Michael Levasseur’s back story is fascinating. He’s had more fortune in location than just about anyone. Traveling the country, he was living in Athens when R.E.M.‘s popularity was at its peak and in Toccoa when Saddle Creek was starting. He lived in Portland when Elliott Smith was emerging. He got involved. He learned. For a long time he was a folkie before deciding he wanted to put out some rock music. Well, he finally put out some rock music with Are’s & Els and it’s some of the most engaging, energetic, and original material you’re likely to hear for quite some time. All of those previous influences come to a fascinating intersection on this LP, which flies by in a whirlwind of incredibly smart instrumentation, songwriting, and melody. Are’s & Els is destined to become a hidden classic. If you see it, buy it. Immediately.