Welcome to "Nothing Not New," a yearlong project in which New Times editorial operations manager Jay Bennett, a 40-year-old music fan and musician, will listen only to music released in 2010. Each Monday through Friday, he will listen to one new record (no best ofs, reissues, or concert recordings) and write about it. Why? Because in the words of his editor, Martin Cizmar, he suffers from "aesthetic atrophy," a wasting away of one's ability to embrace new and different music as one ages. Read more about this all-too-common ailment here.
There's a not a damn thing wrong with Joe Pug's new record, Messenger. The Chicago country-ish singer-songwriter writes evocative lyrics about interpersonal relationships, tastefully strums and deftly fingerpicks his acoustic guitar, croons with a clear, soulful tenor, and composes solid, fat-free tunes -- there's not a stinker on this 10-song record. So, in short, the guy seems like a true pro. All that being said, Joe Pug leaves me a little cold.