On Monday Schubas kicked off a month-long weekly residency by All Smiles, a new project led by former Grandaddy member Jim Fairchild, who recently moved to Chicago. Their debut albums comes out on April 24, but the two songs I’ve heard pretty much sound like what you’d expect from a former member of Grandaddy. A number of diverse acts have been booked as openers; on March 26 Head of Femur singer Matt Focht and Sally Timms both perform solo sets, while this coming Monday the chintzy French trio Prototypes will play.
Last year the local Minty Fresh label released an eponymous CD by Prototypes, collecting tunes from their two French albums, one of which produced a top 10 hit there. Last fall Apple used their “Who’s Gonna Sing?”—complete with stale breakbeats, inept scratching, and Roxanne Shante-inspired rapping by singer Isabelle Le Doussal—on an iPod Shuffle ad. Most of that tune—and nearly everything else on the disc—is delivered in French, which, considering the deliberately trash electro-rock sound they spit out, is probably a good thing for listeners who demand their music seem intelligent. The calculatedly disposable pop culture mélange suggests Stereo Total as a key forgettable antecedent, but a bunch of the sampled-and-synthesized guitar riffing reminds me of that old Elastica hit “Connection” that ripped off Wire. At other points I’m reminded of everything from Bo Diddley to the B-52s to Vanilla Ice. If that all sounds good to you I’m sure you’ll dig the Prototypes for at least a month or so.