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By Andy Argyrakis
Weekend Report: You don't need to see Norah, but don't miss Air!
Friday, March 19 2010
Just because Norah Jones captivated the hearts of every Starbucks drinker across the country doesn't mean she's all that exciting of an artist. Sure, she has a sweet and sultry voice often placed alongside easygoing jazzy arrangements, but hype has thus far overpowered ingenious artistry throughout her career. This tour comes in support of the roots rock experiment The Fall (Blue Note), though even if those tunes fall flat, hopefully her piano playing will be up to par. (Fan club only - Saturday at Chicago Theatre- Chicago, IL: www.jamusa.com).
French duo Air has spent the past decade and a half crafting some of the globe's most innovative electronic, ambient and down tempo tunes and its latest recording Love 2 (Astralwerks) continues seamlessly in that tradition. Though crafted with a penchant for personal chill out moments rather than the thump of a club, the beats, beeps and blings are atmospheric triumphs loaded with lush arrangements and steamy synths sure to translate to the stage. (Bet your life - Wednesday at Riviera Theatre- Chicago, IL: www.jamusa.com).
Following the whirlwind of internet attention surrounding its self-titled debut, Vampire Weekend was met with the task of recording and releasing a follow-up, manifested in 2010's Contra, which was recorded in Mexico City after 18 months of consecutive touring. Surprisingly though, the fratty foursome doesn't sound rushed on the ensuing ten tracks, instead offering an even more eccentric musical melting pot that now includes hints of ska, funk and reggae. Add in a tour that sold out in several major American cities within seconds, and the sensations may be around longer than most web-discovered flavors of the month. (Worth a shot - Thursday and next Friday at Riviera Theatre- Chicago, IL: www.jamusa.com).
Street Week: Ted Leo's still on top, Stripes on DVD
Monday, March 15, 2010
Recorded in the summer of 2007 when The White Stripes toured Canada, Under Great White Northern Lights (Warner Brothers) is the group's first project since its sixth studio CD Icky Thump. For those who want to see the action firsthand under the direction of Emmett Malloy, consider checking out the DVD edition, though there's also an audio document on CD and digital download for those preferring just the soundtrack side of the garage rockers' most recent touring tag team.
Southern rock rebels Drive-By Truckers blow off some steam with this new whiskey-soaked affair The Big To-Do (ATO Records). Expect plenty of foot stompers that not only carry on the group's irreverent, genre-bending traditions, but have no problem fitting perfectly into the set list when the band opens for Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers on tour this summer.
He first rose to fame in the late 1980s/early '90s hardcore scene spending time in Citizen's Arrest, Animal Crackers and Chisel, followed by leading the Pharmacists full time since the late '90s. Along the way, Ted Leo's gradually ascended with indie credibility, while simultaneously spreading unshakable hooks inspired by everyone from Elvis Costello to The Jam. Those trends continue on the group's latest long player The Brutalist Bricks (Matador), but there's plenty of ferocity that hearkens back to the early days sure to cross pollinate an always expanding fan base even further.
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