Ponys, Black Lips | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Ponys, Black Lips

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I've watched so many coulda-been-contenders come and go in Chicago, throwing in the towel after a promising debut, that it's always refreshing to see a worthy band go the distance. After two records for In the Red, the PONYS have signed to uber-indie Matador and released the long-awaited Turn the Lights Out, and I'm pleased to report they're still in top form. This is their first disc since Ian Adams decamped, taking his jangly 12-string and wry Britpop sensibilities with him, and with his replacement, guitarist Brian Case, they sound in some ways less exuberant--they put their heads down and gallop through an obstacle course of clanging fuzz, counting on their expert knowledge of garage rock's pleasure principle to see them through. And it does: "Small Talk" is deceptively tender, "Turn the Lights Out" takes a chance on organ-swirled whimsy, and "Double Vision" is destined to be the iPod antihit of the summer. --Monica Kendrick

On the new Los Valientes del Mundo Nuevo (Vice), the BLACK LIPS go south of the border--America's finest party band allegedly recorded the album live in Tijuana. Greasy, bratty, bleating rock 'n' roll is what they do, and they do it very well. They wear their love of the Troggs on their sleeves, but there's a shade of punk influence too--most evident in Jared Swilley and Cole Alexander's strained howls and in the ephedrine hop that sometimes replaces their usual stumble. And with a massive layer of hiss and fuzz coating everything, the album sounds like it came off a reel of tape that's been rotting in a basement for 35 years. The Georgia boys have earned a rep for a live show rife with drunken abuse, fire, vomit, and other personal fluids, but word has it they've toned things down--Swilley recently told the Georgia Straight that Alexander has stopped swilling his own piss and spitting it at the audience. --Jessica Hopper

The Ponys headline, the Black Lips play second, and Mannequin Men open; the Get Drunk DJs spin between sets. a 8:30 PM, Logan Square Auditorium, 2539 N. Kedzie, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $12. A

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