Laura Stevenson and the Cans evoke a cozy loneliness. It's the music you listen to when you pack up to leave after everything falls apart. It's music for rooftop stargazing when everyone is inside clinking cocktail glasses together. These tracks remind me of how the band Beirut can have so many horns and proclamations of love, but still be a more suitable soundtrack for drinking coffee in your kitchen on a rainy Sunday morning than for a party.
Stevenson has a remarkable, lilting voice. It somehow feels from another time or place, from someone untouched by the bubblegum omnipresence of Miley Cyrus or even the coolness of shoegaze rock bands. At the same time, A Record, doesn't shy away from weird ideas. "A Shine to It" is about selling blood to a hospital and the tracks "Landslide/Dig" and "Amphibians" are rambunctious enough to suggest that Stevenson has punk in her blood.
The album's production only bolsters Stevenson's angelic voice. It amplifies guitar, mandolin and violin so that you can hear the rich vibration from each pluck and strum. Likewise, the horns are enhanced to wonderful imperfection—played well but not without a tinny resonance here or there. Those elements give this recording an authentic flavor.
Laura Stevenson and the Cans play the Zootown Arts Community Center Tuesday, Sept. 14, at 8 PM, with Tyson Ballew, Joey Running Crane and Grant Gieger. $5.