Staff Pick: Laura Stevenson and the Cans at Rumba

From the March 14, 2013 edition

The year isn’t even a quarter over, but New Jersey’s Don Giovanni Records is way ahead in the race for emotive guitar-slinging indie rock ladies dredging up the best sounds of the 1990s. First came Hilly Eye’s grandly conceived, minimally executed scrawl Reasons To Live, then Waxahatchee’s tremendously intimate quarter-life crisis Cerulean Salt. Starting April 23, you can probably add the latest Laura Stevenson and the Cans record to those ranks.

Early singles suggest Wheel will be a sweeping statement, one bursting with energy and ideas even as it deals in well-established pop-rock forms. Lyrics drive her songwriting, but what really lifts songs like “L-DOPA” and “Runner” skyward are gorgeous arrangements that make full use of the singer-songwriter playbook.

Stevenson will show off her virtuosic muse Wednesday at Rumba, where Joe Fletcher provides support.