Pedro the Lion

Dave Bazan may have graduated from the Doug Martsch School of DIY musicianship, but he still plays well with other kids. Since he released Winners Never Quit as a one-man band in 1999, he's added Casey Foubert on bass/keyboards and Trey Many on drums. On Pedro the Lion's latest release, Bazan has also substituted acute contemplation for that album's chronic optimism, making Control a case study of the freshly wounded American Dream. Bazan's melancholy musings house a deconstructed sensibility ("Second best/I can learn to live with this/Plus I really need a rest") and clever pillow-embroidery ("If it isn't making dollars/Then it isn't making sense"). "Rapture," Control's standout track, weds choppy guitar and snare with a soaring chorus capable of kicking at least one corner of the bottom sheet off the mattress.