Post-rock, post-jazz, indie pop Chicago icons The Sea and Cake have long been darlings of the underground scene, with nearly 25 years and 11 fantastic albums to their name. After a six year gap between records, they’re back with an excellent and refreshing new effort, Any Day, and return to Nashville for the first time in just as long to headline Exit/In tonight, May 22. Tapped to support, former Zincs frontman and Jeff Tweedy cohort James Elkington is an exciting solo artist to watch, celebrating this genre-bending, technical marvel of a debut album, Wintres Woma. If you’re looking for a fresh, engaging, expansive treat of a show, we encourage you to snag tickets right here! Find out more about below!
THE SEA AND CAKE
Long-running and beloved Chicago project The Sea and Cake have, since their mid-’90s inception, always been a band nearly impossible to put into a singular genre box. Over nearly 25 years and 11 full-length albums, the group have explored jazz and post-jazz roots, indie and post-rock ambience, ethereal and poppy sensibilities, and lush progressive and electronic experimentation, always hovering somewhere in the realm of “indie pop,” but always with a weirder, more adventurous, and more jazz-informed approach than most acts that carry that label. Helmed by Sam Prekop, the group became a trio for the first time following the departure of bassist Eric Claridge a few years ago, and, after an extended creative process and various other individual endeavors, just released their first record as such, Any Day. Coming after six years, their longest gap between albums, the LP, like most that came for it, builds on the same general template of styles without feeling like much of a linear progression- at once familiar and hypnotizing and lush, though distinct in its less electronic embellishes (instead employing more organ and organic tones), and contributions from Brian Wilson cohort Paul Von Mertens (on clarinet and flute) and double bassist Nick Macri. A surprisingly vocal-centric affair, the record serves as both an exciting new direction and also a distantly familiar entry into an already great, underrated band’s catalogue, and, like all of their work, just begs to be experienced live. It’s not often the group make it to Nashville, so we strongly encourage you to catch them any chance you have.
Despite releasing his debut solo album, Wintres Woma, just last year, singer-songwriter James Elkington is far from a new face. English born and Chicago based, the eclectic artist developed a love of folk music upon moving to the states, though he initially attracted acclaim fronting indie group The Zincs in the early ’00s. After many years spent kicking around the same Chicago indie, jazz, improvisational, and singer-songwriter scene as The Sea and Cake (and their various other projects), and collaborating with the likes of Jeff Tweedy, Richard Thompson, Steve Gunn, and more, Elkington decided to focus his energy back on writing for himself instead of just playing with others. The result, his first record, named for an English phrase meaning “the sound of winter,” combines a love of early ’70s English folk and intricate guitar work, pulling from jazz, rock, Dylan-esque poetic lyricism, and arrangements that channel Bert Jansch. Not just for his Chicago ties (notably, he record his album at Wilco’s Loft) but also for his musical prowess, James couldn’t be better suited for this tour, and fans of The Sea and Cake are going to obsesses over this enigmatic solo newcomer.
The Sea and Cake and James Elkington will perform tonight, May 22 at Exit/In. The show is 18+, begins at 9 p.m. (doors at 8 p.m.), and tickets are available to purchase for $18.