Aterciopelados | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Aterciopelados

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ATERCIOPELADOS

Before Bloque was even a blip on the North American radar, their fellow Colombians Aterciopelados--led by singer-guitarist Andrea Echeverri and guitarist Hector Buitrago--had released four albums that wedded rock 'n' roll to traditional folk forms with a punkish urgency. On the most recent of these, last year's terrific Caribe Atomico (BMG U.S. Latin), the band added yet more fuel to the fire, framing its irresistible hooks with beautifully crafted electronica: "El estuche" layers acoustic son guitar figures and down-tempo breakbeats; "Cosmos" combines piquant mariachi horn charts, rapid-fire ranchera accordion lines, shuffling ska, and murky dub bass; "Mañana," which features bossa nova star Vinicius Cantuaria on guitar, pairs a sashaying samba groove with jacked-up drum programming; and seamlessly integrated throughout are samples of everything from Dixieland trumpet peals to what sounds like muffled gargling. Like Mexico's Cafe Tacuba and Argentina's Fabulosos Cadillacs, Aterciopelados have found that ultimate oxymoron--a distinctive one-world sound. And in the male-dominated rock-en-español scene, Echeverri stands apart not just as a woman but as one of the most charismatic singers of either gender. The Velvety Ones are about due for another record, so this show may well provide a peek at what's next. Friday, 9 PM, House of Blues, 329 N. Dearborn; 312-923-2000 or 312-559-1212. PETER MARGASAK

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