The Head and the Heart
Label: Sub Pop Records
The debut of Seattle's aptly named The Head and the Heart is stem-to-stern gauzy intellectualism: tunes about tending gardens, cities with French names, and sentimental relationships. Sure, there's a cute naïveté about the whole thing -- when singer Josiah Johnson starts dreaming of faraway places on "Down in the Valley" all he comes up with is "I know there's California, Oklahoma" -- but the sound is as comfortable as your favorite Pendleton, with lots of piano, boy-girl harmonies and warm acoustic guitars. The Etsy-ready aesthetic may be a bit bland, but it's still pleasant, if unassuming.