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Sundowner Releases New Album, Playing Hometown Show

By Katie Karpowicz in Arts & Entertainment on Sep 18, 2013 7:20PM

2013_09_sundownerneonfiction.jpg If you're a fan of lovable local punks The Lawrence Arms, it's been a good week for you. Last weekend's Riot Fest brought sets from the trio as well as bassist Brendan Kelly's former band The Broadways. That, and there's the fact that the first new TLA album since 2006's Oh! Calcutta! is on the horizon. If that's not enough, guitarist Chris McCaughan will be playing his first Chicago show under his Sundowner alias since the release of the side project's latest album this Saturday at the Beat Kitchen.

You should note two big differences in Neon Fiction from past Sundowner releases. The first is obvious. McCaughan's added a full band for his third album, resulting in songs that sound fuller, less raw than their predecessors. The second difference might be harder to decipher just by listening. Neon Fiction marks the first album the Chicago native has released since leaving his hometown to move to Portland.

The confessional, slightly twangy, acoustic tracks still play out the same as on previous Sundowner albums but it's an indisputable change of pace for McCaughan. Sure, the new sounds and new setting lead to a couple of stumbling moments on Neon Fiction but we're rooting for him. It's a transition that deserves the support of the city that loved him long before the West Coast stole him away.

Sundowner plays with Dowsing and 6'10" (a.k.a. Tobin Bawinkel from Flatfoot 56) on Saturday, Sept. 21, at Beat Kitchen, 2100 W Belmont, 8:30 p.m., $12, 17+