Three New CDs in Three Paragraphs

Pinback - Blue Screen Life

Pinback is a very decent emo/indie band. At times Blue Screen Life reminded me of Death Cab for Cutie and at other times it leaned too far on the emo side for my liking. But I did enjoy this considerably. The vocal hooks evoke the emo, but they somehow manage to sound more mature, and more credible, than their peers. The guitar work evokes the indie, reminding me sometimes of Built to Spill. The major problem is that it is far too easy to gloss over the lyrics. The album is audibly pretty, and we are satisfied just hearing words and phrases, rather than entire poems. This didn't detract too much from the overall work, and I would recommend checking out Pinback, especially if you are need of some good emo, or if you've ever been a Death Cab fan. If you get Blue Screen Life skip to XIY and West before hearing the entire album.

Iron and Wine - Our Endless Numbered Days

Iron and Wine is Sam Beam from Miami, Florida. He writes country-tinged ballads that feature stunning and beautiful acoustic and slide guitar work and his deep, smooth voice. The words are similarly beautiful and deep, even if they don't blow you away. One song, however, worked its way into my heart. On Naked As We Came, Beam ponders death in the context of love:
"she says, 'if I leave before you, darling/ don't you waste me in the ground'... one of us will die inside these arms/ eyes wide open, naked as we came/ one will spread our ashes around the yard"
It is a simple, short, and sweet song that will either make you smile or cry. Our Endless Numbered Days is simply irresistible. There is nothing else to say, except for "get it now!"

The Most Serene Republic - Underwater Cinematographer

This otherworldly indie act from Canada's Arts and Crafts label, which is also home to the indie collective Broken Social Scene and the beautiful Feist, has a smooth inside and rough edges. Like with Pinback, the lyrics are too easy to gloss over, though to a lesser extent, but the music is so addictively cute that it doesn't really matter. If concise pop songs with clear endings and beginnings are your thing, steer clear of this. Some of these tunes seem like montages of three or four distinct songs while three or four other tunes on the disc blend into each other without any clear separation between them. The whole disc, in fact, makes more sense as a whole than it does divided into separate parts. Track 1 is called Prologue, and sounds the part, while the closing track is called Epilogue. The tracks in the middle are titled as if they are chapters in a story. Oh, and the music, like I've already hinted at, is so much fun! This is the epitome of great, nerdy indie rock.

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