Soundcheck: Weekend edition 

Olafur Arnalds
  • Olafur Arnalds

All the Sigur Ros and Bjork fans in the house — and there are bunch of you, I'm sure — ought to hoof it on down to The Toby Saturday to see Olafur Arnalds, a 23-year-old Icelandic composer whose work just plain sounds like Iceland (or rather an imaginary ice-land populated by glaciers and polar bears, and not so much Iceland itself, which is evidently one giant volcano). He's not in the country all that often, and if he takes off, he'll probably get to plotting that Chicago to NYC to L.A. itinerary followed by your finer internationally-famous rock bands, skipping Indy altogether. So this, friends, is your chance.

At worst, Arnalds can be a little dull; each track is constructed around a deliberate, pretty piano motive, then harmonized with strings or synths, with occasional full-on rock instrumentation, and sometimes there’s not quite enough to chew on after a few iterations. At best, it’s music from the hearts of space for a post-rock generation, Sigur Ros without the nonsense lyrics, a contemplative, traditionally tonal music that sometimes soars. 7:30 p.m.; $12 for the general public, $8 for IMA members.

And here are a few more options for this weekend, including a full-band show by avant-pop DJ Matthew Dear and tributes to The Grateful Dead, Bob Marley, Art Blakey and Clifford Brown.


Clifford Ratliff Blue Note Tribute Band at The Jazz Kitchen
8 and 10 p.m., $10, 21+
Trumpeter Clifford Ratliff tackles another two artists who spent prime creative years on Blue Note. One part of the bill is devoted to drummer Art Blakey, who churned out album after album for the label, including work with his Jazz Messengers, drumming workouts like his wonderfully-titled Orgy in Rhythm and groundbreaking Afro-jazz experiments like The African Beat. And the other half goes to trumpeter Clifford Brown, who made his debut recordings as a leader for Blue Note in 1953, then joined Blakey on his classic A Night at Birdland live recordings.

Blend at Tru Nightclub
9 p.m, no cover, 21+
Grime and dubstep producer El Carnicero (aka Aaron Berg) and multi-instrumentalist 'Verse (aka Lauren Moore, formerly of Jascha) are hard at work on a new project marrying synth-pop with trance, live instrumentation with a DJ setup. They'll take an early evening set at Blend, joining house DJs Matt Allen, Jamestown and Ktops. Danielle Look checked in with 'Verse this week regarding the project.


Dark Star Orchestra at Murat Egyptian Room
8 p.m., $31 (plus applicable fees), 21+
The Dark Star Orchestra is reliving the Grateful Dead's endless tour, recreating one entire Dead live show at each performance, hewing to the set list song-by-song, if not exactly note-by-note.

Natty Nation at The Mousetrap
9 p.m., free, 21+
There’s something cognitively dissonant, even melancholic, about listening to warm-weather music during these bitterly cold months. But the guys in Natty Nation, a well-regarded, Madison, Wisc.-based reggae band, have probably had well enough of that sort of comparison in their line of work. It’s all about the music, mon, regardless of the weather. The group, which usually performs original material, will take on the music of Bob Marley on a mini-tour during these weeks leading up to Marley’s birthday of February 6.


Matthew Dear Band at Talbott Street Nightclub
9 p.m., $10 advance (, 21+
Dear, the avant-pop producer who made his name in Detroit before a recent move to NYC, tours his new album, "Black City" with a live band featuring bassist John Gaviglio, drummer Mark Maynard and Greg Paulus on trumpet and synths. Black City, was called "too good to miss" by URB magazine in a five-star review. He and his cohorts stop by Talbott Street this Sunday, with support from locals John Larner, Taylor Norris and, performing a live PA set, Adam Jay. Rudy Kizer talked with Dear this week about the new album, the Indianapolis EDM scene and Japanese kink.


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Scott Shoger

Scott Shoger

Scott Shoger staggered up to NUVO's door one summer afternoon, a little drunk, poor and crazy-haired, muttering about future Mayor Ballard. He was taken in, hosed down, given NUVO-emblazoned clothes to wear and allowed to work in exchange for food and bylines. Refusing to leave the premises, he was hired on as... more

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