Chicago indie-pop duo Grapetooth will make you believe the hype with their self-titled debut album | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

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Chicago indie-pop duo Grapetooth will make you believe the hype with their self-titled debut album



Tonight, just two days short of the anniversary of their first gig— opening for Knox Fortune as part of his sold-out record-release show at Lincoln Hall—Chicago synth-based indie-pop duo Grapetooth celebrate their self-titled debut album on Polyvinyl. Grapetooth don’t play out often, but when they do, audiences clamor to see them—on their return to Lincoln Hall in July for a headlining set during Pitchfork weekend, they sold out the entire venue. The band’s pedigree offers some explanation for their quick ascent—Clay Frankel, who cofounded Grapetooth with Chris Bailoni, plays guitar and sings in uberpopular garage act Twin Peaks. Grapetooth have stacked their album with urgent, grubby synth-based pop songs meant to burn up dance floors, and in interviews Frankel and Bailoni have credited Japanese experimental and pop acts as their sources of inspiration, including Yellow Magic Orchestra, Fishmans, and YMO’s Yukihiro Takahashi. But the tunes on Grapetooth should feel familiar to anyone who enjoys the 80s pop they’ve heard in soundtracks of classic John Hughes movies. Frankel and Bailoni treat their musical influences like fragments of sea glass in a mosaic, and they don’t allow ideas from other places and eras to get in the way of finding new concepts; the wobbly synth melody and serrated howls on early single “Trouble” sound as though they’re barrel-rolling toward parts unknown.   v

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