Long Winters

After spending the better part of a decade not really doing much of anything, Alaska native John Roderick was finally convinced by some musician friends to enter the studio and record some of his songs. The resultant album, The Worst You Can Do Is Harm, helped to put the Long Winters on the map. These days, the band has been augmented by the addition of Sean Nelson (ex-Harvey Danger), plus a line of guest stars on the follow-up that includes such luminaries as R.E.M.’s Peter Buck, the Minus 5's Scott McCaughey, the Posies’ Ken Stringfellow and Death Cab For Cutie’s Chris Walla. Things are really beginning to fall into place for Roderick in a spectacular way. When I Pretend to Fall is a wonderful record that sounds like a joyous celebration of life and everything that it might have to throw at you. It runs the gamut of guitar pop, from quiet to loud and fast to slow, and pulls it all off with confidence and aplomb. Taken as a whole, listening to When I Pretend to Fall is sort of like hearing Velvet Crush’s Teenage Symphonies to God or World Party’s Goodbye Jumbo for the first time — everything about the entire album works in every way. This is a record that could quite easily rank as one of the year’s best.