JoDee Purkeypile-Messenger. Former Alice Rose frontman JoDee Purkeypile is back with his second solo album after his triumphant 2011 release October House, and Messenger is a more than worthy follow-up. Once again, Purkeypile purveys polished indie pop with a touch of a British influence - kind of like Glenn Tilbrook meets Jon Brion, with a hint of Elliott Smith. The piano-backed "Cruel Movements" opens the disc and is both melodic and haunting, the insistent guitars of "I Think It's Alright" and "My Inner Me" bring Bends-era Radiohead to mind, and the jaunty "Wired Wrong" has an AC Newman feel to it. The proceedings close nicely with the title track, which boasts a serpentine melody and biting lyrics. This is first-rate stuff, and an early contender for Best of 2013.
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Low Sun Fire. This Ohio band largely consisting of former members of Rosavelt has a sound that draws from Guided by Voices, The Replacements and Wilco, and those who fondly recall the debut will want to check this one out. "M.I.A.", with its stripped-down sound and plea to "be there" recalls another favorite of this site, Wiretree; "The Farthest Close" reminds me of one of Jeff Tweedy's midtempo numbers on Yankee Hotel Foxtrot without all the bells and whistles, and the raucous but short "4 Blank Walls" is where the Westerberg-meets-Pollard comparisons come in. Elsewhere, the fuzzed-out guitars of "All of This Hasn't Happened" is another example of GbV-styled rock, while "Cold Sweat Goodbye" is the kind of earnest, melodic ballad their forebears effectively used as a change of pace. Again, nothing groundbreaking here - just 9 quality tracks that won't wear out their welcome and feel like music for grown-ups.
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