Café Du Nord
This minimalist duo has won praise from folks at NPR and Spinner while perfecting a specific blend of Americana, 1950s classic folk and compelling narrative. They've been compared to Ryan Adams and Iron & Wine, and it fits — their soft hush affects on multiple levels, a mind/body/soul trifecta.
The Fiery Furnaces is brother-sister duo Matthew and Eleanor Friedberger (a deadringer for Patti Smith), purveyors of rather dramatic, playful indie rock that's had a fierce cult following since they debuted in 2003. Their songs and albums, all unruly and anything but straightforward, have culminated in 2009's I'm Going Away (Thrill Jockey) an intensely rhythmic and scaled-down collection of artsy tunes cementing their status as one of the most unpredictable bands out there right now.
Joan of Arc is not so much a band as it is a constantly changing collective of musicians spanning over 15 years. One member remains constant, though: Tim Kinsella, who you might say is Joan of Arc. The band's latest album, Life Like, brings yet another lineup on the most stripped-down, simplified Joan of Arc album yet. We talked with founder and frontman Tim Kinsella about the Chicago scene, the revolving door band model, and the new album. Joan of Arc plays Cafe du Nord this Thursday, May 12.
Folksy crooner Cass McCombs has long mesmerized us with his brilliant, funny songwriting and slow-burning odes to life and love. The Californian just released his already critically acclaimed fifth album, WIT'S END (Domino), a sonically sparse, beautiful and penetrating exploration into loneliness that is sure to utterly captivate hundreds of ears along the road.
Anyone who's seen local firestarters Thee Oh Sees do their thing live knows they are one of the craziest, most kinetic bands on any stage anywhere. Frontman John Dwyer is a legend whose frantic yelps and hip gyrations can get an entire room jumping, so much so that if you're not moving at an Oh Sees show, you'll get weird looks.
Atmosphere seemed to be the collective concern of each of the four acts of Friday night’s Café Du Nord roster, one of the most fervently anticipated line-ups of this year’s festival and one of the first to sell out. The evening was all about setting a mood, which swayed between pop-coated angst and haunted beauty as each of the four very different acts took the stage. While a strong start energized the packed house, technical glitches marred the mood of hyped headliner Tamaryn and her ethereality, and listeners were left wishing for a little more of the romance that was captured so compellingly on her recordings.