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Arkansas Indie Coming To The Windy City

By Sarah Cobarrubias in Arts & Entertainment on Jul 23, 2010 3:20PM

JD Paul of Messy Sparkles, Image via Messy Sparkles’ MySpace
Memphis Pencils and Messy Sparkles are serving Chicago a double helping of dreamy progressive pop next week. Both based in Fayetteville, AR, these two acts are touring the states this summer and will be making a stop at Silvie’s Lounge August 1. Chances are you've never even heard of these guys, unless you happen to frequent the underground Fayetteville venues and house shows they usually play. But that's just all the more reason to check them out.

These two acts are closely knit; aside from living in the same small town, JD Paul, the driving force behind solo project Messy Sparkles, also plays the floor tom for Memphis Pencils. But they each manage to maintain their own distinct sounds. Memphis Pencils takes a drowsier, more psychedelic approach to their chamber pop with swirling melodies, a twinkling glockenspiel and all the ethereal ooh-ooh-oohing they can fit in the background. And Messy Sparkles have a more dynamic and electronic sound, surging out trippy synth blips and tribal chanting over pulsating beats.

These are two bands more accustomed to playing tiny, discreet venues like local dive bars and random basement shows, and maybe that’s why their sounds each possess a warm, intimate quality. But, whether they like it or not, these up-and-comers have been garnering attention lately. For example, Memphis Pencils were recently named one of the "Best New Bands In America" by The Boston Phoenix, and Messy Sparkles was called “brilliant” by Brad Hargreaves of Third Eye Blind. We suggest checking them out at Silvie's cozy lounge before the word gets out and they start playing massive summer festivals or venues with actual stages.

Memphis Pencils and Messy Sparkles play Sunday, August 1 at Silvie’s, 1902 W Irving Park, 9 p.m., $5, 21+