Random Dudes Edition Pt. 2: Michael Nau, Abram Shook, Raoul Vignal & Kelley Stoltz

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Michael Nau: Some Twist

Hopefully you had a chance to check out all four of the RecommNed’d “random dudes” albums in last week’s column. This week I’ve got part two, with four more great records from four more great guys. First up is Maryland’s Michael Nau. His second album released as a solo artist is Some Twist and it is the kind of record that I would call “sneaky good.” It sounds plenty nice on first listen, but the more spins you give it, the more you get, sneaking up on you and revealing secrets to the committed listener, background music that works its way to the foreground before you even notice. Nau’s style is way laid back and his songs are all the better for it, easing into place. There’s a distinctive Henry Nilsson vibe to the whole thing, these songs just sound easy, although nothing this good comes that easily. Highly recommended here.

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Abram Shook: Love At Low Speed

The next dude in the queue is the previously-recommended-here Abram Shook, a woefully-under-the-radar Austin singer-songwriter who has churned out, now three straight stellar albums of low-key psych-pop deliciousness with the recently released Love at Low Speed. Here Shook looks inward, exploring the experience of the end of an 11-year relationship. So when you hear lyrics like, “Too old to die young, too young to stay in bed,” on the atmospheric opening track, you know you’re in his head for better or worse. Mostly better, I think, as each song is a lush-production of instrumentation and his superb songwriting. This is music to get comfy inside, to explore from all angles and fall in love with.

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Raoul Vignal: The Silver Veil

Now we take a trip over the France – Lyons to be precise – where we find the debut album from Raoul Vignal. The Silver Veil perfectly showcases Vignal’s dual threat: gorgeous finger-picked guitar, motes of notes floating delicately in the air, and his even softer voice, a musical whisper. With a light touch of percussion and a little bit of flute, this is dreamy, lovely stuff waiting to be discovered. If you’re a fan of Jose Gonzalez (and really, you should be), you’ll feel right at home with this. I do think you’ll dig it!

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Kelley Stoltz: Que Aura

I realize that so far the picks this week have been pretty mellow. All three are recommended if you need something to chill with, but may as well finish with a dude that can swing a beat as well and Kelley Stoltz’s just-released album Que Aura, is the perfect choice. Out on the excellent and expanding Castle Face label, Stoltz churns 80s synth-groove, 70s FM spirit and 60s psychedelic with just the right dose of weird and plenty of uniquely modern-day excellent songs to create an addictively great record. It feels like each track has a little zing, something worthy of your ear even as they each seem to bound between mood and style. Enjoy!

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