Quintron & Miss Pussycat, Ex Models, Harry Merry, Mecanique Soapopera | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Quintron & Miss Pussycat, Ex Models, Harry Merry, Mecanique Soapopera

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Swamp Tech (Tigerbeat 6), the latest from QUINTRON & MISS PUSSYCAT, really captures their lo-fi, sweat-all-night disco aesthetic, and I'm not just saying that because I feel sorry for them losing almost everything to Hurricane Katrina. What you get on the record is what you get in person: Quintron's avant-garde Jerry Lee Lewis act on organ and Miss Pussycat's shrill, party-starting vocal stylings. In the past Quintron's Drum Buddy contraption has been an accent piece, but now it's front and center--and somehow the glorified coffee can totally rocks. They play a zillion songs, impeccably dressed to boot, and as if that weren't enough, Miss Pussycat's surreal, animal-themed puppet show consistently puts them in the lead for Best Showmanship of the Year.

Rotterdam fop HARRY MERRY is fabulously anachronistic: on Well . . . Here's Another Nice Mess You've Got Me Into! (Tocado) he sounds a lot more comfortable singing "Village Life in 1905" than he does "Computer Problems." But everything he does is a little uncomfortable, usually downright jarring. He hears several melodies at once, and none of 'em are compatible with any of the others, but he plays them all simultaneously nonetheless. The resulting keyboard chaos and totally arrhythmic percussion are relentlessly cheerful in the most depressing way, like playing "The Hokey Pokey" for someone dying at an old folks' home. With 18 tracks--most of which go on at least two minutes longer than necessary--you're certainly getting your money's worth, but by the end I felt like I needed a mood stabilizer. --Liz Armstrong

There was a time when you might've heard EX MODELS and said, "What the fuck is this?" Now you'd probably just say, "Oh--no wave." But even if antigenre antimusic has actually become a musical genre, that's no reason to discount Chrome Panthers (Troubleman), the band's new mini-LP. Since their last CD the band's become a two-piece--with guest drumming from Oneida's remarkable Kid Millions--but the departure of personnel has forced them to focus their sound in a much more productive way. Where before they were content to thrash around for a few minutes and slap a funny song title on it, on Panthers they've trimmed 90 percent of the vocals, borrowed Oneida's patented goonish "1/1" time signature for every track, and discarded any guitar tones that don't make your cochlear hairs shit themselves. Played-out or not, no wave rarely gets as arresting as the shrieking eruption that sounds like an amp fed through an industrial deboning machine in the middle of "Mutiny," or the queasy buzz 'n' squawk that begins "Buy American," which sounds like someone trying to play a guitar with a Tesla coil. --J. Niimi

Quintron & Miss Pussycat headline, Ex Models play second, and Harry Merry opens. Elena Kenney's MECANIQUE SOAPOPERA, a miniproscenium that raises its curtain to reveal enchanting tableaux--tap dancer, operatic fish, Russian mermaid--whenever someone inserts a quarter, operates between sets. Mon 10/31, 9:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $10.

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