Delta Spirit

Delta Spirit's Matt Vasquez was the wild card on last year's Middle Brother LP, the singer/songwriter project with Dawes traditionalist Taylor Goldsmith and Deer Tick wildman John McCauley. The transitional third record by Vasquez's main band pushes their roots-minded songs into bed with electronic toys, where they assume nifty positions: the invisible chorus of "California," the magnified vocal tics on "Tellin' The Mind," which connect Little Richard and Rahzel. The synthetic colors can seem superfluous, nodding to an indie-rock era where textural novelty often trumps songcraft. But on a track like "Yamaha," a falsetto-and-drone-draped confessional to Vasquez's wife, his band proves it can nail both.

Listen to "California":
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Photos: Random Notes