The Nexus of Pop-Culture Fandom

Instant Expert: Hot Chip

Written by: Jimmy Hitt, CC2K Staff Writer

Image In our Instant Expert column, CC2k Music Editor Jimmy Hitt gives you a crash course on a unique, up-and-coming or otherwise extraordinary artist.

This week's rocker to get the Instant Expert treatment is a band from across the pond called Hot Chip.

Read on, and wow all your friends at cocktail parties, laugh-ins, sleepovers and campouts with your comprehensive knowledge of a lesser-known artist!

Who: Hot Chip is a British band comprised of five strapping lads named Alexis Taylor (vocals, songs), Joe Goddard, Owen Clarke, Felix Martin, and Al Doyle.  They began writing music at the turn of the millennium and were first signed to an American release deal by perennial taste-makers The DFA (co-owned by James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem fame), who re-released their debut, Coming on Strong and then produced (supposedly) their breakthrough LP, 2006’s The Warning.

What: Hot Chip have crafted a fairly unique sound, combining the dizzy electro-pop of late 90s glitch-house with relatively standard songwriting, all deeply influenced by barbershop and American soul.  First a studio sound, Hot Chip’s recent live work finds the band re-working most of their tunes for the benefit of the dance floor.

Where: While a British band, their connection to The DFA ensures Hot Chip will play about ten New York shows a year, along with extensive North American tours.  Likewise, European and Australian tours are a given.

Why: Ahhh, the $64K question in most Instant Expert articles.  It would seem that Hot Chip’s main goal is to bring a soulfulness and emotional resonance to jaded house crowds the world over.  See “Boy from School” off of The Warning, for instance.

When: Their debut saw re-release on The DFA in 2005, while The Warning dropped in 2006.  This year (2008) will feature their 3rd LP, Made in the Dark, hence the convenient timing of the article.

How: If one were to listen solely to Hot Chip’s albums, one might get the impression that a full band rarely makes a scene, but quite the opposite is true, in fact.  All five members contribute instrumental work to the albums, it’s just that their instruments are not exactly typical.  Modulation abounds, along with massive amounts of keyboards, at least one electric guitar and a bass, but nary a hint of a live drum kit.  See the pic, above, or check out the youtube clip below for more information.

Recommendation: “Boy from School” was one of the best songs written this decade.  If the new album is any indication, Hot Chip is just getting started.   I would recommend sampling the goods offered here as well as finding it in your heart to plop down $9.99 for a download of Made in the Dark when it drops in February 2008.  Plus, it’s always a great idea to catch Hot Chip on tour.  They were billed with The Rapture on the previous tour, so hopefully their next tourmates are equally as fun.