Spotlight \

Paul Michel

Who? A veteran of the D.C. rock scene, Paul Michel emerges from the District with not much more than his voice and an acoustic guitar. Although he’s formerly played in the Out_Circuit, the Hard Tomorrows, and the Blue Line, he’s found himself as a singer-songwriter, a very solitary pursuit, and the change seems to suit him fine. Quiet State of Panic is his fourth offering, after Revolve EP, These Are All Beautiful Things, and Ayuda EP.

What’s the Deal? Emerging from a city famous for hard-charging music and politically-tinted lyrics, Michel is an oddity. Plying his craft in the same vein as other local stalwarts the Brindley Brothers, Michel sings folk-inflected pop songs laced with melancholy. He stretches out words like he’s doing his best to make himself believe them, and the snare beats and guitar quirks do nothing to hide the fact that he’s having a hard time living with something, or someone. “Your Name is Icarus” deals with plunging personas as the title suggests, “Fire Theft” looks back to happier times in the days of Eden, and “Shoot First” finds Michel alone in Reno. To get a real handle on him, though, listen to “Alone All Day,” where you can hear Michel sighing with regret even as the chorus swells.

Fun Fact: Michel used that old stand-by, a lost lover, to channel his creative energy for Quiet State. “Can you tell I went through a breakup during the writing/recording of this album?” Michel asks in his press release. Ignoring the fact that this is obviously a rhetorical question: yes, yes we can. Still, the singer revealed to SPIN.com he continues to wear his ex-girlfriend’s socks. JEFFREY PARKER

Now Hear This:
Paul Michel – “Fire Theft” DOWNLOAD MP3

On SPIN.com:
New Track from Paul Michel

Talk: Digging the District’s heartache with Paul Michel? COMMENT

On the Web:
pmichel.com

Tags: Spotlight