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Tuning in with Thomas Conner

The Hood Internet's last mash-up blast, and other New Year's Eve shows around Chicago

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the-hood-internet-credit-courtney-allessio-2.jpgNew Year's Eve is a free-for-all celebration of what has been instead of what's about to be. At least, that's the way it's working out for online mashup sensations the Hood Internet.

"We've got all this new stuff coming up but, yeah, for New Year's we're keeping the new stuff under wraps," says Steve Reidell, a k a STV SLV. "These shows are all about -- well, it's a party."

Just two weeks ago the Hood Internet released its latest and self-titled compilation. The duo -- including Aaron Brink, a k a ABX, who recently relocated to North Carolina, though the pair still counts Chicago as its home base -- has been fixture in digital music since 2007 because of their clever mashups, mixing two or three pop songs (usually featuring at least one rap track) into a new and frequently danceable hybrid. Think Girl Talk, but with a longer attention span.

Their breakout track was a 2007 braiding of Broken Social Scene's "Shoreline" and R. Kelly's "I'm a Flirt." They've since spliced together such unlikely duets as Chromeo and Rihanna ("Don't Stop the Fancy Footwork"), Fleetwood Mac and Daft Punk ("You Make Lovin' Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger") and a hometown three-artist pile-up featuring Kanye West, Wilco and the 1985 Chicago Bears ("Superbowl Jesus").

What began as a fun studio experiment eventually turned into a steady live DJ gig for the two remixers, though it was a slow burn.

"We thought, sure, this'll be fun. We'd just finished a mixtape and we sort of just played that on stage while pretending to put LPs inside a computer," Reidell recalls about the Hood's premiere gig in 2007. "The band before us had left their drums on stage, so I played along for a while. A couple of months later at the Hideout we tried to do some actual mixing on stage. It was a colossal failure. By the time we were booked for a CMJ show with Flosstradamus and Matt & Kim, we had figured out how to work in intros and outros and really pull tracks live and mix them on stage."

The Hood Internet is now a bona fide -- and often wildly entertaining -- live act. As such, Reidell and Brink have begun crafting music that's more than the sum of borrowed parts. Next spring, they hope to release their first proper, non-mashup album.

"This will be 10 songs of new sh-- with various guests on it," Reidell says. "We created these song skeletons to work with other rappers and musicians we'd likely sample for the Hood Internet, so it's [rap groups] Tanya Morgan, BBU, Karl Morgan, Ivan [Howard] from the Rosebuds, Annie [Hart] from Au Revoir Simone, all on songs that are completely new."

The New Year's weekend shows, though, concentrate on what the Hood Internet has mastered thus far: taking two or three irresistible hits and Twizzlering them into a single sugar rush.

"Our set has grown, too," Reidell says. "For a long time we've had this giant Apple IIe on stage, and for New Year's we're expanding that to sort of take people into a giant computer. I like the last scene of 'Superman III' where they're in the giant cave with the supercomputer. As a child that always frightened but excited me."

Here are some other great live music options for those wanting to turn New Year's Eve up to '11:

Marcus Adams Band -- The Chicago sax player leads his combo through two weekend shows, beginning at 8 p.m. Dec. 30-31 at Close Up2, 416 S. Clark. Tickets: $10 on Dec. 30; $50-$150 on Dec. 31. Call (312) 385-1111;

Alkaline Trio -- The boys from McHenry are home after touring their retrospective "Damnesia." 10 p.m. at the Metro, 3730 N. Clark. Sold out.

Battle of the Saxes -- Come for the jazz battle between horn honkers Frank Catalano and Edward Petersen. Stay till dawn with the after-hours Sabertooth Organ Quartet. Music starts at 8:30 p.m. at the Green Mill, 4802 N. Broadway. Tickets: $25 at the door. Call (773) 878-5552;

Big Gigantic -- Ahead of the Jan. 11 release of their latest album, "Nocturnal," this high-energy jam-duo of producer/saxophonist Dom Lalli and drummer Jeremy Salken are on a brief tour, which includes this final 2011 gig at 9:30 p.m. at the Riviera Theatre, 4746 N. Racine. Sold out.

Big Head Todd & the Monsters, Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven -- For hazy '80s-'90s college rock, this is a helluva bill. Camper Van Beethoven opens, Cracker rings in the new year, and Big Head Todd plays into the wee hours, beginning at 8 p.m. at the House of Blues, 329 N. Dearborn. Tickets: $62.50. Call (312) 923-2000;

Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears -- Need to bridge those last few inches between you and your date? Lewis and his horn-y band gets everybody together. Soul Summit DJs open at 9 p.m. at the Double Door, 1572 N. Milwaukee. Tickets: $85-$95. Call (773) 489-3160;

JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound -- One of the hottest shows in town covers the weekend with its wicked retro-soul. With My Mans at 10 p.m. Dec. 30-31 at Schubas, 3159 N. Southport. Tickets: $12 advance, $30 door for Dec. 30; $25 advance, $30 door for Dec. 31. Call (773) 525-2508;

Cage the Elephant -- The biggest blast from Bowling Green, Ky., releases "Live From the Vic in Chicago" on CD and DVD Jan. 3, but first they lead a bill that also includes Morning Teleportation, Sleeper Agent and Chicago's excellent Company of Thieves, starting at 9 p.m. at the Aragon Ballroom, 1106 W. Lawrence. Tickets: $27.25. Call (800) 514-ETIX;

Chi-Town Meltdown -- A curious and diverse mix of five local bands (Chicago Afrobeat Project, Sexfist, Van Gordon Martin, Animate Objects and Old Shoe) begin trading electric and acoustic sets at 9 p.m. at the Abbey Pub, 3420 W. Grace. Tickets: $25 advance, $30 door, with VIP packages at $60. Call (773) 478-4408;

Otis Clay -- The famed local gospel-reared R&B kingpin runs the late show here at 10 p.m. at SPACE, 1245 Chicago Ave. in Evanston. Tickets: $25-$58. Call (847) 492-8860;

Disappears -- One of Chicago's most velvety underground bands leads this lineup of calendar-ending shoe-gazing. Opeing are Bare Mutants, Outer Minds and DJ Sriracha @ Jimmy Hollywood, starting at 10 p.m. at the Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western. Tickets: $20 advance, $25 door. Call (773) 276-3600;

James Hunter -- The British-born and Grammy-nominated R&B singer-guitarist leads this party, the official background for WLS-Channel 7's televised NYE countdown broadcast, with music starting at 10 p.m. at Mayne Stage, 1328-1330 W. Morse. Tickets: $50 general admission, $75 reserved seating, plus drink packages. Call (866) 468-3401;

The Jill & Julia Show -- Touching moments and hilarious stories appear in both the music of Jill Sobule and the comedy-monologues of Julia Sweeney. This early show starts at 6 p.m. at SPACE, 1245 Chicago Ave. in Evanston. Tickets: $18 standing room (other levels sold out). Call (847) 492-8860;

Lil Ed & the Blues Imperials -- The nephew of slide-guitar legend J.B. Hutto, Lil Ed Williams and his band goes full tilt, with Eddie Taylor opening, at 9 p.m. at Buddy Guy's Legends, 700 S. Wabash. Tickets: $25 at the door. Call (312) 427-1190;

Local H -- Since the world is predicted to end in 2012, Chicago's hardest working and often hardest rocking duo will perform a set list of apocalyptic songs, including selections from Rush's "2112" album, during their annual show at 9 p.m. at the Bottom Lounge, 1375 W. Lake. Tickets: $25 advance, $30 day of show. Call (312) 666-6775;

Lucky Boys Confusion -- Suburban pop-punk comes into the city for this show with Liquid Hot Magma, starting at 9 p.m. at the Cubby Bear, 1059 W. Addison. Tickets: $20 advance, $25 day of show. Call (773) 327-1662;

Material Reissue -- The acclaimed Chicago power-pop trio reunited this year with a new year, and lives on. With Hushdrops and Redgrave at 8 p.m. at Reggie's Rock Club, 2105 S. State. Tickets: $30-$40. Call (312) 949-0121;

The O'Jays -- The Ohio soul legends and special guests headline "New Year's Eve Love & Laughs" at 9 p.m. at the Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State. Tickets: $69.50-$99.50. Call (800) 745-3000;

The Polkaholics -- A local tradition, this year's accordion-infused show includes a raffle (prize: Dandy Don's Epiphone Les Paul guitar), starting at 9 p.m. at the DANK Haus German American Cultural Center, 4740 N. Western. Tickets: $9.99. Call (773) 561-9181;

Rusko -- Have you heard the word "dubstep" enough times this year? Could you stand to hear it some more? The British DJ throws down with Sinden and Switch at 9 p.m. Dec. 30-31 at the Congress Theater, 2135 N. Milwaukee. Tickets: $30-$75 on Dec. 30; $60-$110 on Dec. 31. Call (773) 276-1235;

The Spits -- What costumes will this wild and comic Seattle punk band wear for their Chicago NYE gig? The mind reels. Mickey and TV Ghost open at 9 p.m. at the Cobra Lounge, 235 N. Ashland. Tickets: $20 at the door. Call (312) 226-6300;

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This page contains a single entry by Thomas Conner published on December 22, 2011 6:00 AM.

List-o-mania: The 11 best albums of 2011 was the previous entry in this blog.

List-o-mania: The 11 best Chicago concerts of 2011 is the next entry in this blog.

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