CINDY “Free Advice” (Paisley Shirt Records)

Here’s some free advice for you, Cindy (or Paisley Shirt Records): if you leave such an obvious comparison as Galaxie 500’s On Fire mixed with Cowboy Junkies’ The Trinity Session in your promo copy, you’ve already done my job for me. I don’t have to write anything else. Thanks for the assist!

Totally just kidding about leaving it there, because I’m a huge fan of dream pop, and Cindy perfectly encapsulates everything good about the genre. Most of the tracks are laid-back, stripped-down affairs that ripple languidly across time and space, hushed hymns to wind and streams. Sometimes a little guitar rocker enters the fray, and in those moments Free Advice takes on some Alvvays qualities (and I always love me some Alvvays). But in almost all instances Karina Gill’s murmured coo draws you closer, inviting you in to the private worlds she creates. They’re melancholy and safe all at once, like hunkering under a blanket fort on a rainy day.

What may be most surprising is that before 2016, Gill hadn’t even picked up a guitar or tried to sing! Now, four years later, her fully fleshed band is two releases in, and the results are wonderful. There’s always room for tunes like these on those rainy days – or even the sunny ones too. Yeah, all days.

[Plus, all proceeds go to the Movement for Black Lives, which should totally make you want to buy this even more, or just donate!]