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Green Velvet

In true space-age, dance-music-weirdness style, Green Velvet was birthed as the alter ego of an alter ego: that of Cajmere, AKA Curtis Alan Jones, a reigning house-music artist of the late '80s and early '90s. Cajmere was always a little more out there than the other disco dons of his hometown, Chicago. As a college student, he produced his first musical experiments with cheap drum machines and keyboards, and this irreverent, cobbled-together aesthetic remained on his more "serious" efforts. Cajmere's first big hit, "Coffeepot (It's Time for the Percolator)," in 1992, was tinny and hiccupping, almost ridiculous at first, but as jittery and addictive as the beverage produced by its namesake.

But a year later, the single "Brighter Days" eclipsed even that track's success. It was a classic Chicago house moment, all diva-driven pump-it-up vocals and relentless kick snare. For his real leftfield stuff, then, Jones turned to the Relief offshoot of his own label, Cajual. And sometime around 1993, Green Velvet landed, as unexpected and otherworldly as E.T. The neon-Mohawked renegade drew on a more electro-based, almost industrial-influenced sound that came out both sort of clinical and downright funky.

More recently, Green Velvet's fan base has experienced yet another growth spurt, thanks to kickstarts from electroclash a few years ago and from the ongoing boom of techno and electro-house sounds. Dance-floor denizens will instantly recognize the almost-annoying, infectious vocal taglines of robot rockers "La La Land" and "Shake and Pop." No excuses, then, for sitting down Saturday night, when Green Velvet headlines Poplife's eighth (!) anniversary party.

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