Coin | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader
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COIN

Plenty of bands are cashing in on the 80s revival with kitschy synth-pop, but although the sounds Coin uses are recycled from that era, the place you most likely heard them back then was your local video arcade. The main mind behind the Tucson-based act is Thermos Malling, Bob Log's partner in the defunct junk-blues band Doo Rag, and on his second album, Architects of Character (on the Terre Haute avant-fun label Anal Log), he arranges snippets of vintage video-game sound tracks into catchy, carnivalesque space-disco ditties. On the recordings, voices synthesized by Apple's text-to-speech extension deliver the lyrics, filtering out all the warmth in double entendres like "I'll take in your upload / And cache all the images" and imparting a disturbing sterility to propositions like "I have a bag of hammers / You have a taste for brains / Let's take the whole day off" (not to mention an abbreviated cover of Journey's "Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'"). But when Coin performs live, Malling plays real drums amid a network of Commodore 64s while his wife, known as Walter, sings. Also on this bill is Royal Space Force, an Evanston trio that manipulates a similar palette of sounds into numbingly dull post-rock noodlings; the Milwaukee-based Neon Hunk, a keyboardist and drummer who yelp over cutesy synth jabs and well-timed jerkiness, open. Monday, June 9, 10 PM, Fireside Bowl, 2646 W. Fullerton; 773-486-2700.

LIZ ARMSTRONG

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