Cedar Alternate Endings

Choosing a moniker like Cedar while hailing from the home of the granola-munching college student ― Lindsay, ON ― can't help but conjure up images of bearded, loosey goosey, Creemore-drinking musicians. But on Alternate Endings, the band's sophomore LP, the four-piece come off more genre bending than jam-banding. Filtering Dinosaur Jr. and Buffalo Tom's guitar-gnashing raison d'être through Broken Social Scene's brains-before-brawn modus operandi, Cedar somehow fool the listener, sounding absolutely inventive, innocent and eventful on straightforward rockers like "Deeper Lies" and "Your Own World." Their undying energy and respect for dynamics treat songs like the syrupy "Magical Thinker" and vocalist Craig McLellan's "aw shucks" vocal manifesto ("Smash the Gates") like well-crafted invitations to a party you've been to a hundred times before. Sure, not too much on Alternate Endings will blow the listener away, but Cedar pull it off with bluster, exuberance and a great deal of adoration for what came before. And for some reason, that's enough. (Independent)