STNNNG, KILL THE VULTURES | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Playing out steadily since 2003, STNNNG (pronounced "stunning") have earned their reputation as an endorphin rush of a live act. But beneath the apparent anarchy, the Minneapolis quintet keep honing their bed-of-knives sound, and the material on their most recent full-length, Fake Fake (Modern Radio)--recorded in Chicago last year with Mike Lust--shows the benefits of discipline. On these ten tight tracks I can hear the Fall's crackpot articulation, U.S. Maple's taunting zigzags, and the punishing rhythmic efficiency of Big Black, all integrated into an unrelenting war cry that seems like something dazzlingly new, although really it isn't. The twists and turns come at you fast and leave you reeling, with no recovery time before you're sucked into the vortex of the next song. By the end you feel as though you've been whipped by a pagan god and loved it. --Monica Kendrick

For their second album, The Careless Flame (Jibdoor), KILL THE VULTURES have shrunk from a quartet to a duo and radically transformed their sound in the process. Once an offshoot of the good-time Twin Cities hip-hop crew Oddjobs, the act now retains only hints of its earlier style: Anatomy's production is still sample-based, but here he sets free-jazz saxophone and twangy oud over fierce, lurching beats that mock idiomatic simplicity; meanwhile MC Crescent Moon has boiled his flow down to a lavalike moan, all strung-out lamentations and rants. The result may not be what you think of as hip-hop, but its brutality sure is appealing. --Peter Margasak

The bill, from the headliner down, is Stnnng, Kill the Vultures, the rock band Red Eyed Legends, and local MC Robust. a 10 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, 773-525-2508, $10.

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