FILE UNDER : Arid downer indie pop

R.I.Y.L. : Low, Codeine, Smog


Hearts Of Palm

cmj cover

That Idaho’s oddly serene, atmospheric sounds emanate from Los Angeles, the fast-paced home of road rage, makes the band somehow more discomforting and more welcome at the same time. Idaho’s Jeff Martin is a sadcore/slo-fi disciple, and his enveloping, personal and introspective soundscapes stand happily apart from the increasingly corporate faction of the music world where “attitude” and “image” signify as much, if not more, than the actual music. There’s little attitude, if any, here to undercut the somber, meditative material Martin’s developed around guitars, piano, strings and percussion. No pictures of the band (essentially Martin and guitarist Dan Seta for this effort, though Beck/R.E.M. sideman Joey Waronker plays drums on two tracks) hard at work or play adorn the disc—instead, we’re provided just two black and white photographs that are as stark as the album’s 11 songs, and a relief map of L.A. for listeners to get their bearings. The songs—“This Cloud We’re On,” “Happy Times” and “Alta Dena” among the best of them—and Martin’s resume (he scored a 1997 independent film, How To Make The Cruelest Month) speak for themselves: Like a sunrise in the desert, Idaho’s music exists in its own cinematic, if unnerving, universe, waiting for an audience.