Tuesday, April 25, 2006

A confession

Zeroes and Ones - Eleventh Dream Day

I can't claim to be the type of guy who could lose my big toe without flinching, but I'm on the stoic side. A good Midwesterner, I keep my business pretty close and in this context "business" means just about every aspect of everything. Generally, the less said, the less shown, the better.

However, I'm not ashamed to admit that I've fogged up a bit at a number of Eleventh Dream Day shows. Why do they make me break character? That's a complex question (and there's an obscenely long screenplay in my closet that fails to answer it), but I've got a couple ideas.

In their twenty year history, they've continually released solid to great albums featuring settings, characters and images recognizable to anyone who's spent time in a place where you're never far from both an idle warehouse and a stubble field of corn. I'm not the first to say that Prarie School Freakout is an classic Chicago album and when I hear "Among the Pines", I know the exact color of the "dawn of nothin' and nobody" (mid-October sky the hue of a bad grey suit from Cohn and Stern).

Among the Pines - Eleventh Dream Day

They're also living Chicago rock history, having played out at places like Batteries Not Included and Lounge Ax while rubbing shoulders with some of the finest bands from the finest era of rock this city ever produced. While no one would confuse them with Naked Raygun or the Effigies, they're rising up out of the same slime. That they are still playing the same tunes, and that the new ones sound as good, this makes me misty happy.

This is not to say they are some sort of nostalgia act. EDD is actually something of a rare breed; even during their early, fiery years, they never sounded exactly youthful. They rocked like hell, but to these ears, they seemed mature with a rare focus. Absolute brilliance in rock comes from mere babes more often than not, but they's something absolutely fresh about a band that can be scorching and controlled.

Finally, there's also Rick Rizzo and Janet Bean singing together. Their interplay is even less conventional than Janet and Cathy Irwin in Freakwater and it doesn't appear on every song, but man, when it shows up there's an unforced beauty that just gets me right here. Amy's got "Sugar, Sugar" in her DNA; I didn't fully express my genotype until I'd heard "Makin' Like a Rug" from the out-of-print El Moodio.

Makin' Like a Rug - Eleventh Dream Day

They've got a new album, Zeros and Ones, out today from Thrill Jockey, who are streaming samples. The new one finds them in great form and I'm sure they'll display the same at the Empty Bottle May 18.


Blogger Amy said...

Freud had something to say about screenplays in the closet (or was that Lacan and purloined letters?). Whatevs, great post. And in re. your screenplay: When oh when oh when will you let me read it?

10:48 PM  
Anonymous Bill V said...

So how's the new CD? It just became available on eMusic. I have always liked (but not loved) their stuff, wondering if this one is any different, better or worse than other releases.

8:57 AM  
Blogger Jon said...

What I've heard on the streams at Thrill Jockey makes me think that it's more in the vein of Stalled Parade than Eighth: straight-up and fuzzy rather than wandering and dreamy. Seems a little angrier than the previous.

I'm picking it up on Thursday (gotta have the object) and I can check back in then for an offical verdict.

9:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Given your blog, thought you might like to know about "Cappin' the Week" Chicago's own pop culture/current events comedy show. There’s some Web humor, here: http://www.cicomedy.com/CTWPageOne.html , or you can catch the show live this Friday, April 28th, at 11pm. It's at 4210 N. Lincoln Ave, The Cornservatory.

Get two bucks off here: http://www.cicomedy.com/Metromix

10:50 AM  
Blogger Eric said...


1:33 PM  

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