Credit: Michael Egon Schiele

Toupee are one of Chicago’s most interesting bands, both visually and sonically, and they put on a live show you won’t soon forget. Everybody swaps instruments unrelentingly, so that Nick Hagen (guitar, some bass), Mark Ragassi (bass, some drums), Scott Frigo (guitar, some drums), and front woman Whitney Allen (guitar, bass, or just singing) never stay in the same configuration for long. Allen cavorts about in one of several hairy monster masks, drawing on a seemingly bottomless repertoire of odd sarcastic dances, ritualistic motions, and pure freak-out moves—and when the mask comes off, the mad staring eyes under her postapocalyptic hairdon’t look like they can melt glass. The rest of the band keeps up with Allen’s mesmerizing Wendy O. Williams-meets-Nico trip, veering from Killed by Death punk squalls to slow-building abstract rambles that would make NY art-punks like Television or weirdo New Zealanders like the Garbage & the Flowers sit up and take notice. In March Toupee released their first full-length LP, Dinner Parties, on the Rotted Tooth label (all screen-printed sleeves, all the time), but the way to hear this stuff is in the flesh—they’re one weird-ass sexy band.