• d.a. stern Aloha Hola (CD, £11.50)

    label: slumberland

    D.A. Stern, the solo project of David Aaron Stern, is the musical amalgamation of crossword puzzle obsession, backgammon playing, and working as a recording engineer at Beastie Boy Adam Yauch’s (aka MCA) studio. Stern’s laid back, tongue-in-cheek lyrics effortlessly complement his dreamy pop rock arrangements of dense guitars and swirling organs. The music of D.A. Stern, who is more inspired by filmmakers Albert Brooks and Mel Brooks than any songwriter, could be compared to contemporaries Deerhunter, Real Estate and Yo La Tengo but with the timelessness of Paul Westerberg. “Aloha Hola” is Stern’s debut and it’s an assured set of classic pop songs that flirt with folk-pop, power-pop and indiepop while remaining comfortable outside of easy genre categorisation. Stern’s songwriting talent is in ample evidence on earworm singles like “Am I Ever On Your Mind?” and “Bluedgenes”, packed with smart lyrics, chiming guitars and indelible hooks. Tracks: Am I Ever On Your Mind? / Bluedgenes / Giving Up / In Pain / Diggin’ For Something / Home And Dry / When I Said You Were Right I Was Wrong / Spirit Of New York / Miami / Sports Moment / Rising Suns

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