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Actor Michael Cera quietly releases a folk album on Bandcamp, calls it 'honest'

FILE - This Jan. 18, 2013 file photo shows actor-singer Michael Cera at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. Cera released an 18-song indie folk album

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FILE - This Jan. 18, 2013 file photo shows actor-singer Michael Cera at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. Cera released an 18-song indie folk album "True That," on his Bandcamp website on Aug. 8 2014. “It went largely overlooked until his acting buddy Jonah Hill tweeted a link Thursday, Aug. 14. (Photo by Victoria Will/Invision/AP, File)

NEW YORK, N.Y. - Michael Cera released an indie folk album last week — quietly, in a way almost as unassuming as the actor himself.

"I would record a lot of the songs in the middle of the night just at home. I never thought anyone would ever listen to them," he said in an interview Thursday. "It's really nice that people are paying any attention to it because there's a lot of stuff to listen to."

The 26-year-old, whose TV and film credits include "Arrested Development," ''Juno" and "Superbad," dropped the 18-song album, "true that," on the Bandcamp website on Aug. 8. He said he was "bored a few days ago" and decided to make a page on the website for people to check out his music.

It went largely overlooked until his acting buddy Jonah Hill tweeted a link Wednesday.

The album, which streams for free and costs $7 to download, is made up of airy, folky tracks, some just wordless fragments, some more fully fleshed out. Some songs are covers and others have borrowed sound, ranging from a TV reporter swearing after swallowing a bug to a piece of dialogue lifted from the 1973 film "O Lucky Man!" starring Malcolm McDowell.

"I think it has some value in that sense. It's honest. It's just an effort," Cera said, adding that he created the songs with GarageBand software. "I'm limited by many things — my abilities, my imagination and my technology."

Cera said the album's quiet launch was a nod from Beyonce's playbook. The pop diva released her top-selling self-titled album last year without the public knowing.

"I didn't want anyone to take it seriously or think that I was taking it seriously by it being a big thing," said Cera, who sang backing vocals and played mandolin on Weezer's 2010 album, "Hurley."

"It's there now. Now people can hear the stuff I've spent time with and care about for a long time."

Cera, who is preparing to make his Broadway debut next month opposite Kieran Culkin and Tavi Gevinson in Kenneth Lonergan's play "This Is Our Youth," said making music is relaxing and fun to do with friends, but he never planned on a recording career.

"A friend of mine said to me, 'I think you're too careful with your music.' I thought that was a nice, honest criticism from a friend," he said.

"He was right."

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Online:

http://www.michaelceramusic.bandcamp.com

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Mark Kennedy is on Twitter at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits

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