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Hidden Treasures

Introducing some of the best discs you've never heard

Brian Keane

I Ain't Even Lonely

Mix-O-Rama

Early Man: Music to sprain your neck to.
Michael Levine
Early Man: Music to sprain your neck to.

Details

Early Man appears Sunday, November 20.
The Engine Room, 1515 Pease, 713-654-7846.

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The leadoff title track is sodden country; track two is bluesy in a less smart-assed-than-Loudon Wainwright mode; and then it's pretty much back and forth for the rest of the disc. Keane sounds relaxed and at ease; the whole thing has a conversational feel, with smart, peculiar little jokes here and there recalling both Lyle Lovett and Paul Simon at times. There are plenty of wry lyrical passages, like "now we live in Texas / where the winter lasts from five to seven days," and a beautiful duet with Guy Forsyth on Tom Waits's once-raucous "Anywhere I Lay My Head" proves once again what a great writer Waits is and also what a solid interpreter we have in Keane. Album closer "Odysseus" brings all his intellectual and shit-kicking tendencies together in one talking blues.

The Happy Bullets

The Vice and Virtue Ministry

Undeniable

An actual smart, interesting guitar-pop band. An ever-so-blatant Village Green Kinks influence raises its head from the start, and really, how can that be bad? Well, it's not. Plus, these Bullets add antiquated-sounding synth lines and other anachronistic touches to mix things up. Added value: The band's bio mentions the Decemberists as an influence, and lo and behold, "Mr. Gray" sounds like Colin Meloy subbing for Ray Davies on an Arthurouttake. Exactly. Truth in advertising, how admirable.

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