Gapers Block has ceased publication.

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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Monday, January 18

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« The Avantist to Bring "Truth In Light" To The Burlington On 10/29 Misterwives @ The Vic 10/30: Getting Pumped With Bassist Will Hehir »

Preview Mon Oct 26 2015

Deafheaven to Purge Ears @ Metro 10/30

Deafheaven has made a career out of defying expectations. There's black metal heard in their music, but they're not a black metal band; there's shoegazing ambiance in their music, but they're not a shoegaze band. Is the zebra a black metal horse with shoegaze stripes, or vice versa? Their third album New Bermuda came out early this month, and it tells a story of the failures that success brings.

Perhaps Sunbather's pink and yellow vinyl showcases the duality of the band. One moment, like at the very beginning of the record on "Brought to the Water," they're hammering down with sticky guitar riffs and the drums pummel with a double bass pedal. Minutes later, they're channeling the climatic and cinematic guitar arpeggios of post-rock groups like Explosions in the Sky before ending with a soft, waltzing piano interlude.

Their songs are strung like suites, each composed with multiple segments. When they contrast a cathartic climax against a much lighter piano interlude, they seem to be channeling the desolate soundscapes likes of Godspeed You! Black Emperor rather than riding on the same shimmery songwriting structures of their last album. New Bermuda sounds denser and more compressed than the group's breakout Sunbather. Just as band worked hard not to fall in the same writing formulas, the listener has to work a little harder too.

Vocalist George Clarke's hardly decipherable screams sound like that of a goblin king. The record seamlessly flows between the loud, cathartic, and dissonant releases of their songs to the shimmery and self-reflective dream states the group gets locked into. They show this on songs like "Baby Blue," as a band that has played together for a few years can easily fall into the pocket with each other. Their dreamy textures with plenty of wah-wah or flanger effects works well to induce contemplation, while the metal aspect of their music gels with the anxiety, uncertainty, and despair that plagues so much of their lyrics. In other words, it's almost like the musical score is a translation of Clarke's mind.

In Sunbather, Deafheaven taught us that ugliness or bleakness can be beautiful; in New Bermuda they teach us that the image we try to perfect can be ugly. And in a year with so many big releases -- just to name a few: Tame Impala's Currents, Beach House's two albums, as well as the year's releases by Kendrick Lamar, Kurt Vile, and Deerhunter -- New Bermuda adds another gem in a rich mineral vein.

And what better way to kick off the Halloween weekend than with a deafening blow to purge your ears? Bands Envy and Tribulation open, bringing metal as far away as Japan and Sweden to the Metro this Friday, October 30. Doors open at 6 pm, and tickets bought in advance are $20, which are available here, and $22 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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Transmission is the music section of Gapers Block. It aims to highlight Chicago music in its many varied forms, as well as cover touring acts performing in the city. More...
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