Bassist Jason Noble is well known in indie-rock circles for his membership in the late, lamented Rodan, a Louisville noise band of much repute, and Shipping News, an excellent successor capable of getting nearly as loud. Nevertheless, he's hardly addicted to racket, as his work in Rachel's proves. On 2003's Systems/Layers, the group's latest recording for the Touch & Go label, Noble and his primary cohorts -- viola player Christian Frederickson, pianist Rachel Grimes, drummer/vibist Edward Grimes, keyboardist Greg King and cellist Eve Miller -- create alternately gorgeous and forbidding soundscapes from drones, occasional atonalities and, on "Last Things Last," a delicate melody with gently poetic lyrics to match. Throughout, the players quietly demonstrate fierce intelligence and an eagerness to experiment that's untempered by genre boundaries. The same goes for their tours: Although they're playing venues accustomed to hosting rock shows this time around -- including the proudly gritty Lion's Lair -- their opening act is Invert, a New York-based string quartet that will likely contribute to Rachel's set, too. These acts may well constitute the most unexpected double bill in the Lair's history. That's certainly a Noble cause.
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