Verskotzi “Lemon Heart”
This came out under my radar last year, but I’m glad I found Joey Verskotzi’s debut now. A young singer-songwriter with terrific vocals and an aggressive power pop sound. “Luck” is solid evidence that he’s got potential with a great guitar hook in the chorus, and the echoing guitar strums of “Brain Rack” is another gem about obsession. “Heartless Songs” is pretty good analysis of the state of soulless corporate rock, as he sings”Doin’ it wrong. Slavin’ away to heartless songs.” “8th Street Train” is another excellent rocker with a infectious beat and “Honey” is jangle-lead pop single that’s gotten some airplay.
Occasionally we get examples of Joey’s vocal range on the folky “Burnt Yuppies” and crooning “Blue,” both demonstrate his vocal skills and smoldering sex appeal. Holly Hansen of Zoo Animal lends her vocal support on the track “Abandoned Love” and although it loses a little steam at the end, there is more than enough here to have me highly recommend this album.
John Dunbar “Third Guessing”
New York musician John Dunbar was the man behind the Rutles-esque tribute to The Kinks called The Kunks, and this is his third solo LP. Dunbar has immersed himself into 60’s era singer-songwriter folk rock with some nice Byrdsian guitar flourishes on “Putting An End To What Hasn’t Yet Begun.” The lyrics address doubts and self examinations on “Strangers Will Tell You The Truth.” The Turtles-like “Consider It Considered” is another standout — it sounds both apprehensive and compelling.
The sparse instrumentation occasionally works against the songs for example “Sullenly” takes its time taking about depression and regret, but doesn’t build any atmosphere with its light guitar strums and “Reagan/Fagen” is an annoying couplet that sounds really forced. What stood out for me is the psychedelic “Longing For What Never Was” with a message to you aging hippies out there “Watch out for what nostalgia does… You’re longing for what never was.” While some tracks just don’t have the compelling hooks, this does provide some interesting therapy for fans of P.F. Sloan. Give it a try on Bandcamp.