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Crackle and Pop

By Lizz Kannenberg in Arts & Entertainment on Jul 3, 2007 3:28PM

There’s been a subtle shift in Chicago’s independent music scene over the past year. As bands like The Ponys, The Changes, and Bound Stems are out of town more often in accordance with their newfound national attention, other hardworking bands are stepping up to establish themselves as the foundation of the city’s new music community. One of the leaders of this pack is Cracklin Moth, who has built a following on the strength of a critically acclaimed 2005 EP, and a propensity towards great pop songwriting with a poignant undertone. Throw in some buoyant twang to keep the feet tapping, and the accessible appeal of Cracklin Moth begins to take shape.


Frontman Matt Ammerman hails from the green hills of Kentucky, and the rolling terrain of his native state seems to shape his tunes with an easygoing loveliness. Moth’s got hooks to spare, and even the most jaded cool kids can’t keep their heads from bobbing along to the live show. Ammerman’s got a crack gang of players behind him, including pedal-steel whiz Rocco Labriola and rhythm section-about-town Griffin Baron and Shawn Rios.

The beauty of Cracklin Moth is that every song sounds familiar, yet there’s a freshness in the performance that reminds the listener that this band is fixin’ to be a big part of the future of pop music. Think the aural equivalent of your favorite sweater, the one that never loses your shape no matter how long it’s in the back of your closet, but always makes you feel like a million bucks when you put it on.

Cracklin Moth plays tonight at Schubas with Sarah Shannon (of Velocity Girl) and The Great Perhaps, 9 p.m., $8.