Most of the media hubbub about the so-called Australian Invasion has focused on the Vines' gormless man-child Craig Nicholls and Jet's sunken-cheeked screamer Nic Cester, but Luke Steele of the Sleepy Jackson seems destined to outlast both of those preening garage-rock sluts. The Perth-based singer-guitarist and his rotating cast of collaborators make music with a wide-open sense of possibility that sometimes gives way to overweening ambition. The Sleepies established themselves with a trio of import EPs that began with 2002's Let Your Love Be Love, but last year's full-length Lovers (Astralwerks) really put the band's gifts on display. Its 13 tracks pinball between languid alt-country, power pop, gauzy psychedelia, classic college rock, quirky electronica, and beautiful noise. Although Steele has a reputation as a sunshine peddler, he's fond of dark, oddball themes: he's currently writing a screenplay about a heroin addict possessed by accordion-playing demons, and on cuts like "Vampire Racecourse" and "Fill Me With Apples" he stalks the same haunted turf as countryman Nick Cave. Because of the constantly changing membership, the band's shows can be hit-or-miss, but this lineup played a fuse-blowing showcase last month at South by Southwest. Centro-Matic singer Will Johnson opens, followed by On the Speakers, the new project from former Creeper Lagoon leader Ian Sefchick. 18 and over. Tuesday, April 13, 9 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport; 773-525-2508.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Frank Swider.