Human Television, Bound Stems | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Human Television, Bound Stems

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On their first two EPs, 2003's Orange and 2004's All Songs Written By, HUMAN TELEVISION displayed enough frenetic, trip-and-be-trampled pop-hook zeal to run neck and neck with the Wedding Present circa George Best. Now the Philly-by-way-of-Florida quartet has rolled out their first full-length, Look at Who You're Talking To (Gigantic Music), and while the songs are as catchy and jangly as ever, they're also warmer and more diffuse. The tempos, driven by drummer (and Lilys member) Mario Lopez, have been pulled back a bit, bringing the songcraft of singer Billy Downing, whose sense of melody is one of the sharpest in indie pop, to the foreground more than ever before. On tunes like "Mars Red Rust" and "I Laughed" the band explores the sort of paisley spaces mapped out by the Rain Parade with all the soft melancholy of the Field Mice. --J. Niimi

After being courted by a number of larger labels, local collagists BOUND STEMS decided to stick with local indie Flameshovel to release their full-length debut, Appreciation Night, which comes out in September. The new songs are less freewheeling than the ones on the band's 2005 EP, The Logic of Building the Body Plan, but their uplifting, psych-tinged indie rock still resonates. --Bob Mehr

Human Television headlines, the Bound Stems play second, and Avagami opens. Sat 7/22, 10 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, 773-525-2508, 18+, $8.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Isaac Haglof.

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