"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; reverbnation.com.
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; greenmilljazz.com.
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; houseofblues.com/chicago.
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; doubledoor.com.
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; schubas.com.
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; jamusa.com.
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; abbeypub.com.
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; evanstonspace.com.
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; emptybottle.com.
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; maynestage.com.
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; evanstonspace.com.
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; buddyguy.com.
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; bottomlounge.com.
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; cubbybear.com.
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; reggieslive.com/rockclub.
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; ticketmaster.com.
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; brownpapertickets.com.
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; congresschicago.com.
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; cobralounge.com.