Stills | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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The Stills' 2003 debut, Logic Will Break Your Heart, had disco drums, hungover-sounding vocals, and crystalline hooks that were vaguely new wave in a sort of Joe Jackson way--it was a great guilty pleasure for hipsters who liked the Strokes but didn't want to seem so far behind the game as to admit they actually liked the Strokes. I know it did the job for me. "Still in Love Song" and "Lola Stars and Stripes" were good enough that they would've made an impression even without Julian and the boys around to set a precedent. The Stills' forthcoming Without Feathers greases up that style with a layer of classic-rock sheen lifted from The Last Waltz and Born to Run, and when all I'd heard was one song on MySpace I was pretty sure their makeover was the by-product of the same sort of compulsory cool hunting that's put hippie beards on so many former electroclashers. (Actually I'm still not sure it isn't, especially since in the new disc's PR they come off like insincere trend-hopping douchebags, dismissing any band that sounds like they used to.) They seem to want to be Vice Records' version of Grand Funk Railroad, horn charts and all, but the music is strong enough to cut through the posturing: the intro to "It Takes Time" is a classic Spector-via-Springsteen wall of sound, which is an automatic free pass with me, and the whole record has the same buoyant sing-alongability that Logic did. I'm also kind of interested to see where the Stills go with their third album--there's a grunge revival just aching to happen, and I wouldn't be surprised to catch these guys trolling eBay for Tube Screamers and Big Muffs. Raising the Fawn opens. Thu 4/13, 9 PM, Double Door, 1572 N. Milwaukee, 773-489-3160 or 312-559-1212, $12.

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