Hopefully you’re not the “guilt by association” type, otherwise California singer-songwriter Richard Swift—who was just in Tinley Park opening for blah-rockers The Fray and who’s spent time as keyboardist for contemporary Christian band Starflyer 59—may already be dead to you. Sure, Swift may dabble in the sort of MOR pop that leads to such patently uncool gigs, but his records also display the sort of meticulous detail and studio wizardry one expects from obsessive, sleep-deprived and possibly deranged artists (who are patently cool). His latest, “The Atlantic Ocean,” is an ambiguous, genre-bending affair with elements of honky-tonk, soft rock and seventies AM radio, slightly hindered by Swift’s inability to create a persona other than “wickedly talented musician,” which can only take you so far. “Atlantic Ocean” may suffer from a lack of identity, but it’s still an enjoyable and impressive record, if only because of how utterly precise and crisp every damn note sounds. (Andy Seifert)
July 5 at Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, (773)525-2508, at 9pm. $10-$12.