Bobby Conn & the Glass Gypsies, Baby Teeth | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Bobby Conn & the Glass Gypsies, Baby Teeth 

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BOBBY CONN's career doesn't make much sense--except, perhaps, to Bobby Conn. Since the late 90s he's routinely changed stage personas, transforming himself from an ex-con to a financial guru to a glammed-out conspiracy-obsessed Antichrist. When the world didn't implode at the turn of the century like he predicted, he simply regrouped: now he's an anti-Bush soul crusader in silver lame, and he's dead serious. Conn and his band, the Glass Gypsies, decided to cut their new album, Live Classics Vol. 1 (Thrill Jockey), in front of an audience at Wall to Wall Recording--a smart move, as previous albums have always paled in comparison to the bombastic live shows. Conn's description of the recording environment doubles as an explanation of the band's aesthetic: "A big 1970s shag-carpeted split-level basement....You can hear echoes of suburban disco and blue-collar prog rock, and imagine silk, cognac, and fondue. It's a giant rec room with the lingering funk of mildew, sweat, and lots of weed." The disc also includes two videos, including one for the antiwar jeremiad "Home Sweet Home": "Ironic distance isn't very far / This rifle has a range of 2,000 yards / When I shot him I didn't hear the bullet fly / Is it ironic his death is televised?" Conn performs this, of course, while strolling through the crowd, serenading the ladies like he's Eric Carmen on American Bandstand. --J. Niimi

You can count me among those who thought that indie rockers' reclaiming the sounds of 70s AM radio was a lousy idea; I never liked that crap in the first place. Yet the clunky white-boy soul, the sweet mellow electric piano, and the bold grabs at aching grandeur on BABY TEETH's full-length debut, The Baby Teeth Album (Lujo), move me in a way that post-Elton John slickfests never do. Perhaps that's because the members are people you could well have drunkenly jostled at the Empty Bottle--there's real pop ambition on the record, but it has a human scale. (Not to mention that you'd never hear lines like "Now that we're physically interactive / I hope you can tolerate my lactose" on the radio.) Front man Pearly Sweets also plays in the Glass Gypsies, as does bassist Jim Cooper (who also fronts the Detholz). --Monica Kendrick

This show is a release party for both new albums. Bobby Conn & the Glass Gypsies headline, the Apes play third, Baby Teeth play second, and the Life During Wartime DJs open. Fri 6/17, 9 PM, Double Door, 1572 N. Milwaukee, 773-489-3160 or 312-559-1212, $10.

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