Leslie and the Badgers
Leslie and the Badgers Leslie & the Badgers are quietly turning into one of the city's best quiet bands. There's a gently glowing country-rock intimacy to the songs from their self-titled 2007 debut CD and 2008 iTunes EP, Greetings From Leslie & the Badgers, but they're not some corny, cornpone revival outfit. Instead, tunes like "Old Timers" and "Air Force One" have intelligently heartfelt, evocative lyrics and are adorned with dreamy embellishments, such as Glenn Oyabe's lap-steel guitar, which playfully quotes Santo & Johnny's classic instrumental "Sleep Walk." Singer-guitarist Leslie Stevens coos with a Neko Case–style passion on the relatively epic six-minute idyll "Black Rose Window," where she declares, "Now the road is what takes you to brand-new places/and I'm taking myself and the radio station." Such countrified ballads place them roughly in the same universe as fellow locals the Whispertown 2000, but the Badgers also reveal a jazzy side on "The Torture," and they rock convincingly on uptempo barn-burners like "That'd Be Fine." They're about to release a new album, Roomful of Smoke, and head out on a national tour in June, so catch 'em now before they return as conquering heroes. Also at the Silverlake Lounge, Wed., May 20. (Falling James)