Brass Bed, Midnight Matinee (Independent)

If you were told that Lafayette’s Brass Bed mixed country, psychedelia, and pop-rock classicism, you might get one impression of them. But a listen to their second full-length disc reveals that the country is Wilco’s, the psych Flaming Lips’ or Mercury Rev’s, and the classicism straight out of the Strokes camp. Which makes them thoroughly modern, most assuredly heartbroken, and disarmingly fresh for a bunch of sensitive whiners. As those cultural touchstones might indicate, they’ve pulled off the unique trick of sounding breezy, tragic, and accessible all at once.

These dozen tracks will leave you playing Spot the Dork-Rock Reference—are those weird, short linking tracks Pet Sounds or Deserter’s Songs?—but the real fascination lies in whatever emotion lead vocalist Christiaan Mader is trying to get across amidst all the four-chord glory. The denizens of the bubbleworld he creates on “Olivia” (the hit, if they want it) may be inscrutable, but fascinatingly so, like a love note found scribbled on someone else’s bar napkin, even more so when Brass Bed starts to rock out near the end of their song cycle. Only time will tell if this fivesome are more than just a car crash of influences, but for, say, Elephant 6 collectivists, the damage sure is pretty.