The mighty Hot Chip headlined two nights at Brixton Academy last week, including a Friday late show. It was possibly the best I’ve ever seen them play: they always seem to come across better in front of a club or festival crowd, segueing tunes into each other for maximum aural strobe effect, and this time they had a live drummer for added traction ‘cross the Academy’s slippery floors. Joe wore a black suit and Al a dazzling white one, flanking Alexis who came on engulfed by a giant harlequin gown and matching paper crown before stripping down to white dungarees.
There were two new songs, one called "Alley Cat," which sounded like a continuation of the twilight soul mood of ‘Made In The Dark’’s closing numbers. Then again, the new Chip album could easily go in the opposite direction, as signalled by a throbbing trance version of "Boy From School."
If you’re looking for further clues, you could do worse than investigate Alexis’s new solo album Rubbed Out. Released quietly in a limited edition of 1000 on Spring Heel Jack’s Treader label (home to free jazzers like Evan Parker as well as Jason Pierce’s more esoteric noodlings), it’s billed as a scrapbook of sketches and song ideas, captured at home and on the road betwixt regular Chip assignments. While intended only for the hardcore, it still yields several moments of tender, Lennon-esque beauty, even on this Paul McCartney cover…
Alexis Taylor, "Coming Up"
Meanwhile, his bandmate Joe Goddard is everywhere: co-writing Little Boots’ "Meddle," remixing Roots Manuva and WhoMadeWho, and reprising his "Over And Over" spelling games on Jesse Rose’s new single "Forget My Name."
Jesse Rose, "Forget My Name"
Jesse Rose is an interesting character. He’s tight with Switch, Sinden and the London fidget house crew but he also lives in Berlin where he runs with Radio Slave and was courted by Get Physical for their Body Language mix series. Best of both worlds? Let’s hope so. Quality dance artist albums were thin on the ground in 2008 – maybe Jesse’s forthcoming debut What Do You Do If You Don’t can reverse the slump in the early ’09.