Blair, Pluto (Independent)

Somewhere between Conor Oberst’s scratchy narratives and Cat Power’s soulful grace, you’ll find New Orleans’ Blair. It’s no wonder that she opened for both acts when they breezed through New Orleans recently. They are a direct influence on Blair’s pop-folk sound and heartfelt lyrics. These elements are what make her new EP, Pluto, a joy for the listener. She sounds more like a seasoned veteran than a 23-year-old on the verge of releasing her sophomore effort. Each of the four tracks brings a different sound and mood, yet they all complement each other. “Half Moon” begins with Blair strumming and singing with urgency. After about a minute, a steady backbeat enters which leads to a Flaming Lips-esque synthesizer jam out. Then Blair returns with folk-rock based progression and proclaims, “But in the bar / the place stays dark / hear’em howl / hear ’em bark / at the half moon.” Moments like these are what make Pluto sound so fresh.