San Francisco's Gold Chains (AKA Topher LaFata) owes as much to the aforementioned acts as he does to present day tongue-in-cheek electro rump-shakers such as Chilly Gonzales, Kid 606, Peaches, and Disco D, and he's found that the quickest way to make social commentary through music is to present it in such an ambiguous pop fashion that you're left to your own intellectual devices, or lack thereof, to interpret the music however you will. Go have a drug-soaked orgy on the dance floor, or go home and sob while you write your manifesto--neither matters much to him. Whereas the excess expressed in those albums of the 1980s reflected optimism, Gold Chains 2002's album, Straight From Your Radio, and 2003's Young Miss America reflect the cynicism of instant-gratification culture in its twilight years. Tracks like "I Treat Your Coochie Like a Maze," "Mountains of Coke," "Much Currency Flows," and "Code Red" are hilarious in that Chains' deadpan, hoarse-throated dancehall rap delivery--backed by polished IDM, hiphop, and electro beats--bounces back and forth between moronic goofiness and enough Top 40 savvy to give 50 Cent a run for his own currency.
As intriguing as some of Gold Chains' tracks are, though, they probably won't be sitting in rotation in my CD book forever--unlike that old Beastie Boys album--and I recommend the live experience as probably your best bet for catching the performer in his moment. Onstage, he is flanked by two scantily clad women who assist him in his laptop-MC spectacle, one that's fueled both by hiphop's bling-bling confidence and punk rock's curt bitterness. So, like, I'll be by to pick you up at about 9 pm in the white B2000 with tinted windows and pink ground FX. NICOLAE WHITE
Gold Chains w/Panther and Module vs. Capitalist Punishment vs. Scratch Master Joe, Tues July 8 at Chop Suey, 1325 E Madison St, 324-8000, 9 pm-2 am, 21+, $8.