It's hard not to love Hot Chip. No matter if you're the kind of person who sold your guitars to buy turntables or sold your turntables to buy guitars — to quote the Chip's American counterparts, LCD Soundsystem — Hot Chip has something for you: a killer hook, a fiery dancefloor beat, an unforgettable vocal.
They're great DJs, too. (Some people really do have it all; life isn't fair.) In 2007, Hot Chip released a beloved entry in Studio !K7's DJ-Kicks series. It runs from Positive K's "I Got A Man" to the fragmented disco of Soundhack, the post-punk of Grauzone, and a Roman Flügel remix before ending with Ray Charles. Their recent DJ mixes explore psychedelic, cerebral techno textures paired with well-executed European deep house. DFA mainstays Museum of Love will support them. And that's not all: Tim Sweeney, head honcho of the 15-years-strong Beats in Space radio show and one of New York's finest DJs, takes over in the Loft upstairs.
Presales are gone but door tickets may be available for the early birds.
Other worthy parties this week
Boys Noize at 1015 Folsom, 10 p.m.-2 a.m. Thursday Aug. 4. $20; 1015.com
Of the many proto-EDM electro house producers who enjoyed a moment in the spotlight about a decade ago, Boys Noize is the most enigmatic. The German artist came to fore in 2007 with his album Oi Oi Oi, essentially an entire record of Justice (remember them?) worship. But it turns out, thanks to a recent Resident Advisor podcast, that Noize has been exploring the outer reaches of real-deal underground techno. See how far down the rabbit hole he goes.
Surface Tension featuring Atom™ and Tobias at F8, 10 p.m.-4 a.m. Friday, Aug. 5. $20; feightsf.com
(Full disclosure: Your humble party columnist is one of this party's co-hosts.) Atom™ — aka Atom Heart, Lassigue Bendthaus, dozens of other pseudonyms, or just Uwe Schmidt — and Tobias Freund have worked together since the early 1990s. In the past few years, the pair began playing live together. Each Atom™ & Tobias performance is 100 percent improvised and completely psychedelic. The pair are perhaps the finest live techno artists around. This Friday, they play live together for four hours straight.
Psychemagik, DJ M3, and Shiny Objects at Monarch, 9:30 p.m.-3 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 6. $20; monarchsf.com
London record diggers Psychemagik gained early notoriety with their edits of Fleetwood Mac's "Everywhere" and Talking Heads' "This Must Be The Place," two left-field disco renditions of timeless classics. Since then, the duo have developed a cult following for their all-over-the-place, wide-ranging DJ sets that weave together vintage funk and soul with esoteric international sounds, disco, and even a bit of techno, designed to satisfy broad swaths of listeners on the dancefloor. Locals M3 and Shiny Objects warm up.
Push The Feeling presents Hotthobo and Jomeo Pugz at Underground SF, 9 p.m.-2 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 6. $5; undergroundsf.com
Push The Feeling's latest party features two characters from San Francisco boutique funk and boogie label Voltaire Records: Hotthobo, the label's founder, and Jomeo Pugz, one of its newest artists. Since 2010, Voltaire Records has pushed a very unique, very specific sound — the cross-section of synthy, electronic funk, playful contemporary disco, and throwback electro. They've built up an incomparable catalog over the years. Hotthobo and newcomer Jomeo will select Voltaire hits alongside like-minded sounds.
Notable Local Records
Carrion, My Wayward Son by La Flange Du Mal; Resipiscent.
"Skronk." A seemingly nonsense word — what does it mean? A quick Googling suggests "music that is grating, dissonant, and frequently avant-garde." Well, yes, but beyond that, "skronk" is like pornography — hard to define, but you know it when you see it. (Or hear it, as the case may be.)
Carrion, My Wayward Son (a pun worth savoring) is an album released last year by La Flange Du Mal, a four-piece band whose members have roots in San Francisco experimental music and beyond — they've played in psychedelic outfit Subarachnoid Space, early electroclash act Crack (We Are Rock), and far-Eastern pop reinterpreters Neung Phak.
Carrion is skronk, through and through. Its punk roots run deep: All seven songs are full of manic, panicked drumming. But whereas punk is a musical middle finger raised in youthful exuberance, Carrion is a call toward absurdity, an expression of a kind of world-weariness that comes only with age and its attendant knowledge of one's own shortcomings and of the value of foolishness. So goes the refrain in "Landmines": "Why can't we / sip this wine / blow this line / one last time?"
The album is short, intense, and rewards repeat listening; the lyrics, senseless at first, drip with acerbic wit. It's rare to find an "art rock" record that manages to be catchy, smart, silly, and sarcastic all at once. Carrion is the real deal.
Worlds by KYN; self-released
Worlds is a very appropriate title for this EP, the debut from Oakland-based duo KYN. It's a 30-minute cinematic journey through five different sonic worlds. Each track is imbued with its own rich sense of place. Unlike most ambient music, which aims to evoke a certain mood or craft a vibe, Worlds is concerned with transporting its listeners to a different universe — and it's very successful in that regard.
The first thing you'll notice about Worlds is how remarkably polished its sound design is. This might be KYN's first release, but you'd never know by listening to it — these two know their way around their machines. The EP opens with the searing drone and gentle tones of "Overflow," clearly indebted to Vangelis' Blade Runner soundtrack (that's no complaint). "Night Sprints" and "Routine Burden" are percussive, drum-focused tracks, but are far from dance music. The record ends with the delicate music box melody of "Relapse."
If I have one complaint about Worlds, it's that it's too cinematic. In a manner of speaking, it does its job too well. It sounds incomplete, almost — the soundtrack to a film that doesn't exist.
But that's a minor qualm — it's still a remarkable listen and a very impressive debut. I'm eager to hear what KYN comes up with next.