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Monday, July 21, 2014

Tonight in Music: Magik Markers, the Foreign Exchange, Ryley Walker

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Mon, Jul 21, 2014 at 10:27 AM


MAGIK MARKERS, XDS, ARCTIC FLOWERS
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Woe to the Magik Markers completist. The Hartford band has long been the Guided by Voices of nouveau no wave; Discogs.com puts the band's run of homemade tapes, CD-Rs, and official releases at 51 since 2001, but that still somehow seems a little low. Amid those titles are standouts like 2005's I Trust My Guitar, Etc. and 2007's Boss, along with dozens and dozens of hidden gems. But even with that massive output, the East Coast noise-mongers' reputation as a live band dwarfs it. Song structure hasn't always carried much importance in the trio's oeuvre, so just hearing them isn't always enough. Sometimes you've gotta feel them, too. MATTHEW W. SULLIVAN


THE FOREIGN EXCHANGE
(Alhambra Theatre, 4811 SE Hawthorne) Rapper/singer Phonte (formerly of celebrated supergroup Little Brother) and Dutch producer Nicolay didn't meet in person until after the release of their first album (hence their name, the Foreign Exchange), but Connected was an instant classic based on its backstory and breezy indie-rap sound. All of the results since the two finally met and collaborated in person—including last year's Love in Flying Colors—have taken a much more grown-'n'-sexy R&B approach than their debut, with Phonte almost completely abandoning rapping for singing, which he fortunately does well. Though fans of their initial head-nodding, backpacker-friendly stuff might be turned off by this, the Foreign Exchange's music is pretty well-suited for a live environment, especially if it's on a date night. MIKE RAMOS


RYLEY WALKER
(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) Ryley Walker's bio doesn't hide from the 24-year-old Chicagoan's influences: American folk-jazz heroes Tim Hardin and Tim Buckley and British folk-rock pioneer/Pentangle founder Bert Jansch are cited in the third sentence. When you put out a record as good as Walker's debut, see, you don't have to play coy. All Kinds of You, released in April, is a stunning collection of modern folk songs that sound as old as time, where fingerpicked guitar ambles along with melodic ease, regularly making way for a swollen string section or Walker's perfectly weathered voice. Besides the sonic similarities, his songs share an adventurous quality with Pentangle's work, in that they take bits of beauty, bind them together, and gather momentum in a way that feels bold and assured but sometimes on the verge of ruin. If you're driving, it no doubt makes perfect sense. If you're not, you wonder. And that's exciting. BEN SALMON

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