By Mabel Suen
By Cassie Kohler
By Evan C. Jones
By RFT Music
By RFT Music
By Tom Finkel
By Ryan Wasoba
By Roy Kasten
Chicago's Hefty Records, the object of this showcase, prefers that its members shut their mouths and let the music speak: No lyrics means no insipidity, at least in theory. The label is the brainchild of one John Hughes (yes, relation: son), whose vision of a label consists of throwing a lasso around the vibrant instrumental-rock scene going on up there, gathering like-minded but not too like musicians under an umbrella collective. Tortoise is the template for the Hefty vibe (is no one untouched by them up there?), and you'll get a lot of it at the Rocket Bar.
Ghosts and Vodka resemble said inspiration the least; featuring ex-members of Cap'n Jazz, Joan of Arc and Tetsuo, they create skewed, guitar-based instrumentals that flow from jangle to roar, precisely examining a melody without actually ever enunciating it outright. Illium is a wandering three-piece guitar, bass, drums and though they're at times tedious (it's often tough to find a foothold in their music), they're smart enough to leave loads of room to breathe. Brainiac music, sure, but nonetheless fascinating. Chisel Drill Hammer offer a music that's cinematic and expansive; melodies wander and rarely find a center there's a lot of Tortoise in their sound. Slicker is the best of the bunch, Hughes' synthetic, rapid-fire, beat-based creation. Written glimpses, of course, don't do the music justice. But taken as a whole, the Hefty showcase offers enough inspired variety to make it a worthwhile use of time and cash.
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