Dylan In The Movies – “Josephine If You Only Knew”
Dylan In The Movies is a relatively solo project or “musical brainchild” of Boston-based Brian Sullivan. The album features the input of some big names in contemporary alternative rock/alt country world that should bring Sullivan’s new release more notoriety. Name-dropping The Watson Twins (not to mention their partner Jenny Lewis of Rilo Kiley) and Tanya Donelly (formerly of the Breeders, among others) should give the album buzz, though it might not clue listeners in to what they’re getting. The single itself sounds like a more complex, and yet marketable, version of the adult contemporary genre. While that sounds like a snooze, his voice has a honed yet rough quality that makes it an appealing match for the emotional yet vague lyrics that tend to highlight the pining and regretful moments in male-female relationships. The guitar hook in “Josephine” is sunny, catchy, and only slightly plaintive. Though it’s probably not going to be “what the kids are into”, Sullivan has the talent and ear to put together an appealing single.
Sounds Like: Edwin McCain without the kitsch.
Ken Helman – Emerging
After hearing his latest project Emerging it seems like music veteran and recent transplant to the SF Bay Area Ken Helman has come to the right place. His pianist-singer-songwriter style evokes both musical theater and the contemporary artists that have successfully translated their style into honest and emotional pop careers. The uniqueness of his voice, clearly controlled but vaguely unsettled, seems to frame the stories that his lyrics weave. There is nothing to distract you from the fact that Helman is telling intensely personal tales with his songs, nothing between the listener, him, and his piano accompaniment. Broadway fans and those with an avid appreciation for a pared-down style, embellished only with talent, will probably treasure his work. Others probably won’t get it.
Sounds Like: Rufus Wainright or Antony & The Johnsons, with a less broad appeal.
Listen To: “Caught a Ride”, “Passing Stranger”