Sunday, January 2, 2011

Solo Projects


“Street Lights Glow”

* * * 1/2

Handshake multi-instrumentalist Evan Greenwald describes his Stalker project as “very, very rhythmic folk,” and he’s not joking. “Street Lights Glow,” Stalker’s acoustic debut single, is all about the guitar. There are lyrics, but they are sparse, and it’s that slightly creepy, loping guitar line that sticks in the listener’s head for hours. It is interesting that Greenwald should start his solo career with such an instrument-centric song--in addition to his skills with guitar and composition, Greenwald is a fine lyricist and singer. A performance at SF Rebirth’s very own Guyana Rock II displayed a wealth of material that showcases all of these talents, and I hope to hear much more from Stalker in the near future.


“Feel Sexy”/”Closer”

* * / * * * 1/2

Nicky Martin, the St. Valentinez vocalist who records solo as Romance of Thieves, comes across like the bastard child of Janelle Monae and Alex Chilton. He would have his mom’s love of left-field soul as well as his dad’s gift for sounding outrageously sexy and sensual beyond his years. “Feel Sexy” hints at this, but it’s about as subtle as a bra in the bed and features someone named “Nono” who sounds like a kiddie-show comic relief and is certainly out of place. “Closer,” on the other hand, is raw and sensual quiet-storm R&B, powered by dream-pop organs and a creeping drum machine. The three-pronged vocal attack is delivered by a disembodied robot mantra, a low-flying flock of Nickies, and the decent but again somewhat out-of-place rapper Ea$way. Advice: lay off the rappers, keep piling on the romance.

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