Casiotone For The Painfully Alone
Owen Ashworth is ending his more-than-ten-year run under the Casiotone moniker. Though Ashworth claims he still plans to make music, this might be the last time to hear these particular pleasant electronic tunes, tinged with sadness in Chicago.
September 8 at Subterranean
The Catalonia-based electronic music festival has recently begun forays into international markets, this year marking its first appearance in Chicago. Switching off venues between the Cultural Center and Millennium Park’s Pritzker Pavilion, the lineup features artists like The Slew (featuring Kid Koala), Oval and Ben Frost.
September 9-11 at Pritzker Pavilion, Chicago Cultural Center
This duo has gotten a lot of press lately, putting their hip-hop beats to good use, backing rap artists and remixing classics. But on their own, they have an energy that bleeds through their instrumental music. You won’t even miss the vocals.
September 10 at Riviera Theatre
International Contemporary Ensemble “Roots & Return”
The Museum of Contemporary Art embarks on a three-year ensemble-in-residence with I.C.E., an orchestra that connects recent musical works with the classic pieces that inspired them. “Roots & Return” is the first of three distinct programs throughout the 2010-2011 season.
September 11 at MCA Stage
Who wouldn’t want to get up close to a cellist who spits rap lyrics while playing classical orchestra at the same time? Wells’ singer/songwriter method is so NOT singer/songwriter—her genre-bending work is successfully unconventional without being mere novelty.
September 12 at Schubas
This French/Finnish duo plays a brand of wistful summer pop that’s almost cruel to listen to in the fall. Their debut album “A Mouthful,” has gotten so much attention for a reason—there’s more depth to The Do than just beat-driven melodies.
September 13 at Schubas
Jenny & Johnny
Jenny Lewis has a penchant for pairing up with talented artists. Her latest is boyfriend, Jonathan Rice. The two together seem to do no wrong with upbeat tracks that make for a feel-good experience.
September 13 at Lincoln Hall
For Pavement, it’s a victory lap after a long and successful reunion world tour; for No Age, a chance to showcase work from their upcoming sophomore album, “Everything In Between.” Lawn chairs abound.
September 13 at Pritzker Pavilion
Coming off the success of their 2009 breakthrough, “Bitte Orca,” Dirty Projectors have become central figures in the Brooklyn music landscape. In a scene increasingly reliant on reverb and samples, Dirty Projectors’ jangly guitar lines and complex vocal harmonies are a testament to the enduring appreciation of musicianship.
September 17 at Metro
Anyone who’s listened to “Sir Luscious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty” (or seen his performance at this summer’s Pitchfork Festival) can attest to Big Boi being perfectly capable of producing great hip-hop, with or without his partner in crime.
September 18 at Congress Theater
Riccardo Muti & The Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Free “Concert for Chicago”
The Muti era officially begins with a free big bash in the park.
September 19 at Pritzker Pavilion
World Music Festival
The week-long festival is both the longest-running and highest-attended world music festival in the nation; this year’s festivities include acts both contemporary and traditional, from Mali to Madagascar, from Korea to India.
September 21-30 at Chicago Cultural Center/various locations
This pint-sized crooner’s vocals are so soulful smooth that you forget, if only for a moment, that she’s singing about her heroine-addict boyfriend. Her lyrics are bitter but her vibe is sweet, proving that even gun-toting gang members can still sound charming.
September 26 at House Of Blues Back Porch
Chick Corea Trio
A rare, intimate acoustic performance by the fusion pioneer.
October 8 at Symphony Center
Lidell’s soulful vocals could probably stand alone, but it’s his live layering method that makes his show feel more like you’re right in the studio with him, complete with all the clanking electro-riffs and impromptu funk beats.
October 9 at Bottom Lounge
Cap’n Jazz & Smoking Popes
Nineties Chicago indie-rock outfit, Cap’n Jazz, formed by Tim and Mike Kinsella, has reunited this year after breaking up in 1995. Playing with another Chicago nineties favorite, Smoking Popes, the show’s nostalgia is sure to be overshadowed by the sheer talent and influence each group has had.
October 9 at Metro
He’ll be singing his string-driven song “Chicago” off his record, Illinois, at the Chicago Theatre. How’s that for a reason to go? His mix of autobiographical takes on faith and family and use of regional history to create epic-sounding folk songs is another reason, just in case.
October 15 at Chicago Theatre
Two words: dub-step. Or is that one? All that matters is it’s a type of electronic dance music that uses bass so heavy you’ll feel it in your chest, weaving original found-sound like broken glass and train noises into his set.
October 15 at Metro
DeVotchKa is good for more than Little “Miss Sunshine”’s heart-wrenching theme song. The band’s inspiration comes out of musical patterns from wedding and funeral traditions across cultures, while still sounding contemporary and otherworldly.
October 15 at Lincoln Hall
Pacifica Quartet, Shostakovich String Quartets
The crown jewel of the yearlong “The Soviet Experience” is the first area complete cycle of all fifteen Shostakovich string quartets.
October 17 at Roosevelt University’s Ganz Hall
Newcomer twee pop band from California bring a folksy, yet ethereal sound that has been likened to The Shins. If you are wondering “What’s In It” for you, you’ll be sure to leave satisfied with your answer.
October 15 at Schubas
Two vocalists who have known each other since middle school have all the life stories in common even though their voices couldn’t sound farther apart. A mix of textured rasp vocals and nasally folk works for the two, who make doubt and despair feel like bright harmonies.
October 21 at The Vic
Carolina Chocolate Drops
This black string band, formed after the Black Banjo Gathering in North Carolina, sound simultaneously old and new. You can’t catch too many bands that play the jug, bones and banjo, and cover “Hit ’em Up Style” by Blu Cantrell.
October 22 at Park West
The Gories/White Mystery
Garage-rock legends The Gories have reformed, bringing with them their trademark combination of fuzzed-out guitars and blues howls. Local openers White Mystery carry on the group’s Midwestern garage legacy.
October 22 at Empty Bottle
To the unfamiliar listener, Deerhunter’s sound can be hard to describe: at certain times possessing a driving, straightforward approach to melodic punk, and at others, a surrealist bend backed by delayed guitars and ethereal vocals.
October 22 at Metro
Philip Glass’ The Seasons Project
High Priest of Minimalism’s new violin concerto juxtaposed with the Vivaldi original that inspired it.
October 24 at Millennium Park’s Harris Theater
Found-sound favorites, The Books just played for free at Pritzker. But if you had yet to realize their genius of pairing home videos with classic strings and acoustic plucking, it’s worth the extra cash this time around.
October 29 at The Vic
Ravi Shankar 90th Birthday Celebration
George Harrison became a devoted young student in Ravi’s middle age, and he is already gone from natural causes: need we say more?
October 30 at Symphony Center
Deer Tick brings the only gritty, southern-hued rock ‘n’ roll ever to come out of Providence, R.I., smothering their songs with sensibility and heartbreak and indie filth. Their sound lives and breathes in a dive bar, but Bottom Lounge comes close to perfection.
October 30 at Bottom Lounge
Chicago Sinfonietta Day Of The Dead Concert
A musical celebration of the colorful Mexican celebration commemorating the dearly departed.
October 30 at Millennium Park’s Harris Theater
After a memorable performance at this summer’s Pitchfork festival, Kurt Vile returns to Chicago, channeling the usuals of the classic singer-songwriter canon into a current sound that feels more forward-thinking than anachronistic.
October 31 at Empty Bottle
Mumford & Sons
Forget the name, this isn’t a family-run trucking business. Instead, it’s a group of four young lads sprung from the sweaty London underground folk scene to play Chicago again this fall after their Lollapalooza set this year. The darkly reflective ballads were meant to be enjoyed indoors, where you can feel like you’re in a song circle with misty-eyed men.
October 31 at Riviera Theater
Glen Hansard’s honest, quivering words are so fragile you feel like he (or you) might cry in the middle of his beautiful acoustic set. The band’s whispering fiddles are just as poetic as the lyrics—misery loves company, and The Frames are that perfect companion.
November 23 at The Vic
Pierre Boulez & the Chicago Symphony Orchestra & Chorus, Schoenberg’s Verklarte Nacht & Janácek’s “Glagolitic” Mass
Expressionism 101 along with a rare twentieth-century choral masterpiece.
December 2-4 at Symphony Center
—Dee Fabbricatore, Todd Hieggelke, Lindsey Kratochwill and Dennis Polkow