Evan Dando and the New Amsterdams

Nice as it is, there's something a bit underwhelming about Baby I'm Bored, former Lemonhead Evan Dando's long-awaited return to record-making (from wherever he was). Its lazily strummed folk-pop tunes--written and recorded with a diverse cast of indie types including Calexico, Consonant guitarist Chris Brokaw, Jon Brion, Spacehog singer Royston Langdon and Ben Lee--all feature shuffling tempos, twilit melodies and Dando's slackjawed summer-babe vocals, yet they all sort of disappear from view as soon as they're done, like blue-gray cigarette smoke. It's perfect end-of-summer mood music, but for a disc that took five or six years to produce it's awfully slight. Of course, that's pretty much Dando's MO, and it's why he still gives unrepentant slackerdom a good name; I can't imagine what an overlabored Dando record would sound like, nor do I really want to find out. Worse for the Wear, the third album by openers the New Amsterdams, is equally lightweight, but it's also a nice surprise from this Get Up Kids side-project: Where the first two Amsterdams CDs traded whatever energy the Kids muster for soggy, obvious singer-songwriterisms, Wear moves along with a considerable indie-pop spring in its step; bassist Robert Pope deserves some sort of award for his totally grooving work in "Hover Near Fame." Baby, he's not bored.
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Mikael Wood