Brandon Schott-Crayons & Angels. This introspective SoCal singer/songwriter is back with another collection of pop gems, featuring a sound that's a blend of Joe Pernice, Elliott Smith and Jon Brion. There's a lot to like here, from the bouncy, Beatlesque "Henry" (which first appeared on a split EP with Andy Reed's An American Underdog) to the baroque "Verdugo Park" to the lovely "Every Little Song", a duet with Kelly Jones. Also of note are the power-popping "Seeing You in Stereo" and a cover of Elvis Costello's "Riot Act". So in what may be my worst pun yet, I'd recommend you give this one a Schott.
Marco Rea-Wallpaper Music. Italian (by way of Glasgow) singer-songwriter Marco Rea is one of my favorite finds this year, as his debut album is a McCartney-esque delight. The catchy "Someone's Picture" is pure piano pop, while "Time" is the kind of ballad Macca would have put on Side 2 of the White Album. "Sunday" is another uptempo piano pop pleaser, and the epic ballad "To" recalls a lower-key "Maybe I'm Amazed". Impressive stuff. This is available on limited-edition cassette (together with digital download) from Bandcamp.
William Bradford-William Bradford. William Bradford might be the first artist from Arizona I've featured in all my years here (although power pop luminaries Gin Blossoms hail from the state as well), and his debut disc is a fine collection of Wilco/Tom Petty-influenced pop/rock. Standouts include the jangly "Hear Your Heart", the 70s-styled singalong pop of "The Pier", and the Lennonesque "Just Like Yesterday". Don't overlook this one.