With Sleeping in the Aviary, Elliott Kozel tumbles through garage-incubated indie rock that's by turns poppy, snotty and appealingly unhinged. It's geek-rock with guts, and it's little wonder that members of the music press and the blogosphere who actually listen to the stuff they receive from small, unheralded labels based in terra incognita like Madison, Wis., have singled out lead mouth Kozel for praise.
It's likely the same outlets will appreciate the sweet bejesus out of She Is So Beautiful/She Is So Blonde, albeit for entirely different reasons. This is quite literally Kozel's bedroom band and disc. He wrote the songs and recorded all the instruments there over a four-year period, and it has the groggy feel of dreamland.
I guess you'd say that standout cuts like the wistful, Neil YoungmeetsSmog mood piece "On the Bus" and the keyboard-dappled lamentation "Piano Room Blues" are folk-rock. But this is hardly a typical singer-songwriter affair. For the most part, Kozel mumbles and keens in middle space as glockenspiel, harmonica and what sounds like echoed slide guitar tinkle and whirr around him. The result is psychedelia for people who can't stand paisley and lava lamps or references to walls dripping with candy-coated sunshine.