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Last year's How I Learned to Stop Worrying, the debut from The Bigger Lovers (pictured above), had savvy music fans thinking of two other pop outfits before cracking open the jewel box: The album's title was used in 1997 by Midwesterners The Beatifics (who in turn, no doubt, borrowed it from the subtitle of Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove), and the name of this Philly-based band looks like a typographical snafu involving one of pop's all-time classic albums, Big Star's Sister Lovers. That's fitting, because there are plenty of aural allusions to Big Star on both How I Learned and The Bigger Lover's brand new disc, Honey in the Hive, along with nods to The Raspberries, The Kinks, The Zombies, and dozens of others from the pure-pop roll call. On their debut, the quartet excelled at catchy, cannily conceived two-minute pop gems (check out the album-opening pair of "Catch & Release" and "I'm Here"), while their sophomore effort finds them stretching out with arrangements and harmonies that are even more sophisticated. They serve up some memorable lines too, such as "Sometimes the bile makes it easier to live" (which has got to be the bumper sticker on either Elvis Costello's or Graham Parker's Saab). The Bigger Lovers' CD release show is Thursday, Sept. 12, at Kings in Raleigh. They'll be joined by the Triangle's own melody all-stars (and Yep Roc label mates) Mayflies USA. --Rick Cornell

DiamondDiamondDiamondCrossing 54 cities in four months, Tourbaby is a group effort enlisting independent musicians nationwide, with each show bringing together local indie artists from that area. The tour is the concept of online independent record store CD Baby, which caters to DIY artists. The Skylight Exchange in Chapel Hill will host a Tourbaby event featuring bluegrass/old-time duo Jan Johansson and Rick Brockner, The Howling Brothers (Rick Brockner and John Knapp), African-American musical poet and acoustic folk artist Narissa Bond, blues practitioner Dr. Oakroot (who switches off between guitar and a cumbus, a Turkish banjo-like instrument) and eclectic singer-songwriter/activist Dawn Humphery. Support local independent music this Tuesday, Sept. 17, 8 p.m., at The Skylight Exchange in Chapel Hill. For details call 933-5550. --Angie Carlson

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