Atlanta, Georgia, is a locus of some of the most interesting music coming out of the United States at the moment. It's known for its flourishing hip-hop as well as its experimental rock, so it's no surprise that an act like Listener would emerge from the place. Dan Smith and Christin Nelson write songs that borrow liberally from hip-hop while mixing in elements of eccentric left-field rock artists like They Might Be Giants and Robyn Hitchcock. The duo's partly spoken lyrics tell stories of existential doubt and exploration; the music itself is seemingly incongruous, with raggedly delivered words matched with expansively moody music or driving melodies. But it is the honesty and intensity of Listener's material that dispenses with the notion that these guys are trying to peddle a gimmick rather than something strikingly original.


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