TUNES & TIX: New Zealand newbie, Soviet kitsch

Tunes & Tix
2012-10-11T20:22:00Z TUNES & TIX: New Zealand newbie, Soviet kitschby Tim Shellberg
October 11, 2012 8:22 pm  • 

Earlier this year, the single-moniker New Zealand songsmith Kimbra was poised as the next big thing the pop music world needed to get to know.

When her full-length debut, “Vows,” was released on this side of the pond in May, much of the world had already heard her voice, if not knew her name, as the subject-responder to Gotye on his inescapable hit “Somebody that I Used To Know.” Having that as a springboard, it was no surprise that “Vows” debuted in Billboard’s all-genre encompassing Billboard 200 album chart.

Already a hit with music fans in her homeland as well as throughout Europe, the “Gotye effect” proved to be slight here, as “Vows” descended from the top 20 after it’s release. Yet, compared to her “Somebody” partner’s full-length “Making Mirrors,” “Vows” is arguably the stronger, more consistent set.

Gotye may have the smash hit and play to larger venues, but KImbra created a solid foundation on these shores with “Vows” to build a base on in the future and without a “Somebody”-szied behemoth to try to top.

Performing a few miles down the street from Kimbra Oct. 17, Regina Spektor hasn’t had the blessing or the curse of a monster hit to reach the masses.

In 2001, the Moscow-born, New York City-bred songsmith self-released her debut, “11:11,” which was praised by critics and Big Apple music fans in the know. Three years later saw her classic 2004 set “Soviet Kitsch” reaching indie-minded fans world-wide.

Blending jazz, pop, rock, folk and jazz, trying to compare Spektor to any of her female peers is an exercise in futility. Rightful comparisons are as diverse as her musical stew, with femme trailblazers from Bjork to Polly Harvey to jazz-era Joni Mitchell the first to come to mind from here.

Spektor is touring in support of the excellent “What We Saw From The Cheap Seats,” which was released in May.

Kimbra, 9 p.m. Oct. 17, Metro, 3730 N. Clark, Chicago. $19 (18 and older show). FYI: (773) 549-4140, METROCHICAGO.COM

Regina Spektor, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 17, The Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State St., Chicago. $52.78-$6305. FYI: (800) 745-3000, THECHICAGOTHEATRE.COM


For more information, contact the venues or ticket sales agencies listed below. Unless otherwise indicated, all shows are all-ages.

Andrew Bird, Dec. 19-20, Fourth Presbyterian Church (ETIX.COM)

The Waco Brothers, Dec. 28-29, Schubas (21 and older, SCHUBAS.COM)

Jason Isbell, Dec. 14, Lincoln Hall (21 and older, LINCOLNHALLCHICAGO.COM)

Jake Owen, Love and Theft, Nov. 29-30, House of Blues (HOB.COM)

Cypress Hill, Nov. 4, Double Door (21 and older, DOUBLEDOOR.COM)

The Verve Pipe, Dec. 21, Schubas (21 and older, SCHUBAS.COM)

The opinions expressed solely are those of the writer. Tim Shellberg can be reached at

Copyright 2014 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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