Phil Angotti-People and Places. In my power pop travels over the last several years, I've seen Phil Angotti's name show up here and there but I never got around to hearing his music. If his newly-released People and Places is indicative of his larger body of work, I've really been missing out. Trading in Beatlesque pop (especially the McCartney strain), Angotti has crafted a pop delight here that will appeal to fans of David Grahame and similar artists and serve as a nice complement to the recently-released Smith & Hayes album. There's quite a lot to like here, from the shuffling opener "My Ol' Records" to the jangly "You Were Right (Probably)" to the exuberant pop of "I'm Yer Man". But what sets this album apart from the typical Beatle pastiche is Angotti's facility with the slower numbers, some of the album's best: "I Guess" is one McCartney probably wishes he wrote, and "Me and Donnie Vee" is a lovely midtempo number in which Angotti reminisces about playing with his longtime friend Donnie Vie from Enuff Z'Nuff. A real treasure, and if you go to the CD Baby link below you can get his thoughts on each of the tracks.
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Draz-Blaring in the Stillness. This New York band manages the feat of being indie enough to impress your hipster friends and melodic enough to appeal to power poppers. I was drawn in my opening track "When the City Burns", which seemed to find the middle ground between The Shins and Squeeze, and was happy to stick around for the rest with the standouts being 90s college radio-styled midtempo rocker "Heaven Sent", the Smiths-inspired "One of the Boys", and the fab "Love Letters". These guys know their way around a pop hook (see also the infectious "Astor Place"), and they should find their way into your mp3 or CD player.
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