The city's cool Downtown Sound: New Music Mondays concert series is under way. Grunge-era Illinois rockers Hum regrouped again last week to play, and Besnard Lakes kicked off the series before that. This is the smartly curated series that brought Red Red Meat and the Feelies back to life last summer.
Tonight -- if you haven't had Zooey Deschanel overload lately -- the creative trio She & Him (M. Ward and Deschanel, above) return to Chicago for a Downtown Sound show at 6:30 p.m. in Millennium Park. Also on the bill: fiery Chicago pop-punk band the Hollows.
Here's the rest of the lineup for these free concerts in Millennium Park through the end of July ...
Very cool: Fela Kuti's drummer and bandleader Tony Allen headlines. The Nigeria-born, Paris-dwelling percussionist helped pioneer Afro-beat, and hasn't ignored new dub trends, either. Perhaps an odd pairing, Canada's pretty folk-rock band the Great Lake Swimmers opens the show. 6:30 p.m.
Nick Zammuto and Paul de Jong started collecting found sounds and samples when they lived in New York. Then they moved to North Carolina, then to Massachusetts, and their patchwork electronica took on a warmer, laid-back sound. The perform as The Books, and hopefully their Downtown Sound show will feature some of their film work, as well. (They'll be back Oct. 29 at the Vic.) Via Tania, a Sydney-born but Chicago-based singer-songwriter, opens the show. 7:30 p.m.
Huntsville is an "experimental, Americana band" ... from Norway. (See, creative concert series!) On Fillmore (Wilco drummer Glenn Kotche and bassist Darin Gray) opens the show, with Wilco guitarist Nels Cline tagging along. 7:30 p.m.
The Thermals started as a side project for several Pacific Northwest players, then became a full-time gig -- because their punkish songs ("Canada") caught on. Chicago's Disappears open with a slightly more minimalist sound. 6:30 p.m.
Caribou has stepped up the dancefloor quotient on its latest album of electronica, which should make for a lively summer evening under the Chicago skyline. Opening: Staten Island soul-jazz bunch the Budos Band. 6:30 p.m.
Kid Sister made less of a splash than expected with her debut single featuring Kanye West, but this Chicago rapper has a long career ahead. The latest single features another high-profile partner, Cee-Lo. Opening: Congolese street band Konono N°1. 6:30 p.m.
Naomi Shelton and the Gospel Queens are one of those gospel-soul acts that have been around for decades, steeping, without the profile they perhaps deserve. The slow boil of their soul is worth seeing. Opening: electro-tropical fusion duo Bomba Estéreo. 6:30 p.m.