Hot Chip cooks up newer versions of electronic faves

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Entertainment,Music,Nancy Dunham

Hot Chip may still be touring behind "In Our Heads," but the group has more than a few new musical tricks up its sleeve.

The U.K.-based electronic ensemble has been using its recent tour that has stops in Buenos Aeries, New Orleans and dozens of other places to share newer versions of its music from the latest album and throughout the band's catalog.

"We know each other so well, we have played together so long, that playing together is second nature," said frontman Alexis Taylor. "It's intuitive, but we never all get into a comfort zone; we always make changes [in the songs] each time we play."

Perhaps that's because the five band members -- Taylor, Joe Goddard, Felix Martin, Al Doyle and Owen Clarke -- write and perform songs that reflect the members' lives. In this case, those songs are about joy that develops as a result of rich relationships and familial roots. They also feed their muses with a host of side projects that feed them creatively.

Onstage
Hot Chip with Crystal Ark
» Where: 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW
» When: 7 p.m. Wednesday
» Info: Sold out, though tickets may still be available through resellers; 877-987-6487; 930.com

"We are reaching to different parts of the songs," said Taylor. "There's always something new in the way we put the songs together."

Audience members shouldn't be surprised if the band introduces a brand-new song or two, as well. While many musicians only dabble in writing when they're on long tours, the members of Hot Chip continually spend hours on the road writing and demoing new songs.

"I am working on something right now here in the hotel room," said Taylor. "We are always writing a lot. When we were back in London on break for a month, we were really, really productive. But we are always productive. It's just when we're on tour it's a bit more difficult to focus. But we make it work."

In a major way. Consider the lyrics Taylor included in the song "Night and Day," from the band's latest album. As the band's publicists said, somewhere between the fizzing percussion and the addictive bass line, a voice intones, "I like Zapp not Zappa."

Taylor said he wrote the words in response to some "ill-informed" requests he fielded during his DJ gigs. But the words also sum up the way the bandmates approach their music -- simple, direct and playful, but unburdened by fuss and bother.

"We just see touring as an opportunity to play new music for our fans," he said. "It can be from [the most recent] record or a different one. It lets us reconnect with those songs and our fans."

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