Bishop Allen Bishop Allen & The Broken String

Any band that can produce an EP per month for an entire year deserves some props. That’s what Brooklyn-based pop rockers Bishop Allen did for their massive EP project of 2006 — each was self-released, titled by month and with the exception of August (which was a13-track live disc), each contained four new tunes. What’s even more impressive than the ambitiousness of even proposing such an undertaking is the fact that the band managed to pull it off successfully, releasing 12 bright, well-received EPs right on schedule. Now they’re following it up with an album comprised mainly of rerecorded tunes from that project. Fans of the group’s critically acclaimed 2004 debut, Charm School, can expect more of the same airy, guitar-picking pop that sparked attention the first time around, now with the addition of a piano and a better-cultivated, more mature sound. Slow-building anthems "The Monitor” and "Corazon” contrast comfortably against sunny uber-pop tracks like "Rain” and "The Chinatown Bus.” And although some songs verge on a brand of bubblegum too sweet for most, the disc is definitely worth a listen. This is the go-to pop soundtrack of summer. (Dead Oceans)