ARCHITECTURE IN HELSINKI
Architecture in Helsinki makes people dance like 12 year-olds on way too much happy medication. With genres for almost anything with a beat on this planet, Architecture in Helsinki succeeds more than most avant bands in trying to create their own sound. They are part hippie jam-band, part hipster indie-band, part melodramatic sad-bastard band and part art collective cult-band. To understand the type of musical chaos erupting from Architecture in Helsinki, think of what it might sound like to place a handful of instruments in a jar and shake it like a maraca. The result is a methodical pandemonium that at times sounds like independent jungle music and at others technolicious pop. Despite the Finnish origin that the band’s name would imply, this 8-piece ensemble hails from Australia. Their third and newest album, Places Like This, is due this summer from Bar/None Records. (Appearing with Mahjongg at Logan Square Auditorium on June 11) –text: James H. Ewert Jr.
Well I’ll be damned, if it isn’t yet another reason to visit Joliet — the heavy rock trio known as Deconstructing Jim adds another layer of intrigue to the diamond-in-the-rough allure of Chicago’s southwest. Combine syncopation, fuzz, distorted bass and full, strong vocals and you get the heavy sound of Jeff Julian (vocals/guitar), Matt Yeager (vocals/bass), and Brennen Chouinard (drums). You can look forward to a rhythm section that makes the Running of the Bulls sound like ants fleeing an anthill, and guitars that sound like frogs being crushed by the dozens. Pretentious solos are not the style of Mr. Julian, nor are lyrics about topics being covered daily on the WB. The songs I heard from their newest album, A Future Told By Swords, reminded me a lot of Queens of the Stone Age — some good riffs played loud with that sweet and spicy Joliet flavor. Who is Jim? Maybe someone whose head spontaneously exploded while listening to this band. (Appearing at Mustache Fest in Lemont on June 16) –text: Billy Kenefick
THE LONG BLONDES
Contrary to their moniker, the Long Blondes are neither long nor blonde. Horny co-eds eager to catch a glimpse of flirty Playmates in compromising positions will be surprised, but not disappointed, after clicking onto thelongblondes.co.uk. High-energy, infectious pop-rock infused with Brit-punk radiates around the kind of sound to be expected from lead singer Kate Jackson. With her ebony hair cut into an eyebrow-skimming bob, retro rockin’ wear, eyes that haunt and the sass of Debbie Harryand, Jackson is the standout of her U.K.-based crew — bringing the finishing touch to the group’s rhythmically deep beats. Slightly ska with a hint of techno, their music will more than make up for the lack of naked flesh on their homepage. Previously only available across the pond, their debut album Someone to Drive You Home hits U.S. shores this month. (Appearing with Mannequin Men at Subterranean on June 13) –text: Angela Schiappacasse
RAISED ON ZENITH
Chicago’s Raised on Zenith is a baby in the rock world, materializing only six short years ago. Working hard to break out in the city’s competitive music scene, the group has steadily gained attention around town for their straight-up style and laid-back look. Don’t expect pyrotechnics, flashing lights or really tight metro-man pants. These guys are just a humble group of talented rockers who prove through their music that they deserve a little slice of the pie. Deep dish or thin crust — I’ll take Raised on Zenith either way. While most of their music hovers around the rock and roll arena, it’s their slower songs that really showcase their range. These Chi-town up and comers are currently putting the finishing touches on a spanking new EP over at JBTV Studios, which they’ll unveil through a series of shows this month. So stake a seat, grab a beer and get to know Raised on Zenith in your own backyard — while you still can. (Appearing at Empty Bottle on June 12. Raised on Zenith also plays at Elbo Room on June 21 and at Tonic Room on June 27) –text: Angela Schiappacasse