Perhaps no one recording today has a more eclectic take on pop music than Air Miami singer/guitarist Mark Robinson. His previous band Unrest started out in 1987 as a punk band, yet their odd selection of covers (“21st Century Schizoid Man”) and steadfast refusal to adhere to the genre’s musical strictures put them on the fringes of both punk and alternative rock. Expressing Robinson’s indiscriminate obsession with pop culture and his willingness to try anything, their earliest records were bewildering stylistic grab bags of distorted guitar rock, uneven funk, heart-stoppingly beautiful pop, and more. That band reached its apex with Imperial, which combined softer, more ethereal playing with avant-garde experimentation. When they broke up two years ago, Robinson and former Unrest bassist Bridget Cross formed Air Miami, which basically picks up where the old band left off. Their recently released debut LP, Me. Me. Me. (4 AD), opens with the aggressive guitar workout “I Hate Milk,” featuring the mantralike chorus “Please, please, someone kill me soon.” “World Cup Fever” is a seemingly earnest stab at mechanized Eurodisco, while “Sweet As a Candybar” sounds like a collaboration between Kraftwerk and the B-52’s. But the core of Me. Me. Me. consists of shimmering pop incantations full of dreamy introspection, gentle melodies, and sunny mid-60s harmonizing. Songs like “Special Angel,” “Afternoon Train,” and “The Event Horizon” may not break any new musical ground, but they update a stylistic tradition that includes the Flamingos, the Searchers, and the Beach Boys. Opening for Throwing Muses. Friday, 11:30 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark; 549-0203.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Pat Graham.