Bobby Conn’s new King for a Day (Thrill Jockey) seems scattershot in its choice of subjects–Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, global warming, a filthy basement show where members of the band had their toes sucked by the crowd–but that’s just part of its sharply crafted artifice. After all, that lack of focus fits right in with the album’s overarching themes–solipsism and escapism. “The real world,” Conn says in the PR, “is getting increasingly grim.” That sentiment’s contained in the music, too: a candy shell of self-indulgent coke rock, sprinkled with strings, congas, glockenspiel, cooing backup vocals, and every other imaginable affectation, it surrounds a coal black core of self-delusion and despair. Conn deconstructs fantasy, projection, and celebrity and their effect on everything from international relations to sex with deftness and ease. He’s still coming off as just a little oily–either despite or because of the combination of 70s sleaze and elfin otherworldliness he’s working these days–and it makes his barbs all the more insinuating. Conn’s current band includes members of Cheer-Accident, the Detholz!, and Mahjongg; the CD of King for a Day includes three videos directed by Usama Alshaibi, and videos for the rest of the songs–which taken together form an album-length movie–will be posted monthly on YouTube and elsewhere. This is a release party. Bird Names open. a 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $12, $10 in advance.