Music News

The Broken West

Bands from Los Angeles are typically thought to be slicker, trendier and more cravenly commercial than acts from less showbiz-oriented cities. Yet such stereotypes don't apply to the Broken West, which shares this bill with Blind Pilot and Magic Mice. On Now or Heaven, released last fall on the Merge imprint, guitarist/vocalist Ross Flournoy, guitarist Dan Iead, bassist Brian Whelan and drummer Rob McCorkindale display a captivating pop sensibility; listening to tracks such as "Perfect Games" without smiling is damn near impossible. But the music feels organic and unaffected, with Flournoy making the most of his voice's imperfections and his mates joining in with unfeigned enthusiasm that celebrates spontaneity rather than trying to blot out its existence. Judging by Heaven and its highly enjoyable predecessor, 2007's I Can't Go On, I'll Go On, the Westerners care more about making good music than making a mint. Hope they don't get kicked out of their home town.