Music » Critics' Picks

Elsinore

9 p.m. Saturday, December 22. Cicero's, 6691 Delmar Boulevard, University City.

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Elsinore vocalist Ryan Groff's singing voice is pure '70s AM Gold (think James Taylor or Cat Stevens), which perfectly matches the crisp and pensive Americana on the Champaign band's 2006 full-length Nothing for Design. "Cannonballs," for instance, is a tender, plaintive apology to a mistreated lover on which Groff delicately laments: "Can you settle me down/Fill my holes with brick and mortar/Sew me seamless/Just a scar of all the things I have done wrong." If Elsinore's recent live shows are any indication, though, expect a bit more aggressive grit and bombast as it prepares its next release. Dirtier Telecaster crunch and heavier drums push Groff's vocals to the extreme, often conjuring Thom Yorke's most anthemic moments — appropriate, since Elsinore often performs a great live cover of Radiohead's "Karma Police."

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