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Spotlight on: D+ by D+

D+, D+

If you're a fan of the Phil Elvrum's work with Microphones and Mount Eerie, you can thank Bret Lunsford. After working for years in Beat Happening with Calvin Johnson and Heather Lewis, Lunsford was ready for his own time in the spotlight. So, with bassist Karl Blau and an unknown drummer from Anacortes (Elvrum), he formed D+. This was Elvrum's first introduction to K Records (D+ is a co-release between K and Lunsford's own Knw-Yr-Own Records) and the rest, as they say, is history.

Which is not to give short shrift to the work of D+. After all, they're still recording (their latest album, Deception Pass, just came out in 2003), so they must be doing something right. In Beat Happening, Lunsford's contributions were often overshadowed by the forceful voice and personality of Calvin Johnson (owner of K, and an indie rock legend) to Lunsford's detriment. D+ is the perfect showcase for Lunsford's minimalist indie rock style.

Their debut album, simply entitled D+, contains the classic ode to home movie film stock, "Super 8" (when I became a Microphones fan and was researching the history of Phil, I came across this song as a download and it has never left my mix CD rotation), in addition to other great songs like "Heatherwood," "Jaywalker," and the a capella "Sing Me to Sleep." Lunsford's quirky, introspective lyrical style and sincere vocals blend perfectly with Blau's simple bass and harmony vocals and Elvrum's often feverish drumming (which, as a drummer, was the first thing I really appreciated about Elvrum) to create a band unlike any you've heard before, yet somehow strangely familiar.

After the wonderful "Wrinkle," which is a perfect introduction to the band's style, comes "Super 8" and then "Silent Spring" -- special in its own right for its changing tempos. Other highlights are "TSOL" with its chorus of "who gave the power to the powers that be?" and the Bronwyn Holm duet "Cotton Candy."

This is a really solid album, but I would recommend D+ in small-to-medium-sized doses because after about six songs or so, the similarity in the styles of the songs begins to diminish their impression, and this is music to which attention needs to be paid, both for its place in history and for its accessibility. It sounds like an album your friends made, if your friends were involved with the pinnacle of indie rock.

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