2011 music preview
What to look forward to on your stereo and on Chicago stages in 2011.
2011: A 2001 Odyssey
Only the next few months of the music calendar are penciled in, making any prognostications for the new year more of a spring preview. That said, things are already smelling ten years old, in a good way. I’m crossing my fingers for fresh tunes from Radiohead and Beck. With the latter, at least I know he collaborated on two new, untitled records with fellow postmodernist Stephen Malkmus and Thurston Moore. It’s more of a bold step for the Sonic Youth man, who does his dreamy beatnik thing over sparse strings (releases TBA).
Also dipping his toes into orchestra pits is Danger Mouse. The producer’s latest guest-laden event is Rome (Mar 15), which pits Jack White and Norah Jones against a backdrop by Italian film scorer Daniele Luppi, using the same old players from Morricone movies. I love that sort of lush, cinematic, pancultural sound. There’s a heavy dose of that as well on the new Cornershop, And the Double ‘O’ Groove of (Mar 15). The British duo have added singer Bubbley Kaur, lending a deeper Bollywood vibe to its upbeat Hindu-hop.
R.E.M.’s Collapse Into Now (Mar 8) and the Beastie Boys’s Hot Sauce Committee Pt. 2 (spring) have certainly tickled the dusty, 20-year-old corners of my brain. Everything leaked from both so far suggests a long-awaited return to form. Sexy and groundbreaking? No. But nothing beats these originals when they’re on point. For a promising step forward, I’m turning to the Black Lips (summer). Finally, the garage-rock dirtbags have ponied up for a producer, and an unlikely one at that. Mark Ronson refines the Atlantans’ ’60s pop sensibilities—and their overlooked penchant for Wu-Tangian loops.
This year, my geekily awaited giant Christmas Day of an album is the Strokes’ fourth LP, Angles (Mar 22). The quintet slayed at Lolla, and supplied a rare emotional moment in Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere. After switching producers midstream (for the third time in a row), they retreated to upstate New York to knock out ten self-recorded tracks. Yeah, 2011 looks a hell of a lot like 2001. But let’s hit reset and pretend chillwave and shitgaze never happened. —Brent DiCrescenzo
Not quiet on the local front
Along with new albums, the new year brings more than a few opportunities for reinvention. Old-school Chicagoans can expect a new LP from guitar-rock standby Eleventh Dream Day. The band’s first record in five years, Riot Now! (Mar 15), will be number two for 2011 for frontman Rick Rizzo, whose intimate duo disc with Antietam’s Tara Key, Double Star, arrives Feb 22. Rizzo’s got yet another project cooking: The Chicago supergroup Candy Golde finds him sharing the front line with fellow journeyman and XRT host Nicholas Tremulis. The impressive rhythm section pairs Wilco bassist John Stirratt with Cheap Trick drummer Bun E. Carlos. The group’s debut EP drops in April on local imprint Ten O Nine Records.
Rizzo’s not the only local artist cooking on all burners: experimental/noise scene fixture Bruce Lamont is already known to audiences as the long-haired howler fronting art-metal mainstay Yakuza (not to mention for his flawless Robert Plant impersonation in Led Zeppelin 2). He makes his long-awaited solo debut with the just-released Feral Songs For The Epic Decline, capturing everything from dreamy sax soundscapes to polyphonic throat-singing. Lamont’s got another album in the can with Bloodiest, his doomy brood with a debut due on Relapse Records in spring.
Local jazz enthusiasts winced when the Velvet Lounge shut its doors late last year, but AACM presence Nicole Mitchell has already moved to fill the void and honor the memory of deceased club founder Fred Anderson with the newly launched Velvet Birdhouse Coalition. Trumpeter Corey Wilkes recently kicked off the new series just a few blocks away from the Velvet, inside the South Loop Hotel’s L26 Restaurant, and a birthday tribute honoring Anderson is slated for March. This year also marks the tenth anniversary of the Hungry Brain’s Sunday Transmission Series, and cofounders Josh Berman and Mike Reed mark that milestone with some high-profile guests throughout the year, with visits from Dutch improvisers Misha Mengelberg and Han Bennink (April 10) and postbop saxophonist Tony Malaby (Nov 6) among the highlights promised throughout the year.—Areif Sless-Kitain