[3 February 2012]
PopMatters Associate Music Editor
Back in 2004, the Washington, DC-based indie band Cartel generated a lot of buzz with the moody, Echo & the Bunnymen-esque “Fleets”. Then, they discovered a rock band from Georgia had dibs on the Cartel name. So, Cartel became the Cedars. They released an excellent EP, Another Season, in 2007. Rightly figuring that if such a strong, Coldplay-if-Coldplay-was-three-times-better effort wouldn’t get them a proper record deal, nothing would, they split.
Now, they are back, under the name Ms. Director, with a seven-track EP, Santo Domingo. The overall sound hasn’t changed much, and that’s a good thing. The guitars and keyboards are a bit more hazy, but the muscular rhythm section and Brian Leatherman’s beguiling voice hold it all down. Let’s hope the third name is the charm. Have a listen to Santo Domingo via Bandcamp, and download it there or from iTunes.