Clearlake Cedars

For better or worse, music wouldn’t be what it is today if Englishmen didn’t have such a heroic penchant for self-loathing. Nick Drake, Morrissey and Thom Yorke all spoke for that spotty, sallow lad at the back of the class and now Clearlake’s Jason Pegg wants you to know that he hates himself too. Just like the rest of the group, melody and masochism marry beautifully for Pegg, specifically on threnodies of jilted love like “If The Snow Will Settle.” Song titles like “Keep Smiling” and “Treat Yourself with Kindness” are probably pinned to Pegg’s fridge but get twisted into mordant gems that’ll have you reaching for the razorblade. Pernicious, funny, and clever, Cedars is gorgeous pop following a rich tradition. Maybe Pegg’s got a point on “I’d Like to Hurt You” singing “It’s true what they say/you have to watch the quiet ones.” (Domino)