Brandon Wilde-Hearts in Stereo. I first came upon this Brooklyn singer-songwriter thanks to his fine 2006 debut Songs From the Deep Sleep, but it didn't prepare me for how brilliant his new followup is. Wilde will appeal to fans of Paul McCartney, David Grahame and a host of other melodic popsters. The moody and haunting "Dayglow" opens in the vein of post-Crowded House Neil Finn, while the frantic "Time Bomb" sounds as if it came from a Brendan Benson album. The jangly "Candy Apples" channels Grahame and Emitt Rhodes, and it's all prelude to the album's best track "Ooh La", which takes all these influences to another level, sounding not unlike Elliott Smith if he were actually a happy person. This is first-rate pop, and another that will be ranked highly upon year's end.
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Richie Reinholdt-Night and Day. Here's some excellent roots pop straight outta Missoula, Montana (also home to AbPow favorites Secret Powers) that will catnip to those who like Marshall Crenshaw, Walter Clevenger, Bobby Sutliff and the like. "Lucky Stars" is an absolute gem, and "Home Now" has a bit of Dylan in it. Elsewhere, "Soft Hearts" is the Everly Brothers gone rockabilly, "Opium" is a hard-edged rocker that adds some depth to the proceedings, and "Dream Noir" lives up to its title. Reinholdt's sound might be retro, but quality roots pop like this never goes out of style.
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