Tomorrow night local trio Facs celebrate the release of their stark debut album, Negative Houses (Trouble in Mind), with a headlining set at the Empty Bottle. As regular readers of Gossip Wolf already know, the band made their live debut in early 2017, emerging during a hiatus by Disappears, the long-running band fronted by Facs singer and guitarist Brian Case. (Disappears bassist Damon Carruesco had left, and at this point the hiatus looks to be permanent.) Case soldiered on with two Disappears bandmates, drummer Noah Leger and guitarist Jonathan van Herik, becoming a new entity that pushed the minimalist drone of Disappears toward a more explicitly postpunk austerity. For me at least, it’s a potent reminder that Chicago used to embrace British postpunk like a long-lost relative. When I moved here in 1984, it seemed like the late, lamented Bauhaus were somehow the most popular band in town—and their dark, harrowing sound blazes from the taut grooves and monochromatic timbres of Facs.
The trio cut Negative Houses last summer at Electrical Audio with John Congleton, and the album is as sleek as it is visceral, with Leger’s powerhouse drumming both driving the music and grounding it. By October the record had a formal release date—Friday, March 30—but in December van Herik left the group. In January, Facs found a replacement: Alianna Kalaba, a current and former Chicagoan who’s switched from drums (in the likes of We Ragazzi and the Dishes) to bass. After leaving town in 2004, she worked with the Boredoms and Cat Power, and in 2017 she came back. Case had moved from guitar to bass in Facs, but the addition of Kalaba allows him to go back to guitar. Friday’s concert is Kalaba’s first local show with Facs, and Case has told Janine Schaults at the Tribune that the band may debut some songs written with her. Below you can check out “Others,” a typically bruising track from the album.
David Binney, Cities and Desire (Criss Cross Jazz)
St. Francis Duo, Peacemaker Assembly (Trost)
Michael Byron, In the Village of Hope (Cold Blue)
The Meters, A Message From the Meters: The Complete Josie, Reprise & Warner Bros. Singles 1968-1977 (Real Gone Music)
Beatriz Ferreyra, Chrysopée Electronique—Bourges (Mnémosyne Musique Média)