Singer-songwriter Jonathan Bates, otherwise known as Mellowdrone, seems to understand the value of introversion as well as Lou Barlow ever did; such detachment gives him a worldview that mistrusts damn near everything under the sun. In one of the most self-absorbed moments of his accessible, minor-chord-driven debut EP, A Demonstration of Intellectual Property
, released last year, the self-described "sarcastic little bitch" suddenly realizes that he's been fretting too much over a relationship ("Bitelip"): "Nothing left to complain about/No more drinking/No more going out/No more violence/No more bravery/No more intercourse/No more easy/Just a handshake/From me to you/Scaly skin disease has gotten inside of you." Yikes. No more intercourse?
With melodic distinction, Bates can turn a corrosive sing-along into something that transcends mere melancholy, then tear the Band-Aid from an open gash in one fell swoop: It's over before you know it. And when he sings, "I'd honestly slam my hand in a car door just to shut you up" (on "And Repeat"), you can't help but smile and want to call his bluff.