Long Winters, Bigger Lovers | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Long Winters, Bigger Lovers 

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A career in power pop isn't for the fainthearted. The subgenre's biggest names have been cranky cult stars (Alex Chilton, Dwight Twilley) and major-label also-rans (Jellyfish, the Posies), and when you consider the tragic fates of Chris Bell and Badfinger, plain old obscurity starts to look pretty good. But such dreary prospects haven't discouraged Philadelphia's Bigger Lovers, whose singer-songwriters, Brett Tobias and Scott Jefferson, come on like two Tommy Keenes hot-rodding the Big Star sound with plenty of sugary psych and mod muscle. The Lovers started taking their lumps early: their 1999 debut, How I Learned to Stop Worrying, sat unreleased for two years after the North Carolina-based label Mood Food went bust. A more solvent NC indie, Yep Roc, has put out their last two textbooks in popcraft, Honey in the Hive and This Affair Never Happened...and Here Are Eleven Songs About It. Long Winters front man John Roderick is a minor legend in the Pacific northwest for his elegantly quirky but ill-fated mid-90s combo, Western State Hurricanes. Last year his current band put out When I Pretend to Fall (Barsuk), a witty, acerbic indie-rock collection featuring an expanded roster of guest stars including members of the Posies, R.E.M., Built to Spill, and Death Cab for Cutie, as well as Roderick's longtime musical foil Sean Nelson, sometime singer for 90s one-hitters Harvey Danger. Nelson recently left the Winters' touring lineup to rejoin his Danger mates, so it's a newly stripped-down three-piece that will take the stage here. The Pernice Brothers headline. Saturday, April 3, 10 PM, Double Door, 1572 N. Milwaukee; 773-489-3160 or 312-559-1212.

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