Lars Gotrich

So is a gnarwhal a whale that shreds the gnar? And what does the whale shred? Does the whale shred with its tusk? These are hard-hitting questions for Gnarwhal, but the Nashville guitar-and-drums duo only responds with wild yelps, frantic guitar work and crashing drums.

"Light-Up City" comes from the band's third album, Crucial, and it's a raw and switchback-crazy seven minutes of chaotic math-rock. Drive Like Jehu's most emotionally wrought moments come to mind, but stripped down to the bare essentials.

Sevdaliza's debut album feels like a lifetime examined — and past lives exhumed.

Bill MacKay's become a stealth fixture on the Chicago music scene over the last decade and change. The guitarist deftly glides through folk, experimental rock and jazz in his band Darts & Arrows and has worked with everyone from Fred Lonberg-Holm and members of Bitchin' Bajas to a blossoming creative partnership with with Ryley Walker — they released an album of guitar duets in 2015.

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