Jeremy Messersmith has that certain je ne sais quoi. His sad lyrics/happy melody coupling isn't brand-new, but it's done in a way that conjures images of a still-upright Elliott Smith performing songs intended for Brian Wilson or A.C. Newman—not a bad spot to be in, all told. Last year's sophomore effort, The Silver City, a charming love letter to Minneapolis that never got mushy or contrived, made it onto many local critics' best-of lists for good reason. Messersmith's lyrics are ultra-smart and literate like Colin Meloy's, without being off-putting the way the latter's so often are; the melodies are simple without ever being cheesy or too precious for their own good. In short, it's intelligent music that can be enjoyed without a dictionary close at hand. It's easy to enjoy on its own merits, and that's commendable. With folk duo KaiserCartel.
Sat., May 9, 7 p.m., 2009