James Curd, one of the swing style's originators, is the Conor Oberst of the Chicago house scene. He's 24 and has been DJing professionally for nearly a decade, sneaking into clubs with a record box, yadda yadda yadda. But Curd is the yang to Oberst's yin. Where the latter harnesses angst, Curd trades in joy.
Curd's also in a poppy house band called Greens Keepers, whose latest album, Pleetch, just came out. The record merges 4 a.m. house with electro and rock; some of it's heavenly, some godawful. Whenever a male voice pops out, terribleness ensues. "Man in the House" sounds like a bad Thomas Dolby track, and "Sailing," the Christopher Cross song, is too gruesome for words. But elsewhere the album's a blast; tracks move from electro-pop to Devo dance to sensual booty tracks.
All of this bodes well for Curd's DJ set in the main room of the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, a great space where sound bounces from wall to glorious wall, and the ambiance alone is worth the price of admission. OK, maybe not. The tickets start at a steep $25, but that pays for valet parking, a free drink and tickets to an afterparty. It should be a high-class blast, complete with an art auction (see page 28 for more on the event).
Show at 9 p.m. Tickets are $25-$35; call 314-535-4660 for more information.