An Evening At the Feelies  
Artist: Bumblepuppy  
Label: Bulletproof Records 
It's a shame about the name because I have a feeling it's going to keep this band's mood masterpiece in the underground.  I only heard the album by accident, having ignored it the few times I'd seen it (I thought it was children's music).  Turns out the name comes from a novel the band members are all fond of (Brave New World), but that doesn't help much. 

Anyway, the music is superbly moody modern rock, approaching brilliance at times as it shines a light down the same dark pathways as Radiohead, the Verve, Bloomsday, even the Choir.  Listening to this on headphones, I often felt as though I had entered another universe.  A place of lush melody and emotion, warm guitars, quietly throbbing bass, and an atmosphere that's alive!  There is much variety in the vocals--way back in the mix, "normal," distorted, soft-spoken, get it. 

Interesting song titles ("Nancy Meets Nostradamus," "The Insane Protagonist," "My Supercountry") and lyrics reflect the band's interest in literature and take some effort to interpret (but they still sound cool even to people like me who can't figure them out).  Here's an easy excerpt, though:   

    As free form as she always wasn't 
    She took this as defeat 
    But in her mind's eye she saw him hanging 
    Suspended by his feet 
    Broken and bloodied by the tireless room 
    Water flowed from his side 
    She lurched and she shook under his steady gaze 
    Her heart washed in the tide 
    (from "Dead Room") 
(I apologize to the band for probably ruining the meaning by taking them out of the song's context) 
The last track, "Time Must Have a Stop," is from the viewpoint of a man dying in a hospital bed.  It's a heartbreaker.  Melancholy vocals, sad piano background, heartbeat and moniter sounds, and a breathing machine work together to produce one of the most moving songs I've heard.  Tears, man. 
Don't let the name Bumblepuppy scare you away because this is powerful stuff. 

By Josh Spencer