It's sad when a band doesn't know what it wants to be. Even sadder when what they want to be is really another band, rather than something original. I'm not talking about lifting a few licks or paying homage to a well known sound. I'm talking about really wanting to be another band and doing all you can to sound like them in every possible nuance. I saw three bands tonight. One of them—the one we actually went to see—was very good. The other two lacked identity. One wanted to be The White Stripes in reverse with the guy drumming and the girl playing guitar. I have no idea if they were blood relatives. Actually, I think they may have been husband and wife. The other band did its best to sound like another up-and-coming group from the Pacific Northwest — The Long Winters — but failed miserably. The Long Winters, have a very unique sound all their own, and any effort to emulate it, I think, is really a bad idea. Nobody sings quite like John Roderick. Nobody writes lyrics quite like John Roderick. And nobody's mind works quite like John Roderick. His band's new album, Putting the Days to Bed, is quirky and beautiful and full of interesting poetic phrasing that is at once both obscure and intimate. I enjoy it more and more with every listen. “Ultimatum” is a joyful testimony to the art of crafting original pop music. Be yourself.