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New Band Alert: Weinland

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If I had a buck for every lo-fi, folksy, beard-rock band that came across my desk, I could probably buy myself something pretty fancy (SmartCar? Combination muffin-toaster/egg-poacher?). Sometimes, however, one rises above the fray, and Portland’s Weinland has me in a happy, albeit strenuously mellow, haze today.

Think all the usual reference points: Neil Young, Elliott Smith, M. Ward, Iron & Wine (especially in the vocals), perhaps a stripped-down version of the perenially blog-ular Fleet Foxes. It’s been done before, of course; what hasn’t? But amidst all the hushed vocals and pretty, vaguely countrified acoustic strum on display here, there are true, gripping melodies—ones that stand up to repeated listening.

The new record, Breaks In the Sun (on Badman, also home to My Morning Jacket), isn’t out until April 21st, but in the meantime, you can stream “Sick as a Gun” and “The Devil in Me” on MySpace, or watch this YouTube video from last year’s locally acclaimed La Lamentor, and tell me what you think: