Friday, July 14, 2006


Re-introducing the capsule review column that I started previously at In smaller bites but in greater frequency. That’s the general idea, anyway… enjoy.

TAMAS WELLS A Plea en Vendredi (Popboomerang) Wells’ accomplished debut betrayed a melodic folk-pop style that evoked the late lamented Nick Drake the pastoral sides of Paul McCartney and Neil Finn. This new album is even more rustic and serene than its predecessor and tracks like Vendredi, Opportunity Fair and The Telemarketer Resignation are poignant and affecting. Rachael Merrigan provides a lovely vocal counterpoint on a couple of tracks.

THE JET SET Alive (Self-released) A little thinly produced (notwithstanding Chris Von Sneidern’s input) album, which hints strongly of 60s Brit-pop influences. SF-based Jet Set does tastefully re-creations of pre-decadent Stones (Say Goodbye), early Kinks (She’s Not That Kind) and the Who circa The Who Sings My Generation (It’s The Summertime). Yup, good old fashioned powerpop!

VARIOUS ARTISTS Songs For Another Place (Awful Bliss) Two CD compilation set from this Italian indie which features American bands/artists on CD1 and Italian/Euro band/artists on CD2. Mainly lo-fi, low key but high quality songs that stripped down to lift up. Highlights include Faris Nourallah, Great Lake Swimmers, Luca, Tobin Sprout, Swearing At Motorists and Unbunny (CD1) & Song For Ulan, Midwest, Satellite Inn, A Toys Orchestra and Rosolina Mar (CD2). Worth checking out.

OVERZEALOUS Self-Titled (Self-released) Okay, so the six song titles here are A to F (on my media player anyways), and the agenda is gorgeous powerpop of every ilk. I mean, Cool With You is brilliant piano-driven soft pop that would fit nicely into the repertoires of Jon Brion, Jason Falkner or Roger Manning. Lovely. Not a bad word to say about the other five tracks but Cool With You is untouchable.

SIWEL Unforgettable Moments of Forgettable Times (Zebra) Alt-country slowcore from Valencia, Spain! Siwel is so measured in its languorous musings that it is in danger of bringing on siesta time! Unrelentless in its pursuit of the perfect dirge, this is melancholia in search of a pulse. Sweet in its own way but in deep need of a change in pace.

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