16 December 2008

LAST NIGHT: love is all & the crystal stilts

Love is All with the Crystal Stilts and Bird Names at the Empty Bottle, Chicago, IL (December 14, 2008)

I'll admit that it had been a while since I had last listened to Love Is All. But their new album A Hundred Things Keep Me Up at Night, released last month on What's Your Rupture, is the same spastic pop music that made them early favorites of the Swedish pop scene. The funny thing was, until they reminded me last night that they hailed from Gothenburg, I had almost forgotten they were Swedish. So sharply different from the pop that has come out of Gothenburg in the last few years, Love is All seems less polished and less sincere than the rest of the Swedish pop I love and more a part of the What's Your Rupture scene.

Nonetheless, Love Is All played one of the best shows I had seen in a while, certainly reminding me why the world fell in love with them in the first place. Full of energy and completely enjoyable, the band played songs from both albums, a new song and an enjoyable cover of "I Ran" by Flock of Seagulls. I had forgotten what a great touch the saxophone is in the band, and how delightfully spastic pop music could be when it wants.

Love is All - Wishing Well

A favorite of mine for the past few months, Crystal Stilts, provided support. Having seen them open for the Vivian Girls early in the summer, tonight they sounded even better than last time–a little less fuzzed out, rooted more in the dark dream pop of yesteryear, I couldn't shake some Joy Division comparisons tonight. I still can't understand the singer at all, but for me that's part of the charm of such moody pop music. Their new album, Alight of Night, out now on Slumberland, is pretty great, too.

Crystal Stilts - Prismatic Room

Local favorites Bird Names opened the show. I know people who follow this band all over the city, so I was glad to see their slightly off-kilter pop with loud guitars and lots of percussion.

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