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Blind Pilot
Self-titled (EP)
Expunged Records
9/10

The boys from Portland are back at it again. Fresh off a nationwide tour, the duo of Israel Nebeker and Ryan Dobrowski have cut a five single EP, titled naturally enough, Blind Pilot and…it is awesome. Not slang-word awesome, or generically awesome, but truly powerful. Featuring the usual blend of staccato drums and soulful lyrics; at first glance it’s par for the course for the band. But par for the course for these guys is very different from your everyday, mellow Pacific Northwest troubadours, and it shows time and time again in their re-mastered iTunes session.

Take for instance, “Look at Miss Ohio”, a wispy mix of guitar, xylophone and really good mixing that is equal parts wispy and telling. Evoking a cross between early 60’s Simon and Garfunkel and Up era R.E.M., with lyrics like ‘have your arm around her shoulder/a regimental soldier’, this isn’t exactly Top 40 stuff. Imagine if Springsteen had cut his teeth in the Café Wha instead of large stadiums and you get the idea.

At the other extreme is “The Story I Heard”, a catchy upbeat tune owing more to Coldplay and David Gray than, say, the Decembrists. Mix with a little horn and free verse and you got a thunderous cocktail of a record that is equal parts sensuality and thunderous introspection. Price unknown. For more information, please visit Expunged Records or Blind Pilot’s website .

-Jack Winn