Zincs | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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I really fell for the Zincs after their second album, 2005's Dimmer (Thrill Jockey), and for the song "Moment Is Now!" in particular. A ringing, persistent bit of car-radio joy, the track turned what's most enjoyable about the Velvet Underground, early Stereolab, and Kraftwerk into shimmery guitar pop without losing any of that underlying tension. On the follow-up, Black Pompadour (Thrill Jockey), the Zincs get darker: Jim Elkington's somber vocals mask the archness of his lyrics, which err on the side of mystery to set a mood rather than spin a tale. Like Lloyd Cole and Tindersticks, Elkington (a UK transplant) has an ability to condense his influences and make a lot of simplicity go a long way. His songs with Edith Frost are possibly the best coed duets since Leonard Cohen--or at least Bonnie "Prince" Billy's last record. The Zincs are one of 16 bands playing the Hideout's "Sending the Four Star City to the Lone Star State" extravaganza, an all-day benefit show by and for bands headed to South by Southwest. Catfish Haven kicks things off, followed by the Narrator, Judson Claiborne, Tijuana Hercules, Josh Caterer, the Redwalls, the Prairie Cartel, the New Duncan Imperials, the Race, Maritime, Velcro Lewis & His 100 Proof Band, the Zincs (at 9 PM), the M's, Office, Sybris, the 1900s, and the Life During Wartime DJs (Mother Hubbard & Bald Eagle). a Noon, Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, 773-227-4433 or 866-468-3401, $10.

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