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Via Chicago: Scattered Trees, Candy Golde, Salem, Empires

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scatteredtreescd.jpgScattered Trees, "Sympathy" [2 and a half stars] -- The second album Nathan Eiseland wrote and recorded was his first with the Minneapolis-Chicago band Scattered Trees, and it was called "Song for My Grandfather." His latest is called "Sympathy," but it could easily be titled "Songs for My Father." The band was literally scattering in 2009 when Eiseland's father died, and he dove back into writing new songs to work through the experience. Last year, he summoned the band back together, and they recorded this eight-song meditation on loss and love. This album is one long "Sympathy" card, for sure -- a collection of thoughtful lyrics that suffer from the music's hyper-restraint and lack of color. The songs aren't downers in themselves -- "It's 2 a.m. and my words are wearing thin on you," Eiseland sings in the Stars-y "A Conversation," but though his lines are often heavy they never really wear -- but the production (or lack thereof) and consistently slow, dragging tempos make them mope instead of mosey.

In concert: See if the music comes alive on stage when Scattered Trees plays its CD release party at 10 p.m. Saturday at Schubas, 3159 N. Southport. Chaperone and the Loneliest Monk open. Tickets: $10.

In other Chicago(ish) music news ...

Salem's witchy try
The latest video from Chicago's Salem, for "Sick" from the album "King Night," splices together found footage to creative an unsettling narrative underneath the music's creepy slo-mo rap. It's possibly NSFW ...


Spinning Golde
Sometimes, a pedigree is enough, at least for some initial interest. Take Chicago's latest supergroup, of sorts, Candy Golde. Its members are veteran local club haunt Nicholas Tremulis, Cheap Trick drummer Bun E. Carlos, Wilco bassist John Stiratt and 11th Dream Day guitarist Rick Rizzo. (Mark Greenberg joins them live.) More name dropping: The quartet's debut, self-titled EP (3 stars) was mastered by Ivan Julian of Richard Hell and the Voidoids, and it opens with a cover of Paul Simon's "Boy in the Bubble."

So if you're like me, you read that and think, cool, a harder rocking power-pop diversion! But "Candy Golde" is so much weirder, bluesier and grittier. "Boy in the Bubble" comes on like George Thorogood & Skull Orchard, with distorted slide guitar shimmying up and down and Carlos shuffling the drums like the band's got a getaway car idling in the alley. Carlos was in another recent retro-pop supergroup, the Taylor Hanson-fronted Tinted Windows (alas, there wasn't much there there), but Candy Golde is less like the Cars and more like an underrehearsed Crazy Horse. "Why and Where" mixes "Zuma"-like guitar strangling with radar-lovey background howls. "The Hold Steady" is about keeping it together, not about the indie-rock band of the same name (here's to SEO), and it slinks along on a cheeky Farfisa rhythm and rootsy rock riff. Just five songs here -- it leaves us wanting more, if only to see where this potent mix of talent is going to wind up.

Here's a song from their debut last month at SXSW ...

In concert: There must be more material, because Candy Golde headlines a show at 9 p.m. Friday at the Double Door, 1572 N. Milwaukee. Jon Langford & Skull Orchard opens. Tickets: $18-$20.


On the cover of the Rolling Stone
Chicago's Empires have made the finals in a high-profile battle-of-the-bands. Rolling Stone's "Do You Wanna Be a Rock and Roll Star" contest ends with the winner on the magazine's cover, plus a record deal with Atlantic. The final four are Empires (Chicago), Fictionist (Provo, Utah), Lelia Broussard (Los Angeles) and the Sheepdogs (Canada), and while they were in New York last week they said howdy to Patrick Stump from Fall Out Boy ...

EmpiresStump.jpg

Vote for Empires here.


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This page contains a single entry by Thomas Conner published on April 29, 2011 12:00 PM.

CD reviews and news: Fleet Foxes, A-Trak, the Rentals, jazz was the previous entry in this blog.

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