There aren't enough superlatives to describe "What I'm Doing Here." Just listen to it.
Apparently the band has been making waves. This was the first time I'd heard them, but it won't be the last.
Winterpills follows with a cover of Sharon Van Etten's "One Day." The song is in sharp contrast with "What I'm Doing Here." It's understated and ethereal. Not to mention lovely and a bit haunting.
Gears shift again with "Wichita" by The Pine Hill Projects. Pun intended; there are driving references in this song. This is stripped down country with an Americana flavor. The vocals are just right. The duo has been making music together for 25 years, and you can tell. Everything about this song works.
Chris Smither follows with the heartbreaking "Another Way to Find You." Slide guitar, harmonica, and those devastating vocals — this is blues at its finest.
In "That's Why I'm Walkin'," Eilen Jewell will delight fans of classic country. It's not my favorite, but I understand why it might be yours. This is quality.
And then there's Barnstar! About two bars into "Darling," I heard myself say, "Mmm." Seriously. Out loud.
The vocals go straight to the soul. They are rare and fine. The harmonies are used sparsely and well. And the banjo sets them off perfectly.
As if that weren't enough, Parsonsfield follows with "Let the Mermaids Flirt With Me." This song is pure fun, and the irony-tinged vocals are the perfect interpretation for them.
Tiny guitar and drum solos work and an undeniably perky beat add to this song's charm.
And the Kids end the album with "Devastation Celebration," another abrupt change in mood. The band "plays what they call accessible unconscious existential indie glitter popsicle crisis music."
This may just be the new female power rock. The vocals are strong without trying to be "soaring." I'm not sure one song is enough to make a decision about how much I'll be listening to And the Kids, but they have my attention.