Head of Femur_lowres


Hysterical Stars (spinART), the second album from the Chicago octet led by Nebraskan transplants Mike Elsener, Ben Armstrong and Matt Focht (the latter also a member of Bright Eyes), shows a band with many influences. The expansive sound and musical palette has been likened to Brian Wilson's lush Beach Boys productions, but Apples in Stereo and the Elephant 6 collective bands are probably a better reference. As eccentric as Wilson can be, ultimately his sensibility is traditional, including his love of a simple melody and a lovely song. As indie post-modernists, Head of Femur's relationship to beauty and traditional pop is more complicated. The members are obviously drawn to the textural and melodic richness that horns and strings make possible, but the scrubby indie-guitar sound and XTC-like angular rhythms keep anything too pretty from happening. Beauty, it seems, is something suspicious to approach warily, so attractive musical ideas emerge then quickly disappear like waves. Tickets $9.

10 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 21

TwiRoPa (Tchops Room), 1544 Tchoupitoulas St., 232-9503; www.twiropa.com