Hot Chip | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

comment

I apparently hear something in Hot Chip that a lot of other people don't. I've been loaning their 2004 debut, Coming On Strong (released in the U.S. last year on Astralwerks), to some of my more strictly indie-rock friends, but the filter-swept keys and dance beats seem to be a little too "techno" for them. Reviewers compare Hot Chip to Ween, which is fair enough: the British group shares Ween's fascination with tacky flange effects and cheap-sounding drum machines. (Plus, one of their singers sounds like one of the Weens. Plus, they name-check Ween on one of their songs.) But for me, Coming On Strong succeeds on two other distinct levels. There's the funny stuff, like their taste for cheese-heavy synth sounds, or the Nate Dogg-inspired chorus to "Playboy," which rhymes "drivin' in my Peugeot" and "blazin' out Yo La Tengo." But I also hear a layer of emotion behind their clowning: all their music references function as tributes to music's power. Yo La Tengo, for instance, pushes the song's protagonist past his small-town existence and gives him the kind of humble transcendence that only a three-minute pop song can provide. Maybe I'm reading too much into things. But I'm certain that "Crap Kraft Dinner" is a lot more amazing than any song that's literally about a box of mac 'n' cheese ought to be. Walter Meego and Bald Eagle spin. Mon 3/20, 9 PM, Subterranean, 2011 W. North, 773-278-6600 or 800-594-8499, $10 in advance, $12 at the door.

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Give $35/month →  
  Give $10/month →  
  Give  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 

Add a comment