The Gossip, Panther | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

The Gossip, Panther 

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While all the gossip's albums are blistering, vital, and fun, none has done the band justice like their fresh release, Standing in the Way of Control (Kill Rock Stars). (Full disclosure: I was the Gossip's publicist until 2004.) A sparse trio of drums, guitar and voice, they take the edge off their thuggish garage blooze with the nouveau-disco beats of new drummer Hannah Blilie (of Shoplifting and the Chromatics). Singer Beth Ditto uses the space created by Blilie's pounding bass-drum breakdowns to make her voice--part punk firebrand, part gospel diva--as wide as a boulevard, finally bringing the passion of her live performances to the disc's anthems of girl-girl love, heartbreak, and gender-queer struggle. Producer Guy Picciotto adds 60s girl-group touches that notch up the drama without sacrificing the band's rawness. Live the Gossip make you feel like the riot-grrrl revolution is finally coming to pass--this show is not to be missed. --Jessica Hopper

Having an electro-pop solo project is quickly surpassing calling yourself a DJ as the premier indie-dude cliche of the aughts, but the Planet The front man Charlie Salas-Humara (aka Panther) manages to rise above run-of-the-mill techno sulking with his mix of 808 beats, squealing falsetto, and nonsense lyrics. The video for "You Don't Want Your Nails Done" shows him as a combination white-boy soul singer and sweaty street-corner psycho, and his new self-titled, vinyl-only joint on Portland's Fryk Beat label strikes a similar balance between fun and totally unhinged. --Miles Raymer

The Gossip headlines, Panther plays second, and 8 Inch Betsy opens. Thu 3/30, 9 PM, Abbey Pub, 3420 W. Grace, 773-478-4408 or 866-468-3401, $12, 18+.

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