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Abilene



Presumably named for the central Texas town, Abilene is a newish Chicago trio with a rich, deep sound. Their songs focus on the fluid, dynamic interplay between guitar and bass. The bass provides a comfortable, sidling groove for the guitar(s) to dance around; sometimes it's a slow waltz, sometimes an amphetamine-fueled breakdance, but regardless of the mood, that assured bass groove keeps things smooth. Busy, syncopated percussion makes these songs intensely rhythmic. Occasionally singer (and guitarist) Alex Dunham adds bleak, muttering vocals, but the words are spread sparsely throughout Abilene's songs, as the band members are more interested in their instruments' quiet synergy. Every so often, Abilene builds to a rough, angular crescendo that seems to release a bit of the boxed-up electricity of their moody pieces, but for the most part their songs are all about low-tempo restraint that places equal focus on each instrument.

The members of this trio are all accomplished musicians, as a look at their respective resumes will indicate: Dunham formerly served in little-known post-punk greats Regulatorwatts and Hoover. Bassist Craig Ackerman was in Lustre King and drummer Scott Anderson was in Chisel Drill Hammer. The trio came together late in the '90s and issued its first self-titled EP in mid 2000.