I'M WAITING FOR Herman Jolly from Portland's Sunset Valley to call me back so I can interview him. The office is almost empty and it would be eerily quiet if I weren't listening to their new CD, Boyscout Superhero, while monitoring the World Series on majorleaguebaseball.com. Clemens is actually doing well so far, holding Atlanta to only two hits and scoreless through six. The Yankees are up by three runs.

Herman calls and I'm a little mad. I kind of wish he had bailed, so I could go home and watch the rest of the game. The Yankees have a man on first: my favorite player, Scott Brosius. He's the third baseman. He's from Oregon.

Herman is from Boseman, Montana, and I think that's really fascinating. I've never met anyone from Montana, and part of me doesn't believe anyone comes from Montana. It's all vast emptiness, a state of light and air and nothing as far as the eye can see.

Jolly sounds tired and bored, and I don't blame him. I'm not asking very provocative questions, mostly because I think that his album is really beautiful and it's kind of embarrassing to be talking to him.

Sunset Valley are clearly talented and their music is immediately identifiable as having tremendous potential. Music writers often can't say what we mean point blank, and if you like, I could go on for 400 words about how they sound like the Pixies and how they're crafting edgy pop gems with stirring soundscapes. But that would be music-critic double-talk, and Sunset Valley have inspired enough of that.

Clemens gave up two singles in the eighth so the Yankees have brought in a relief pitcher. There are two outs, so I'm not worried yet. If they win tonight it'll be the SHIT! Atlanta scores. Now it's 1-3, and the Yankees bring in their closer, Mariano Rivera, to (hopefully) get the last out. Sunset Valley's "Happily Frozen" is playing behind me as Rivera clocks the final out of the inning and the Yankees are three outs away from sweeping another World Series. Jolly is singing "Make the stupid smarter" over and over behind my head and talking about the new record in my ear. "Happily Frozen" is the kind of song that floors you the first time you hear it, and even someone who earns her rent as a "critic" knows that those songs can become huge hits.

It seems like Sunset Valley knows it too, though Jolly blithely speaks about the vagaries of being a buzz band: "We were a buzz-y band when the other record came out, and it was a real high. And we're real into it right now, 'cause there's the record coming out, and we're gonna tour on it in the fall, and again in February or so. But [buzz] is always something that's cyclical -- it goes away. Then you put out another record and you get it again."

I tell him he has a positive jaded outlook and he laughs a bit. I'm glad for this moment because the rest of the interview has been only dull questions. Phone interviews are hard: Jolly mentions that his mom likes the harder rocking songs on the new album, like "Solid Goldmine," because she has a short attention span. I tell him he should be nice to his mom and he reveals that he was joking. I didn't get it. You know what deadpan humor sounds like on the phone? It sounds like you're being serious. Unless you're British. I should quit doing phone interviews.

The Yankees hit a home run! They are totally going to win! Jolly tells me he's not a baseball fan and he falls a bit in my estimation.

Even so, Sunset Valley deserve good things. They've signed with a bigger label, Kneeling Elephant, for their next album, and hired Everclear's management. In general, Jolly seems psyched about Sunset Valley's prospects, although he's understated about it. They're playing the Showbox with Kneeling Elephant bands Adam Elk and Gloritone. "We like playing Seattle a lot, because people seem like they're really listening. And it's close by, and bigger than Portland. The energy level of the room really dictates what we do [onstage]. I don't like faking it." Now I feel really bad.

They might still be a little too good for the radio, but Sunset Valley are moving in the direction of quitting their day jobs. It would be nice if talented people could make a living off their talents without losing their minds to the point where it takes coke lines, Prozac, two shrinks, and a blowjob to help them forget how much they hate being famous.

The Yankees have won! The Boyscout Superhero CD is over. I hang up with Jolly. I'm going home to celebrate.

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