Thursday, July 23, 2009

Three for Thursday.

Three discs to chew on in this late week roundup, two from familiar faces and one from a new one.

David Brookings-Glass Half Full. Nashville may have been getting all the Tennessee-related attention around here lately, but here's some equal time for Memphis as favorite son David Brookings returns with his fifth solo album since 2000. Brookings has long been a favorite in the power pop community with his easygoing melodic style, and has drawn comparisons to the likes of Jim Boggia, Mike Viola, Matthew Sweet and Michael Penn. With Glass Half Full, it'll hardly take an optimist to warm up to this collection of tracks. "Don't Wake Me Up" gets things off to a rollicking start with its McCartneyesque feel, "I Wish I Could Be With You" is as sweet as its melody, "Love Goes Down the Drain" mines some Jellyfish/Viola sounds, "Hazel" jangles and shines, and "Still Not Crazy Yet" is pop at its brightest. This might be his best yet.

CD Baby | MySpace | iTunes

Your Gracious Host-Easy Red. All I can say is that Tom Curless (a/k/a Your Gracious Host) is one productive guy. Not content to rest on the laurels of last fall's double-album self-titled debut, he's returned as YGH about nine months later to bring us Easy Red, 11 more tracks of the same winning indie-flavored power pop we loved on the debut. Standout tracks on this disc include the urgent "Alibi", which reminds me of Teenage Fanclub mixed with mid-70s Roxy Music, the angular "Rescue Me", the Andy Partridge-like "Blue Sky", and the pretty, languid title track. At this rate, I'll be back in the spring reviewing the 3rd YGH disc, and I'll be happy to do so.

CD Baby | MySpace

Billy Schafer-First to Believe. The debut mini-album (7 tracks) from this San Francisco singer/songwriter has been a revelation. Although it didn't bowl me over at first, it really has grown on me and become a real favorite. Schafer's style is similar to artists like Elliott Smith, Gus Black, AM, and Mark McAdam. Two tracks really stand out here as some of my favorites of the year - the opener "Wondering", which sounds both contemporary and classic, and the lovely "My Mona Lisa (The One)", whose chorus has been embedded somewhere in my brain for quite a while now. Both tracks make excellent and tasteful use of strings as well. The other five tracks are no slouches either, with "April Fool for You" and "The Dream is Alive" worthy of particular note. A very nice debut.

CD Baby | MySpace | iTunes

No comments: