Airiel | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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You already know what these locals sound like, whether you realize it or not. As dedicated conservators of shoegaze rock, they've internalized the genre's defining tropes: the quaking, washed-out guitars; the blisscent vocals; the six-and-a-half-minute songs. Formed in Bloomington in 1997 by guitarist and singer Jeremy Wrenn, in 2003 and 2004 the band released a series of four EPs, collectively called Winks & Kisses, on Clairecords, home to many young shoegaze devotees. In 2005 Airiel contributed a cover of Swervedriver's "Blowin' Cool" to a shoegaze comp assembled by London music promoter Club AC30, and the band's self-titled EP from that same year (on Wrenn's own imprint, Sonic Baby) is a faithful paean to the UK-based genre's other staples--Ride, Pale Saints, Slowdive, My Bloody Valentine. These guys stare holes into their wing tips all the way through "500 Deep" and "Kiss Me Sadly," and I wanna feel those wicked Death by Audio boutique fuzz pedals tickle my arm hairs in person. Airiel has a full-length coming out this spring on the local label Highwheel Records, run by members of Walking Bicycles, and tonight's concert is a Highwheel showcase. Walking Bicycles and Arks (fronted by comics artist Paul Hornschemeier) open. a 9:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401. F

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