Delta Spirit’s debut record, “Ode to Sunshine,” flew so far beneath the radar of the “Best Records of 2008” and was so unappreciated that it has me questioning whether or not critics have the balls to throw substantial acclaim on more than three rock ‘n’ roll records per year, or if these Delta Spirit dudes showed up to the party after the Cold War Kids hogged the keg and annoyed the hell out of everyone. Admittedly, the San Diegan folk ‘n’ blues-rock quintet could be reasonably lumped into the same vein as Cold War Kids or White Rabbits, but “Ode to Sunshine” shows the most promise; it’s the sound of a band that subsists on biting guitars riffs, honky-tonk piano and soulful, belted-out melodies, able to effortlessly switch from a stinging Dylanesque ballad to jangly, indie-rock anthems. Even so, “Ode to Sunshine” feels a little restrained; a studio setting can sometimes stifle a band looking to beat the songs into audience’s ears like a drumstick to a cowbell. The energy isn’t pent-up during the live show—lead singer Matthew Vasquez (whose general appearance could best be described as “gay Rivers Cuomo”) pours out the melody from every inch of his body, and the only thing left on the stage is the proverbial blood, sweat and tears. (Andy Seifert)
February 14 at Double Door, 1572 N. Milwaukee, (773)489-3160, 9pm. $8-$10.