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Adventures in Stereo

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This show is the hometown stop on a Baltimore-to-LA package tour for Bobsled Records, the discerning indie-pop label launched two years ago by Aurora native Bob Salerno. The label's first CD release was Alternative Stereo Sounds by Scottish chamber-pop confectioners Adventures in Stereo, and Salerno has followed up with great records by Stereo Total, the Chamber Strings, Velvet Crush, and the Waxwings. Monomania, the latest Adventures in Stereo full-length, once again confirms Salerno's ear for substance over style. In the two years since the band's last record, manicured homages to Phil Spector and Brian Wilson have worn out their welcome, but writer, arranger, and producer Jim Beattie delivers a fine new collection of tunes, moving past the earlier record's occasionally fussy arrangements to create relaxed, airy backdrops for singer Judith Boyle's celestial alto. This is the quintet's first North American tour. The Chamber Strings, who precede them on the bill, are completing their second album, Month of Sundays (due out this winter), and judging from the new songs previewed at a recent show, it's more assured and adventurous in its loungelike rhythms and elegant chord changes. First up are the Waxwings, a pet project of Salerno's: fronted by Dean Fertita, whom the label owner met in a Detroit record store, this nerdy, talented quartet embrace the clanging Rickenbackers and opalescent vocals of the Byrds, the Zombies, and the psychedelic Who. Early bookings in town showed them struggling to pull together Fertita's superb set of songs, but they've since improved, buoyed in particular by singer-guitarist Dominic Romano, and are finding a tougher live sound. Friday, 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, Chicago; 773-276-3600.

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