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The (Underground) Sound of Chicago

Hideout Workersr

Hideout Workers Comp - Various Artists
3 1/2 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: May 26, 2004

Review by Tony Bonyata

Wanna know what the Chicago music scene is about? Then all you have to do is ask Tim and Katie Tuten, owners of the small Northside Chicago pub Hideout. That's because this couple of music lovers have been hosting a diverse wealth of talent in their club that has, in part, helped define the underground sounds of Chicago throughout the last five or six years.
A taste of the talent that has graced this tiny club can found on an interesting 22-track collection aptly entitled Hideout Workers Comp. One of the prerequisites of the album was that a staff member of the Hideout had to be featured on each number. It might seem an impossible feat to compile an arresting album from just staffers, but with the likes that gravitate towards the Hideout's friendly confines- from artists, musicians, writers and other creative ilk - the effort has been pulled off flawlessly.
So then what is the Chicago music scene about, you ask. As this broad cross-section of music and musicians attests, it's much more than any specific style or genre. In fact, it's a scene that corals all different types of music together with the same community spirit that has been spilling from the doors of the Tuten's club ever since they took ownership back in 1996.
This compilation is filled with so many different styles, in fact - such as jacked-up punk rock (The Drapes and The Dishes), lovely alt-country (Laurie & John Stirratt, Anastasia Davies Hinchsliff and Kelly Kessler & the Wichita Shut-Ins), deranged techno (Burger Damage) and even spicy Cajun (Scott Adamson & Jim Becker) and twisted cabaret (The Shibboleth Orchestra) - that it seems incomprehensible that they could all dwell happily in just one city, let alone under one small roof. But they all do and quite harmoniously, it might be added.
Seattle may have laid claim to grunge and, more recently, Detroit with garage rock, but as this wonderfully eclectic collection proves, Chicago is quite content to adopt many different musical sounds and styles and make them all feel like one big happy family.

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