Phil Ajjarapu “Sing Along Until You Feel Better”
Firstly a big thank you to my friend Elizabeth for finding this artist for me. Phil is an Austin, TX based songwriter. He’s session musician and perennial sideman, and was finally prompted to make his solo album after a near fatal motorcycle accident in March of 2012. During his recovery the process was set in motion, meeting producer Ken Stringfellow (Posies, Big Star) and putting together a successful Kickstarter campaign.
The title track is a perfect Beatles-Beach Boys inspiration, with Phil’s vocals multi-tracked over a Jellyfish-styled melody. While the remaining tracks don’t have the same dense production, “Angie” is another bouncy mid-tempo song just brimming with optimism. “The Wedding Song” is blissful acoustic love ballad and “Talk” is a catchy quickie similar to Marshall Crenshaw. Some of the tunes compare well with another DIY artist, Glenn Case as it goes from earnest hope to heartbreak, even ending with the slow self-pity party “I Fail Myself.” A thoroughly enjoyable debut, I can only hope Phil will follow it up.
Sonali “Wake Up” EP
Sonali Argade is a multi-instrumentalist who wields an impressive arsenal of instruments including lead guitar, keyboard, drums and bass. She’ll been hard at work on her sophomore EP. Produced by Kazumi Shimokawa and Justin Tracy, its an eclectic mix of folky pop-rock, with an emphasis on melody. The title track shuffles along with banjo and drums, as Sonali has a bit of a Paula Cole vibe. “Who We Are” is the big flashy single with a great chorus that showcases her solid vocal talents. On the soft ballad “Find Your Way,” she’s just angelic and “Holding Pattern” makes a great story song, about how flying from place to place changes your perspective on things. Overall a solid EP that has encouraged me to visit previous releases.