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Disappears Mark New 'Era' With Stellar Record Release Show

By Jon Graef in Arts & Entertainment on Sep 25, 2013 8:40PM


With capable support from locals Outside World and Brooklyn's moody quartet Weekend, Chicago's Disappears tore through a set of their most experimental material to date last weekend at the gill-packed Empty Bottle.

Celebrating the release of their new LP, Era, the veteran psychedelic quartet put on a muscular display of musicianship that delved successfully into the avant-grade without losing melodic focus or tipping into self-indulgence.

The ironic aspect of Era is that it's easily the most outré effort yet from Disappears, and it is the album the band made after the guy from Sonic Youth left. (Amicably, it should be said.) But filing Steve Shelley's shoes quite admirably was drummer Noah Leger. By a quick crack of his sticks, Leger counted off the band as they vigorously played though tracks like "Ultra," the ten-minute behemoth that marks Era's centerpiece.

With a pulsating beat and haunting guitar harmonics as its foundation, Disappears' performance of "Ultra" showed how dexterous they are at their best.

Through incorporating stomping beats, psychedelic guitar sounds, and garage-rock howling (though, on the album itself, singer/guitarist Brian Case opts for a snarling baritone) into the song, the band made time itself seem immaterial.

In plain English, that means the band made ten minutes feel like two; sonic hypnosis at its best.

On shorter songs like "Power" and "Replicate," the latter from 2012's Pre-Language, the band was as tight as it ever was, powering through the mid-tempo rock songs with ease and expertise.

As a studio album, "Era" is the fourth strong entry in an impressive catalog. It is, at spots, a bit too monochromatic. (Even though monochromatic is kind of Disappears' thing.) But Disappears live set was anything but, and a potent reminder of the creative possibilities to come.

Opening for Disappears were Brooklyn's Weekend, who started off slow and moody, but eventually worked their way up to strong, new wave and dream-pop inspired tunes from their cleverly named sophomore album, Jinx. The band easily draws comparisons to Joy Division and Ride. Feedback-laden set closers drew rapturous applause from the appreciative Empty Bottle audience.