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Although they started out more than a decade ago as a capable, Pixies-like guitar band, Spoon didn't get good until 2001's Girls Can Tell, where they added piano and traded some grit for hooks. They didn't get great until 2005's near-perfect Gimme Fiction, which bent 70s-ish pop melodies to fit the melancholy avant-garde aesthetic of front man and mastermind Britt Daniel, scattering bursts of noise and ragged crooning over mechanical beats and swooning pianos. Their kick-ass new Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga (Merge) ups both the experimental and pop tendencies. The abstract "The Ghost of You Lingers"--just vocals and a fast staccato piano line that recalls either house or classical music, depending on which angle you're coming at it from--somehow sits comfortably next to the horn-enhanced retro stomper "You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb." It's like Daniel couldn't decide whether he wanted to be Brian Eno or Billy Joel and figured he'd just do both. The result of his artistic bipolarity is more than merely interesting--it's utterly compelling and catchy. Chin Up Chin Up opens. a 11 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, 773-525-2508, sold out. -- Miles Raymer

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