By Gene Wagendorf III
Double Door (8:15pm, 21+, $8)
Chicago's power-poppers Young Distractions are a band that follows in the footsteps of predecessors like Material Issue and Smoking Popes; hook-heavy rock 'n' roll littered with cathartic lyrics, white-hot guitar solos and a healthy dose of crunch. Singer Nico Deportago-Cabrera has a voice that sounds as good used for confessional story telling as it does during fits of punk defiance, and his bandmates form a tight rhythm section that's sure to have the audience bopping. Bluesy, grungy, kinda Pearl Jammy quartet Dead Sheriff open up, and will likely play some material from their forthcoming album Acoustic - Friends & Total Strangers, which seems to have a much folkier vibe than their previous work.
Wednesday, June 25th: Music. Defined. presents Ghostpal, Ariada and No Shoes at Empty Bottle (9pm, 21+, $5)
We ran a preview a few days ago, but in case you missed it, we still haven't changed our minds. You should spend your Wednesday night checking out Ghostpal, Ariada and No Shoes at The Bottle. Our friends over at Music. Defined. have put together this awesome bill featuring two dynamic, electrifying NYC bands alongside one of Chicago's finest indie/soul groups. For their parts, Ghostpal brings a sort of Sondre Lerche meets Of Montreal swoon and No Shoes gets a little bit psychedelic and a lotta bit algebraic. Not convinced? Check out the full preview here (streaming tunes included!) and then grab yourself that five-bone ticket.
Thursday, June 26th: Crimson Glow featuring Hot Tears at The Whistler (9:30pm, 21+, FREE)
Crimson Glow is a monthly party held at The Whistler featuring women-made music of all genres, and this month they're bringing Olympia's Hot Tears to town. The duo's 2014 release the chorus is loaded with atmospheric meditations, rumbling jams and consistently gorgeous vocal work from singer Molly Fischer. The songs, even at their dreamiest, are kinetic and driving and plain mesmerizing. Also on the evening's bill are a performance from Chicagoan Tien Tran in which she'll "present Nelly Furtado's Whoa Nelly album and share a related performance on formative crushing," as well as sets by resident DJs The Lady Speedstick and Hot Glue.
Friday, June 27th: The Stone Foxes, Terriers and Black Bear/Brown Bear at Subterranean (9pm, 21+, $12)
So apparently SubT is turning into a zoo on Friday night and, oh, fuck it, all three of the bands on the bill are named after animals, ha ha ha, aren't I so fucking clever. Down to business: all three of the bands on the bill are fucking excellent. The Stone Foxes have a big, heavy Texas sound (despite being from Frisco) that comes off like The Black Angels with less LSD and more country twang. Snarling, mammoth hooks get a lift from soaring vocals, sweaty harmonica and slick flourishes of slide guitar. Terriers are the local indie rock group behind one of last year's best releases, Unrequited Admiration Society, and Black Bear/Brown Bear open things up with their signature blend glittery disco soul pop. Seriously, I've seen BB/BB more than a handful of times and they've never failed to make me dance. And I fucking hate dancing. So yeah, this is a solid bet for your Friday night.
Saturday, June 28th: Frontier Psychiatrist presents Ed Schrader's Music Beat, Herzog and EGO at Quenchers (10pm, 21+, $7)
The folks over at awesome online magazine Frontier Psychiatrist are throwing a little party on Saturday night, one that pairs two great out of town acts with what may be the best live band going in Chicago. That would be EGO, the trio of psych-punks behind D0N'T, a record that's in the lead for favorite local release of the year (check out our review here). The energy, the sweat, the wild solos, the mosh-ready freakouts, the instrument-swapping -- it's all there every time these guys play. Following them are loopy Cleveland power-poppers Herzog, who have the ability to go sparse and fuzzy for a few tunes before unleashing a hail of glistening bop. Closing out the night is Ed Schrader's Music Beat, a spooky, grizzly alt-rock group from Baltimore who should be expected to bring the night to an explosive end.
Sunday, June 29th: Negative Scanner, The Opposition Party and The Funs at Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival (All Day, All Ages, $5)
You can't go wrong with a day spent outside at a good festival, and that's what we've got this weekend. MAAF's Sunday lineup features WCR favorites Negative Scanner, whose gloomy post-punk provides the perfect playground for singer Rebecca Flores's soaring vocals, Fela-inspired afrofunk collective The Opposition Party, and buzzing sirens The Funs, who at times sound like a rusty drill grinding through an ossuary in your dreams. Also playing, among others, are Archie Powell and the Exports, The Blind Shakes, Vamos and Will Phalen.
Monday, June 30th: White Mystery and My Brightest Diamond at Millennium Park (6pm, All Ages, FREE)
Did you really think we'd pick anything other than a free, outdoor show with Chicago's red-headed royalty? Brother/sister duo White Mystery bring the blistering garage rock like few bands going these days, and seeing them crush a set at the beautiful Pritzker Pavilion should be all you're thinking about on Monday. Throw in a headlining appearance by Detroit's experimental pop chanteuse My Brightest Diamond and you've got yourself a perfect evening.