Lost Sounds | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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The Lost Sounds provide proof, in case anybody still needs more, that interbreeding is the way of the future. Formed in Memphis in March '99 as a trio--with Jay Reatard and Rich Crook, formerly of ultraprimitive garage howlers the Reatards, and Alicja Trout, who'd collected a pile of analog synths during her stint in the Clears--the band mixes trashy, nervous rock with melodramatic metal and in the process tosses together two classes of spooky keyboard noise: the frantic sci-fi swoops and flutters of new wave and the towering, funereal organ double-stops of a Bach fugue. This could have gone horribly wrong, but Trout and Reatard hold it together with their clever lyrics and apocalyptic yowling, telling end-time tales with soul. ("Breathing Machine," from 2002's Rat's Brains & Microchips, is a personal fave: "And in 3001 / All glowing platinum / With radon in our lungs / Will we be having fun?") The themes owe more to goth than punk: whereas a punk singer means to fuck shit up personally, the Lost Sounds take more of a "we're all doomed" approach, sitting back and cheering as sentient rats or space aliens fuck shit up instead. With the addition of a full-time guitarist and bassist, they're now a five-piece (six if you count cellist Jonathan Kirkscey, who doesn't always tour), and recent recordings sound positively lush next to the tinny, claustrophobic Memphis Is Dead (2000). This summer the band put out Future Touch (In the Red), an 18-minute EP that delivers its turbulent vision of intergalactic invasion with punishing force and nasty clarity. They canceled their August date at the last minute (so yes, you have read this somewhere before), but what are the odds of that happening twice in a row? The Functional Blackouts and Manaconda open. a 9:30 PM, Subterranean Cafe & Cabaret, 2011 W. North, 773-278-6600 or 800-594-8499, $10.

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

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