Bjork plays Friday at 8:30 PM.
Bjork plays Friday at 8:30 PM. Credit: Inez Van Lamsweerde

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Frankie RoseCredit: Shervin Lainez

3:20 Frankie Rose

Think aloofness can be attractive? I say yes, because Frankie Rose‘s Interstellar (Slumberland) is the musical equivalent of two girls perched at the end of the bar in silence, waiting for you to buy each of them a gin and tonic so they can go back to ignoring everything but their iPhones. And I’m sorry, but that’s pretty cool. Rose colors her slick, witchy indie pop with warm neon from an early-90s LA dance club and more than a few dashes of pixie dust, and the way she wraps her airy, fluttering voice around the music’s pulse will put a sway in the most stubborn of hips. —Kevin Warwick Blue stage

Frankie Rose is on the Friday itinerary of Reader social media manager Gwynedd Stuart.

Daughn GibsonCredit: Jay McCarroll

3:30 Daughn Gibson

If you feel like starting strange, start here. Josh Martin, the singer and multi-instrumentalist who performs as Daughn Gibson, ought to be flogging his photogenic physique in Hollywood. Instead he spins tales about pimping a state trooper’s daughter, backed by countrified electro that takes plenty of cues from the Psychedelic Furs in their MTV heyday and crooning in a voice that sounds like Scott Walker imitating an Elvis impersonator from Tuva. Also Fri 7/19 at Bottom Lounge, 17+. —Bill Meyer Red stage

Daughn Gibson is on the Friday itinerary of Reader music critic Peter Margasak.

Trask TalkCredit: Brick Stowell

4:15 Trash Talk

The best music you’ll hear blaring out of a boom box at any given sun-beaten, heavily tagged skate park will probably be made by a band who bring their decks on tour and seek out those very same skate parks. It’s the circle of life, people. Sacramento outfit Trash Talk—who last year became the first non-Odd Future-related signee to Tyler, the Creator’s label—play thrashy skate punk that’s loved equally by kids in Suicidal Tendencies flip-up caps and by true-till-death hardcore maniacs who can’t help but find something to throw themselves from during especially malicious breakdowns. Trash Talk’s 2012 full-length, 119, is loud and pissed—and if you’ve read this far, that ought to be enough description for you. Also Sat 7/20 at Bottom Lounge, 17+. —Kevin Warwick Blue stage

Trash Talk is on the Friday itinerary of Reader social media manager Gwynedd Stuart.

Mac DeMarcoCredit: Christina Hicks

4:35 Mac DeMarco

Canadian slacker-rock machine Mac DeMarco, who used to record as Makeout Videotape, specializes in hazy, dreamy indie-pop. On last year’s 2 (Captured Tracks), he delivers summery, slow-motion glam that’s slathered in twinkly guitar and lazy vocal harmonies. His formula seems to be equal parts T. Rex and George Harrison, but it also pays homage to 90s west-coast stoner-pop favorites such as Weezer and Pavement. Also Sat 7/20 at the Empty Bottle, 21+. —Luca Cimarusti Green stage

Mac DeMarco is on the Friday itineraries of Reader music critic Peter Margasak and reader Kayla Hartman.

Angel OlsenCredit: Courtesy Angel Olsen

5:15 Angel Olsen

Last year Chicago singer-songwriter Angel Olsen shifted into high gear with the release of the stunning Half Way Home (Bathetic), which earned her widespread praise and a deal with Jagjaguwar. But it’s clear that she’s a music lover first and a careerist second, if at all. Though her original songs reflect a wide-ranging interest in Americana and psychedelic folk, Olsen is no studied revivalist—when she pours her gorgeous tremolo into the retro-pop of “The Waiting,” the epic post-Neil Young incantation of “Lonely Universe,” or the skeletal Love-esque psychedelia of “The Sky Opened Up,” it seems to take her to unexpected, emotionally naked places. And the shifting instrumental arrangements support her magical voice perfectly. I can’t wait to hear what she does next. —Peter Margasak Blue stage

Angel Olsen is on the Friday itineraries of Reader music critic Peter Margasak and social media manager Gwynedd Stuart.

WoodsCredit: Courtesy Woods

5:30 Woods

On their most recent album, last year’s Bend Beyond (Woodsist), post-psychedelic combo Woods don’t do much to disguise their influences—the Grateful Dead, Krautrock, Neil Young—but even after repeated listens, their vibe is so appealing and their melodies so insinuating that I don’t care to criticize the borrowing. They have a way with breezy jams that seem to belong more to the west coast than to their home in New York, with strum-along grooves, sweet harmonica, and muted fuzz guitar. Front man Jeremy Earl sings the band’s cozy, lived-in melodies in a modest, candied falsetto that seems to be a love-it-or-hate-it proposition for some folks (my wife definitely hates it), but I’m not one of them; I find it acceptable but don’t adore it. Woods occasionally get sidetracked by Summer of Love jamming, but on each record they’ve sounded more and more focused—with any luck their live gigs will follow suit. —Peter Margasak Red stage

Woods are on the Friday itinerary of Reader reader Kayla Hartman.

Mikal CroninCredit: Denee Petracek

6:15 Mikal Cronin

If you missed Mikal Cronin’s 2011 debut, you might expect reckless, trashy scuzz ‘n’ squeal on this spring’s MCII (Merge)—mostly due to his inextricable link to west-coast garage hero Ty Segall. But it’s more Damien Jurado-style acoustic yarns than psychedelic wild-outs, and “Peace of Mind” has enough strings and lap steel in it to border on alt-country. There are still grungy 90s moments and loose guitar solos (some of which Segall contributed, of course), but they’re wrapped in introspective, beautifully melodic pop, crowned by the ache in Cronin’s voice as he sings about entering the tail end of his 20s and “starting over for a long time.” It’s as profoundly emotional as it is carefully crafted—Cronin recorded all the basic instrumental tracks himself, and he wrings moments of stark sincerity from the music. —Kevin Warwick Blue stage

Mikal Cronin is on the Friday itineraries of Reader music critic Peter Margasak and social media manager Gwynedd Stuart.

WireCredit: Phil Sharp

6:25 Wire

As Douglas Wolk pointed out in his Pitchfork review of Wire‘s latest, Change Becomes Us (Pink Flag), the band has always had “an exceptionally weird relationship to its own past.” The record revisits a collection of sketched-out songs from nearly 35 years ago (some of which appeared on the 1981 live album Document and Eyewitness), and though they’ve lost some immediacy due to current production values and the members’ current maturity, they’ve gained a lot of perspective and dimension. The material here weaves back and forth between a fatalistic formality faintly reminiscent of Joy Division and the fierce, pounding intensity that Wire’s live shows always deliver. —Monica Kendrick Green stage

Wire is on the Friday itinerary of Reader reader Kayla Hartman.

Joanna NewsomCredit: Annabel Mehran

7:20 Joanna Newsom

It’s been three years since eccentric singer-songwriter Joanna Newsom released Have One on Me (Drag City), a dense, meticulously programmed triple-­CD set that still yields new details and pleasures every time I listen to it, so I’m sure I’m not alone in hoping that we get some new music from her soon. Newsom hasn’t performed in Chicago in almost as long, which means that while I’ll keep my fingers crossed for new songs, I’m pretty sure I’ll be happy just getting to hear her perform stuff from the three albums she already has. —Peter Margasak Red stage

Joanna Newsom is on the Friday itineraries of Reader music critic Peter Margasak, social media manager Gwynedd Stuart, and reader Kayla Hartman.

BjorkCredit: Inez Van Lamsweerde

8:30 Bjork

Two years ago Bjork released her latest album, Biophilia (Nonesuch), whose music was only one facet of an elaborate project that included ambitious remixes and a cluster of iPad apps, one for each song. I don’t care about apps attached to songs (even if they include video games), and I found the music disappointing, especially since the Icelandic singer usually reaches new heights with every outing—the sparse arrangements felt more like a retrenchment than a progression. On the other hand, Bjork is one of pop’s greatest live performers, and judging from the reviews I’ve read of the handful of shows she’s done since Biophilia came out, her spectacle ought to put the Flaming Lips’ hamster ball and confetti cannons to shame. How does a bass line played on a giant Tesla coil sound? —Peter Margasak Green stage

Bjork is on the Friday itineraries of Reader music critic Peter Margasak and reader Kayla Hartman.

See our reviews and live coverage of the bands playing on:

Saturday · Sunday · Afterparties

Pitchfork main »