The Starlight Mints would be doomed to a lifetime of Flaming Lips comparisons even if they weren’t from Oklahoma. On their debut, The Dream That Stuff Was Made Of (recorded in 1997 and ’98 but only recently released, on Seethru Broadcasting), producer Dave Sardy and members Allan Vest and Andy Nunez construct an elaborate sonic diorama of bouncy walloping drums, ornate strings, squishy electronics, bent guitar notes, and other unidentified musical objects. Vest sings like a less hysterical Black Francis, the quivery guitar sound on “Blinded by You” is swiped from David Bowie’s “Ashes to Ashes,” and the Kinks and Beatles are also prominent influences, but the ultracatchy melodies and consistently surprising production usually add up to more than simple idol emulation. I’m not sure how the band intends to approximate its studio trickery live–though Vest, Nunez, and keyboardist Marian Love Nunez have been joined by bassist Javier Gonzales and guitarist Matt Goad since the recordings were made–but the hooks won’t suffer much even if the performance lacks some of the album’s polish. The Mints play first on a bill with the Race and Enon. Sunday, 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western; 773-276-3600. PETER MARGASAK
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Abilgail Simon.