Local music maven David Katznelson and his Birdman Records imprint have long embraced sonic wayfarers traveling on the acid-fried fringe of music. Two of the label's latest offerings have as much to do with tasty melodies as experimental edginess, though. The solo debut of one-time Brian Jonestown Massacre drummer Brian Glaze sounds steeped in the same potent psilocybin mushroom stew that's flavored several Birdman releases associated with Gris Gris mastermind Greg Ashley. Not surprising, considering the effort was recorded at the neopsych wunderkind's apartment and save for a couple of incidental guitar and vocal parts features Glaze and Ashley playing all the instruments. Though a familiarly fractured Syd Barrett melancholy informs the album-opening tandem of "Oh Baby Don't Go to the Sea" and "Daylight," Glaze gradually establishes his own assured voice with the shambling sweetness of "Can I Look at You?" and the jaunty, almost Donovan-esque "Brittle Piece of My Heart."
While Let's Go to the Sea shows Glaze's gift for tuneful songs beneath the album's fuzzy, lo-fi murk, the Cuts go straight for the jugular on their third album, From Here on Out. Though still referencing the well-executed Nuggets-style garage and '70s NYC art-punk found on earlier recordings, the band's latest leans closer to the pitch-perfect power pop of Big Star and Todd Rundgren's preÐsolo career outfit, the Nazz. Split between frontman Andy Jordan's ballsy rockers and keyboard player Dan Aaberg's more ambitious pop tracks "Hun Tun" echoes Forever Changes-era Arthur Lee, down to the deftly arranged horns and strings at the bridge the collection is unrepentantly hook-laden. Jordan's affected, hiccuping delivery could grate on some ears, and the extended blooze dud of album-closer "One Last Hurrah" comes off as belabored, but otherwise the Cuts' power-pop machine hits on all cylinders for Birdman's most radio-friendly release yet.