Seattle’s John Roderick and his Long Winters have produced two of the finest indie-pop records out of the Pacific Northwest in “The Worst You Can Do Is Harm” and “When I Pretend to Fall,” a kind of antidote to Death Cab for Cutie’s wild despondency, not so much in message but in presentation, with festive instrumentation and Roderick’s abstract, yet striking, vocals and lyrics. “Putting the Days to Bed,” The Long Winters’ long-awaited follow-up to “When I Pretend to Fall” (there was the excellent “Ultimatum” EP between them), is not only the band’s finest release to date but one of the best records released by the Barsuk label, almost as if the label’s spirit and purpose has come to complete fruition. The sometimes fuzzy, sometimes charismatic and cathartic pop that Roderick so carefully, yet carefreely croons hits all the right notes, and songs like “Hindsight,” “Sky is Open” and the retooled “Ultimatum” make everything seem possible, and dammit, even likely. “My arms miss you, my hands miss you,” Roderick yells on “Ultimatum,” later in the record. Welcome back. (Tom Lynch)
The Long Winters play October 6 at Subterranean, 2011 West North, (773)278-6600, at 9pm. $10-$12.