The Interpreter: Live at Largo

[Maximum Sunshine]

 Covers albums and live records both tend to be mixed bags, so it follows that making a quality album of live covers would be difficult. Rhett Miller, however, is largely successful on The Interpreter, an intimate collection recorded over two nights in 2008 at Largo, before the Los Angeles club changed locations (there are also two studio bonus tracks). Miller plays solo for much of the album; drums and piano color a handful of tracks, including a stellar version of “Queen Bitch.” A couple of songs fall flat, but there are plenty of moments in which Miller shines. He delivers a reverent version of Elliott Smith’s “Happiness,” while Ray Davies’ “Waterloo Sunset” is sparse and lovely. Though perhaps only essential for Miller completists, The Interpreter is a charming collection on its own and a fitting tribute to a keystone of the modern L.A. music scene. –J. Thanki

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