Numbers, Stars as Eyes | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Numbers, Stars as Eyes 

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Kid606, who runs the three-year-old Tigerbeat6 label, has a well-known fondness for strange and often obnoxious collisions of genre and style. But while the aesthetic certainly applies to his roster as a whole, it doesn't permeate every release. For instance, the San Francisco trio Numbers--one of three bands on the label's Paws Across America package tour--is fairly conventional in its devotion to stripped-down no wave. In the mid-90s Dave Broekema and Eric Landmark played brittle chicken-scratch guitar and gurgling analog synths in the spastic Madison outfit Xerobot. In this trio, with drummer and singer Indra Dunis, their basic approach hasn't changed much, although their debut album, Numbers Life, sounds slightly more thought through--even with the ten songs clocking in at under 20 minutes. Dunis bashes out speedy minimalist disco beats and sings in a largely indecipherable robotic squawk, Broekema jerks between post-Contortions funk to garage riffery, and Landmark squeezes alien bass tones and white noise out of his Moog. The considerably more scattered music of the Austin duo Stars as Eyes is more the Tigerbeat6 norm--their new album, Enemy of Fun, is a scrappy, low-budget mix of delicate music box melodies, twitchy electronic grooves, and Joy Division-style electronic drones, using healthy doses of guitar, piano, live drumming, and the usual laptop maneuvers. On an even more blatantly schizoid tour CD, also called Paws Across America, the duo covers the mid-90s Seattle space-rock band Jessamine, and Numbers gets a remix by Dwayne Sodahberk. Cex, whose new Tall, Dark & Handcuffed is as funny as it is annoying (he's pushed his laptop jockeying to the background in favor of his gawky MCing), headlines; local electro oddball Magas also performs. Friday, November 29, 7 PM, Fireside Bowl, 2646 W. Fullerton; 773-486-2700.


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