Jon Auer & Cheap Star-Two for the Money. A very intriguing split EP between the Posies power pop legend and the upstart French band fresh off their Posie-esque debut Speaking Like an Elephant. Each act contributes one new song and a pair of covers to the mix, and the result is a must-get for Posies fans everywhere. Auer's contributions include the new track "Northern Sky", a fine track that mixes the classic Auer/Posies sound with a bit of Morrissey, and a cover of Say Hi to Your Mom's "Pop Music of the Future", right in Auer's wheelhouse with its insistent acoustic guitar. Cheap Star, meanwhile, gives us the original "Not My Friend", a dense, melodic rocker that fits right in with Auer's work, and a rollicking cover of Gene Clark's "Changing Heart". But the most interesting touch is that each covers the other as well here; Auer tackles Cheap Star's "You Got it All", while Cheap Star gives its take on Auer's "Josephine", making the synergy complete. Just as The Posies seamlessly stepped in for Chris Bell in the reunited Big Star, I could easily see Cheap Star stepping in for Auer or Stringfellow in 10-15 years if either is unwilling or unable to participate in a Posies reunion.
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Alan Windram-10 o'clock in the Morning. Windram describes his sound as "melodic, sun-kissed Scottish Americana" and who am I to argue? Fans of Daniel Wylie, his Cosmic Rough Riders, Teenage Fanclub and The Primary 5 will want to check out this disc. Highlights include the TF-ish "Someday", the catchy "Crazy Girl", the jangly "Under Her Spell", and "Out of My Head", the excellent uptempo rocker which closes out the album. A promising solo debut from the ex-Splendid Scotsman.
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10 O'clock In The Morning - Alan Windram