In a year already marked by the steep ascent of urban poets Kanye West and Dizzee Rascal, who’d have guessed one of the more talked-about rap acts would be a trio of white chicks from Long Island? Northern State–Hesta Prynn, DJ Sprout, and Guinea Love (Julie Goodman, Robyn Goodmark, and Correne Spero to their parents)–have been hailed as the distaff heirs to the Beastie Boys, at least among the indie-rock masses who’re their natural constituency. The wild ride began when Robert Christgau gave their 2002 debut EP, Hip Hop You Haven’t Heard–originally recorded as a demo–a four-star review in Rolling Stone. A steady stream of enthusiastic press (plus a healthy backlash) followed the release of last year’s eight-song Dying in Stereo (StarTime), culminating in a major-label deal. The group’s Columbia debut is set to appear in the spring and will include production from DJ Muggs, Pete Rock, and the Roots’ ?uestlove, among others. At a glance Northern State look like a novelty act, but there’s more to their music. Showing a dedicated (if somewhat recidivist) allegiance to old-school aesthetics and dropping frequently politicized rhymes studded with upper-middlebrow name checks (Dorothy Parker, Nigella Lawson), they’ve been well received as openers for De La Soul and the Donnas. DJ Frier Tuck opens. Wednesday, March 3, 10:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western; 773-276-3600.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Rayon.