The Long Winters' John Roderick is an understated songster and the indie rock canon is so lucky to have him. Since his 2002 debut, Worst You Can Do Is Harm, Roderick and his revolving door of musicians have offered a body of work that's truly from the heart -- a bitter, sweet, and sometimes sarcastic heart of gold and silver, and for fans of Nada Surf, Neutral Milk Hotel, and Sebadoh, the Long Winters keep true indie rock alive in the new millennium. Putting the Days to Bed finds Roderick writing his most intimate lyrics to date while also building upon the radiant pop sensibility of 2005's Ultimatum EP. With a new lineup of consisting of Roderick
bassist Eric Corson, drummer Nabil Ayers and multi-instrumentalist Jonathan Rothman, the Long Winters maintained a pristine, straightforward approach in the studio. Death Cab for Cutie's Chris Walla, who's also appeared on previous Long Winters releases, is the one co-conspirator to return. He pounces behind the piano and adds a few riffs alongside Decemberists multi-instrumentalist Chris Funk on the honeyed daydreamer "Honest." Such homegrown sweetness continues on "Hindsight," which features Roderick's brother Bart chiming in on the Hammond organ. But Roderick's brilliance as an artist truly shines on the bigger pop cuts, and those who loved the enthusiasm of "Prom Night at Hater High" should revel in the brassy flavors of "Teaspoon" and "Pushover." Really, brace yourself to sing your little heart out and dance like no one's watching with Putting the Days to Bed. The slightly fuller sound may further accent the simplicity of the last two albums, but this change is purely part of the band's natural progression. Roderick is that consistent in his craft. With a constant slew of new wave revivalists, the Long Winters always seem to arrive at the right time, and Putting the Days to Bed is one of the brightest albums to come out of 2006.