Tomorrow Never Knows 2011
Schubas winter (indoor!) indie festival expands to Lincoln Hall and Metro, bringing dozens of buzzy acts. It's a little overwhelming, but not if you follow our guide to the highlights.
There’s one good reason to not purchase a five-day pass to Tomorrow Never Knows—simple math. As always, indie bands du jour fill the bill of Schubas’ annual showcase, which the Schubas brothers have now expanded to include sister venue Lincoln Hall and Metro. The indoor festival offers diverse options of getting your ears ringing during a face-numbing winter, but tickets to the whole shebang cost a hundred bucks. The individual, concurrent gigs are $15, which means you have to hop venues to spend more than $75 over the five nights. We’ve put together menus for different tastes to help you navigate Tomorrow Never Knows with some certainty. And without dropping more than a Ulysses S. Grant all weekend.
Tomorrow Sounds an Awful Lot Like the 1980s
Lia Ices’s (Thu 13, Lincoln Hall) gorgeous Grown Unknown is often indistinguishable from Bat For Lashes, which means it owes a lot to Kate Bush, the queen of dreamy art-pop and draping one’s arms in softly flowing organza. Devastating cuts like “Little Marriage” float on little more than sleigh bells, finger snaps and washes of synths. It’s not a far cry from Enya, if you allow yourself to admit it. Alex Winston (Sun 16, Lincoln Hall) strikes similar soundtrack-to-Ladyhawke notes, albeit with more prom-friendly tempos and an eerily childlike voice. Eye makeup addicts should sandwich the two newcomers around Twin Shadow (Fri 14, Schubas), a mopey Morrissey disciple with all the right keyboards.
Tomorrow I Am Not Shaving
The flannel-clad and hirsute sounds of the ’70s and ’90s abound as well. The sweeping guitar-rock of the Besnard Lakes (Thu 13, Lincoln Hall) soars with the angelic Brian Wilson-isms of frontman Jace Lasek. It’s epic Canadian rock minus Arcade Fire’s pretension, and brimming with more hooks than Broken Social Scene’s half-baked salvos. Riding stupid levels of hype off a mere handful of shows, Mister Heavenly (Fri 14, Lincoln Hall), Sub Pop’s latest signee, brings together Nick Diamonds, a hammy, glammy showman formerly from the Unicorns and Islands, the shaggy lipped Honus Honus of Man Man and Modest Mouse’s percussionist. Oh, and a twerpy bass player named Michael Cera, doing his Scott Pilgrim routine between the band’s plonky, Pacific Northwest indie tunes. Earning his stripes as a sideman to Justin Vernon in Bon Iver, Sean Carey used his spare time to craft an immaculate album as S. Carey (Sun 16, Schubas), echoing all the things people adore about his main gig.
Tomorrow I Want to be Sore from Dancing
The rugged rhymes of Freddie Gibbs (Fri 14, Metro) are grounded in a blight-to-bling sensibility honed in Gary, Indiana. Gibbs may call L.A. home these days, but he’s hardly gone soft. He brings trunk-rattling trap rap to annoint TNK’s first foray into hip-hop. About time. The tropical workouts of Tanlines (Sat 15, Metro) nick rhythms from every equatorial culture. Fortunately, the New York duo keeps its steel drums, congas and slack melodies extremely loud (a recent compilation is titled Volume On) and computer-made, lest things smell a little too cruise-shippy. Working with Gorillaz has thrown a larger spotlight on Little Dragon (Sun 16, Lincoln Hall). The Swedes pack far more tunefulness in their longing club thumpers than your average electro-pop combo, and absolutely mesmerize thanks to the smooth operations of frontwoman Yukimi Nagano.
Tomorrow Fidelity Still Will Not Matter
Garage rock’s renaissance coincided with the rise of the cruddy audio of iPods, cells and laptops. For that reason, it’s hard to see below-fi fading away. The latest speaker-scuzzer-come-lately, Frankie Rose (Thu 13, Lincoln Hall), formerly drummed for Vivian Girls and Dum Dum Girls and, in case you couldn’t tell, is pretty heavily into girl-groups. Perhaps it dawned on her that she could do the whole harmonies-and-hairspray thing better than her bosses with her own outfit, the Outs. If so, she was right. Despite the plural name, Screaming Females (Fri 14, Lincoln Hall) have just one, shredder and wailer Marissa Paternoster, who shifts gears from manic banshee to trilling Heart devotee as two dudes pound out sloppy, fuzzy classic rawk riffs. Far more taut, but by no means tame, is Milwaukee’s Jaill (Sat 15, Lincoln Hall), a fast and frothy power-pop band that likely sticks around its hometown for the suds. Opening for the brew crew is Cloud Nothings, one of dozens of pimple-squishing, hyperactive jangle-pop kids to go from boredom-driven bedroom demos to the big stage overnight thanks to blogs.
For the complete TNK2011 lineup.