One of the reasons the acts at Chicago's annual Pitchfork Music Festival are often strangely varied but neatly harmonious is that they're selected by a jazz man. German-born Mike Reed sometimes spends so much time working on that, though, that he neglects his own inventive music. This weekend, his band Loose Assembly reconvenes for its first performance in more than a year, debuting music from a new recording, "Empathetic Parts." The CD features legendary reed player Roscoe Mitchell, who also will be onstage. The setting couldn't be cooler: 4 p.m. Saturday at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park -- indoors, with the bandshell closed to the elements. Admission is free. Visit millenniumpark.org.
Chicago fans of European industrial and experimental music are having happy holidays this year. Next month, Germany's Einsturzende Neubauten returns for two different shows, and this weekend England's Nitzer Ebb is back, supporting its first new release in more than a decade (January's "Industrial Complex"). Pioneers in electronic assault, the duo of Douglas McCarthy and Vaughn Harris reunited a couple of years ago to play some dates around a suite of remixes, then wound up writing new material. At 9 p.m. Saturday at Double Door, 1572 N. Milwaukee. Tickets, $25-$35. Call (773) 489-3160; doubledoor.com.
The drum-and-guitar duo of Dean Spunt and Randy Randall -- visual and performance artists as well as ex-Wives (a hard-core band) -- has been a buzz band on several bills this year, including their eye-opening performance in front of Pavement this fall at Millennium Park. Catch their finely crafted noise-pop in the perfectly snuggly confines of Lincoln Hall, 2424 N. Lincoln. Lucky Dragons and Cacaw open starting at 7 p.m. Sunday. Tickets, $15. Call (773) 525-2501; lincolnhallchicago.com.