“Fell” – Rose Polenzani
Assured, full-bodied song from a singer/songwriter who, like Dar Williams before her, seems to be expanding beyond the “girl with a guitar” sound, to good effect. Think Suzanne Vega crossed with Lisa Germano, maybe, with a touch of Dar herself in there too. This one hooks me in the chorus, the way she sings slightly ahead of the lazy beat, which kicks in each time with that unexpected slide-guitar accent in the background.
“Porchlight” – the Kingsbury Manx
I hear echoes of early Pink Floyd and (of all things) Simon and Garfunkel in this gentle but assured song from a relatively unknown North Carolina band. I don’t know how this particular vibe holds up over a whole CD, but this song spins a wonderful aura with care and nuance. The band has three full-length CDs out to date; the most recent is called Aztec Discipline and was released last month. “Porchlight” comes from the 2001 album, Let You Down.
“Many Peaks” – Electrelane
Edgy, atomospheric instrumental from a British band that specializes in edgy, atmospheric instrumentals. This feels oddly like an amusement park ride that begins slowly, gains momentum and space, then bursts a couple of times into a double-time onslaught of guitar and keyboard before winding down. I hear a lot of life around the boundaries of this one, in the series of instruments that are brought in and out over the grinding, almost punky rhythm guitars in the background. Electrelane has one album to date, Rock It to the Moon, from which this comes.