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Hoppy pops anything but blackhearted

Local Band: Blue Skies for Black Hearts

Somewhere along the line, 'college rock' (like the tightly-crafted-but-too-smart-to-be-on-mainstream-radio early work of artists like R.E.M. and Elvis Costello) gave way to lackadaisical, off-the-cuff and intentionally amateur 'indie rock.' Thankfully, indie music seems to be placing a premium on strong songwriting and musicianship once again, and local band Blue Skies for Black Hearts is a fine example of that trend.

On its latest album, 'Turn the Light Out,' the group delivers 11 infectiously noisy pop songs, where perfect melodies are balanced by bratty vocals and beautiful harmonies are countered with skronky guitars. 'Can't Fall in Love,' 'Eyes Always Tell the Truth' and 'Your Hair Changes' are irresistibly catchy - instantly memorable songs that will have you bouncing up and down and bobbing along before you realize it.

There are traces of Costello and Big Star mixed in with Pavement and Archers of Loaf - classically great pop songs with rough and tumble edges and big hearts. If there's any justice, Blue Skies for Black Hearts will find nothing but blue skies ahead of them.

- Barbara Mitchell

9:30 p.m. FRIDAY, June 16, Ash Street, 225 S.W. Ash St., 503-226-0430, $5