Ryan Paul & the Ardent

With a reedy conversational singing voice that recalls Television's Tom Verlaine, a degree in working-man's rock riffs from the Drive By Truckers school, and hard-won wisdom to spare, Ryan Paul Plewacki and his band are rapidly rising on the local roots-rock scene. The ascent should only hasten with the recent release of a new rough-and-tumble digital EP, the Cute Souvenir Sessions. While its predecessor was painstakingly assembled over an eight-month period, Cute Souvenir's four tracks came together fast and furious by necessity. While it's a dubious critical endeavor to make too much of a hastily assembled mini-album that clocks in at under 20 minutes, Cute Souvenirs nonetheless shows Ryan Paul & the Ardent as a band rapidly outgrowing the alt-country label slapped on their debut. While they've clearly still got loping balladry on lockdown, as evidenced by EP opener "All Along," they also make compelling stabs at Summerteeth-ish pop (the synthesizer-buoyed "Chelsea") and group-harmony-heavy campfire sing-alongs (closing track "Another Time"). Not bad for a day's work. With Bethany Larson & the Bees Knees. (Photo by Elli Rader)
Wed., July 21, 9 p.m., 2010

 
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