Owen Sartori and John Holk & The Sequins

Owen Sartori

Owen Sartori “Nobody Gives A Damn”

Nine years ago I reviewed Owen Sartori’s debut Another Beautiful Day In The Cube, and completely missed his follow up. Luckily, Owen has kept busy working as a music producer – and his sophomore LP still holds all the emotion and catchiness of his earlier work. After a moody instrumental intro, we get the Jellyfish-like “Cool” full of pop culture references and a great hook in the chorus.

The dramatic ballads “Banking On It” and “All Of This Rain” recall Ben Folds (without the keyboards) with plenty of punch. Another gem shines out with “Digging On You” as the joyful melody sticks in your head. The more aggressive rockers like the title track and “Let It Go” feel a bit forced here, but overall this a neat little album that deserves to be heard.

Amazon | CD Baby

John Holk

John Holk & The Sequins “Where You Going”

Another band coming back is John Holk & The Sequins. It’s rare that a country artist finds a review here, but Holk’s brand of country jangle pop and power pop keeps me coming back. “Walkin Talkin” is an irresistible opener with its fast tempo and harmonies. “First Man Fall” is a sweet ballad with guitar effects rounding out the atmosphere. The title track and “She Don’t Remember” are pure pop midtempo charmers that sound like a different band altogether. “See” gets absolutely psychedelic with Isabel Mervak’s vocal harmonies floating above the fuzz guitars.

But eventually, the country sound creeps back on “Firelight” and the honky tonk “Another Glass of Wine.” Like Wilco or The Jayhawks, Holk shows lots of range, and the band can effortlessly cross between the genres. While this can be jarring for some, the music is consistently excellent and it makes the variety work. Highly Recommended.