The Rutabega


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No, not the strange vegetable with the Swedish name/origin; this Rutabega is South Bend, Indiana citizen Joshua Hensley, whose uncommon voice 'n' guitar albums (2002's Cobus Green and 2004's These Knotty Lines) were outliers on Chicago's Johann's Face punk label. (A 2004 split EP with Owen, Mike Kinsella's project, fit squarely on Polyvinyl.) This seven-song, 28-minute mini-LP emanates from 2005. Hensley's singing sounds favorably like Elliott Smith from the grave, and he doesn't play trad folk, either; strumming an acoustic under his darkly angelic voice, he sometimes inserts distorted six-string squalls, fogging the background like black clouds and lightning lurk in the distance. A piano-based "Cursed, No -- Blessed" is a complementary touch, as is the vibrating space folk of the closing "I Don't Believe in Crocodiles." Cursed is weirdly unique -- and great besides.