If Looper's Stuart David weren't the bassist for Glasgow indie faves Belle and Sebastian, his new Up a Tree (Sub Pop) would probably be dismissed as little more than a nice oddity, but here he is on a U.S. tour that brings him to town for not one but two gigs. Certainly there's something endearing about his conversational Glaswegian brogue on "A Space Boy Dream," from B&S's most recent album, The Boy With the Arab Strap, and his homespun, half-sung vocals fare pretty well over the length of an album. His slight songs tend to come in three varieties: gently spoken, whimsical storytelling with musical accompaniment ("Impossible Things #2," "Festival '95"), fragile pop ditties ("Burning Flies," "Up a Tree Again"), and sample-laden melodic sketches ("Ballad of Ray Suzuki"). The music is a loose collage of simple drum-machine rhythms and electric- piano arpeggios, strummed guitar, rudimentary turntable scratching, and three- and four-note harmonica motifs, all strung together by lithe bass lines. According to the album credits, Looper is fleshed out by visual artist Karn David (Stuart's wife) and photographer Ronnie Black (Stuart's brother), but they primarily contribute visual images to the live shows. Euphone opens both nights. Thursday, July 15, 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western; 773-276-3600. Next Friday, July 16, 8 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport; 773-525-2508. PETER MARGASAK
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Ronnie Black.