Fog | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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A photo in the liner notes of the first album by Fog, aka Andrew Broder, pictured a thrift-store guitar leaning against a cheap amp and a jumble of ancient audio junk on a cinder-block-and-plywood shelving system. With such a casual attitude toward his rig, you had to wonder how Broder ever got signed to a high-profile electronica label like Ninja Tune, but they rereleased his debut in 2002 and have since put out two more of his experiments in romantic lo-fi chaos. On the new 10th Avenue Freakout (Lex), the one-man analog band from Minneapolis remains unclassifiable, but his aesthetic is starting to make a bit more sense. Broder takes cues from electrotard groups like Clouddead (he's collaborated with rapper Why? as Hymie's Basement), the pomo plundering of early Beck, and sound collagists the Books. But the album mainly sounds like being lost in a wondrous junk shop. On "We're Winning," Broder assembles tarnished and bruised breakcore beats, a Herb Alpert horn section, burbling keyboards, and strikingly beautiful harmonies behind freako lyrics like "We swallowed the olive, man, we blew it / We baptized our super-sized babies in embalming fluid." Some of the tunes feel like sketchbook doodles, but there are plenty of ear-tickling moments, like the ELO-style falsetto choral eruption in the middle of "The Rabbit," and "Hummer," which reprises a song from an earlier EP and sounds like Daniel Johnston let loose in 10cc's studio. Broder will be backed by a full band for this show. Walter Meego and Cepia open. Fog also plays a free in-store at 5:30 PM at Reckless Records, 1532 N. Milwaukee; call 773-235-3727. Mon 3/21, 9:30 PM, Empty Bottle 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 800-594-8499. Free.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Tom Herbers.

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