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Tomorrow Never Knows 2010

Schubas' midwinter festival returns to give us a glimpse of this year's breakout bands.
Wednesday Jan 06, 2010.     By Gavin Paul
Centerstage Chicago Nightlife City Guide Arts

CribsCribs look to catch on in the States with a stop at TNK.

The year is over. People are squawking best album this, decade-defining that. It's mustache-freezing cold, as always, forcing you to read said lists more than you probably want. Meanwhile, the Schubas brothers, for the sixth year in a row, have found nearly 30 artists (double the talent than in years past) ready to surprise indie nation. The 2010 installment of Tomorrow Never Knows (January 13-17) features a new venue (the recently opened Lincoln Hall) and Zipcars shuttling fans from stage to stage. Should you enjoy warm mustaches and discovering new music, before it's even listable, consider this guide to the year's first big fest.

Wednesday January 13
9 p.m. at Lincoln Hall; $15
Dipped in platinum by NME and spit upon by Pitchfork (which has changed its tune since ex-Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr joined the band), the UK's Cribs has yet to experience America's warm embrace. No matter, as the angular punk band's fourth LP, Ignore the Ignorant, outsold Beatles reissues across the pond in September. New York's Adam Green is looking to finally shed the skin from his Moldy Peaches anti-folk days; his forthcoming record, Minor Love was inspired by a quote from Leonard Cohen at a BBQ: "We are all living in a butcher shop." Portland-based openers, The Dead Trees, do a charming job of ripping up Pavement with some roadhouse blues.

photo: Rebecca Miller
Thursday, January 14
9 p.m. at Lincoln Hall; $15
Voxtrot frontman Ramesh Srivastava quit his English Literature program in Glasgow to focus on the band's Morrisey-trapped-in-a-John-Hughes-film angst; seems like it's working, as the Austin indie-pop group headlines tonight's action. Also on the bill are Chicago's Gemini Club, which appears to believe that computers are the savior of rock 'n' roll, and Solid Gold, a Rapture-in-space dream-pop crew from Minneapolis so captivating hipster dance floors that Keds tapped the group for a shoe line.

9 p.m. at Schubas; $15
Schubas slings guitars in spades tonight - jabbing like punk knives with Chicago's Lasers and Fast and Shit, layered in squabbles over keys with Brooklyn's latest psych-rock set, Bear in Heaven, blossoming like spring flowers in a garden of banjo-clad folkies with Freelance Whales and reaching for the upper deck of arenas while arm-chairing it at the beach with Florida group Surfer Blood.

Truman PeyoteTruman Peyote
Friday, January 15
9 p.m. at Schubas; $15
On the most genre-universal of the five days, both venues feature bands forging new frontiers in knob-twiddling. Schubas will be a bit heavier on the psychedelic scale, with Truman Peyote pleasing fans of late, more hook-friendly Animal Collective and Neon Indian sourcing 8-bit nostalgia on songs about failed acid trips. Meanwhile, Chicago's Hood Internet is making a push to be the next Girl Talk, mashing primarily hip-hop with unlikely singer-songwriters like Bon Iver. Fellow Chicagoans Only Children take aim at neo-funk and soul.

10 p.m. at Lincoln Hall; $15
Lincoln Hall will ruminate more on space and atmosphere, led by another hometown crew, Shapers, which channels the thrashier side of Explosions in the Sky. Another Chicago act, Icy Demons, quirkifies synth and bass into jazz jams like Tortoise on a funk binge. The night closes with Bradford Cox's aqua-shoegaze project, Atlas Sound.

Owen PallettOwen Pallett
Saturday, January 16
10 p.m. at Schubas; $15
Singer-songwriters abound at Schubas, with the artist formerly known as Final Fantasy, Owen Pallett, leading the way. The most orchestra on the bill, Pallett teases Andrew Bird violin backbones with digi landscapes and a bit of Rufus Wainwright lull. Sharon Van Etten, meanwhile, is capable of quieting pub clamor with just a guitar and hum, likely pushing songbird tunes from this year's break-up beautiful Because I Was In Love. Opener Peter Wolf Crier brings a bit of percussion aggression to his otherwise barren, Minnesota-spawned folk rumblings.

10 p.m. at Lincoln Hall; $15
Canadian Julie Doiron comes equipped with the post-grunge howl of her native counterparts Land of Talk and various starlets in Broken Social Scene. The northern exposure isn't over, as she'll be followed by The Rural Alberta Advantage, which pairs a Midwestern-esque isolation with really flighty snare and cymbal backbeats. The evening closes with 2009's loneliest boyfriend/girlfriend duo, the Bowerbirds, and their bass-drum-heavy, acoustic-guitar-teased parlor shtick.

Lee FieldsLee Fields
Sunday, January 17
9 p.m. at Schubas; $15
Usually one night of TNK taps some fresh faces in hip-hop. Not the case this year. Instead, Schubas will deliver another dose of scrappy guitar-pop, spotlighting two more Chicago upstarts, the spoon-wielding yelps and plateaus of the Netherfriends, and the keys and cheer-layered charm of Skybox. Also on the bill are Cincinnati reverb darlings, the Pomegranates, and the new goth-tinged Unicorns project, Clues.

9 p.m. at Lincoln Hall; $15
Lincoln Hall will blast a double-shot of the finest in contemporary soul and R&B, first with Chicago hybrid JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound, which seethes with early '70s punk guitar hooks. Lee Fields & The Expressions will headline; Fields is a from-the-gut crooner who worked clubs during soul's heyday, but is just now blowing up proper.


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