|Kill HannahSleek, sexy, undeniably melodic, and thoroughly unique, it's ironic that Chicago rock quintet Kill Hannah got its start in a place called Normal.A native of Connecticut, singer/songwriter/guitarist Mat Devine moved to Chicago's North Shore suburbs during his senior year in high school. He proceeded to enroll at Illinois State University, where it turned out that he was a poor fit. Sitting in his dorm room, he felt alienated and bored in the rural farm community."Kill Hannah started in Normal as just me and a four-track," says Devine. "I didn't have any friends the first year, so I just worked on music. I was so elitist in a sense - I always felt like a loner - and I turned that restlessness into songs."One of these was a tune called "Kill Hannah" that was based on a brief but turbulent relationship. "It was the best song I'd ever written at the time," Devine says, "and I was really excited about it because it was the first time I heard something that was close to what would become the band's sound.Leaving Normal behind (in more ways than one), Devine relocated to Chicago in the mid-'90s and put together a full band. The group released a series of strong D.I.Y. recordings, including three EPs (Hummingbirds The Size Of Bullets, Stunt Pilots, Sleeping Like Electric Eels) and two albums (Here Are the Young Moderns, American Jet Set). Their following grew organically as the musicians converted one fan at a time, relentlessly spreading the word (they've long been a familiar sight handing out fliers all around Chicago, even standing on street corners in the rain and snow).The result is shows that regularly sell out, a Web site that gets over 10,000 hits a week (www.killhannah.com), and a dedicated fan base that includes some impressive cheerleaders. Said Smashing Pumpkins' Billy Corgan: "They may have a sexually ambiguous nature - like me. They may sing in a high nasal voice - like me. But unlike me, they are the future of Chicago rock."To record their major-label debut, the band chose producer Sean Beavan, whose list of credits includes work with Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson, No Doubt, and Slayer. The musicians had previously recorded a three-song demo with Beavan, and they appreciated how hard he drove them. "When we did that demo, I remember we had two days of pre-production, and after that we were a much better band than we'd ever been before," Devine says. "Each one of us grew through that."Now, all of the hard work and the years of hoping and dreaming are ready to pay off. But for Devine, the best thing about being in a band remains that feeling that he first experienced long ago, when he wrote the song that gave the group its name."Nothing is as entirely exciting or as satisfying as that feeling that you've just written a song that works," he says. "Those are the moments when I realize that there is no doubt at all that this is my favorite thing to do, and I know with 100 percent certainty that I'll always keep doing it.