It's mid-January, and Pitchfork has already determined what will be the best album of 2009. (It's Animal Collective's Merriweather Post Pavilion, in case you'd like to download it and tune out until December.) But with their debut full-length, Birdseed Shirt, the D.C.-by-way-of-Brooklyn quartet Deleted Scenes provides reason to hope that '09 will still bring some nice surprises.
Released by the tiny East Coast indie What Delicate Recordings (which includes the hand of Medications' Andrew Becker), Birdseed Shirt proves Deleted Scenes is more than just a competent indie band: Harmonies supplement smooth lead vocals; Beatles-y hooks populate head-bobbing numbers like the lead track, "Turn to Sand"; Fugazoid angular repetition rears its head here and there. On the standout track "Ithaca," the band shows that pleasant polyrhythms can set up a song without veering too far into Graceland territory.
It may not turn out to be the year's perfect album -- the singalong "Got God," while a cute idea, doesn't translate so well in the end, and interrupts some of the album's more stellar songs -- but Birdseed Shirt is an early standout, and could well set the stage for Deleted Scenes' breakout.
The band plays Howler's in Bloomfield on Mon., Jan. 19, part of local activist Vincent Eirene's annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration. The show benefits Eirene's North Side homeless shelter, Duncan & Porter House of Hospitality, and ongoing efforts to assist victims of Hurricane Katrina.
Deleted Scenes with Phat Man Dee, UkuLizzy, Lucid Music, Moonlight Motel, Evan & Duane and Bobby Porter. 9 p.m. Mon., Jan. 19. Howler's Coyote Café, 4509 Liberty Ave., Bloomfield. $5-10 donation requested. 412-682-0320