Liz Torres

Gaga never did this. Madonna looks sad even trying, orbiting around hashtag-EDM pretty boys and trying to stoke tired controversies to recapture her heat. No, they broke the mold when they made Liz Torres, a Chicago icon that captured the underground and kept it in her pocket when she vaulted into a major label career. She became a diva among the club kids, an icon in the gay scene and could still count the guys back home as her biggest supporters. She never lost touch: no matter how over the top the costumes or flamboyant the records (“Payback is a Bitch” on Jive comes to mind), you had the sense that Liz is still one of us.

It’s been twenty-six years since Master C&J released “Face It” (you can check out my interview in 5 Magazine last July with Carl Bias, the “C” in “C&J”, for more on the early days of this incredibly underrated band), and what you’re getting here isn’t a rehash, a snaggletoothed collection of “2013 remixes”, but new material and subjectively the best to carry Liz Torres’ name across a decade that was largely silent. Liz’s personality was always bigger than her songs, but here they’re evenly matched.

“Your Love Is All I Need” dropped in late April on vinyl from Luxor. The original sounded tinny & sparse on previews, but the real deal is lusher than expected, carried by a throwback Spanish voiceover and a cute, circus-style key riff. But the remixes make it. Dennis Kane of Disques Sinthomme starts off with what sounds like a Dick Dale & The Del-Tones surf guitar intro and flows into a track with a fat bass and classic ’80s sound (think Surface). Toby Tobias adorns the fat groove with the squelchy sound of acid, and the Dub mix – that’s where it’s at. Postively MK-ish.

There was a point in my life when I didn’t know what charisma meant. Then I saw Liz Torres. Welcome back.