(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Following a hasty name change (they were originally the Brokedown) and a high-profile Merge Records debut, the Broken West established themselves as the latest purveyors of the sunny California sound, with pleasing pop kernels like “Down in the Valley” and “Hale Sunrise” drawing from classic rock’s past while staking out a tiny claim of new territory. Their second album, Now or Heaven, comes out on Merge in September, and I haven’t heard a note of it. So, I shall make a completely unfair and groundless judgment based solely on its song titles and the band’s most recent press photo, in which they are wearing coats and neckties: It will NOT be a prog-concept opus. It will NOT contain experimental forays into electronica. Lil Wayne will NOT make a guest appearance. Instead, it’ll be much like their first record, maybe slicker, more accessible, less gritty, less spontaneous, generally unsurprising, intermittently great, and wholly tuneful. NL

Broken West - Down in the Valley