Progressive Reform

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Progressive Reform

It seems likely that progressive rock became so named because at one point its practitioners advanced music as an art form, creating complex soundscapes unlike anything that had preceded them. Unfortunately, prog-rock eventually became synonymous with ostentatious instrumental wanking and geeky wizards-and-warlocks subject matter. But some groups still deserve the compliment the genre's name bestows. Chicago's Cheer-Accident, with its extended ornate compositions, obtuse lyrics and occasionally accessible melodies, challenges listeners without requiring prerequisite courses in mythology or advanced guitar theory. Cheer- Accident once famously played one chord for the entirety of a show, but in an opening slot at a concert that celebrates the impending release of Season to Risk's long-awaited Owned-and-Operated Records debut, the quirky quartet figures to be on its finest behavior. Also joining S2R and local oddballs Minds Under Cover is the stellar avant-garde ensemble Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, which uses homemade instruments, such as a bass strung with low-register piano wire, to craft instant stunners, such as the ten-minute anti-slumber rant "Sleep Is Wrong."

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