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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Album Wed Oct 15 2008

Going off, getting High with Pit Er Pat

Local trio and thrill Jockey recording artists Pit Er Pat aren't averse to playing home-town gigs, so chances are you might've caught them playing at the Hideout or elsewhere lately. In case you haven't, the word on the streets for a while has been that they've altered their sound recently -- specifically that frontwoman and vocalist Fay Davis-Jeffers has largely set her keyboard aside in favor of a guitar, and that the band's moved into territory that bears a "dub reggae influence." Judging from the band's new High Time CD, which releases on Thrill Jockey this week, there's more than a little truth to the rumor.

Yes, Pit Er Pat has largely abandoned their prior post-rock/fusion cocktail lounge sound; the one so richly crafted and fleshed-out via John McEntire's production of the band's last LP, 2006's Pyramids. What chiefly remains, however, are the band's frail, elusive melodies -- except now they're intertwined with some roots-rocker grooves that give drummer Butchy Fuego and bassist Rob Doran something meatier to tuck into. And the pair seems to enjoy themselves on tunes like "Evacuation Day" and "Copper Pennies" as they tie and untie various rhythmic knots and guide the tunes through unexpected and crafty transitions.

In the end, this batch of the new material might remind some listeners of The Slits or Lilliput -- particularly those bands' post-punk excursions into reggae, trancey tribalisms, and third-world folkiness. But the reggae ingredient only accounts for a portion of High Time. The album's most interesting moments occur when the band indulges their growing fondness for musical abstraction -- an increased shift toward blurring sounds and sculpting organic resonances and timbres for the sake of suffusing their music with atmospheric textures. All of which works to marvelous effect on a number of songs. The opening track, "O In Vs: D In Y: Anno IVxx" hangs on a lilting motif laid down on guitar, while plodding crash of drums and a somnabalic chant gradually looming to the fore from the shadows. "Trod A Long" is a calypsoid two-step nursery romp with hazy vocals that lend the tune an air of woozied delirium; while the reverb-soaked kalimba and balaphone of "Creation Stepper" suggest a hallucinatory trek into the heart of an Amazonian rainforest.

As with much of Pit Er Pat's previous work, the music on High Time is anchored down in subtle, understates nuances -- bereft of anything overtly or gratuitously hooky. This is even moreso the case this time around, and High Time is the sort of album that reveals itself slowly, imparting its layers and demure details with subsequent listens.

Pit Er Pat play the Abbey this Friday evening, which will also be the official CD-release party for High Time. They're playing second on the bill, performing in support of the headlining Osaka psych-rock heavies DMBQ. An Albatross and Plastic Crimewave Sound open. 3420 W. Grace (at Elston). Doors open at 8 PM and the show starts at 9. Tickets are $12 in advance and $14 at the door.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »


  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
Country Music Chicago
Cream Team
Dark Jive
The Deli Chicago
Jim DeRogatis
Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
The Hood Internet
Jaded in Chicago
Largehearted Boy
Little White Earbuds
Live Fix Blog
Live Music Blog
Loud Loop Press
Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
Pop Matters
Resident Advisor
Sound Opinions
Sun-Times Music Blog
Theft Liable to Prosecution
Tribune Music
UR Chicago
Victim Of Time
WFMU's Beware of the Blog
Windy City Rock


Abbey Pub
Andy's Jazz Club
Aragon Ballroom
Auditorium Theatre
Beat Kitchen
Bottom Lounge
Buddy Guy's Legends
The Burlington
California Clipper
Concord Music Hall
Congress Theater
Cubby Bear
Double Door
Elbo Room
Empty Bottle
Green Mill
The Hideout
Honky Tonk BBQ
House of Blues
Kingston Mines
Lincoln Hall
Logan Square Auditorium
Mayne Stage
The Mutiny
Old Town School of Folk Music
Park West
The Promontory
Red Line Tap
Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint
The Riviera
Thalia Hall
The Shrine
Symphony Center
Tonic Room
Uncommon Ground
The Vic
The Whistler

  Labels, Promoters
  & Shops:

Alligator Records
Beverly Records
Bloodshot Records
Dave's Records
Delmark Records
Drag City
Dusty Groove
Flameshovel Records
Groove Distribution
He Who Corrupts
Jam Productions
Jazz Record Mart
Kranky Records
Laurie's Planet of Sound
Minty Fresh
Numero Group
mP Shows
Permanent Records
Reckless Records
Smog Veil Records
Southport & Northport Records
Thick Records
Thrill Jockey Records Touch & Go/Quarterstick Records
Victory Records

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