Stomatopod, the Rutabega and Thoughts Detecting Machine at the Empty Bottle

On Sunday, Jan. 31, the Chicago trio Stomatapod headlined an early show at the Empty Bottle — yes, an actual early show at the Empty Bottle, believe it or not — and it turned out to be a strong lineup of three noteworthy bands.

Thoughts Detecting Machine

The first act of the night was Thoughts Detecting Machine — a one-man band starring Rick Valentin from the great Champaign rock group the Poster Children. For this project, Valentin plays guitar and sings along with loops and backing tracks, making appealing rock songs with an electronic pulse.

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The Rutabega

The Rutabega, a duo from South Bend, Ind., that calls its music “carp rock,” played second. The group lists Built to Spill as one of its influences, but I also heard a distinct nod to the early Who — in fact, it sounded like one song was about to morph into “Happy Jack.” I liked the Rutabega enough to buy their album at the merch table.

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Stomatopod (named after an order of crustaceans) is a grunge revival power trio — John Huston on guitar and vocals, Liz Bustamante on bass and Elliot Dicks on bass — slamming out hard-edged songs that occasionally reminded me of the Pixies.

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