Larry Fitzmaurice

What? Since the lo-fi eclecticism of 2003's breakthrough effort Everyone Down Here, Los Angeles-based outfit Earlimart have developed a gloriously depressing sound that has become more polished with each successive release. And Hymn and Her, their latest full-length set to drop July 1, continues in the same vein: "For the Birds" features Motown-esque drumbeats and dreamy cooing, while "God Loves You the Best" is the closest lead singer Aaron Espinoza has come to sounding like the late Elliott Smith yet.

Who? Earlimart is comprised of core members and multi-instrumentalists Aaron Espinoza and Ariana Murray, who recruit musically-inclined pals to contribute to their records and play on tour. Since the project's inception in 1999, Earlimart have received critical acclaim, notably with 2007's Mentor Tormentor, as well as many comparisons to Elliott Smith and Sparklehorse, largely due to Espinoza's hushed, aching singing voice.Hymn and Her will be the band's second release on Shout! Factory.

Fun Fact: While many note the similarity between Elliot Smith and Espinoza's styles, few know the two worked together and formed a close friendship, which the Earlimart frontman honored in 2004's Treble & Tremble, an album inspired by and written in the wake of Smith's sudden death.

Now Hear This: "Time for Yourself"

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