Spank Rock | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Spank Rock 

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On the cover of their 12-inch single "Put That Pussy on Me" (Money Studies), the Baltimore trio Spank Rock lay their interests bare, so to speak: a pair of plump, tan butt cheeks fill up a full ten inches of the sleeve, a manicured female hand poised firmly atop them. MC Spank Rock (aka Naeen Juman) aspires to be as nasty as Luther Campbell: "Sweet Talk," from the forthcoming YoYoYoYoYoYo (Big Dada/Ninja Tune), begins with his intoned mantra of "tapthatasstapthatasstapthatass . . ." before a fatback beat drops, along with a squirrelly Nigerian-highlife-sounding guitar in one channel and a fuzz-funk riff in the other. But most of the time Juman's high-pitched delivery, along with the riot of clashing rhythms behind him (courtesy of producer Alex "XXXchange" Epton and DJ Chris Rockswell), is just amusingly weird, like Dizzee Rascal when he tries to sound threatening or Kool Keith when he tries to do anything. The trio's sublime aural pranksterism --tunes assembled from a dozen vaguely familiar fragments, sounds that should be annoying but aren't, sounds that shouldn't be funky but are--made them a good matchup with M.I.A., with whom they toured the U.S. this past fall. Live they're often accompanied by the Love Peace Project, a group of djembe drummers and dancers; lately they've kept busy working on remixes for Lady Sovereign. The Juan Maclean headlines and DJ Coco LeRoc (Reader contributor Jessica Hopper) spins throughout the night. Sat 12/31, 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $25.

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