The Whispertown 2000 

Swim

The Whispertown 2000 has a lot of hype behind it. For starters, it's the first band signed to Gillian Welch and David Rawlings' Acony Records (that aren't Welch and Rawlings). That's saying something. Then there are the unqualified props that Jenny Lewis has sent their way, and Thom Monahan produced the album. OK, well, are you ready? This is the best album of the year. Waaaaahhhhh yyaaaaaaah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Holy guacamole! Morgan Nagler writes killer folkie-rockin' tunes, and she's backed by drummer Vanesa Corbala and brothers Tod Adrian Wisenbaker (on guitar and kitchen sink) and Casey Wisenbaker (who rocks everything else). It's great when a band can switch up instruments from song to song, and Welch and Lewis sing here and there as well.

Believe me, I tried it all: I put it on iTunes in the random mix, I rocked it in the car, I played it at home, at work, slipped it onto my wife's iPod for jogging. Each time the songs bite me in the ass (and yep, my wife likes it too!); they're just a little bit retro, with classic songwriting and completely tasteful, fierce guitar playing. Just like with Welch and Rawlings, the band is just grainy enough — not even a hint of the über-gloss Nonesuch/Emmylou Harris/Alison Krauss-effect.

I haven't been this excited about a new band in a bloody long time. It gives me hope. (Acony Records)

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