Music » Critics' Picks

We Ragazzi

Friday, August 15; Rocket Bar

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Remember the other day, when you were asking about a band that sounds like an angry/sexy Billy-Corgan-led lounge-rock combo with a cute Farfisa player? Yeah, neither do we. But here is We Ragazzi, a whipcrack of a trio that raises welts on your eardrums with its gutter-glory sound.

The secret of We Ragazzi's sound isn't lead singer Anthony Rolando, who really does sound like an anally violated Smashing Pumpkin (we mean that in the nicest way possible). Instead, We Ragazzi gets most of its momentum out of Colleen Burke's keyboard melodies. Bass players, run in fear, for thy days are numbered. In light of the White Stripes-led minimalist revolution, We Ragazzi's bassless trio sounds positively layered; Burke's vintage keyboard adds backbone, lays down some melodies and frees Rolando to get fuzzy and abstract with his guitar. Drummer Timothy McConville (recently replaced by the band's original drummer, Alianna Kalaba) does his part with spacious precision: Being the lone member of the rhythm section lets him spread out his sound.

It all leads to some of the grimiest punk-funk this side of the Make-Up -- the music is powerful and driving and as dirty as a crotch-shot magazine. We Ragazzi is building quite a cult in Chicago, and the smart money says you should get in on the ground floor and check out the show at the Rocket Bar Friday night. Think rye body shots; think sex and cigarette burns. How on earth are you going to say no to that?

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