In addition to writing for CincyMusic.com, I also write record reviews for Tome to the Weather Machine, run by Cincinnati's own Ryan Hall, which covers experimental and small-label music of all kinds. All kinds of wild things come across my radar, but last summer, Ryan sent me something that floored me: In Plain Speech, the newest record by Chicago artist Circuit des Yeux. The album, one of the best I heard in 2015, calls on everything from minimalist classical to English folk-rock and weaves it into something entirely new. Leader Haley Fohr sings in an arresting, deep tenor, and is a masterful, haunting lyricist. She passed through last summer, playing a solo set at the Ice Cream Factory in Brighton, and now returns with her full band on the way down to Knoxville's prestigious Big Ears Festival.
Fohr comes to town with a stacked set of opening acts. Seattle duo Mamiffer, also playing this year's Big Ears, has been gaining national traction with their lush, droning soundscapes that border on metal but retain an inexplicable prettiness. Also on the bill are two hometown heroes, cellist extraordinaire Kate Wakefield and Tweens leader Bridget Battle performing a solo set. Heligator Records and the Yacht Club have been putting on an impressive slate of shows the last few months, but even by their standards, this one is a blockbuster. Don't miss out.