Gary Jules isn't your typical folkie. For one thing, there's too much L.A. street grime coating the songs on his self-released critical smash Trading Snakeoil for Wolftickets; for another, Jules covers not Dylan or Seeger when he looks for outside material but early Tears for Fears. Jules's spare remake of that band's 1983 UK hit "Mad World" was the musical highlight of the recent Drew Barrymore film Donnie Darko. Like Randy Newman, San Diego native Jules is transfixed by the forgotten and down-at-heel corners of his adopted hometown of Los Angeles. Jules's L.A. is the one you read about in Charles Bukowski or see on Cops. Unlike Newman, Jules frames those visions with a whispery voice and arrangements that feel a lot like Simon and Garfunkel at their peak.
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