Artist: Wax on Radio Track: "Today I Became a Realist" Album: Exposition

Listen

I was driving all over Ohio last week, a stack of yet-unheard discs in hand. One of the bands I discovered (Chris Columbus-style) was this Chicago quartet, whose sparse yet epic tendencies made an intriguing soundtrack for the backroads of southern Ohio.

The opening track of Exposition, "Today I Became a Realist," starts off like Marvin Gaye's "Got to Give It Up": some casual background chatter preceding a stark jump into the real thing. There are lots of ways to foster a sense of intimacy - indie bands fail at it all the time - but this one worked.

Once Mikey Russell begins his strongest wail of the album - and you feel as if locked alongside the band in a small, echoey bathroom - you're hooked. Castanets, light drum touches and excellent guitar work add foundation for the strength of the song: Russell's haunting voice and the staccato acoustic hiding just beneath.

Quite an epic track full of ideas even bigger than those prefaced in the title.