Microphones Live in Japan, February 19th, 21st, and 22nd, 2003

This charmer of a record tells its own small story in the title. Phil Elvrum strums away little acoustic ballads that start off as tiny and quiet introspective moments using words like "tummy” without sounding cutesy and then grows up in a way you’d be proud of when he bursts into big uncontrollable passions for his kin before ending suddenly to pause for some careful applause. Things are slow and droning, his voice finds quick moments of gut-grabbing prettiness and then an equal but opposite reaction of slip-up into the sort of awkward imperfection that still stays sweet and becomes less jarring and more crucial with each listen. The word here is sparse — a tiny bit of backing band, including K-mate Calvin Johnson on a few tracks, with brief instrumental largeness that fades away almost as quickly and unsurely as it appears. "Thanksgiving” ends it all on a slightly more upbeat note, completing the mini-mini home tour with resolved notes that’ll let you get on with your life. It’s all hollow and sad and sloppy — just the way it should be. (K)