Three Must-See Act This Week

Chaos Chaos on Saturday at Cafe du Nord, Kevin Morby on Saturday at the Fillmore, and Now, Now on Wednesday at August Hall.

Photo by Magdalena Kmiecik

Synth-pop

Chaos Chaos

7:30 p.m., Saturday, May 11, at Cafe Du Nord. $13; swedishamericanhall.com

As Chaos Chaos, sisters Chloe and Asy Saavedra produce hard-hitting and emotive synthpop, and had an unorthodox and occasionally quirky career well before the release of their debut full-length. During their teens, in the 2000s, the Seattleites played well-regarded indie rock under the name Smoosh — and opened for the likes of Pearl Jam, Cat Power, and Sufjan Stevens. The duo changed their name in 2012 and would change their sound in favor of experimentally minded synthpop that expands on their multi-instrumental talents. The duo received increased exposure in 2015 after their touching piano-driven ballad, “Do You Feel It,” played during an episode of Adult Swim’s wild animated sitcom Rick & Morty, and later released a tongue-in-cheek pop collaboration, “Terryfold,” with the show’s creator, Justin Roiland in 2017. The duo put out their self-titled album last year, their first proper album as Chaos Chaos, which hears them swap vocal duties for a high-energy and artistically confident explosion of colorful indie pop.

Photo by Barrett Emke 

Singer-songwriter

Kevin Morby

8 p.m., Saturday, May 11, at The Fillmore. $25; thefillmore.com

Singer-songwriter Kevin Morby is beloved for his folk-tinged brand of no-frills rock and has become a masterful storyteller in his own right with vivid and sentimental narrative-driven lyricism. Morby, who went solo in 2013 after bouts with The Babies and Woods, would prove to become a bonafide talent with critically acclaimed albums like 2016’s Singing Life, and continuing to artistically evolve with each consecutive album. The vagabond musician returned last month with his fifth solo album, first double album, and most ambitious work to date, Oh My God. It’s conceptual in nature, analyzing religion from a secular perspective, and it hears Morby almost entirely shelve his guitar in favor of droning, piano-driven ballads in the vein of Leonard Cohen. The album is an achievement for Morby, who’s progressed from his humble, lo-fi beginnings to create work that feels massive in scale yet deeply intimate with its intentions. “The concept behind the album is the mundane made holy, and vice versa,” Morby claims, and Oh My God does find the moments of divinity that we take for granted in our daily lives.

Courtesy image 

Indie pop

Now, Now

8 p.m., Wednesday, May 15, at August Hall. $20; augusthallsf.com

After a five-year hiatus, Minnesota’s Now, Now returned with renewed creative ambitions, producing some synth-heavy and atmospheric pop in addition to the singular blend of emo and ’90s alt-rock they’re renowned for. Vocalist-guitarist Cacie Dalager and drummer Bradley Hale met while performing in their high school’s marching band, originally performing as Now, Now Every Children. The duo released their engaging debut album, Cars, in 2008, with guitarist Jess Abbott joining the group shortly after. After deciding to go by their simplified current moniker, the band got their first flirtation with mainstream exposure with their 2010 EP The Neighbors. The group’s 2012 album Threads proved to be a massive hit with critics and fans alike, with many people highlighting Dalager’s soothing yet powerful vocals bolstered by sincere lyricism. The trio would soon enter a hiatus with Abbott and Hale approaching solo projects, but Dalager and Hale would reunite in 2017 with a slew of singles that would find their way onto 2018’s Saved, a pop-intensive record full of challenging, cathartic art-pop with flashes of their earlier guitar-driven sound.

 

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