Driver Of the Year Some Girls Would Say

Influenced by classic rock à la Sabbath, Yes, and even Roxy Music, these Iowa indie scenesters avoid sounding derivative and retro by mixing in keyboards and synths to their guitar god stylings. Yet to confuse you even more about what era they pledge allegiance to, Driver of the Year showcases some distinctly Pavement-esque off-key vocals and Ween-style wackiness. For self-professed "indie” kids, they come off as a little brash and confident — even a little swaggering and cocky. But somehow you still can’t help being charmed by their unique blend of unpretentiousness and diverse taste. They cover a good range of subject matter and can change emotional atmosphere from one song to the next, singing of heartache to low self-esteem to plain old rock’n’roll hooliganism and hedonistic partying. It’s refreshing to see a band not stuck in a rut of single-mindedness like some pop rock songwriters. (Future Appletree)