The two members of the band Courtesy in a studio/office, surrounded by music equipment and posters.
Courtesy Credit: Courtesy the artist

Chicago group Courtesy have always staggered and glitched across the line between experimental and pop electronics. Their first album, 2011’s Idmatic (Tape Deco), recorded by members Drew Ryan and Kirk Rawlings in Memphis and Chicago, is filled with ambient drone and feedback noise but also illustrates their pop sensibilities; on “Sisters,” for instance, percussive clang turns into a slinky new-wave club beat. The band’s embrace of accessibility intensified on the 2018 EP Hey (Moon Glyph), where they briefly expanded into a trio with the addition of Doug Malone, and that trend has continued ever since. On Courtesy’s latest album, Check the Milk (Seasick), they explore a downshifted psychedelic trip-hop sound that’s practically radio ready; it’d be easy to imagine Billie Eilish singing the stoned, burping “Zapps,” if the lyrics focused more directly on love and pain and a bit less on “polyunsaturated magic beans.” The track “LeBron James” opens with an ice-pick-to-the-eye blast of power-electronics feedback before grooving up on a spooky dance-floor sway and grind that’s reminiscent of Tricky, and “Dig Up My Luv” mixes new age synth washes with retro-disco boogie that makes you wonder what ABBA would sound like if they’d been influenced by Chicago experimental electronic groups. Though Courtesy have gotten somewhat more user-friendly over the past decade, their left turns on Check the Milk—the free-jazz interpolations on “King Clave,” the minute of silence in “Remainder”—should reassure true believers they’re still odd.

Courtesy, Smut, Fetter, Fri 12/10, 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, $10, 21+