By Gene Wagendorf III
The Owl (10pm, 21+, FREE)
Suzuki Junzo playing for free at The Owl on a weekday is the kind of event that makes Logan Square awesome, whether you're into hipster culture or not. The Tokyo-based guitar savant's compositions are a mesmerizing combination of blues, folk and experimental psych. Junzo uses his creativity and precision to create melancholy meditations and squalls of intense feedback. Opening are Kansas City's Expo '70, a prolific, trippy drone outfit whose recently released Filer à l'anglais is the perfect soundtrack to a Lewis Carroll nightmare.
Friday, December 6th: Paper Mice and Mines at The Burlington (9pm, 21+, $5)
Tight-as-fuck math punks Paper Mice are playing a farewell show for maniacal bassist Adam Mac, and given that we don't know what this means for the band's future there's no excuse to miss the show. Their combination of nerve-wracking, spastic guitars, cyclone bass lines and bombastic vocals resulted in some of the best music to come out of Chicago in the last five years. Paper Mice do an impressive job of channeling that energy into their records, but there is nothing like seeing them live. Also playing are Mines, the brilliantly raw pop band fronted by singer/guitarist Bill Satek. Their latest record, Just Another Thing That Got Ruined, is a fascinating blend of underground fuzz, candied grooves and delightful unpredictability.
Saturday, December 7th: Negative Scanner and Skymaul at Cole's (9:30pm, 21+, FREE)
We've been high on Negative Scanner lately, and that probably won't change any time soon. We've also consistently compared them to DA!, who recently suffered the tragic loss of lead singer/bass player Lorna Donley. That sad news means you won't get a chance to see DA! again, but Negative Scanner carry the torch as a scorching, brooding post-punk outfit whose frontwoman possess the kind of voice that crumbles mountains and transforms darkness into an inspirational wail. Playing alongside Scanner are Skymaul, an infectious, gravelly group that plays punk rock with a nod to classic rock n' roll. Singer Kelly Nothing's sweet n' rowdy vocals bop over straight-forward percussion and buzzing guitars to incite the kind of giddy moshpit your Saturday night deserves.
Sunday, December 8th: Crown Larks, Mako Sica, DJPTSD and The Humminbird at Empty Bottle (7pm, 21+, $8)
Did you really think we were going to recommend anything else? Sunday night the Empty Bottle is helping us put on a benefit show for Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art. You can read up on the event and check out streaming tracks from all four bands here, or you can trust me a buy yourself a ticket (they make great holiday presents!). The show will kick off with a set from freak-folk group The Humminbird, who combines elements of meditative drone, folk and psych with a rotating cast of expert musicians. DJPTSD features Travis of the legendary avant gospel group ONO, and are designing a performance special for this event. Dynamic three-piece Mako Sica venture outside traditional pop structures to create uncanny compositions that flow from sparsely serene to wildly brutal, from enchanting to terrifying. Crown Larks wrap things up with a spacey, driving rock that blends psychedelic exploration with punk ferocity.
Monday, December 9th: Dikes of Holland and Lil Tits at Bric A Brac Records (5pm, All Ages, FREE)
Mondays suck, blah blah blah. Take some personal responsibility and make yours awesome by swinging by Bric A Brac Records for a free show after work. Local noise-punks Lil Tits open things up with their brand of skin-melting, bulldozer jamming. Not your thing? Then chill out, have a beer (it's BYOB) and a slice (rumor has it there will be pizza) and wait for Austin, Texas garage-poppers Dikes of Holland. The band's flurry of quick, jangling rock n' roll outta help you forget that your fucking week just started. RIYL White Mystery, The Ramones or, like, good music. Duh.