to catch indie contender Meghan Remy at a midsize club like the Bottle, as her growing buzz and sound will inevitably bring her to larger venues.
The man born Eric Goulden continued to follow his singular musical muse, releasing albums of new material every few years. Early 2018 welcomed the latest Wreckless Eric album, “Construction Time & Demolition.” And while forty-plus years after his debut single, Eric hasn’t left his punk roots behind, his latest album remains true to the Class of 1977 DIY ethos
This ferociously gifted twenty-three-year-old British singer-songwriter-rapper King Krule has pulled, from the postmillennial media onslaught, a gorgeous sonic arsenal.
For Resonant Bodies, a fest of experimental vocal music that has done well in New York and now arrives in Chicago, singer and producer Lucy Dhegrae has chosen a handful of wildly creative vocalists and given them complete freedom. Creativity is baked into the model… which doesn’t happen as often as you might think.