Sailor Kiss the Siren
A former member of local indie bands Gem and Viva Caramel, singer-songwriter Eric Vogt has gone solo. His debut features moody vocals and quiet arrangements that have a Nick Drake/Josh Rouse vibe. That's especially apparent on the gentle instrumental intro "Braenar," which is followed by the equally fragile "In Your World," a mostly acoustic number that features Vogt's hushed vocals. Thankfully, Sailor Kiss the Siren isn't all somber and gloomy. The shimmering "Once Is Never" picks up the tempo, and "What If We Threw a War and No One Came" has some vigor to it. While the downbeat themes can be off-putting, it's impressive that Vogt, who plays guitar, piano, drums and "squeaky chair," can play so many different instruments. — Jeff Niesel
Long Long Way
Formed around 25 years ago, this North Coast reggae act is all about positive vibrations. That's obvious from Long Long Way's opening tune, "Give Me Your Love," a straight-ahead love song with smooth vocals. Steeped in roots-reggae, Long Long Way sounds as if it were recorded in another era — not that there's anything wrong with that. The band evokes Bob Marley on righteous tunes like "Music in My Bones," "What Cha Gonna Do" and "Book of Life," and goes for a soulful Beres Hammond approach on the tender "Brand New Place." The spacey "Praises Dub" and the jazzy title track provide nice departures from the roots-reggae approach, even if they still include lyrics about "wisdom, knowledge and understanding." — Niesel
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