Strangulated Beatoffs | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Strangulated Beatoffs

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The Strangulated Beatoffs aren't known for their work ethic: in 16 years they've played live only a handful of times, and even those were barely performances. For the last one, in their native Saint Louis about three years ago, they reportedly lugged a sofa onstage, sat down, and watched TV. Plus they're frustratingly vague and apathetic in interviews (when they bother to grant them), and their songs are so hypnotically repetitious--one ten-second sample, allegedly full of subliminal messages, constitutes almost every song--that their albums would be exercises in sheer indolence if they weren't so damn charismatic. For their fourth full-length CD, Reverse Child Psychology (on the local label Nihilist), they've completely ditched the slurry screaming and noise guitar of early releases like "Shake Your Dick" and "Fake Eyeball" and instead picked up the lazy man's tool of today--the sampler. "That'll Be 200 Dollars, Ma'am" and "(I'm) Big Dick Black" sound like they were ripped straight from porn sound tracks (and probably were), and the warped but catchy garage riff on "White Devil" simply repeats for five minutes. The hit here has to be "Shunned by the Rave People," a beat-heavy loop of pulsating space-streaked ambience; though the song is undoubtedly slagging the European glow-stick twirlers who apparently heard and liked Days of Our Lives (released in 1994 on the Belgian Death by Blowjob label and reissued in the U.S. in '98 on Skin Graft), it's an honest-to-god dance track. Thursday, December 20, 9 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western; 773-276-3600.

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