Monobody Credit: courtesy the artist

For the Tomorrow Never Knows festival in 2017, the Audioleaf talent-buying team for Lincoln Hall and Schubas booked Monobody to open for Tortoise. The move was a tacit endorsement of the position of the younger band as the new torchbearer for Chicago’s decades-long postrock tradition. Monobody’s nervy, whiplash-inducing take on the form bends toward metal, bleeds into prog rock, and gets its power from punk. Which is only fitting, since the members of the band’s monster rhythm section cut their teeth playing in some of city’s dirtiest DIY punk holes-in-the-wall; bassist Steve Marek and drummer Nnamdi Ogbonnaya previously played in erratic math-punk group the Para-medics, and the band’s other bassist, Al Costis, still gigs with adrenalized punk experimentalists Pyramid Schemes. Keyboardist Collin Clauson and multi-instrumentalist Conor Mackey—who covers guitar, keys, vibraphone, and electronics—enhance their collaborators’ compositions with nuanced textures that uplift, pulverize, and soothe. Monobody’s new second album, Raytracing (Sooper), excels most when the band reconcile their tendency to whip up frenetic mayhem with their love of serene, contemplative passages, such as in the latter half of opener “Ilha Verde” and the prismatic “Echophrasia.” Monobody remain unpredictably active even at their quietest, occasionally tossing a thundering guitar riff into a meditative moment, as if to encourage listeners to stay keenly aware of every detail.   v